Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has spoken out against the new ban of ‘assault-style’ firearms in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning (May 1) that 1,500 models have been banned, effective immediately. A list is available through the Canada Gazette.
Starting today, licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use those sorts of weapons in this country.
“Assault style firearms designed for military use have no place in our communities,” said Trudeau.
But Premier Kenney said in a statement this afternoon, that while the Government of Alberta is concerned about crime, including the illegal use of firearms, “today’s order does little to target criminals”.
“Instead, Ottawa is singling out law-abiding Canadians who purchased their property legally, have owned these items safely for years, and who have committed no crimes,” he said.
Kenney said the “overwhelming majority” of firearms used criminally in Canada are smuggled in illegally from the United States.
“Instead of addressing this, Ottawa will instead spend vast sums of money to criminalize law-abiding Canadians,” said Kenney.
“That money would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society.”
Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer had a similar response.
He said: “We also know that violent criminals who use guns are often released with surprisingly soft sentences.
“Rather than focus on law-abiding Canadians, we’d call on Parliament to bring back tough, mandatory sentences for the criminals who flagrantly endanger Canadians with their use of illegal guns.”
In November 2019, the Alberta legislature unanimously passed Government Motion 41, which stated: “Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly recognize and support the ability of Albertans to lawfully and in a responsible manner own and possess firearms and to engage in permitted activities involving the use of firearms, including but not limited to hunting and sport shooting.”
Schweitzer said: “The Government of Alberta will scrutinize today’s move by Ottawa and explore potential responses through this lens.
“In response to today’s announcement from Ottawa, our government is actively considering appointing Alberta’s own chief firearms officer (CFO) to replace the CFO appointed by Ottawa.”