Albertans push back against Ottawa gun restrictions

Albertans push back against Ottawa gun restrictions

Matthew Oliver is a Metis and former competitive shooter.

He believes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ban on certain firearms unfairly targets these two groups.

“The problem with the Olympic exemption is that it’s a bit like saying running shoes will be banned, but we’re going to allow Olympic track and field athletes to buy them,” explained Oliver.

“How come nine- and 12-year-old track and field athletes will ever become Olympic athletes if they don’t have access to running shoes?”

The Alberta government is also not happy about the proposed liberal firearms restrictions.

People who possess any of the 1,500 types of banned firearms have until the end of October 2023 to turn them in under an amnesty, but the province’s justice minister doesn’t want charges for people who don’t.

“Alberta is reclaiming that jurisdiction,” Tyler Shandro told reporters Thursday.

“The prosecutors of the Crown of Alberta will now decide whether or not to bring charges under the Firearms Act, not the federal government’s attorneys.”

This policy has confused federal officials.

“I don’t quite understand what Alberta is proposing. So I’ll wait and see what kind of further information they could provide,” said Attorney General David Lametti.

“Criminal code firearms offenses are already largely prosecuted by provincial prosecutors across Canada.”

Alberta has the third highest number of gun license holders after Ontario and Quebec.

The fall session of the Liberal federal government ended on Wednesday with the government’s controversial gun control law yet to be passed.

The bill has drawn widespread criticism for an amendment recently added by a Liberal MP aimed at enshrining the definition of an assault-style weapon in legislation.

The proposed list of firearms that would fall under this label includes popular hunting rifles. The change has angered hunters, sport shooters and Indigenous groups, including the First Nations Assembly.

“The law will ban all centerfire semi-automatic rifles, which are a very, very common rifle used in hunting. In particular, it will have a major impact on indigenous hunters, as rifles like the SKS have been purchased by many hunters – about half a million in Canada,” Oliver said.

Public Safety Secretary Marco Mendicino and Trudeau have said it is not their intention to ban firearm hunting and are open to changes to the bill.

With files from The Canadian Press

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