Over 20 years ago, I opened The Shooting Edge – a small business that serves the shooting community in Alberta. To someone not familiar with our industry, I think it’s important to explain how expansive the firearm community is and how great an impact the federal government’s attack on legal gun owners will have on many Albertans.
I also wholeheartedly believe the Alberta government needs to step in on behalf of legal, responsible and legitimate gun owners to create policies to ensure all Albertans can continue to use and own firearms in a responsible manner.
We describe our community as being made up of hunters, farmers and sport shooters, but it’s important to know just how many Albertans own or use firearms regularly.
There are over 300,000 firearms owners in Alberta. These are people my business serves every day. These are people who hunt to put meat in their freezers to feed their families. These are farmers who protect themselves and their livestock from predators. And these are men and women who compete in shooting sports around the world.
My customers are not criminals, but the federal government treats them as if they are.
Not only do we sell our customers firearms, but we also teach them firearm safety and we train them how to safely use all styles of guns.
In 20 years, we have put more than 30,000 people through our firearms safety course and had over 150,000 new shooters introduced to the sport of shooting in our facility, and we are just one of 650 firearms businesses in the province supporting this industry.
My staff and my customers and I steadfastly respect firearms and understand the massive responsibility that comes with firearms ownership. We are educated in their safe use and we diligently follow gun laws.
Legal firearms owners are not criminals, and our firearms are not the same firearms being used in gun crimes.
The federal government is vilifying legal firearms owners in the eyes of Canadians who do not use or own firearms by spreading misinformation, using fear tactics and blatantly lying about the dangers of legally acquired guns. This is distracting Canadians from the real issues of illegal gun smuggling and a host of other issues which genuinely put public safety at risk.
I am happy to see the Alberta government stepping in and standing up for our community. I applaud Alberta’s Minister of Justice, Tyler Shandro for vocalising his opposition to the federal government’s overreach and I believe an Alberta Firearms Act is a sorely needed piece of legislation.
By setting out a legislative mandate for the Chief Firearms Officer and ensuring that firearms laws remain consistent across the province, I believe Alberta can continue to be a province filled with safe, legal and responsible firearms owners.