Edmonton sharpshooter says Ottawa missing the mark by banning 1,500 guns

Matthew Oliver is Metis and a former competition shooter.

He feels Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ban on certain firearms unfairly targets both of those groups.

“The problem with the Olympic exemption is, it’s a bit like saying that running shoes are going to be banned but we’re going to allow Olympic track and field athletes to purchase them,” Oliver explained.

“How is it that nine and 12-year-old track athletes are ever going to become Olympic athletes if they don’t have access to running shoes?”

The Alberta government is also not happy with proposed Liberal firearms restrictions.

People who possess one of the 1,500 kinds of banned firearms have until the end of October 2023 to turn them in under an amnesty, but the province’s justice minister doesn’t want charges for people who don’t.

“Alberta is taking this jurisdiction back,” Tyler Shandro told reporters Thursday.

“Alberta’s Crown prosecutors will now determine whether or not to pursue charges under the Firearms Act, not federal government lawyers.”

That directive has confused federal officials.

“I’m not quite understanding what Alberta is proposing to do. So, I’m going to wait and see what kind of further information they might provide,” federal Justice Minister David Lametti said.

“Criminal Code firearms offences are already prosecuted by provincial prosecutors for the most part across Canada.”

Alberta has the third highest number of people with firearms licenses, after Ontario and Quebec.

The fall sitting of the federal Liberal government ended Wednesday with the government’s contentious gun-control legislation still yet to pass.

The bill has received widespread criticism over a recent amendment added by a Liberal member of Parliament that seeks to enshrine the definition of an assault-style weapon into the legislation.

The proposed list of firearms that would fall under that label include popular hunting rifles. The amendment has angered hunters, sport shooters and Indigenous groups, including the Assembly of First Nations.

“The act is going to ban all semi-automatic centrefire rifles, which is a very, very common rifle used in hunting. In particular, it’s going to have a big impact on Indigenous hunters because rifles like the SKS have been bought by a lot of hunters – something like a half million in Canada,” Oliver said.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Trudeau have said it’s not their intention to outlaw hunting firearms and are open to tweaking the bill.

With files from The Canadian Press

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