Tag Archives: iansa

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation


I stumbled upon this article today and thought it worthy of being re-broadcast.  Enjoy!

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation
by A.W.R. Hawkins
Posted 06/03/2010 ET

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37303

Lucid students of the political sphere have certainly noticed that liberals are now using the phrase “human rights” even more than they once used their old standby, “civil liberties.” Of course they rarely define human rights, and even when they try, the definition varies depending on the goal of the person that’s using the phrase.

But this doesn’t stop them from having international conferences on human rights, dumping money into organizations like Human Rights Watch, and allowing surviving members of the Woodstock crowd to charge America’s military with violating human rights while simultaneously giving Iran a seat on the U.N.’s Women’s Rights Commission.

Perhaps the two clearest threads in all the human rights jargon are the focus on international law coupled with a potent strain of anti-Americanism. This is a combination that can be deadly when accurately aimed at national sovereignty or individual rights.

The most telling aspect of the left’s obsession with human rights is not so much what its proponents claim to defend but what they would be happy to sacrifice. And one thing all human rights activists are perpetually ready to jettison is the right Americans enjoy in keeping and bearing arms.

Ironically, this right, summarily stated in the 2nd Amendment, should be the lynchpin of any honest pursuit of human rights. Thomas Jefferson made this clear when he equated a government-backed prohibition against defending one’s self with a government-backed denial of “the most basic of nature’s rights.”

When one reads Jefferson’s statement in light of his many writings on nature’s laws and the benefits of private gun ownership, it’s clear he was implying that the denial of the right to self-defense with a firearm is essentially a denial of one of the core aspects of what it means to be human.

In other words, gun control actually steals part of our humanity.

How much worse of a human rights violation can exist than one that actually separates the “human” from the “rights”?

None of this is hard to understand if we just imagine a woman who lives alone, and is being stalked by a dangerous man. She goes to a gun store to buy a handgun with which to protect herself, but because she lives in Chicago, Mayor Daley will not allow her to purchase a gun. Thus she goes home, and hopes the lock on her door will hold.

When he’s ready, the stalker becomes an intruder who breaks the door open, assaults the woman, and then leaves with a smile on his face. After reflecting on the matter he realizes the woman has no means with which to defend herself, so he goes back for more, and in time, as his callousness increases, he goes back more frequently. He knows the woman is helpless to stop him because she has been denied that “most basic of nature’s rights.”

In this scenario, how long would it be before the woman felt less and less like a woman and more and more like a dog? How long would it be before she had a thorough understanding of what Jefferson meant when he coupled gun control with the denial of a core aspect of what it means to human?

America remains a shining city on a hill in this dark world, partly because we still have the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of our lives and property. In light of Jefferson’s writings, I don’t think I go too far in saying that this one freedom goes a long way in keeping our humanity intact.

If you ever doubt the degree to which private gun ownership and the freedom to use those guns for self-defense upholds our humanness, just head on down to El Paso, Tex., where the murder rate is around 23 victims annually. Then lock up your gun in the United States and cross the border into Juarez, Mexico, where the natural right to keep and bear arms has long been suppressed and where the murder rate, at 2,500 to 3,000 annually, is startling.

Once you get to Juarez, it won’t be long till you feel like the woman who sat in her apartment staring at the door, hoping the lock would hold up under pressure because it was the only line of defense she had against her assailant.

Gun control could just be the ultimate human rights violation.

And if we ever give up our guns in this great nation, we will ultimately give up our humanity.

HUMAN EVENTS columnist A.W.R. Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal during the summer of 2010.

Women and Gun Control – Part 2


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.

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

  • being a young person
  • living in a common law relationship
  • having a partner who periodically drinks heavily
  • emotional abuse in the relationship, and
  • marital separation

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

  • male to female employment ratios (more women had jobs)
  • higher education levels for both men and women
  • marrying later in life
  • starting a family later in life and having fewer children
  • social programs which make it easier for victims to leave their abusers

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*
Canada 33,739,900 569 1.7 188
Nfld & Labrador 508,900 15 2.9 123
PEI 141,000 5 3.5 128
Nova Scotia 938,200 16 1.7 145
New Brunswick 749,500 22 2.9 84
Quebec 7,828,900 126 1.6 241
Ontario 13,069,200 160 1.2 141
Manitoba 1,222,000 29 2.4 215
Saskatchewan 1,030,100 24 2.3 329
Alberta 3,687,700 50 1.4 249
BC 4,455,200 110 2.5 124**
Yukon 33,700 5 14.8 421
NWT 43,400 7 9.3 1,605
Nunavut 32,200 2,472

* 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:

  • men are twice as likely as women to be assaulted with a weapon
  • men are three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide
  • all forms of violence against women have been falling since the 1960s
  • all forms of violence against men have remained stable or have been increasing
  • spousal violence and homicide has been falling since the 1970s
  • women are four times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner
  • homicide by long gun (rifle/shotgun) has been falling steadily since the 1970s
  • homicide by handgun has increased by 24% since 2002

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. 

Sources

WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 1
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3

Women and Gun Control – Part 1


The Gun Control Lobby is working hard to convince the public and our MPs that gun control is a gendered issue, in particular, a women’s issue.  They’re right, but not in the way they would have us believe.

Their angle is that abusive men use firearms to intimidate, threaten and harm women.  While this is true in some cases, it still doesn’t make sense to focus on the gun rather than on the person who is wielding it.  Take away the gun and the abuser will use a knife.  Take away the knife and the abuser will use their fists.  The key is to stop the abuse, not to regulate objects that an abuser may or may not use.

This is where the long gun registry becomes a women’s issue.  By taking away money from programs that could actually help victims of abuse, gun control activists are ensuring that the abuse will continue.

Estimates vary regarding how much money will be saved by scrapping the long gun registry – most are in the neighbourhood of $3-11 million per year.  However, those estimates don’t take into consideration the hidden costs of the registry.  Things like law enforcement, court fees, and endless mountains of paperwork to name but a few.

Looking at law enforcement alone, let’s do a quick run through the numbers.  Taking the RCMP numbers at face value, the registry is accessed 3.4 million times per year.  Assuming each “hit” takes five minutes that works out to 283,333 police hours per year.  At an average work year of 2000 hours per officer that means that 141 police officers do nothing but registry checks each year. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, how about we take it a step further?  Let’s take an average salary of $70,000 per year, plus an additional $30,000 in benefits, giving us an approximate value of $100,000 per officer per year (not taking operating expenses into account).  That’s a total of $14.1 million per year spent, or 141 officers off the streets, without solving or preventing a single crime.

Even with my very low estimates, if you add those numbers up we could save $17-25 million in tax dollars per year!!!!!

Now, let’s go back to the issue of abuse:  there are approximately 10,700 beds in 569 women’s shelters, nationwide.  Those beds accommodate well over 100,000 abused women and children each year.  The money saved from scrapping the registry could fund an additional 550-830 new shelter beds across the country. [Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2009]

The money doesn’t have to go towards shelters though.  Imagine what $17-25 million could do in public awareness or education campaigns to teach young women how to avoid abusive relationships, or what their options are if they are in one.  Imagine what $17-25 million could do for mental health programs that help treat and prevent abusive behaviour.

Over the last fifteen years, hundred of millions of dollars have been funneled into the firearms registry.  According to the Auditor General’s Reports in 2002 and 2006, large sums of that money are still unaccounted for.  What have our tax dollars purchased?  The registry didn’t stop the Dawson College shooting.  It did nothing to save Jane Creba.  Nor did it prevent the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.  There has been no impact on the spousal homicide rates either.  Those have been falling steadily since the 1970s – long before the registry was ever considered.

Organizations like the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC) thrive on women as victims.  In fact, they need victims to support their cause.  They manipulate victimized women and their grieving families, convincing them that they or their loved ones would have been safe if not for the presence of those “evil” guns.  They know there are no facts to support their claims, so they parade these unfortunate people in front of the media in a blatant attempt to influence public opinion with emotion instead.

With the help of many of the organizations that make up the Gun Control Lobby, we have been trained to expect women to be abused.  We have been urged to believe that there is no way to foresee this abuse, prevent it or stop it, even though there are several identifiable risk factors.  The Gun Control Lobby ignores sources like the Department of Justice or Statistics Canada, who point out that substance abuse, particularly alcohol, makes a person six times more likely to abuse their partner.  They neglect to mention that common law couples are four times more likely to experience abuse than legally married couples.  Instead, they loudly insist that the mere presence of a gun in the home leads to intimidation and abuse.  Where are the facts backing up those claims?

For the last fifteen years, despite a complete lack of any data to support their statements, the CGC and their Gun Control Lobby cohorts have been trying to convince us that guns are the problem.  Their inability to look past the object to the person who is wielding it, has caused immeasurable harm to the women they are supposedly trying to help.   Fifteen years and billions of dollars could have made a huge difference in the lives of abused women across this country.  If that money had gone towards even one of the issues mentioned above, countless women and children could have been helped.  It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad, and direct our resources to where they are really needed.

WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 2
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3

Folly of Feminism


The Toronto Star recently ran an article discussing a report released by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (CFAIA) and the Canadian Labour Congress.

I could critique the usual fear-mongering and misuse of statistics in their report, or postulate on why a labour union was involved in its creation. However, I think a more useful approach is to focus on feminism as a whole.

In their earliest forms, feminism and women’s liberation were noble movements.  They sought to give women equality, legal autonomy, self-determination, and freedom of choice in a broad range of topics from reproduction to employment.  However, in more recent years, the agenda of feminist activists seems to have less to do with giving disadvantaged women a hand up and more to do with giving them a handout.

Activists wail and beat their drums, blaming everything from men to weapons to government for the plight of subjugated women everywhere.  They ignore the fact that portraying women as helpless victims of society undermines the entire concept of feminism.  They also ignore the fact that men and women are different.  While striving for total equality is noble, it’s also a pipe dream.  Men and women are not equal and they never will be.  There are very definite physical, emotional and mental differences between the sexes.  Some roles in our society are better suited to women, others to men, and no amount of government initiatives will ever alter that fact.

Should women have the opportunity to tackle any societal role that they choose?  Absolutely. However, so should men.  While there are still traditionally male-dominated areas where it’s difficult, if not impossible, for a woman to break through, the same holds true for men. 

This brings up another concept that modern feminist activists refuse to acknowledge: that men suffer too.  In their world, violence or discrimination against a woman is a human rights abuse, but violence or discrimination against a man is not just normal, it’s acceptable.  The divisive tactics used by feminist activists show that they have another agenda that has nothing to do with bettering the lives of women.  If they were truly interested in bettering our society, they would be looking at ways to improve the quality of life for everyone, not just women.

Taking a slightly different tack, in the Star article I mentioned above, wage parity (or lack thereof) in Canadian society is brought up.  I’m not going to touch on the fact that the professor quoted in the article is focussing only on wages as an indicator of quality of life.  Instead I’m going to point out how feminist activists, as usual, fail to take into consideration 3 very key issues that cause such a discrepancy in earnings: choice, childbearing and communication.

Many women simply choose not to go into higher paying (and traditionally male-dominated) fields.  The reasons are many and varied: it may be a career that is better suited to men, women just aren’t interested, or if they are in the field they’re unwilling to do what’s necessary to earn their place.  You see, equal opportunity isn’t something that can come from government handouts or special committees.  Like men, women need to push through obstacles on their own and prove that they are capable of doing the job.

I’ve worked in a male-centric field my entire adult-life and I’ve encountered many seemingly “backward” or “sexist” attitudes along the way.  I know my male readers are going to love this, but men really are like children 😀  They will regularly push the boundaries to see what they can get away with.  Women planning to work in a mostly male environment need to learn how to thrive in that environment.  There are many tricks and tools that are far more effective than crying “harassment” and seeking disciplinary action.  Gaining acceptance isn’t about running to management to complain that your male co-workers aren’t playing nice and trying to demand their respect simply because of your gender.  It’s about earning their respect based on merit. 

Connected to Choice is the second item I mentioned: Childbearing.  In 60% of two-earner families, one partner works full-time while the other either doesn’t work, or works part-time.  In 91% of those families, the man is the primary breadwinner. [Source: Statistics Canada, Family Work Patterns]  It’s pretty simple.  Women who have children work less, which means they have less work experience than their male co-workers, which means they will earn less. 

I can already hear people complaining that women are being “punished” for having children.  Quite the contrary, it’s actually very equal.  Like their male co-workers, they’re being paid based on their recent relevant work experience, rather than being given a handout simply for being female. 

My last point is communication.  Many a book has been written outlining the differences in communication styles between men and women.  In general, men tend to be more direct and ask for what they want.  Women tend to use a more subtle approach. 

Over the years I’ve seen the following scenario happen time and again, not so much in unionized employment, but definitely in the private sector:  Joe and Jane start working in the same job at the same company at the same time earning the same wage.  Five years later, they’re both in the same job, but Joe is now earning more than Jane.  Another 5 years down the road, Jane is still in the same job, earning only slightly more than when she started, while Joe has been promoted and received a raise…twice!

The modern feminist would have us believe that this is a perfect example of inequality in the workplace.  On the contrary, it’s a perfect example of a skill that women need to be taught in order to be successful in the workplace.  Why is Joe doing so much better in the company than Jane?  Because he asked.  Women will toil away at a job for years, expecting their boss to notice their hard work and offer them a raise or promotion.  Men will simply go to their boss and ask for it.

Much progress has been made in the quest for women’s rights over the last 200 years.  Laws have been made and repealed; cultural norms have been challenged and changed.  Government legislation has gone about as far as it can go.  It’s now up to women to pick up the flag and run with it themselves.

Instead of undermining their own efforts by portraying women as victims, feminists need to start taking a more positive and proactive approach.  Rather than wasting their time and energy lobbying for sympathy and handouts, they should be teaching women the skills they need to succeed.

What is it really about?


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. 

  • Where is this irrational fear and hatred of a simple object coming from?
  • Why does the anti-gun crowd cling so desperately to the same clichéd opinions when there is no evidence to support them?
  • Why do they think that because they are offended by something, that someone else should be forced to change?
  • Why don’t they see anything wrong with the government taking away people’s basic human rights in the name of “public safety”?
  • What gives them the right to project their fears and insecurities onto 7 million law-abiding citizens?

 And most importantly, and most disturbing for me 

  • Is all of this vitriol really about guns?

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.

Bill C-391 Must Pass


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.

RCMP Gives Confidential Information to a Private Company


This week the Canadian Shooting Sports Association released an alert regarding a poll that is being conducted by Ekos Research Associates.  This poll is supposedly a “client satisfaction survey” regarding the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC).  The CFC is the call centre that administers the controversial firearms registry.  It is part of the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) which is run by the RCMP.  According to information available so far, this survey was commissioned by the RCMP. In order to conduct this poll, Ekos was granted access to confidential information without permission from the people involved or any type of oversight.

There’s so much wrong with this situation that I’m really not sure where to start.  I guess the RCMP’s own words regarding privacy and sharing of information is as good a place as any:

Does the CAFC share personal information collected for the Firearms Program with other agencies or the private sector?

Relevant Firearms Program information is disclosed only to federal and provincial public safety business partners that have legal authority to collect this information consistent with their public safety responsibilities. Program business partners include local and provincial police, the Canada Border Services Agency and International Trade Canada. The Privacy Act requires that those agencies must have a use consistent with the purpose for which the information was collected. In turn, those non-federal agencies to which firearms information is disclosed are bound by similar requirements under their jurisdictional privacy laws.

Furthermore, firearms information is not shared with any private sector agencies. Some private companies, however, can have access to personal information while under a contracted arrangement for software administration or records management procedures. Under the terms of those contracts, these companies cannot use or disclose information. Also, employees of private companies are thoroughly screened for security clearance to ensure that personal information is protected at the same level as federal requirements.

If someone can explain to me how a “client satisfaction survey” falls under either software administration or records management procedures I would really love to hear from you.  It would appear that not only has the RCMP blatantly violated the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), they have also acted in contravention of their own policy!

To add insult to injury, only 4 of the questions being asked have anything to do with “client satisfaction” (see the end of this entry for the full list of questions).  The remaining questions request information that is: already documented in the registry database, irrelevant and inappropriate, and/or nothing more than a thinly disguised fishing expedition.

Apart from the obvious and appalling privacy issues, one of my immediate concerns is public safety.  What security clearance do the pollsters have?  What type of confidentiality agreements are in place?  Who is accountable if this confidential information ends up in the wrong hands?  You see, we’re not just talking about names, phone numbers and addresses (which is bad enough in its own right!).  We’re talking about names and addresses in conjunction with a list of firearms stored at that address. 

The security of the registry database has been a bone of contention with firearms owners since its inception.  In the wrong hands, the information held in that database amounts to a detailed inventory and shopping list.  Criminal access to the registry database puts the safety of both firearms owners and the general public at serious, and unnecessary, risk.  The registry has, in fact, been hacked more than 300 times in the last decade, with several dozen of those cases still unsolved.

Riddle me this: if the RCMP can’t even keep my confidential information secure in their own databases, why would they think that a private company would be able to?  Or, for that matter, even care to?

If the privacy and public safety concerns regarding this issue weren’t enough, there is a third factor at play here too: politics.  The two points that are catching my attention are:

  • Bill C-391, a controversial private members bill seeking to abolish the long gun registry, is slated for its second reading in two weeks.
  • The Gun Control lobby launched an aggressive worldwide campaign (spearheaded by IANSA) over the summer in which they attempted to link legal firearms ownership to domestic violence.

I just can’t help but wonder at the timing of it all.  Especially when this survey asks questions about things like marital status, children in the home, types and numbers of firearms owned, and plans for future firearms purchases.  Add in the fact that the Gun Control lobby in Canada is funded by tax-payer money (courtesy of the Liberals) and that Michael Ignatieff seems to be hell-bent on toppling the minority Conservative government as soon as possible.  It’s definitely enough to make a person pause.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that there’s no such thing as coincidence, particularly in politics.

While I can only speculate as to the political reasons for this survey, there is no room for debate on the issues of public safety and the RCMP’s violation of the Privacy Act.  The Conservative government has already launched an investigation into the matter, and the CSSA and National Firearms Association (NFA) are contemplating criminal charges against those responsible.  There is even talk of a class action lawsuit, although at this stage that is little more than rumour.

I know that some readers are thinking, “What’s the big deal?  It’s just some innocent questions.”  The issue is not the questions being asked.  The issue is how Ekos came into possession of the list of people to whom they posed those questions.  The bottom line is this:  the RCMP intentionally distributed confidential information to a private company without permission or oversight, and in contravention of The Privacy Act and their own policies.

Given the nature of the information at the centre of this firestorm, and the history of security violations pertaining to that information, it is not at all unreasonable to be concerned about the safety of gun owners and the public at large.  This breach may well result in an innocent gun owner being killed, or his/her guns being stolen to kill someone else.

Someone is purposely playing with life and death, and likely for political gain.  People in positions of authority need to be shown that, even though the majority of Canadians would rather watch Big Brother than stand up to Big Brother, there are still those of us who are willing and able to hold them accountable for their actions.

 

As promised, here’s the list of questions being asked in the poll:

  • How do you contact the CFC?
  • How many times in a year do you contact the CFC?
  • What do you call about?
  • How satisfied were you?
  • What classification is your firearms license? (Restricted/Non-Restricted/Prohibited)
  • Do you own any firearms?
  • What’s your reason for owning firearms?
  • Will you renew your license?
  • When will you renew your license?
  • How do you renew your license?
  • Have you ever had a gun verified?
  • How was it verified?
  • Do you plan on updating your address?
  • Do you plan on transferring firearms in the future?
  • Do you plan on destroying firearms?
  • Do you plan on changing your license status?
  • Do you plan on deactivating a firearm?
  • Do you transport firearms?
  • Do you plan on acquiring more firearms?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with you? (E-Mail, Advertisement, Mail)
  • When looking for information about firearms how likely are you to contact (Between 1-7)
    • CFC, Friend and Club?
  • Are you married, single or common law?
  • Do you have children in the home?
    • How many under 18?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What is your annual income?