(BLACK PRESS file photo)

NIXON: Federal gun grab puts politics ahead of safety

‘Like most Albertans, I’m concerned about all crime, including the illegal use of firearms’

Let’s call it what it is: It is gun grab

Without a single vote in House of Commons, the federal government has chosen to arbitrarily ban 1,500 previously legal variants of firearms.

This unilateral decision seeks to make criminals of thousands of fully licensed and responsible gun owners; these are folks who have received training, undergone criminal record checks, and paid good money to comply with Canada’s already comprehensive federal regulations.

This ideological pandering is wrong and heavy-handed. What’s worse, it’s completely unnecessary.

Like most Albertans, I’m concerned about all crime, including the illegal use of firearms. However I do not support targeting law-abiding Albertans who have purchased their property legally, owned these items safely and committed no crimes. Of Canadian gun homicides, more than half are committed using hand guns, and of these the vast majority are illegal weapons smuggled across the border.

If the Government of Canada wants to step up the fight, the obvious place to start is to target the illegal gun smugglers who are arming gangs and fueling violence in our cities. It makes far more sense than wasting untold millions of taxpayers’ dollars buying back legal firearms from responsible, trained, and fully licensed owners. In addition, The Trudeau Liberals could also restore the mandatory minimum sentences put in place by the previous government, to help keep criminals in jail where they belong.

Unfortunately, it seems Ottawa isn’t interested in constructive solutions. Instead, the federal government seems to prefer a big, noisy, politically charged spectacle. They want an election issue. This is why you see the Liberals adopt political terms used in the gun control debate south of the border. How many times have federal officials used the term “assault style” or “military grade” in describing the firearms they plan to ban? These terms are not weapon classifications, rather they are marketing terms for a political campaign. They are designed to evoke fear of both firearms and the hunters, farmers, ranchers, and sport shooters who own them. Alienating these folks while expecting them to voluntarily hand over their property is a policy doomed to backfire.

Our United Conservative team campaigned on a pledge to respect law abiding gun owners who have done nothing to deserve being treated like criminals. Furthermore, the Alberta Legislature has previously voted to support Albertans’ rights to responsibly own and use firearms.

That is why we are taking steps to replace Ottawa’s hand picked Chief Firearms Officer with a one designated by the Government of Alberta. Law enforcement is an area of provincial jurisdiction, and we will take steps to ensure the Firearms Act is enforced appropriately, in a balanced way. Moving forward we are committed to taking any other steps necessary to assert provincial jurisdiction.

Today I issued notice of a motion in the Legislature expressing opposition to the Government of Canada’s undemocratic and unwarranted attack on thousands of law-abiding gun owners across Canada, including Alberta. This is the first step in getting an Alberta CFO appointed and re-asserting our jurisdiction.

-Submitted by MLA Jason Nixon

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