While some Canadians are applauding the federal government for their recent ban on assault rifles in the country, others are calling Ottawa out for the move.
Alberta’s UCP government is saying the ban on 1,500 models of assault-style weapons will do very little to curb the problem of organized crime or stop illegal guns from coming into Canada. The provincial government says that the ban unfairly targets law-abiding gun owners who purchased and use their guns legally.
On May 1st, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ban on buying, owning, or selling the prohibited weapons as part of an election promise in response to last month’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
The federal government is putting in a two-year amnesty period to protect those who already own these types of guns from criminal liability until they can take steps to comply with new regulations. The government will then offer to buy-back the rifles.
Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Doug Schweitzer says the announcement of the ban came as a surprise after ministers had asked for more consultation to be done before a bill passed.
Schweitzer says he and his party colleagues would rather see Ottawa focus on the evidence instead of simply taking guns from citizens. He also noted that the federal government’s plan to buy-back the rifles from gun owners will end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
When asked if there is anything the Alberta government can do in response to the bill, Schweitzer said that because it is a federal ban, there is little the province can do to change it.
The Justice Minister did say that the provincial government is looking at ways of working with the legislation and enforcing compliance, with such ideas as appointing a Chief Firearms Officer to oversee firearms ownership and working with provincial prosecutors to ensure a consistent approach when it comes to firearms and the new regulations.