Gun challenge rejected
GNWT to study Supreme Court ruling

Terry Kruger
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jun 19/00) - The territorial government says it will abide by a ruling upholding the national Firearms Act.

In a unanimous ruling June 15, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the case put forward by the province of Alberta, and supported by the GNWT and several other intervenors, that the law requiring licencing and registration of guns was unconstitutional.

The case had already been rejected by the Alberta Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court ruled that the law does fall within federal jurisdiction.

"While the law has regulatory aspects, they are secondary to its primary criminal law purpose," the court ruled.

In a statement issued shortly after the ruling, NWT Justice Minister Jim Antoine said the government would study the ruling and then decide what, if anything, can be done next.

"We participated in the case because we understood the concerns of many Northern people about the way the federal legislation would affect their lives," said Antoine.

The gun law is not out of the courts yet, however, as the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has filed a challenge in Federal Court. The Dene Nation is also considering taking legal action.