More and more, ALERT investigators are finding firearms when they investigate organized crime groups who are involved in drug trafficking. These firearms are used by criminals not only to protect themselves, but to intimidate their rivals. Of course, they also pose great risks for law enforcement officials; when executing search warrants, it’s difficult to know whether or not criminals are armed.
Recently, ALERT set up a Guns & Gangs unit based in Edmonton specifically to deal with firearms-related offences. The unit has concluded some successful investigations so far, including the arrest of a man manufacturing his own submachine gun replicas and the seizure of several assault rifles, suppressors and over-capacity magazines from two brothers and an associate in Edmonton.
+ PROHIBITED FIREARMS
Prohibited firearms include:
- Handguns with barrels 105mm or shorter;
- Handguns that discharge .25- or .32-calibre bullets (except for some specific ones used in international shooting competitions);
- Rifles and shotguns that have been altered by sawing off the barrel or other means so that the barrel length is less than 457mm or the overall length is less than 660mm;
- Fully automatic weapons;
- Converted automatic weapons – namely fully automatic weapons that have been altered to only fire one bullet when the trigger is pulled; and
- Other firearms prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada. 
A person may legally possess a prohibited firearm if he/she had it registered in his/her name when it became prohibited on Dec. 1, 1998, and has continuously held a valid registration certificate for it ever since. 
+ RESTRICTED FIREARMS
Restricted firearms include:
- Handguns that are not considered prohibited;
- Semi-automatic, centre-fire rifles and shotguns with barrels shorter than 470mm;
- Rifles and shotguns that can be fired when their overall length has been reduced by folding, telescoping or other means to lees than 660mm; and
- Other firearms restricted under the Criminal Code of Canada. 
A person may legally possess a restricted firearm in Canada if: he/she holds a firearms license that is valid for restricted firearms (including completion of the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course); holds a registration certificate issued under the Firearms Act for all restricted firearms he/she owns; and has been issued an Authorization to Transport by the Chief Firearms Officer in his/her province or territory so that the firearm can be transported from one location to another. 
+ NON-RESTRICTED FIREARMS
+ STRAW PURCHASING
“Straw purchasing” refers to the practice of having someone qualified purchase firearms, only to turn around and sell them to criminals. Those firearms may then be used in the commission of criminal offences such as robberies, home invasions and murders. 
The first court case in Alberta involving straw purchasing, or domestic firearms trafficking, concluded in May 2018, when an Edmonton man was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to purchasing 39 restricted firearms for the purposes of trafficking. Similar cases have also made their way through the court systems in Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba.