Alberta's new firearms bill to protect firearms owners from the Liberal gun grab has passed second reading. Bill 8, the Alberta Firearms Act, would protect firearms owners from federal overreach into provincial jurisdiction if passed.
The Act establishes a provincial firearms regulatory system to promote the safe and responsible use of legally-owned firearms.
"If passed, this Act would clarify the Alberta government's role in regulating firearms. We're doing this in a way that puts Albertans first," said Government House Leader Joseph Schow, with the bill now in its second reading.
"We're looking at regulatory powers to provide additional tools to stand up for Alberta and protect provincial jurisdiction regarding firearms."
Schow said Albertans needed clarity on how firearms are regulated in the province and the country. He added the province's chief firearms officer already has a strong relationship with its lawful firearms community, whom she tirelessly advocates on their behalf.
"Defining this part of the role in the act will strengthen this relationship building further, and it will give the chief firearms officer an official mandate to advocate the federal government," continued Schow.
A government source from Alberta Justice said, thus far, the feedback from firearms owners has been "very positive," with most stakeholders understanding the regulatory details will be forthcoming in the development process.
"Once passed, the Alberta Firearms Act will be the country's most comprehensive provincial firearms framework," said Justice Minister Tyler Shandro.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) applauded the UCP's move to defend firearms owners by establishing the Provincial Firearms Act — now in its second reading at the legislature.
"Premier Danielle Smith is making the right move by shielding thousands of Alberta firearms owners from Prime Minister Trudeau's wasteful gun grab," said Kris Sims, Alberta director for the CTF.
"Police say the federal government's massive seizure of firearms from hunters and ranchers will not make Canadians safer, and history shows us this gun grab will also be a huge waste of taxpayers' money."
On Tuesday, Alberta Attorney General Tyler Shandro tabled Bill 8 in the legislature in Edmonton, legislation that would create the Provincial Firearms Act.
The Alberta government says it will use its Provincial Firearms Act to strengthen the role of the provincial Chief Firearms Officer and determine if municipal police forces can participate in federal government gun seizures from law-abiding firearms owners.
"It would empower our Chief Firearms Officer to advocate more strongly on behalf of Albertans to have the federal government reconsider policy changes that infringe on their rights," said Shandro.
"Every Albertan should be concerned about the precedent set by the federal intrusion into property rights of law-abiding and responsible Albertans. The activities of our law-abiding firearms community are essential to this province's economic vibrancy and cultural heritage."
The federal long gun registry imposed by the federal government in the 1990s cost Canadian taxpayers more than $1 billion before it was finally scrapped.
"Canada is more than $1 trillion in debt, and the Trudeau government has a major spending problem," said Sims. "The last thing we need is another seizure of private property that turns into another boondoggle."
"The office is absolutely aware of the need and responsibility to ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent and represent value for money. Bill 8 has the requirement built into the Act that the office must produce an annual report," according to the government source.
They clarified the annual report would be public and said the office is happy to undergo this level of accountability and scrutiny to ensure they represent a significant value for money return on investment.
The CTF has a petition calling on the Trudeau government to scrap its attempted firearms confiscation, which can be viewed HERE.
If passed, the bill's regulations would permit Alberta to establish expectations that firearms owners are fairly compensated for seized firearms or that seized firearms undergo forensic and ballistic testing, when deemed necessary, to ensure evidence is not destroyed if it appears to have been used in a crime.
"Regulations could also be developed, if needed, to prevent municipalities and municipal police forces from entering into funding agreements with the federal government," added Schow.
The government source said Bill 8 outlines the province's role in licencing seizure agents.
"The province will not play any role in making any appointments — the details of the seizure agent rules and who they will apply to must be developed in regulation," said Alberta Justice.
"I would like to emphasize that none of these measures are fully developed in the Act," added Schow. "I'm pointing out that a provincial firearms act gives us the flexibility to quickly develop responses to federal government intrusion."