Shandro discusses firearms act at roundtable
At a media roundtable on Wednesday, Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta, discussed the Alberta Firearms Act.
The act is new Alberta legislation, which was drafted and tabled last week, and has already moved out of a second reading and into committee of the whole. The act will clarify the role of the Chief Firearms Officer and make it clear to Albertans that both the province and federal government play a role in the regulation of firearms.
“Our focus over the last four years has been targeting what we can do to reduce gun crime in our communities, what improves community safety rather than targeting law abiding Canadians, particularly hunters, farmers and sport shooters,” said Shandro.
Enabling clauses were developed to allow future provincial governments to pass regulations to allow the office of CFO Teri Bryant to work with the firearms community, along with manufacturers and retailers.
Shandro says he is concerned by the confiscation program proposed by the federal government. The ministry has always disagreed with it, he says, along with the May 2020 order of council and Bill C21.
“If they are going to have a confiscation program, we have to ensure the province is involved in licensing and we will be advocating for sensible legislative changes rather than ones, like C21 and order of council, that are targeting law-abiding Canadians and criminalizing thousands of Canadians over night for being in possession of legally acquired property,” said Shandro.
Shandro stated the federal government doesn’t know who they will use for the confiscation program – municipal employees, RCMP, police forces or a private contractor. The province is aware that some municipalities want to enter into an agreement with the federal government and receive funding to have municipal employees be involved in the confiscation program.
“We do not want police resources taken off the streets and being wasted and distracted by being involved with the confiscation program,” said Shandro. “If a municipality is going to have municipal employees involved, they are going to have to work with us.”
Shandro added he doesn’t believe the federal government is focused on community safety when it comes to increased transportation or storage of firearms.
“They have a very cavalier attitude toward the matter of firearms regulation,” he said. “They are changing on almost a daily basis their plans. They have this idea of a confiscation program without having the resources or any indication on how they are going to implement this.”
SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News