According to the province, the government is moving to assert provincial autonomy by expanding the Alberta Chief Firearms Office (ACFO). With a funding increase of $700,000 for the current year, growing to more than $7 million next year and $5.2 million the year after, the ACFO will be able to hire 40 new positions.

"With these new resources in place, the ACFO will be able to process licence applications, transfers, authorizations to carry and other administrative tasks faster and right here in Alberta," stated a press release from the province. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney added that the increase in funding will cut down on application wait times.

While Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Tyler Shandro compared Alberta's provincial program to others in the country.

"The firearms program administered by the RCMP in Miramichi, N.B., is both poorly managed and subject to the political whims of Ottawa. Our province has the third-largest and fastest-growing rate of firearms ownership in the country. By greatly expanding the Chief Firearms Office, Alberta’s government will be able to provide faster and more efficient service and will be better positioned to protect firearms owners’ property rights."

According to Alberta's provincial government, the recent federal legislation that has effectively banned handguns had led to an unprecedented increase in sales and transfers of more than 178,000 handguns since spring. Typically, applications are processed out of Miramichi, N.B., by the Canadian Firearms Program, administered by the RCMP, and wait times have ballooned to up to six months.

Last week marked one year since the creation of the Alberta Chief Firearms Office and it is led by chief firearms officer (CFO) Teri Bryant. The province cited that Bryant has engaged with Albertans, 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. 

“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," Bryant said. "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.”

Since its creation, the province stated that the ACFO has assisted with nearly 600 police affidavit requests in support of prosecuting firearms crimes, and supported work around firearms trafficking and the 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."

Minister Shandro said that the 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.”

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