LAC STE. ANNE — A residence in Lac Ste. Anne County was one of the locations where ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams) executed search warrants as part of an operation that led to the seizure of nearly 100 3D-printed firearms.
According to two separate news releases issued June 22 and July 4, Project Reproduction was a Canada-wide operation related to illicit firearms trafficking and manufacturing led by a team out of Quebec known as EILTA (Équipe intégrée de lutte au trafic d’armes).
Based on criminal intelligence provided by EILTA, ALERT conducted a number of search warrants on June 21 at homes in Grande Prairie, Penhold, Innisfail, Brooks, Lloydminister and Onoway, which lies in Lac Ste. Anne County.
As a result of those search warrants, a number of items were seized, including: eight 3D printers; 11 completed 3D-printed firearms; 45 incomplete 3D-printed firearms, including frames and receivers; 21 3D-printed firearms suppressors; eight handguns; 72 long-barrel firearms; and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Project Reproduction also saw search warrants executed in seven other provinces. Nationally, a total of 440 firearms have been seized, including 71 3D printed-firearms and 62 handguns.
Several Alberta suspects have been identified, but no one has been formally charged as of yet, the July 4 release states.
ALERT’s investigation remains ongoing as officers are preparing reports and disclosure for Crown counsel. As well, firearms ballistics testing is being completed by the Edmonton-based firearms examination unit.
The subject of gun control and “ghost guns” made by 3D printers arose at the County of Barrhead council meeting on July 4, where Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen made a presentation.
The Liberal government’s proposed gun control legislation, Bill C-21, would enact new offences targeting ghost guns and classify these weapons and other illegally-made firearms as prohibited.
It also introduces additional controls for the purchase and import of certain firearm parts commonly used to make ghost guns.
When asked by Coun. Walter Preugschas, whether the government could control the production of guns made by 3D printers, Viersen replied, “The Liberals would like you to believe this is a massive problem. It really isn’t.”
Viersen pointed out that banning handguns from licensed firearm owners would not stop people from making their own weapons.
“General law and order would be helpful. (So would) bringing down the crime rates in our major cities, but again it is such a small bit,” he said.
“They want to distract with this ghost gun thing. They brought in this as a handgun and hunting rifle ban, and once that all blew up in their face and Canadians were not excited about it, then all of a sudden, they start talking about these ghost guns.
“Yes, it is a real thing, but it is not the reason people are dying and getting shot in our cities.”
-with files from Barry Kerton