“Alberta stands unequivocally with hunters, farmers, sport shooters, and Indigenous peoples, all of whom understand the importance of responsible firearm ownership to Alberta’s heritage and culture,” said Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General.[i][ii]
Bill 8, the Alberta Firearms Act[iii], builds on the framework of Saskatchewan’s Firearms Act by codifying the role of the Chief Firearms Officer.
“By establishing in legislation the role of Alberta Chief Firearms Officer, this legislation will elevate the responsibilities and legal mandate of the office to the fullest extent of the law,” Minister Shandro said.
Watch Minister Tyler Shandro’s press conference:
We also recommend you read this legislation in its entirety, if only to make you smile.[iv]
Bill 8 Highlights
Some highlights, with comments in italics, are below:
- Responsibilities of Chief Firearms Officer
- The Chief Firearms Officer, with respect to firearms matters in Alberta,
(e) shall engage in advocacy for and outreach to Alberta’s firearms community
“An Alberta Firearms Act will provide stronger support to the law-abiding firearms community whose activities are essential to the economic vibrancy and cultural heritage of our province,” said Alberta Chief Firearms Officer Teri Bryant.
It’s so refreshing to see a provincial government require, in legislation, that the CFO shall treat our community with respect, instead of seeking ways to destroy our culture and heritage.
- Annual Report
6(1) The Chief Firearms Officer shall submit to the Minister…a report summarizing the activities of the Office of the Chief Firearms Officer during that fiscal year and setting out any recommendations relating to firearms matters that the Chief Firearms Officer considers appropriate.
The Minister must table this report in the legislature and post it publicly. We love the attention on accountability from the Minister and the Chief Firearms Officer to the people of Alberta.
- Licensing of seizure agents or persons providing seizure agents
8(1) The Minister, in accordance with the regulations, may issue a licence to an applicant authorizing the applicant to
(a) act as a seizure agent, or
(b) engage in the business of providing seizure agents.
10(1) No person shall act as a seizure agent without holding a valid licence.
(2) No person shall engage in the business
Firearm seizure agents must be licensed by the Alberta Minister of Justice, just like Saskatchewan, and the penalties for violating section 8 are financially severe.
- Federal Funding
Section 16 requires any municipal entity, police service or police commission to meet the requirements of regulations made under the Alberta Firearms Act before accepting a grant, financial help, or entering into an agreement with the federal government deals with firearms confiscations.
The Alberta Firearms Act is enabling legislation. That simply means many of the sections are not fully developed, as Saskatchewan’s legislation is, but will be created if/when the need arises.
Because there are so many unknowns with the federal government’s Firearms Confiscation Compensation Program, Minister Shandro has wisely left the Alberta government’s options wide open. This gives Alberta tremendous flexibility of response to whatever the Trudeau government does next.
For example, Section 15, Regulations, states, “The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations” and lists 60 areas where the Minister can create regulations, when needed.
By creating a legislative framework that allows great flexibility in how the province responds to current and future federal legislation so the province can best protect the rights, culture and heritage of Albertans.
“Once passed, the Alberta Firearms Act will be the most comprehensive provincial firearms framework in the country,” said Minister Tyler Shandro.