Canadian News Jun 4, 2020 12:46 PM EST

Alberta premier attacks Liberal gun ban as a punishment for law-abiding gun owners

Premier Jason Kenney and other Albertan politicians have called out the new Liberal gun ban as "an overreach" that punishing law-abiding gun owners.

Alberta premier attacks Liberal gun ban as a punishment for law-abiding gun owners
Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC
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Premier Jason Kenney and other Albertan politicians have called out the new Liberal gun ban as "an overreach" and saying that it only punished the "easy targets" like law-abiding gun owners and not the "drug gangs and criminals," according to Global News.

"The federal government has introduced hasty and ill-thought-out measures that penalize law-abiding gun owners while doing little to stop criminals who traffic or use illegal firearms," tweeted Kenney.

On Wednesday the Albertan Premier announce the creation of the Firearms Advisory Committee so they provide the province on proper recommendations for how Alberta can apply better provincial jurisdiction. The committee will have 12 members, including politicians from rural Alberta, farmers, hunters, retired law enforcement and sport-shooting enthusiasts.

Premier Jason Kenney, Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer and Michaela Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat were among those speaking at the press conference to make the announcement. They have chosen to speak out based on the complaints they've heard from Albertans who are frustrated by federal regulations.

Kenney said that Albertans are using guns as part of their everyday life by the hundred of thousands, and do so responsibly. They feel it is unfair that they should not become the scapegoats of real hardened criminals.

A firearms testing process is currently being established by Alberta Justice in cooperation with Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams. As it sands now, police forces outside of Calgary are dependent on the national forensic laboratory of the RCMP which can mean that testing can take up to eight months. An additional testing facility is planned to be built in Edmonton that will allow the province to test up to 750 firearms annually, up from their current count of around 600.

Funding for the additional testing lab would come from ALERT funding within Alberta, said Kenney, which is estimated to cost around $500,000.

“The vast sums of money Ottawa will spend would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society. In Alberta, we will take action to protect Albertans, prosecute criminals and deter illegal gun crime and trafficking rather than persecuting law-abiding citizens,” said Kenney.

A legal requirement for prosecuting gun crimes necessitates proving that the weapon seized in the crime, meets the Criminal Code definition of a firearm. As explained by the Alberta provincial government, this definition means a firearm that has a barrel and the ability to fire a projectile capable of causing serious injury of death.

The federal government's recent ban highlights the "huge gulf" between the different approaches of the federal and provincial governments regarding firearms and the delicate balance between cracking down on crime and not persecuting responsible gun owners.

“While Ottawa spends hundreds of millions of dollars targeting law-abiding gun owners, our government is investing in a firearms examination unit to conduct criminal firearms testing so prosecutions are not put in jeopardy by lengthy delays,” Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said.

“The measures we are taking today will show Ottawa that a responsible firearms policy targets criminals and illegal gun traffickers and not lawful gun use.”

Prime Minister Trudeau proclaimed an immediate ban on a large swath of assault-style firearms, including a total of 1,500 assault-style guns. The firearms have been banned for use, sale, transport or import within Canada with a two-year amnesty period for those who already own one or more. One problem with the ban however is that "assault" or "assault-style" is yet to be a legal weapons classification in Canada.

Gun rights advocacy groups argue that the rules lack consistency, outlawing firearms based on how they look rather than what they are capable of doing, which leaves many dangerous firearms still legal. On the other hand, gun control advocacy groups are claiming the latest gun ban isn't strict enough.

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