Albertans appear to support a national gun policy over provincial regulations. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Albertans appear to support a national gun policy over provincial regulations. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

UPDATE: Majority of Albertans support federal gun policy over provincial, says new poll

Canadians want same gun rules across the county

More Albertans support a national gun policy over provincial regulations, according to the results of a new Angus Reid Institute poll.

In Alberta, 54 per cent of respondents said national rules are the only way to have effective gun policy, while 34 per cent supported provincial rules.

Alberta and Saskatchewan had more people who prefer provincial regulations compared to the other provinces.

At 41 per cent, Saskatchewan had the highest percentage of respondents favouring provincial regulations, but 47 per cent still preferred a national gun policy.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said for over 30 years Western Canadians have consistently opposed the federal governments various schemes to make legally owning a firearm impossible.

“The results of an online survey do not reflect the views of Albertans and will not sway the government of Alberta from steadfastly opposing a back-door long gun registry,” Shandro said.

Joseph Dow, Ministry of Justice press secretary, said the survey released clearly shows that Albertans do not support efforts by the federal government to further burden and harass law abiding gun owners. Sixty-seven per cent of Albertans surveyed said that they believe current firearms laws are either sufficient as is or overly restrictive.

He said the survey also revealed that a strong majority of Albertans also oppose Ottawa’s plans to confiscate lawfully purchased firearms in exchange for financial compensation.

“This is the same view held by Alberta’s government, we believe that instead of launching attacks on hunters, farmers and sport shooters, Ottawa should be dedicating their time and resources to stopping the illegal flow of guns across the border and enhancing penalties for criminals who use firearms,” Dow said.

Survey results showed that across Canada, 66 per cent supported a national gun policy, while 23 per cent supported provincial.

British Columbia and Nova Scotia had the highest support for national policy at 71 per cent, followed by 70 per cent in Quebec, 68 per cent in both Ontario and Newfoundland, 67 per cent in New Brunswick, and 64 per cent in Manitoba.

Across the country, 44 per cent said gun laws are not strict enough, and 17 per cent said they are too strict.

Sixty per cent of Canadians said gun violence is rising in their own province.

The poll of 5,000 people, which included large samples in urban centres, is posted at www.angusreid.org.

Last week the federal government finalized firearm regulations that ensure someone buying a gun actually has a valid licence and require vendors to keep sales and inventory records.

The Conservatives accused the Liberals of reviving the national long-gun registry, but the government said there were key differences between the old and new system: sales records will be kept by businesses, not the firearms registrar; and police will need reasonable grounds, and often a court-approved warrant, to gain access to these business records.

Effective May 18, individuals and businesses transferring or selling a non-restricted firearm will need to confirm the recipient’s identity and check the validity of their firearms licence with the registrar beforehand, providing the recipient’s licence number and any other information requested.

The UCP echoed concerns that the Liberals were rebuilding a national registry.

“This kind of federal government overreach is precisely the reason Alberta established its own chief firearms office: to ensure a practical and balanced approach to firearms ownership that protects our communities from criminals while upholding the rights of law-abiding Albertans,” said Justice Minister Tyler Shandro in a statement last week.

Last year the UCP government appointed Teri Bryant as Alberta’s chief firearms officer to stand up for the rights of law-abiding firearms owners in response to the Fair Deal Panel report.

Bryant said the federal changes were introduced without consulting his office.

“Putting obstacles in the way of the transfer of firearms between law-abiding users is not the way to target crime. We may be witnessing the first steps in the rebuilding of a national long gun registry. It is no wonder that Albertans’ trust in our firearms regulatory systems is so low,” Bryant said in a statement.

— files from The Canadian Press



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