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City of Cold Lake stirs opposition to firearms ban

Fort Macleod council had concerns over federal firearms bans in its sights last week but did not pull the trigger on a protest.

A letter from the mayor of Cold Lake protesting amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada was on council’s consent agenda at its Aug. 24 meeting.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland wrote urging council to voice concerns about the Liberal government’s move to outlaw more than 100,000 semi-automatic rifles and other weapons in Canada.

The Order in Council lists about 1,500 sport rifles and other weapons.

“The City of Cold Lake supports initiatives to end violence,” Copeland wrote. “However, (the city) feels very strongly that the government of Canada is wasting valuable resources and taking the wrong approach to gun control that will have zero effect on gun crime.”

The City of Cold Lake urged all municipalities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to oppose the amendments.

The Liberal government is proposing to buy certain weapons in order to get them out of circulation — at a cost of $400-million to $600-million.

Copeland wrote that given the federal government’s history of overspending, the cost is likely to top $1-billion.

Copeland in the letter urges the federal government to consult the public and local governments to find more effective solutions to the issue of gun violence.

Solutions proposed by the City of Cold Lake include:

  • Targetting crime.
  • Focusing on enforcement by increasing the capacity of law enforcement and border services.
  • Adopting harsher punishment for firearms trafficking and crimes involving firearms.

“The current ban targets law-abiding owners, rather than the holders of illicit firearms, and would not greatly impact crime reduction,” Copeland wrote.

  • Improve collection and sharing of data on crime involving firearms between law enforcement agencies.
  • Work with gun owners and organizations, and the industry, to improve training and education.

“The city feels that the federal government’s gun ban will be an expensive exercise that will only serve to take law-abiding people’s property while doing nothing to reduce crime,” Copeland wrote.

Fort Macleod Coun. Werner Dressler said the ban impacts not only gun owners, but also businesses that sell firearms, ammunition and other related items.

Firearms that have been passed down through generations of families are now prohibited, Dressler added.

“I would like to see the Town of Fort Macleod follow suit in sending a letter to the minister of public safety,” Dressler said.

Councillors David Orr, Jim Monteith and Kristi Edwards asked for more background on the issue before they would consider approving a letter.

“I would agree with Werner but I think what you guys are saying is really good,” Coun. Gord Wolstenholme added. “You should know.”

Dressler will make a presentation at council’s Sept. 28 meeting.