Condemns gun bans in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ottawa

EDMONTON—The governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan have condemned federal proposals to ban nearly all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with a last-minute amendment to Bill C-21.

On Tuesday, Liberal lawmakers on the House Public Safety Committee introduced an amendment to a bill that would further restrict access to handguns in Canada, banning virtually all semi-automatic firearms, including hunting rifles.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the measure did not cover illegal firearms, but Alberta Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro said: Abandon Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino claims his government will only attempt to ban what Ottawa calls “assault-style” weapons.

“If the amendment is successful, Bill C-21 will lead to the most sweeping and arbitrary ban in Canadian history,” Shandro said in a press release. “This ban is not only unenforceable, it will criminalize hundreds of thousands of Canadians.”

Shandro said the amendments “target more than 2 million Canadian licensed firearm owners,” including hunters, farmers and target shooters.

Moe said the move would effectively ban “all central-fire semi-automatic rifles used by Saskatchewan residents to hunt and protect livestock from predators.”

“Our government will launch initiatives to target the criminal and illegal use of firearms, including tougher crackdowns and penalties for illegal purchases of firearms, cross-border arms trafficking, and illegal use of firearms. We fully support it,” said Moe. statement on twitter.

“We do not support federal firearm control measures outlined in C-21 because they eliminate the right of legally licensed firearm owners to access and use legally acquired firearms.”

Conservative public safety commentator Raquel Dancho, one of the Conservative MPs on the Public Safety Commission, called the amendments Canada’s “all-out war against hunters.”

“I am pretty shocked,” she said.

In May 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned more than 1,500 firearm models through a Council Order, including guns expressly used for sport shooting and hunting. The government has also proposed a mandatory buyback program to compensate firearm owners.

The government says it needs Building C-21 to curb gun crime.

On October 27, a police expert told the commission that C-21 did not address the real problem of illegal firearms. Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray said restricting legal handgun ownership does not meaningfully address the real problem.

They also told lawmakers that police services across Canada would be hit if officers were redirected to retrieve firearms as part of a buyback program.

The warning came after Mendicino asked states to help confiscate firearms.

Alberta and Saskatchewan said they have told their RCMPs not to cooperate with the program. Manitoba and New Brunswick said they did not want to use their expanded local police resources for buybacks.

Chandro said it became clear that these actions were not enough.

“It is clear that the federal government intends to ban legal firearm ownership entirely,” he said. “In the coming weeks, Alberta will consider all options available to take action.”

Debate on the proposed amendments will continue on Thursday.