Alberta legislature passes motion for province to have its own Chief Firearms Officer to replace Ottawa appointed

Motion 20 passed Tuesday in the Alberta Legislature affirming support for a new Alberta Chief Firearms Officer to replace Ottawa’s appointment.

The Government of Alberta will appoint a chief provincial firearms officer to ensure firearms policy and regulatory enforcement reflect the priorities and needs of Albertans.

Alberta will administer the Canadian Firearms Program by appointing its own chief provincial firearms officer rather than having it administered by the federal government. A provincially appointed chief firearms officer will replace the federally designated chief firearms officer, giving the province a greater role in the administration of firearms policy. Appointing its own chief provincial firearms officer will provide the province increased responsibilities to reflect Albertans’ long history of responsible firearms use and ownership.

“By appointing a provincial chief firearms officer, Alberta is asserting its provincial jurisdiction,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

“It is also a step towards a system of firearms administration in the province that is rooted in the values and priorities of law-abiding Albertans. In Alberta, we will ensure we have a system of firearms policies and governance measures that protect Albertans, prosecute criminals and deter illegal gun crime rather than persecuting law-abiding citizens.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, said they have heard loud and clear that Albertans are frustrated with policies designed for downtown Toronto and want a system that works better for Alberta. A provincially appointed chief firearms officer would better meet the needs and priorities of Albertans while improving services for law-abiding gun owners.”

Jason Nixon, Government House Leader, said Albertans are unhappy with Ottawa putting politics ahead of public safety.

“If the Government of Canada wants to step up the fight against gun crime, the obvious place to start is to target the illegal gun smugglers who are arming gangs and fuelling violence in our communities. It makes far more sense than wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars buying back legal firearms from responsible, trained, and fully licensed firearms owners. I am pleased that Alberta’s government is taking a stand against this heavy-handed policy by working to appoint our own chief firearms officer.”

Michaela Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat, and chair, Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee, said he looks forward to working with law-abiding farmers, hunters and sport-shooters to provide thoughtful recommendations to the chief provincial firearms officer to craft sensible policies that reflect the needs of Alberta’s firearms owners.

Likewise, Robert Gruszecki, president, Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association agreed.

“Our organization believes that the ultimate goal of firearms policy needs to be ‘safe streets and safe communities.’ If asserting provincial jurisdiction contributes positively to that goal, then we are supportive of it. Responsible firearms ownership and respect for property rights of law-abiding citizens need to be cornerstones of any actions we take.”

Over the next year, the government will work to establish the firearms office and how it will ensure the needs of Albertans are considered in the provincial administration of the Firearms Act, as well as work with Public Safety Canada to ensure a seamless transition. The chief provincial firearms office is expected to be in place in 2021.

MLA Jason Nixon, Minster of Environment and Parks and Government House Leader, said that after two weeks of debate in #AbLeg, UCP MLAs supported his motion on standing up for Alberta gun owners.

Nixon said the NDP did not support the motion. The motion instructs the Alberta government to take action to appoint our own CFO in Alberta.

Sarah Murphy/Alberta Press Leader

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