Prairie Post (West Edition)

Alberta’s Chief Firearms Office celebrates one year into mandate

- Contribute­d

Alberta’s Chief Firearms Office is marking its one-year anniversar­y of administer­ing firearms legislatio­n, promoting public safety and advocating for lawful firearms owners.

Led by chief firearms officer (CFO) Teri Bryant, the office has provided Albertans with essential services related to the administra­tion of the Firearms Act. It helps protect public safety by offering a wide range of services that includes reviews and background checks to ensure those using and buying firearms do not present a risk to the public.

“Our province is proud of all that has been accomplish­ed by CFO Bryant and her staff through their first year of operations. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and sudden, misguided federal policy changes, the team here in Alberta has done an incredible job of getting set up and providing a voice for our vibrant, law-abiding firearm community,” noted

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

Bryant has engaged with Albertans as much as possible, attending about 20 gun shows and events across the province and meeting with more than 40 stakeholde­r groups in Alberta’s firearm community and beyond. Bryant’s active engagement with law-abiding firearms owners like hunters, target shooters and collectors informs her advocacy on behalf of Albertans on important firearms and property rights issues.

Over the past year, Alberta’s Chief Firearms Office has provided crucial public safety supports to local police services and the province’s justice system.

Almost 600 people who did not meet public safety requiremen­ts had licences and applicatio­ns revoked or refused. The office assisted with nearly 600 police affidavit requests in support of prosecutin­g firearms crimes, and supported work around firearms traffickin­g and illegal manufactur­ing of firearms.

Chief Firearms Office staff also play a critical role in sustaining economic activity associated with lawful firearms ownership in Alberta, with staff inspecting shooting ranges, supporting establishe­d firearms businesses and assisting new firearms businesses. In its inaugural year, the office approved more than 100 firearms business licences.

The office continues to deal with a substantia­l caseload backlog, which was inherited when the office opened. Most recently new restrictio­ns introduced by the federal government caused demand to spike throughout the country. Alberta’s office took extraordin­ary steps to work through the backlog to meet these unpreceden­ted circumstan­ces and continues to press the federal centre to meet Albertans’ needs. Despite these efforts, the backlog is significan­t. This backlog situation is not unique to Alberta. Firearms offices across the country face similar issues as federal offices remain overwhelme­d by current demand.

“The past year has been an incredible opportunit­y to connect with and serve Alberta’s law-abiding firearms community. I would like to thank them for the support they have expressed throughout our transition and startup period. I am very proud of all that my dedicated staff and I have accomplish­ed. That said, negative federal decisions like the national handgun freeze continue to clash with Alberta’s firearms culture and make our jobs harder. I know this team, with this province behind them, will continue to protect public safety and deliver great results,” added Teri Bryant, chief firearms officer.

Heading into its second year, Alberta’s Chief Firearms Office will continue to roll out efforts to further strengthen public safety and ensure those in need of firearms services get the assistance they deserve. Albertans can learn about upcoming opportunit­ies to share feedback on the work of the office and help guide future priorities at www.alberta.

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