Calgary

Calgary gun shop owners take federal government to court over firearms ban

Two Calgary gun shop owners are taking the federal government to court over the prime minister's ban on "assault-style" firearms.

Interim injunction sought in Alberta until judge hears court case

A notice of motion filed in Calgary court this week by owners of The Shooting Edge and Sterling Arms seeks an interim injunction which would prevent the federal government's ban on 'assault-style' weapons from being enforced in Alberta until a judge hears their court challenge. (Rich Pedronelli/The Associated Press)

Two Calgary gun shop owners are taking the federal government to court over the prime minister's ban on "military-style assault rifles."

A notice of motion filed on Wednesday by owners of The Shooting Edge and Sterling Arms seeks an interim injunction that would prevent the ban from being enforced in Alberta until a judge hears their court challenge.

As of May 1, the government banned about 1,500 types of semi-automatic rifles, meaning Canadians cannot legally use, buy or import these weapons effective immediately.

The applicants take issue with the cabinet order used to change the regulation arguing it's "infringing on the jurisdiction of parliament."

"It's completely undemocratic," said Sterling Arms' lawyer Brendan Miller. "They made a decision in a back room."

Trudeau said there will be a two-year amnesty period to allow people who already own those types of firearms to comply with the ban.

As well, he committed to passing legislation in the coming months that would provide "fair compensation" to people who own the now-banned weapons.

The document alleges Justin Trudeau, without parliamentary oversight, reclassified the guns as prohibited, which "lies outside the legislative purpose" of the section of the Criminal Code that authorized him to pass the regulation.

The purpose of that section of the Criminal Code "is not intended to permit the Governor in Council, by decree and immune from parliamentary oversight, to fulfil election promises on gun control," reads the notice of motion.

The gun shop owners argue the process for reclassification of firearms in this country has been in place since the Firearms Act was passed 25 years ago. 

Had this been passed under the Firearms Act, it would have been tabled like any other bill, put before parliament and debated on the public record. 

"The applicants have relied on this long-standing process and documentation of making business decisions and significant investments," reads the document. 

The document also alleges the ban infringes on property rights under the Bill of Rights and Freedoms because it prohibits the use of "validly acquired property without due process of law."

A date for a hearing has not yet been set.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.

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