Regardless of personal opinions on gun control, everyone in Canada should be hoping and praying that Bill C-391 is passed. This Bill was put forward earlier this year by Candice Hoeppner (Portage – Lisgar) before Parliament recessed for the summer. The aim of this Bill is to dismantle the travesty known as the Long Gun Registry. The Bill is slated for Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow, on September 28.
What is the Long Gun Registry?
The Registry is a component of the convoluted Firearms Act. The Act is so verbose that most Law Enforcement Officers couldn’t even begin to explain it to you, but that’s an entirely different topic in its own right. By law, all legally purchased firearms in Canada must be registered to their owner. Information held in the registry includes (but is by no means limited to):
- Name, address and phone number of firearms license holders (regardless of whether or not they actually own any firearms)
- Marital status of firearms license holders
- Make, model and serial number of all firearms registered to a license holder
It has been the law in Canada to register all handguns since the 1930s. However, it was not necessary to register rifles and shotguns until 1998 when the Firearms Act was created. This new portion of the registry is what is being referred to when people say Long Gun Registry. When Bill C-391 is passed (I’m thinking positively!), Canadians will still be required to register handguns; but they will no longer be required to register their hunting rifles and shotguns.
I don’t own any guns. In fact, I don’t even LIKE guns. Why should I care about this Bill or the Registry?
I really struggled with how best to answer this question. There are so many different directions that I could take that I found myself overwhelmed and unsure where to start. What it all boils down to though, is that the Liberal politicians who pushed this legislation through and the powerful Gun Control lobby who pulled their strings, lied to us all. The registry does nothing to stop criminals from getting guns and it turns honest citizens into criminals.
The likes of Alan Rock and Wendy Cukier promised us that this registry would reduce gun crime and remove illegal guns from our streets. They promised us that the database would be efficient and secure and be of minimal cost to the taxpayer. And they promised us that the registry would never be used to confiscate firearms from private citizens.
Well, the registry is none of these things. As mentioned in my previous entry regarding the RCMP’s blatant disregard for the security of gun owner’s information, the database is far from secure. The risk to public safety is immeasurable and could have far-reaching consequences (see this gentleman’s blog for a breakdown of the potential security threat) After more than a decade, it is still incomplete (some estimate that as many as 70% of all firearms in Canada are still unregistered), and it is so full of errors that the information it contains is inadmissible in court. Additionally, despite what the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) would have the public believe, the overwhelming majority of front line Law Enforcement Officers do not trust the information contained in the registry and think that it should be dismantled.
In fact, the Attorney General conducted two audits of the Canadian Firearms Centre and the registry (in 2002 and 2006) and found the entire thing to be woefully mismanaged. Not only are there massive cost overruns – the registry was originally estimated to cost taxpayers only $119 million, but has since ballooned to roughly $2 billion – but they could not account for where most of that money was going. In addition, there are absolutely no systems in place to demonstrate how licensing and registration are performing. In other words, there are no performance standards in place to determine whether or not the program is even remotely effective in its stated aims.
To make matters worse, just this last week, in Toronto, the police have started going door to door confiscating firearms using the flawed information contained in the registry. They are targeting people who allowed their firearms license to lapse. These are paper crimes, determined by looking at the information in the registry. But as we’ve already determined, there’s no way of knowing if the information the police are using is even correct.
Most troubling of all though, is this quote from Wendy Cukier, founder of the Coalition for Gun Control and perhaps the most vocal proponent for gun control in Canada (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003070516_canguns19.html):
“Although it doesn’t directly address the problem of illegal handguns, the registry helps create a culture that believes guns are dangerous and owners must be held accountable.”
Even the Gun Control Lobby themselves admits that the registry does not address illegal firearms. According to the Gun Control Lobby, the purpose of the registry is to create a culture of fear, not to prevent crime. They want to hold gun owners accountable…for what? The actions of criminals? You see, that’s the thing about professional lobbyists, no matter how emotional their pleas, at the end of the day their only interest is the limelight and their own political careers. Unfortunately for us, fear is a very powerful currency in the game of politics, and it’s to their benefit to keep the public afraid.
Breaking it down to the simplest idea, the key flaw of this database is that it’s designed to keep track of the wrong people. Instead of wasting $2 billion and 10 years making a list of everyone who was fit to own a firearm, they should have been making a list of everyone who was unfit to own one. Wouldn’t that make more sense? It would definitely be a much shorter list.
I’m not asking anyone who dislikes guns to change their mind. I’m not trying to convince anyone that guns aren’t used during the commission of crimes. I am asking that people open their eyes and see that the registry is not the right path.
Take a moment and just imagine what a difference $2 billion and 10 years of effective crime prevention strategies could have accomplished in our cities.
Please contact your MP and tell them to support C-391. Tell them that this gross waste of taxpayer’s money and government resources needs to be dismantled. Tell them that the risk to public safety is unacceptable. Tell them that if they really want to tackle the issue of crime that maybe, just maybe, they should focus on the criminals.