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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toronto’s progressives save the long-gun register and the rest of us be damned

The long-gun registry was inspired by the murder of 14 students at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique by Marc Lapine using a legally obtained Mini-14 rifle. And it was born with the passage of Bill C-68 (the Firearms Act) in 1995. Among other things, Bill C-68 required all shotguns and rifles be registered.

Since its inception, the long-gun register has been mired in controversy, distortions and scandal. The gun registry is reasonable described as a boondoggle and one of the most embarrassing spending scandals in federal Liberal Party history.

In 1995, taxpayers were promised they’d have to pay only $2-million of the budget—gun registration fees would cover the rest. But in 2002 an federal government audit showed estimates from the Department of Justice were that more than $1-billion would be spent by 2005. These costs have now risen to almost $2-billion.

In 2006, Tony Bernardo, an anti-long-gun-registry spokesman wondered at the inappropriateness “for the Federal [Liberal] Government to hire a private lobbyist with taxpayers’ dollars to lobby itself?” This after it was divulged that a consultant was awarded a $380,000 five-month contract by the Justice Department in March 2003 to lobby the Solicitor General, Treasury Board and Privy Council for funds for the ailing firearms registry.

With this checkered background, one would think Canadians would be happy to see the end of the long-gun registry. Apparently not. Many police chiefs and the RCMP, for example, believe the registry keeps us safer, but offer little but their own say-so to support their public statements.

A frequently used statistic to support keeping long-guns in the registry is the 14,012 average daily queries the RCMP claim were made in 2010. This oft-quoted  statistic is grossly misleading as only 530 of those are specific to firearms registration (i.e., licence number, serial number and certificate number). The remaining 96.3 per cent (13,482) are automatically generated every time an address is checked or a license plate is verified. And even the specific registry queries can be misleading as they are not limited to use by police officers, but also include “hits” when legal sales of firearms are made: every time a firearm is legally purchased, three queries are generated on the registry (CFRO)—one for the buyer, one for the seller, and one for the firearm.

The sad fact is there’s no reliable information to suggest how many times per day police officers intentionally access the firearms registry, notwithstanding the fact proponents of the registry cite these RCMP statistics repeatedly in media reports and legal hearings.

But politics has won out as it always does in Ottawa.

Registration of long-guns in the overall Canadian Firearms Registry only applies to sporting rifles and shotguns, and all firearms classified as restricted or prohibited would remain registered. Moreover, a Possession and Acquisition Licence and the prerequisite training are mandatory when one seeks to purchase or possess any firearm. As well, hunter education programs are a requirement of all hunters in Canada. Even had the House passed the recent private members’ bill to scrap the long-gun portion of the registry, these restrictions and controls would still have applied.

Spin, half-truths and muddled reasoning have been hallmarks of this debate. Take these two examples:

  • One Liberal MP, who had always voted in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry, apparently voted to preserve it on Wednesday because his father had killed himself with a gun.

Just how the registry prevents suicides is beyond me.

  • According to Liberal chief Michael Ignatieff, emergency room doctors and nurses support the gun registry. So what! I’m a retired accountant, and I do not. What special insight could doctors and nurses possible have on this issue?

It’s been the law in Canada since 1934 to register handguns. Yet handgun crimes are rampant on the streets of Toronto, and handguns are now the firearm of choice for most murderers. If registration had the power to prevent crime and improve our safety, this simply would not be the case.

Why then did the Liberals whip their members to support maintaining long-gun registration? I don’t know, but suspect it has something to do with the fact the Liberal Party is a Toronto-centric, left of centre party. And many in Toronto see no value at all to gun ownership. Most Liberals in Toronto would back any law that would outright ban civilian possession of any and all guns, short and long, in Canada. They’d do it and the rest of us be damned.

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

6 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. The Liberals and the NDP have messed up on this one. It's true that for the majority of Canadian voters this is not a ballot topping issue, but in those ridings where it was important enough for some Grits and Dipper members to support the Tories, it remains a very visceral subject. This is the issue that the Conservatives will focus on in those ridings. In the rest of the country they will pound on the economy with very little said about the gun registry. It's enough to swing seats.

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  2. What is most interesting about Marc Lepine is that he did serve in the military. It has been shown that most shoot em up mass murderers in recent decades have had military ties or one sort or other. Normally this links to the 'intelligence' side of things rather then operational. Anyways what I am saying is that Marc Lepine was used to further the case for gun control in Canada and that is in fact what has happened. (real conservative)

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  3. One of my friends is a psychiatric nurse and she told me that since its inception, less of her patients kill themselves with guns. When they are considered in a `dangerous place`, and police are called, they know right away that there is a gun in the house. It makes the necessary intervention more effective and also less dangerous for police. She has also called the police when she knew that someone was suicidal and asked them to check if they had a gun in the house, in order to have it taken away while they are in that state. Just a thought, as this is direct example of when the gun registry has saved lives.

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  4. Everything said here is logical and factually correct. All of this has been repeated in various forums and media articles. The Chiefs Association, their president Bill Blair and the RCMP have monetary reasons for supporting a gun registry. Therefore their statements ignore the requests for proof of their claims. The lack of ethics exhibited by the police agencies supporting the long gun registry damns the issue of maintaining it. I have no doubt it will go. It is just a question of when and how much more money will be wasted. I have left the Liberals behind as a possible choice of government. Unfortunately Mr. Layton removed the word democratic from his party by his backroom arm twisting. The NDP vote was crafted in Toronto to appear free while still guaranteeing a continuation of this Liberal boondoggle. Thinking Canadians are not fooled. Hopefully, the turncoat MPs will be tossed in the next election for their betrayal of their constituents.

    The Liberals have taken their monkey and attempted to hand it off to the Conservatives. Truth is the urban rural divide happened as soon as the Liberals crafted legislation that burdened law abiding gun owners while exempting criminals.

    Another fact is the more than 50% of long guns that are missing (RCMP stat)will never be registered as there is no trust now for Liberal Party statements. The LPC has stated in the past they would outlaw the private ownership of all handguns and semi-automatic rifles (about 50% of all hunting rifles and shotguns) when they form a government. That platform has never been rejected by Ignatieff. Therefore, all sportmen/women must vote as a block to prevent further Liberal confiscations of private firearms. There can be no accommodation or negotiation of this stance. They won't and we have learned from the current debate that truth was the first casualty of their pro-registry campaign.

    Logically, the only worth of a registry is so police may confiscate private firearms as soon as the Liberals pass enabling legislation for their civilian disarmament agenda. This is the lesson of history. This is how police states were established in the past. Obviously the Liberals do not believe in a social contract but rather in control over personal freedom.

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  5. Combined, 105 LibDip MPs voted to save the registry,
    but it was the 48 separatists that sealed the deal.

    The LibDips couldn't have done it without Giles

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  6. Food for thought. Past Liberal Party comments on gun control.

    "Liberals:

    1) "I came to Ottawa . . . with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers." --Liberal minister of justice, Allan Rock, 1994.

    2) "C-68 has little to do with gun control or crime control, but it is the first step necessary to begin the social re-engineering of Canada." --Liberal senator Sharon Carstairs, 1996.

    3) "Canada will be one of the first unarmed countries in the world." --Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, 1998.

    4) "Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda." -- Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy at a gun control conference, Oslo, Norway, 1998."

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/09/23/nb-miramichi-long-gun-jobs.html#socialcomments#ixzz10PSzGlmB

    Note: Ignatieff has not retracted these intentions nor previous Liberal intentions to ban the private ownership of ALL handguns and ALL semi-automatic rifles and shotguns (about half of all registered sporting firearms).

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