Skip to content

Commentary: Sides on gun debate remain deeply divided

Survey asks for Albertans' views on provincial firearms policy

The UCP government has announced plans to survey residents for their views on provincial firearms policy and the federal government decision earlier this year to ban 1,500 types of firearms.

Whether the survey will eventually lead to safer communities while maintaining gun owner property rights remains to be seen.

What is known is that the Kenney government seems determined to keep the gun debate on the front-burner, pitting itself against the Trudeau Liberals and asking Albertans to choose sides in the long-running debate.

With many rural Albertans using guns as part of their agriculture operations and recreational activities, the underlying issues certainly have relevance in this region.

In announcing plans to survey residents, the provincial government called the federal government ban on the assault-style firearms a “gun grab” and an infringement on property rights.

“Recent legislation announced by the federal government would punish hard-working farmers, hunters and other lawful gun owners, while failing to address the true problem: the flow of illegal firearms throughout Canada from south of the border,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu.

“The consultations will help Alberta’s government develop a responsible firearms-firearms-use policy that deters criminals without attacking law-abiding gun owners and in turn free up the courts for serious matters.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said his government believes banning the 1,500 types of firearms will directly lead to safer communities, both in rural and urban areas, across Canada.

"There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” said Trudeau “These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.”

He said while he believes most Canadian gun-owners are law-abiding, he also maintains they do not need the 1,500 types of guns.

With both sides of the Canadian gun debate so deeply entrenched, is there any chance this new $15,000 survey regarding provincial firearms policy will lead to anyone changing their views?

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.