Alberta will appoint a chief provincial firearms officer in response to the Canadian Firearms Program.
The provincial government made the announcement on Wednesday.
Officials said the provincial officer will replace a federally designated chief and will play a large role in the administration of the federal firearms policy to better reflect Albertans’ wants and needs.
“By appointing a provincial chief firearms officer, Alberta is asserting its provincial jurisdiction,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a news release on Wednesday.
“It is also a step towards a system of firearms administration in the province that is rooted in the values and priorities of law-abiding Albertans.”
The announcement of a provincial officer comes after the controversial decision from the liberal government to ban many assault-style guns.
The federal gun ban followed one of the largest mass shootings in Canada’s history, which took place in Nova Scotia in April.
The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported. Upon enacting the ban, the federal government noted that guns were designed for the battlefield, not hunting or sport shooting.
The ban has sparked criticism from many Alberta gun-owners and politicians who believe it to be “an overreach,” and goes after “easy targets” of responsible gun owners instead of “drug gangs and criminals.”
Kenney noted responsible firearm use and ownership is important for many Albertans, and said the appointment of a provincial officer will help protect responsible gun owners.
“In Alberta, we will ensure we have a system of firearms policies and governance measures that protect Albertans, prosecute criminals and deter illegal gun crime rather than persecuting law-abiding citizens,” Kenney said.
On June 3, the province announced the creation of a provincial firearms advisory committee that will work with the newly appointed officer to create policies that reflect Albertans needs.
“I look forward to working with law-abiding farmers, hunters and sport-shooters to provide thoughtful recommendations to the chief provincial firearms officer to craft sensible policies that reflect the needs of Alberta’s firearms owners,” chair of the advisory committee Michaela Glasgo said.
The chief provincial firearms officer is expected to be in place by 2021.
–With files from the Canadian Press.