In the final days before the vote on C-391 to kill the long-gun registry, here’s a little something for gun control advocates to ponder.
In the final days before the vote on C-391 to kill the long-gun registry, here’s a little something for gun control advocates to ponder.
The September 22 vote is fast approaching and the debate over the long-gun registry is heating up again. Think that all police officers support the registry? Think again. Here’s the latest press release from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association:
Officer’s survey finds 92% of police want gun registry scrapped
Veteran police officer says database is dangerous for cops to use
Vaughan ON – August 19, 2010 – A national survey conducted by an Edmonton police officer reveals that 92 percent of police officers in Canada want Members of Parliament to vote in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry in September.
Constable Randy Kuntz, a 22-year veteran with Edmonton Police Services (EPS), says the survey he conducted last year should be embraced by M.P.s when they vote on Bill C-391 that advocates dispatching the registry. Kuntz, an Exemplary Service Medal recipient, hopes to expose the grave mistake that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is making by supporting the registry.
“The CACP is not some mindless group of misguided men and women who strive to oppress,” says Kuntz. “There are many things they do very well as a unit. They simply have this one matter very wrong. The idea that the firearms registry is necessary and useful is wrong. They claim that they speak for all police officers on this matter. I think I have shown that they don’t.”
Kuntz used a popular police magazine to query officers across Canada if they supported the registry as a useful working tool. While he is first to admit the survey is not scientific, he believes it closely reflects the current climate among his fellow officers.
He expected a couple of hundred replies, but of the 2,631 officers who responded from every province and territory, 2,410 said the registry is useless as a crime fighting tool and many believe it poses a danger to police.
“The firearms database shows registered firearms and their owners,” explains Kuntz. “No telling where those firearms are actually located, it just shows the law abiding citizen who owns legal firearms. There is nothing that says the firearms have to be in the possession of the person to whom they are registered. I can loan a firearm to anyone who possesses a valid license for that type of firearm.
“A person can have a valid possession/acquisition license, but not have any registered firearms in his name,” he adds. “So, no firearms are on the database associated to his address. But, he can borrow a firearm and have it in his possession. What good is the registry, then? In the above example, the police officer checks the person and sees he has no firearms registered to him – so does the policeman think there are no firearms? Probably. It’s a huge mistake on the police officer’s part, relying on a database for your safety. It’s ridiculous.”
Kuntz conducted the survey on his own because he was very concerned that officers could be killed if they relied on the registry data. He also believes the CACP is misrepresenting the facts by continually claiming that a massive majority of police officers support the registry. There is often a gulf between management and employee interests in any organization and police work is no different.
“The CACP tells the public that it is a necessary tool for law enforcement,” says Kuntz. “It is not It just gives the perception of that. It was pretty overwhelming that those who responded (to the survey) were against the registry. Most of the respondents were constables and sergeants/detectives – guys and gals with their boots on the pavement, so to speak. They’re the cops that the public meets and deals with on a daily basis. I respect Chief Rick Hanson of Calgary Police Services. He took a stand against the CACP’s position on the registry. It takes a lot of guts to face others of equal rank and say, ‘you are wrong.’”
While Kuntz suspects the CACP isn’t deliberately trying to deceive the public, he hopes his survey results will send the chiefs and M.P.s an important message. M.P.s are voting on September 22 on an opposition-led motion that is poised to kill Bill C-391 even before it gets to the 3rd reading stage. Many pundits predict that the vote could be very close.
“I believe that the CACP believes they are looking out for us,” he explains “That’s the scary part. The registry was touted as a public safety program. The problem is, the registry does nothing to improve anyone’s safety and it has cost the Canadian public two billion dollars, plus millions per year to maintain. If such a wasteful program was proposed in the private sector, it would have never got off the ground in the first place.”
During debates on Bill C-391, some police services members told the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that police were being warned by superiors against speaking publicly against the registry. Meanwhile, Kuntz’s fellow officers have cautioned him that his stance is likely to have a career-limiting effect. During his 22 years as a police officer, he has worked in the Intelligence Analysis Unit, Cold Case Homicide, Integrated Intelligence Unit with EPS and RCMP, Criminal Investigation Section, Driver Training, and he has been acting Detective/Sergeant.
“I have had an excellent career thus far in the rank of Constable,” he says. “I made it clear to our Human Resources recently that I would not be participating in any future promotion processes. Some things are more important than my personal ambitions. This is one of them. It is something that affects all Canadians as it is our money funding this wasteful program.”
He also provides some sage advice for new recruits: “If you rely on a computer database for your safety, you are an idiot. Learn to investigate using your observation and communication skills. We were pretty successful in doing that for 100 years prior to the registry.”
As public debate over the long gun registry heats up, the Gun Control Lobby is continuing to push their stance of gun control being a women’s issue. In particular, they are claiming that it is a rural women’s issue. I decided to take a look at this stance in a three part series.
In Part 1, I discussed how the current system of gun control in Canada is diverting money away from programs that could help women who are victims of abuse. In Part 3, I will be dealing with self defense.
In this part, I’m going to break down the numbers regarding violent crime, family violence and homicide in this country. Where does it happen, who are the victims, and what are the causes.
Contrary to what gun control and feminist advocates would have us believe, guns are not a risk factor for domestic violence. According to the Canadian Department of Justice, the major risk factors for spousal violence are
Statistics Canada also adds being Aboriginal to that list. 20% of the Aboriginal population has reported being victims of family violence compared with 7% of the non-Aboriginal population.
A journal article, National Trends in Intimate Partner Homicides: Explaining Declines in Canada 1976-2001 made some more interesting points. I would especially like to point out the date range of this study, 1976-2001, and remind my readers that the long gun registry did not come into force until 2001.
Over the time period studied, spousal homicide rates had declined by about 50%, falling from 8.5 (per million spouses) in 1976 to 4.2 in 2001. Spousal homicides using a firearm had declined by 81% over the same time period.
For those who like to make comparisons with the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1976-2000 our “gun loving” cousins to the south saw a decline in spousal homicides of 45%. Keep in mind that gun ownership in the US of A increases by about 4.5 million guns per year. Allow me to repeat that: over a 24 year period, as gun ownership increased spousal homicide decreased.
According to the National Trends article, the reasons for these declines in both countries were
I hope my anti-gun readers have noted how guns and gun control are not mentioned anywhere as either a cause or a solution to the issues of domestic violence.
Where does it happen?
There is definitely some truth to the claim that rural Canadians are more at risk of spousal violence than their urban neighbours.
|POPULATION||SHELTERS||SHELTERS PER 100,000||RATE OF SPOUSAL VIOLENCE*|
|Nfld & Labrador||508,900||15||2.9||123|
* Rate per 100,000 population
** Incomplete data for British Columbia
There is little data available on the reasons for the greater incidence of abuse in rural areas. One thing that is known is that there is less help available to victims of spousal violence in rural Canada. Even though the territories have a high per capita number of shelters, those shelters have very limited services available. Additionally, because of the vast distances involved in all rural areas, it is not always possible for victims of abuse to reach help when it is available. Other factors like education levels, financial dependence and divorce rates also play a role in this urban/rural divide.
While spousal violence may be a bigger issue in rural Canada, there is no clear divide when it comes to violent crime and homicide. Large and small communities are affected equally in this regard. There are many socio-economic factors that come into play.
Who are the victims?
Here’s where the numbers become interesting. There are about 330,000 victims of violent crime in Canada each year. If we believe our misandrist lobby groups, the number of female victims should far exceed the number of male victims. Right?
Wrong. In 2007, 50.04% of the victims of violent crime were female. Basic math tells me that 49.96% of the victims were male. Hardly a staggering difference. In cases of domestic violence, 7% of women and 6% of men have reported violence at the hands of their partner. Again, hardly a noticeable difference.
Specifically regarding family violence, the numbers are still not so different, with 63% of female victims and 61% of male victims suffering from common assault (Level 1). However, the results are not always so balanced. Men are twice as likely as women to be the victim of a serious assault (Level 2 or 3 – assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm).
Common assault has been declining steadily since the 1970s, however serious assault has been increasing for the last 25 years, falling for the first time in 2008. It’s no large stretch to see that violence against women is on the decrease, while violence against men is on the increase.
Let’s take a similar look at homicides in Canada. In 2008, the lowest rate (24%) of female victims since 1961 was recorded. Conversely, the rate of male homicide victims has been rising steadily for the last 10 years. In terms of spousal homicide, women are 4 times as likely as men to be killed by a current or former intimate partner (51 vs. 14 for 2007).
To summarize all those numbers and add a couple of new ones:
Putting it all together
Well, now that I’ve bamboozled you with statistics, what does it all mean?
It means that violence in our society is not a simple issue. Gun control advocates and feminist groups would have us believe that women are always the helpless victim at the hands of Neanderthal men.
What I have attempted to show you with all these facts is that, while women are more often the victim in specific circumstances, the same holds true for men. Guns are not a gendered issue any more than drunk driving is a mother’s issue. Violence in our society affects everyone and the divisive tactics employed by groups like IANSA and the Coalition for Gun Control do little to help anyone.
Guns are not the problem in our society, nor are they the solution. Until the real problems are addressed, weapons – including guns – will always have a place in our world.
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 1
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3
Over the last several months, three bills have been introduced addressing the gun registry (C-301, S-5, C-391). Each of these has been met with opposition so vehement, that I’ve been left scratching my head.
Time and again, the same tired arguments are trotted out by the Gun Control Lobby. Time and again, those arguments are proven to be inaccurate or just plain wrong. Yet they continue to repeat them ad nauseum at every available opportunity.
This leaves me with more questions than answers.
And most importantly, and most disturbing for me
You see I can’t help but wonder: why all this noise? Why this big global push for civilian disarmament? No doubt, many of the “boots on the ground” naively tow the party line (this blogger immediately comes to mind) and truly believe that an unarmed populace would be safer. But I find it impossible to fathom that the people running the show have such pure intentions.
Anyone with even the most limited knowledge of history is aware of the atrocities that humans have visited upon one other throughout time. Before the gun, it was the sword, and the spear, and sticks, and stones, and bare hands. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the cause of violence isn’t the tool being used, but rather the person who is wielding it.
So what’s really going on? Is all of this clamouring over guns really as superficial as the public has been led to believe? Or is it merely a distraction, an entertainment, to keep us occupied while something else is being orchestrated in the wings? Or scarier still, is this all part of a larger Orwellian scheme to disempower the people as governments and corporations insidiously worm their way further into our private lives?
I have no idea who coined this phrase, but it has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
Whoever said it, I can’t say that I disagree. Because when only the military and the police are armed, the people don’t stand a chance.
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):
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.