Glasgo chairing new firearms committee

It is no secret the Alberta provincial government is not happy with the federal government’s new firearms ban.

   On May 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced  the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. These models represent nine categories of firearms and “two types identified by characteristics.”

   The Alberta provincial government was unhappy and have talked about taking the federal government to court about the firearms ban. 

   While they decide what to do, the provincial government announced the organization of the Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee “to provide recommendations on how Alberta can better assert areas of provincial jurisdiction while respecting law-abiding Albertans’ long history of responsible firearms ownership.”

   The committee will be chaired by Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Glasgo who knows the importance of firearms in the rural area. Law-abiding firearms owners need to be heard, and this committee will allow people to give their thoughts. 

   Glasgo said in a phone interview last Wednesday she wasn’t surprised that she was given the task of chairing the committee. 

   Having been raised in Southern Alberta and knowing the importance of firearms in rural Alberta she does have a lot of understanding regarding the rural lifestyle and “responsible firearm ownership.”  

She says she has worked hard and relishes the opportunity.

   “I heard from the minister of justice (early last week) about the creation of this and how we are looking into firearms ownership and they wanted me to chair the committee,” explains Glasgo who is highly anticipating the challenge. 

   The committee is made up of MLAs and various stakeholders (see lists at the end of the story). She has worked with the MLA and has heard nothing but positive comments with regards to the others which includes former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson.

   The provincial government is also establishing a provincial firearms examination unit to speed up testing of guns that have been seized as evidence in criminal investigations.

   The Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA says there seems to be a lack of understanding from critics of firearms when it comes to the importance and respect those in the rural areas, agriculture and of course hunters have for their firearms. 

   They are not toys and are respected tools of many Albertans’ lives. 

   Glasgo says she will bring forth that knowledge when these meetings take place. 

   “It will have common sense and we will establish an organized framework going forward,” explained Glasgo. “We all have to be diligent and I am working with some talented people.”

   Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General was pleased Glasgo was chairing this committee and said in a phone interview June 8 how he thought she would be well suited for the role.

   “Michaela is well respected member of the legislature and she is very passionate and well versed about this subject so we thought she would be perfect,” explained Schweitzer who added government looked and examined who would also be good additions to the committee. 

   He said they looked from those in sports, hunting, law enforcement etc. in regards to various stakeholders for this committee.  

   The committee will talk to various stakeholders and hear from Albertans. The details on how and how this will be done is still being arranged but there will be a solid cross section of people/groups which will be allowed input. 

Schweitzer added how they will communicate wth people will alter from a normal set of circumstances.

   “In normal meetings situations we would hold face to face town halls and get feedback from larger groups that way but with COVID and the way it is now, there will Zoom meetings, telephone and if possible, direct engagement with (one or a few people). We will pulling on everything and everyone we can.” 

   Under the federal rules implemented by the federal government, there will be a transition period of two years to protect owners of newly prohibited firearms from criminal liability while they take steps to comply with these new rules. 

   This two-year amnesty order under the Criminal Code is in effect until April 30, 2022.

   According to the federal government in Canada, there are currently over 100,000 restricted firearms among the models that are now prohibited. This number does not include other newly-prohibited models that were not subject to registration requirements.

•An individual should not deliver a firearm to a police station without first making arrangements with a police officer for a safe and scheduled delivery or pick up. Individuals should not surrender their firearm while physical distancing requirements are in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

•Firearms owners must keep their firearms securely stored in accordance with the storage requirements until more information on the buy-back program is available.

   There have been provisions put into place for those who are Indigenous “exercising treaty rights to hunt or a sustenance hunter, you can only transfer or transport in accordance with the amnesty, such as to: have them deactivated by an approved business; return them to a lawful owner’s residence; export them lawfully surrender them to police without compensation.”

   Schweitzer noted that the time frame for when they wanted to do an investigation and report depends on federal parliament which is not currently sitting. 

   Schweitzer says in the meantime members of the committee including  Glasgo will be working with all stakeholders involved including federal counterparts to discuss this matter further.

Advisory committee members:

• Michaela Glasgo, chair, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat;

• Todd Loewen, MLA for Central Peace-Notley;

• Shane Getson, MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland;

• Rick Hanson, former chief, Calgary Police Service;

• Teri Bryant, associate professor, University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business;

• Bob Gruszecki, president, Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association;

• Phil Harnois, gun shop owner (P & D Enterprises) and 25-year Edmonton police veteran;

• Gail Garrett, vice-president, Alberta Federation of Shooting Sports;

• Lynda Kiejko, member of 2016 Canadian Olympic shooting team;

• Andrew Blundell, vice-president, Canadian Historical Arms Society/Genesee Range;

• Linley Coward, co-owner, Bullets and Broadheads Range in Grande Prairie

• Nicholas Lui, competitive shooter and Canadian Armed Forces veteran.

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