Alberta can regulate, not 'completely refuse,' Trudeau gun grab agents, says Chief Firearms Officer

Rebel News asked Dr. Teri Bryant, Alberta’s Chief Firearms Officer, whether the province could refuse the registration of federal seizure agents for the confiscation of ‘prohibited’ firearms. ‘I don't think we could completely refuse to do that,’ she replied.

Alberta can regulate, not 'completely refuse,' Trudeau gun grab agents, says Chief Firearms Officer
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Though Alberta intends to fight tooth and nail against federal gun confiscation, its chief firearms officer said the provincial government cannot dictate who can legally seize ‘prohibited’ firearms.

“Does the province of Alberta only have the authority to designate who can act as seizure agents under the Alberta Firearms Act?” asked Rebel News. The Chief Firearms Office did not directly answer the question.

“Anybody within the definition of the act—either a provider of seizure agents or an actual individual seizure agent—who is going to perform that function in the province of Alberta would be subject to the requirements of the Alberta Firearms Act and associated regulations,” said Dr. Teri Bryant, Alberta’s Chief Firearms Officer. 

Last spring, several reporters sought clarification on who would act as seizure agents. 

Government sources said the province would “determine those agents at a later date,” but clarified they do not necessarily dictate the hiring of seizure agents. They provided no further comment on the matter.

Bill 8, the Alberta Firearms Act, reiterates jurisdiction over firearms and proposes a provincial license for gun seizures in Alberta. 

It also gives the government “flexibility” to develop regulations that protect the property rights of sports shooters, collectors, farmers, and those who lead traditional lifestyles.

In 2021, Alberta established its own Chief Firearms Office to administer the Canadian Firearms Program and appointed Dr. Teri Bryant as CFO. The office administers federal firearms legislation, advocates for lawful firearms owners and promotes public safety.

After Bill 8 passed, it amended Bill 211, the Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020, to prevent municipalities from passing firearms bylaws unless authorized by the province, and rectified the broadly defined powers of section 7 of the Municipal Government Act, reaffirming provincial jurisdiction on the transport and storage of firearms.

Then-justice minister Tyler Shandro clarified the lack of regulatory details is the result of no readily available information from the federal government on how it will confiscate firearms. 

“As the federal government makes details of its confiscation program readily available, at such time, we will approach the regulatory process accordingly,” he said last March 8.

At the time, Minister Shandro recognized that firearms owners were increasingly frustrated by the province's lack of legislative mandate to assert its jurisdiction.

Government sources clarified that the regulatory process would identify and review jurisdictional issues and precedence regarding provincial regulations.

“The federal government indicated their confiscation program involves the seizure of firearms. The primary goal of the Act is to protect law-abiding firearms owners. It is within the CFO's jurisdiction to handle matters of their handling and storage,” they said.

Backed by punitive legislation, the federal Cabinet earlier froze the purchase, sale, transfer, and import of handguns in October 2022. 

Ottawa tried to restrict the purchase of shotguns and rifles commonly used by sport shooters, hunters and farmers, but failed to reach a consensus with provinces, territories and relevant stakeholders last year.

Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), passed the Senate on December 14, 2023 without amendments by a vote of 60 to 24. It received royal assent the following day.

“We are coming up on four years since the order in council was passed and nothing has been accomplished other than the expenditure of a large amount of money,” said Dr. Bryant.

Cabinet in 2020 proposed mandatory buyback of some 200,000 firearms it considered “assault-style.” The Order in Council (OIC) banned over 1,500 gun models. 

Public Safety Canada, in response to an order paper question filed by Conservative Senator Don Plett last September, uncovered the federal government having spent $41,094,556 without seeing any results.

Businesses own an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 prohibited firearms, according to the order paper disclosure. Another 125,000 to 200,000 firearms, barred under the OIC, are owned by licensed individuals. 

Of the 341,988 firearms licence holders in Alberta, a government source earlier said that nearly 30,000 firearms have a ‘prohibited’ classification.

Many legal firearm owners frequent one of Alberta's 127 authorized shooting ranges, if their weapons aren't used for hunting. The province has more than 650 firearms-related businesses.

Government sources earlier committed to developing a Firearms Compensation Committee to determine fair market value for seized firearms. 

The province said prior consultations with stakeholders revealed the federal buyback price for confiscated firearms is “inadequate.” 

Meanwhile, Ottawa may consider a regional approach to the program, depending on the willingness of provincial governments. They are considering the use of local law enforcement and private security firms to confiscate firearms at currently unknown “drop-off points,” reported CBC News.

Premier Danielle Smith told Rebel last month her government would not comply with the program. “I wish them continued success at being able to achieve zero compliance,” she said.

Rebel News asked Dr. Bryant if the province could refuse to register federal seizure agents from confiscating ‘prohibited’ firearms. “I don't think we could completely refuse to do that,” she replied. 

“We would be ensuring that any regulations are maintained,” clarified the firearms officer. “That would entail things like training—to make sure people understand how to defuse a potentially tense situation—insurance and light firearms licensing and so on.”

However, Dr. Bryant clarified there is ‘no appetite’ from the public or private sector to get involved with federal gun confiscation efforts. 

The ‘buyback scheme’ faced considerable delays owing to Canada Post's refusal to participate last year, reported CBC News. They cited security concerns with collecting banned firearms at post offices.

The federal postal service says employees will be exposed to the theft of firearms and angry confrontations with law-abiding gun owners reluctant to comply with federal legislation.

Nevertheless, the Trudeau Liberals confirmed last winter their ‘buyback scheme’ will be rolled out in 2025, an election year.

Last December 20, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the feds would defer regulation and confiscation of ‘prohibited’ firearms until December 1, 2025. The two-year deferral permits industry additional time to ensure regulatory compliance and manage existing supply. 

Should the federal government breach this division of powers, the Government of Alberta claimed they would “take all measures” to protect the constitutional rights of Albertans. 

When asked if Alberta would invoke the Sovereignty Act over the issue, Smith did not provide a direct answer.

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