The new federal rules also require businesses to keep records of any non-restricted firearms sales for 20 years – a requirement that had been previously eliminated.

Taken together, these measures amount to an attempt by the federal government to rebuild a national registry for non-restricted firearms, even though the long-gun registry was abolished in 2012.

“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.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“These new requirements have been introduced without consulting the firearms community or our office. Many law-abiding firearms users, particularly hunters, farmers and ranchers in rural areas, will find it difficult to comply with this red tape. These law-abiding Albertans are not the problem: gun smugglers, straw purchasers and traffickers are. 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.”

Teri Bryant, chief firearms officer

Effective May 18, the federal government is imposing new stipulations on the sale of legal firearms that require businesses and individual sellers to take the extra step of having the transfer approved and recorded by the registrar of firearms before completing the transaction.

However, existing rules governing the sale of non-restricted firearms already require a seller to verify that a buyer is legally authorized to own a gun by checking that the recipient holds a Possession and Acquisition (PAL) licence.

Requiring sellers to verify firearms transfers with the registrar after they’ve done it themselves, imposes unnecessary red tape and wait times to a process that already has sufficient safeguards.

The federal government is also moving ahead with plans to implement a mandatory buy-back program for more than 1,500 models of firearms and other related firearm components it banned in 2020.

Alberta’s government has previously called on the federal government to cancel the 2020 firearms prohibitions and instead focus on efforts to improve the identification, tracking and prosecution of firearms traffickers, straw purchasers and others who use firearms to commit a crime.