Alberta premier finds fault with federal firearms ban
- Justin Trudeau; Prime Minister of Canada; Established the firearms ban
- Jason Kenney; Premier of Alberta
- Michaela Glasgo; Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA; Chair of Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee
At the beginning of May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on “assault-style” weapons, amounting to about 1,500 different types, all listed in the Canada Gazette. Premier Kenney criticised Trudeau’s decision, and, on June 3, 2020, introduced a provincial Firearms Advisory Committee.
Trudeau takes action after Nova Scotia mass shooting
A week after a mass shooter killed 22 victims in Nova Scotia, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a new ban which lessens the types of guns that citizens can buy legally. While this ban can be considered a response to the recent tragedy, it is also an act upon his election promise. He deemed that since these kinds of weapons are “designed for military use” they have “no place in Canada”. Additionally, in consideration of gun owners who now possess banned firearms, a Criminal Code amnesty period, lasting until April 30, 2022, has been given for these owners to hand in their (now banned) firearms.
Firearms ban “penalises law-abiding gun owners” according to Premier Kenney
Not everyone believes that this firearms ban will help keep gun crimes under control. Premier Jason Kenney believes that the federal government is targeting “legally purchased, inanimate objects” and criminalising law-abiding gun owners with this restriction. Kenney then said that “the Albertan government believes in targeting criminals who represent a threat to public safety” and mentioning that criminals “by definition, don’t care about the consequences of breaking laws”.
Premier Kenney acting to create provincial gun control policies
Consequently, Premier Kenney announced two new actions from the Albertan government on June 3, 2020, which include a new Firearms Advisory Committee and the moving of forensics testing to Albertan facilities. The committee will be chaired by Michaela Glasgo, MLA of Brooks-Medicine Hat and consist of MLAs, retired law enforcement officers, hunters, sportsmen and sportswomen, collectors, and a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and they will be advising the provincial government on new firearms policies. The second action for transferring forensics testing from RCMP facilities in central Canada to the Calgary and forthcoming Edmonton labs is caused by the delay of attaining results from the RCMP. Since the R. v. Jordan decision from the Supreme Court ruled that accused persons have the right to be tried in a reasonable time, the delay in testing results sometimes results in criminals being let go. Thus, the move of testing to Albertan facilities is to improve the timeliness of trials.
The highest percentage of firearms-related offences are in the custody range of over 1460 days, though it also shows the largest decrease out of all the other firearms offences—from 40 percent in 2000/2001 to 26 percent in 2013/2014. However, the largest increase of firearms-related offences occurred in the custody range of 730-1459 days—from 10 percent in 2000/2001 to 28 percent in 2013/2014.
The number of illegal firearm seizures in Canada in the year 2019-2020 amounted to 753, though it is unknown how many illegal firearms actually exist around Canada.
There are approximately 2.2 million individual firearms license holders in Canada, although the number out of these license holders who would be affected by the firearms restriction is unknown. Nevertheless, it is estimated that there are 90,000 firearms that will now be restricted.
“Announcing a Ban on Assault-Style Firearms in Canada.” Prime Minister of Canada, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, 1 May 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuZ7tc695gU&feature=youtu.be.
Canada, Supreme Court of. Supreme Court of Canada – 38532. 20 Mar. 2020, https://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/cb/2020/38532-eng.aspx.
Carter, Chris. “Canada Gazette, May 1, 2020 Part II.” Canada Gazette, the Queen’s Printer for Canada, 1 May 2020, https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6880974-Canada-Gazette-May-1-2020-Part-II.html.
“Firearms in Alberta: Premier Kenney Announces Advisory Committee – June 3, 2020.” CPAC, 3 June 2020, https://www.cpac.ca/en/.
Government of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA Seizures for Fiscal Year 2019 to 2020. 15 Mar. 2018, https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/security-securite/seizure-saisie-eng.html.
Government of Canada, Department of Justice. Firearms, Accidental Deaths, Suicides and Violent Crime: An Updated Review of the Literature with Special Reference to the Canadian Situation. 10 Mar. 1999, https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/jsp-sjp/wd98_4-dt98_4/p3.html#a32.
Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada. “Canada Gazette, Part 2, Volume 154, Number 3: Regulations Amending the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted.” Government of Canada, 1 May 2020, http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2020/2020-05-01-x3/html/sor-dors96-eng.html.