Government says it’s standing up for gun owner’s rights

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta announced Wednesday it will listen to law-abiding firearms owners while further cracking down on criminals who thy say wilfully put Albertans’ lives at risk.

The UCP is establishing the Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on how Alberta can better assert areas of provincial jurisdiction while respecting law-abiding Albertans’ long history of responsible firearms ownership.

Additionally, in an effort to crack down on illegal firearm use, the UCP is establishing a provincial firearms examination unit to speed up the testing of guns seized in criminal investigations as evidence.

“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,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “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.”

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer said the federal government is spending 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. 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.”

Michaela Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat, will chair the new committee. Committee representation will include groups the government says speak for a wide range of lawful gun owners. That will include farmers and ranchers, hunters and trappers, and shooting sports enthusiasts.

The government says Albertans will have the opportunity to voice concerns over the federal government’s firearms legislation and provide recommendations on how provincial policies can best target criminals while respecting law-abiding gun owners.

Notwithstanding Calgary Police Service (CPS) who carry out testing in its own facility and the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) who are establishing a lab of its own, most Alberta police services rely on the RCMP’s National Forensic Laboratory Services in Ottawa to fulfil testing on seized firearms. As of last fall, testing was taking an average of eight months in the national lab.

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