Canada’s gun debate ramps up

Alberta has introduced new legislation to give itself more power over gun control. 

Catch-up: The federal government's proposed gun laws (Bill C-21) would freeze the sale and transfer of handguns and create a new system to report gun owners who pose risks to themselves or others. A temporary version of the handgun freeze is already in effect. 

  • Canada has banned 1,500 models of assault-style firearms since May 2020 and introduced a program to compensate owners who give them up. The feds want to ban all assault-style weapons but can't seem to draw up an adequate definition.

Driving the news: If passed, the Alberta Firearms Act would grant the province the power to oversee gun-related funding between Ottawa and municipalities, expand the office of the chief firearms officer, and create a committee to ensure fair compensation for seized guns.

  • It would also give the province's justice minister powers to license "seizing agents" who can confiscate contraband guns, which is kind of funny considering the justice minister himself, Tyler Shandro, said he doesn't think anyone should have that role.

Why it matters: The recent passing of the Alberta Sovereignty Act made it loud and clear that the province is not afraid to push back against the feds. With its challenge to the new gun laws, Alberta is testing the limits of how much a province can diverge from federal law.