Canada’s long gun registry, facts and fiction

 

By Dennis Gruending

Canada's Conservatives and the gun registryThe House of Commons is poised to vote on the fate of the long gun registry. The Conservatives would scrap the registry and destroy all of its records but most other MPs want to keep it. The showdown in coming and the vote will be close. The Conservatives have orchestrated this issue and are trying to use it as a wedge that they hope will dislodge votes from NDP and Liberal MPs in rural and small town areas. For a long while it looked as though the politics of division was working, but there has been a growing chorus in support of the registry from police chiefs, emergency room physicians, nurses, people who run women’s shelters, labour unions and others. MPs on both sides of the issue are being lobbied furiously.
The Firearms Act was passed in 1995, a response by the Liberal government to the 1989 massacre by Marc Lepine of 14 young women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. The Act required gun owners to obtain permits and to have their rifles and shotguns registered. People were in no way prevented from owning and using these guns, but they were expected to register them. Supporters of the registry believe it is a valuable tool for preventing gun violence, often arising from domestic disputes. Some people, for a variety of reasons, including a record of instability or violence, can be denied ownership if compromising information comes to light when they seek a firearms permit. With a registry, police heading to the scene of disturbances can find, by running a computer check, if there are registered firearms at the address.

The registry is supported by the Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Association of Police Boards. The RCMP has produced a report that says the registry works. That report was released only recently because the government, which sat on its since last spring, prevented its distribution.

The Conservatives opposed the registry vociferously in opposition. In government, they have refused to enforce the registry’s provisions and now they want to get rid of it altogether. Conservative MPs (and some others) untroubled by the facts have been constantly repeating a mantra against the long gun registry. Let’s look at some of their claims:

The registry is a financial boondoggle.
The registry’s implementation in the 1990s did go badly, a saga that involved large cost overruns and expensive computer software that at first didn’t work. But those problems have been sorted out and more than seven million guns have now been registered. The boondoggle argument is out of date and the registry’s costs are modest. The RCMP manages the registry and reports that in 2009 the long-gun portion of the entire firearms registry (which also includes restricted weapons like handguns) cost $4.1 million to operate. Speaking of financial boondoggles, the Conservative government spent $1 billion for a G8-G20 summit that lasted less than three days in Ontario last summer.

It costs people too much to register rifles and shotguns and the process is swathed in red tape.  In fact, it’s free to register or transfer the registration of rifles and shotguns and  gun owners can register their guns online or over the phone in minutes.

Criminals use handguns. Shotguns and rifles are used by law-abiding hunters and farmers. Criminals also use shotguns and rifles. Of the 16 police officer shooting deaths in Canada between 1998 and 2009, 14 were killed by a long gun. They are also used in domestic violence and in suicides.

Gun violence is a big city problem but long gun registry targets people in rural areas.  In fact, gun deaths are higher in rural areas and Western provinces. In Yukon, for example, gun deaths run at about three times the national average.

The firearms registry does not save lives. The Firearms Registry and associated measures have worked to reduce rifle and shotgun murders in Canada. Death and injury from firearms have declined by over 40% in Canada during the era of stronger gun laws. Can all of this be attributed to the long gun registry? Probably not, but it is irresponsible to claim that the registry has had no impact in reducing risk and death, and even more irresponsible to want to get rid of it.

The firearms registry does nothing to prevent violence against women. Safety experts and front-line workers women’s shelters across the country beg to differ. They say that the registry helps reduce violence against women. Do you prefer to believe them or to believe a gun shop owner on this one?

Making people register their guns means that law abiding gun owners are treated like criminals. We register cars, boats, mortgages, even bicycles and dogs — and we pay for it. Nobody can seriously argue that they are being treated as second class citizens for having to register a firearm, particularly when it has been shown to improve public safety.

The government wants guns to be registered so that it knows where to go to confiscate all of them. This is the biggest whopper of them all and it is difficult to believe that anyone would actually use the argument – but read this from the pen of Saskatchewan MP Gary Breitkruez: “Why are the police chiefs so strident in their quest to keep the registry in place? They won’t admit it, but it appears they don’t want Canadians to own guns. To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.” The National Rifle Association in the U.S. has been lending assistance to anti-registry forces in Canada and has spread this myth as well. It is either an entirely cynical argument or an illustration of paranoia. In either case, it is unworthy of adult debate.

Conservative strategists and MPs have been busy in the political ridings of rural opposition MPs who they believe will be vulnerable if they do not vote to get rid of the long gun registry. The Conservatives are using every conceivable communications device available – radio and newspaper ads, billboards, and flying visits to opposition ridings by Conservative MPs. They are threatening the defeat of those who don’t meekly obey the call to scuttle the registry. They are also encouraging constituents in those riding to call those opposition MPs and to give them an earful. But that is not the only game going. A growing coalition that includes police chiefs and associations, doctors, nurses, social workers, front line staff in women’s shelters, and labour unions is also asking people to contact their MPs to say that the long gun registry is doing the job and should be kept. A number of opposition MPs who formerly supported the Conservatives on this now says they will not be bullied and will vote to keep the registry. It may well be that it is Conservative MPs in closely contested seats who will be the losers if they decide to kill the registry. This strategy may well be their latest misstep, in league with their proroguing Parliament in 2009, ditching the long form census this summer and musing aloud about doling out billions of dollars for NHL hockey arenas.

33 Responses to “Canada’s long gun registry, facts and fiction”

  1. I’m a police officer and I can tell you from my experience that the only good this registry does is that it gives police the ability to take firearms away from people who actually register them, that’s it.

    If someone says they are going to kill their spouse for example, I can check the database to see what guns they have registered and seize them. However, I cannot seize guns that I don’t know exist, nor does seizing the guns that are registered prevent someone from killing their spouse, it only eliminates one of the tools they could use to do it.

    I’m not sure that it can be proven that the registry has saved lives, but even if it has, how many more lives could be saved in other ways with the extrodinary amount of money that has been spent, and which will continue to be spent on the firearm registry? Not to mention that it is a violation of civil liberty to force someone to register their own property.

     
    • Dan
    • Dan, I have many friends who are police officers and they all disagree with you. I keep reading comments from people who claim to be cops & it really is odd that so many of these “cop’s” comments are opposite to what ALL the cops I know tell me. Your last comment re: registering your own property is against civil liberties. If you were a cop you would not have said this as it is not true. This is simply a NRA talking point. You register your car, your boat, your dog. All property, all registered. Nice try but you are no cop.

       
      • JOudy
  2. All of that is true, Dennis. But it is also true that the current regulatory regime criminalizes even the most minor non-compliance, and that the current legislation outrageously extends the scope for arbitrary searches by police by removing any requirement for a warrant in cases where the presence of an unregistered firearm is suspected. Both of these are deeply disturbing and Jack Layton’s proposals quite rightly would address these problems.

    However, it really is misleading to blame the current state of the debate entirely on the side of the Conservatives and the anti-registry activists. The Liberal Party was quite deliberate in the dishonest way they crafted the registry and the issue. The criminalization of any non-compliance and the draconian search provisions (so at odds with the Liberals’ usual fetishization of the Charter) were deliberately done to create wedges between Canadians.

    By equating “gun control” with “the registry,” the Liberals have established a false dichotomy that any criticism of the registry is intended to create a “wild west” situation where firearms are completely unregulated.

    The Liberal Party spent more than a decade framing this issue as being between the concerns of “real Canadians” (ie, central Canadian urbanites) and “crazed gun nuts” (anybody else, but in particular rural and western Canadians). The Liberals and the Conservatives are equally to blame for the fact that we cannot have a rational discussion of firearms regulation in this country.

    You are quite correct to slam the paranoid delusions of Garry Breitkreutz. Unfortunately, the ignorant musings of central Canadian urbanites like Allan Rock that there was no legitimate need for anyone but police or soldiers to have firearms had the unfortunate side effect of making the most extreme anti-registry rhetoric seem credible.

    Since this is the only substantive issue on which the Liberals and Conservatives actually disagree, both of the old line parties want to ramp up the rhetoric. Wedge politics is highly effective in motivating the base and in raising money.

     
    • Malcolm+
  3. Thanks, Dennis for a positive contribution to a debate that is side-tracked by Harper’s wedge politics and about anything other than public safety. I post after Peter Stoffer’s decision was announced to support the motion on Wednesday that would effectively defeat C391, Ms. Hoeppner’s bill to end the registry. If the Liberal whip holds, the registry is safe; the Conservative politics and fundraising will continue over and against genuine improvements to the registry that would be more sensitive to Aboriginal, northern and rural people. Interesting too the Toronto Star Sunday feature where a reporter went to Sudbury and followed Hoeppner’s last ditch tour to kill the registry. Reporter said the NDP MPs are not likely to be defeated by their support of the registry. The workers there value their walking the picket line (Vale) and fighting for their pensions a lot more than their not liking their MP’s pro-registry vote

     
    • Rick Prashaw
  4. Where are the voices of faith communities in this debate?

    In the mid-1990s the Catholic bishops supported the gun registry. They are now silent, as is the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and others.

    I thought that the churches would raise their voices on life issues.

     
    • Joe
  5. Friends that registered a collector gun got a letter from the Government requesting the gun be turned in for destruction. So much for freedom

     
    • Mike Caers
  6. First a note to Joe above — almost everyone commenting represents a faith community. It’s all of our responsibility! I guess you want the institutional church to speak up?
    The police officers responding do make a point but in the big picture it falls, tragically, very short. I volunteer for Domestic Violence. Thanks for some simplicity and sanity in this debate.

     
    • miriam
  7. Dan could you please explain how the authorities would be able to seize all firearms from a person who had their firearms licence revoked if their firearms are not registered? Consider too; people don’t have to have their firearms stored at their own house.
    Since 2005, approx 11,00 firearm licences have been revoked.

    Licensing of an individual to possess firearms requires a variety of background checks. Applicants are screened to detect potential public safety risks based on information provided with a firearms licence application. Continuous eligibility screening is conducted over the term of the licence to identify any public safety risks that may arise over time. A licence may also be revoked following a court order.

    Dennis replies: Thanks for your comment Luke and since you address your comment to Dan (who commented earlier) I invite him to respond.

     
    • Luke flick
  8. First off Dennis I respect you & enjoy reading your blog.That said my first reaction on reading your thoughts on the LG registry were,dang not Dennis too.

    you wrote…”Do you prefer to believe them or to believe a gun shop owner on this one?”…

    Wow I would never have expected such a comment from you.I have to ask why do you automatically doubt or assume that gun owners etc have ulterior motives. Particularly when all sides have admitted that indeed the registry is flawed.
    Are you saying that NGO’s(in general) etc have no agenda or do not(or are not capable) of exaggeration in order to attract funding & support ?

    Enough with the government regulation of law abiding people.In fact this registry forces the very people being monitored(how Orwellian is that) to keep this database up-to-date.A data base with one purpose to monitor law-abiding gun owners.
    Again this registry does nothing to reduce crime and or protect the police, women, etc.
    And the police ARE seizing(see Toronto) guns from people who for what ever reason forgot to update,NOT criminals but law abiding citizens.

    Denis replies: Thanks for your comment Dirk. I do not mean to disparage the owners of gun shops. The point I am making is that many people who want to get rid of the long gun registry claim that, among other things, it does nothing to protect the safety of women. But people in women’s organizations and those who work in women’s shelters say otherwise. With respect to the various gun shop owners that I have watched in television news pieces or read about in the newspaper, I have never heard one who acknowledges this argument by women or agrees with it. If I had to choose who to believe on this one, it will be the women.

    You also say: “this registry does nothing to reduce crime and or protect the police, women, etc.” You say that but how do you know?  Again, many women who work on the front lines say that the registry does help to protect them. The police chiefs and police associations say that the registry helps to reduce crime. I think I’ll park my confidence with them on this one. But thanks for engaging in the debate.

     
    • dirk
  9. “Criminals also use shotguns and rifles. Of the 16 police officer shooting deaths in Canada between 1998 and 2009, 14 were killed by a long gun.”
    And your point is? Were they killed by registered or unregistered long guns? How would a gun registry have prevented this?

    “They are also used in domestic violence and in suicides.” And how is the registry supposed to prevent these sad occurrences, if they have sudden onset?

    Dennis replies: Thanks for your comments Ed. My point is that one of the arguments frequently used against a long gun registry is that criminals use handguns but that law abiding citizens use long guns and thus there is no need to register long guns. In fact, long guns are also used to commit crimes. It is true, as you suggest, that some people do not register their long guns but as law abiding citizens they should and if they don’t there are legal consequences. The fact that some people choose to ignore the law does not mean that the law should be rescinded. Regarding suicides — of course a gun registry will not prevent all, or perhaps even most of them, but it may well prevent some. Saving even some lives matters.

     
  10. To Luke,

    I’m not sure I understand your question? I was saying that the registry doesn’t help police seize guns that have not been registered.

    If you are asking how police would gain knowledge of the existance and location of a person’s guns, which have not been registered, that information would have to come from another source, such as admission from the owner, or owner’s spouse, family members, friends, etc.

    I’m not sure where you were going with your comments in the second paragraph? Maybe you can clarify?

     
    • Dan
  11. This is the first rational explanation of the gun registry that I’ve read. Every other source is almost painfully biased, while you present the facts in a fairly neutral manner. Yes, it is obviously coloured by your perspective on the matter, but you aren’t forcing your opinion on your readers. Thanks for that.

     
    • Robyn
  12. Dennis – thanks for your post on this issue, it has become a very divisive one for many Canadians.

    I come from a rurally-located family but live in an urban centre and can see much of the frustration on both sides.

    Leaving the initial financial mismanagement in the past (where it belongs along with so many wasteful exercises undertaken by all major parties over the years), the biggest reason voiced by anti-registry individuals seems to be some fear of having to inform the federal government that they own a particular piece of private property.

    Dan the police officer posted earlier that “it is a violation of civil liberty to force someone to register their own property”. I find this extraordinary, that anyone who drives a car, owns a home or has a dog suddenly sees it as a violation of their civil liberty to register a weapon? Let alone a police officer! I would like to ask Dan what his reaction would be if during a traffic stop he asked a someone for their license and registration and was told by that driver that it was a violation of his civil liberty to register his car or have a drivers licence – would Dan send him on his way in support of his crusade for furthering the scope of civil liberty in Canada? I doubt it. Dan would probably explain that the reasons for registering your vehicle and having a licence are in the greater interests of the public and that there is a need for knowing who is on the road and ensuring that they are in compliance with the law. If someone misuses their private property, the police have a way of locating them and dealing with them appropriately. If someone uses their property lawfully and safely, most likely they will never hear about it from any government body.

    I completely understand that Canadians enjoy hunting; my father owns a rifle and my grandfather was a competition marksman. Go ahead and engage in your hobby as is your right to do so. In no way does the requirement to inform the authorities that you happen to own a weapon that you use for these legal purposes infringe on your rights at all. I’ll bet if Dan ever gets a call to a location and gets a heads up that there are weapons registered to the property owner, he’d probably be happy to have that piece of information in the back of his mind rather than be unpleasantly surprised.

    I really hope that a balanced position can be reached on this and that gun owners can be treated fairly in return for doing the right thing and registering their weapons.

     
    • Joseph
  13. Joseph,

    It amazes me that you are so critical of a police officer who wants people to have more freedom. Do you think that my job requires me to agree with every law?

    I don’t agree with all of our laws, but when it’s time to do my job I do it according to the law. That does not keep me from having the desire to see some of them abolished. The job of a police officer is supposed to be about protecting freedoms – the freedom to life and to pursue one’s own interests so long as he or she doesn’t use that freedom to stop others from doing the same, ie crimes against persons and their property. The gun registry is problematic in this regard, as it directly violates property rights and also demands higher taxes from Canadians to pay for its extraodinarily high expenses. How many more lives could be saved with that money without violating property rights? That is the question that nobody seems to be asking.

    None of the words you put in my mouth are true. On your last point about me, no I don’t care about getting a heads up about “weapons” registered to a property owner. It’s just as easy for me to assume that everyone has firearms and other weapons such as large kitchen knives. I don’t need a billion dollar gun registry and higher taxes to tell me that.

    The argument that police “need” the registry is a smoke screen, don’t buy it.

     
    • Dan
  14. Regarding Dan’s comments: I agree with you completely. Even with the registry you must assume everyone has a weapon because the BAD GUYS don’t register theirs. I am a law abiding citizen and I still have not registered my husband’s guns (I do all the bill-paying, paperwork etc. because he would be lost) because it was so confusing to know whether during the debate the gun registry was on hold or not! We own a number of hunting rifles and shotguns, including an antique gun that was owned by my father. In addition to our confusion was our understanding that one had to have a FAC before registering guns. But my husband hasn’t hunted lately – too busy with his business – so he doesn’t have a current FAC. That doesn’t mean that we can afford to hand over the guns and then go buy another gun when he wants to hunt. They are expensive. So can someone tell me whether one needs an FAC to register a gun? Our friends think we do. I don’t want to hand over our guns, especially not my father’s antique gun. If I don’t renew my driving licence, I don’t have to hand over the car, or the boat, or the snowmobile etc. So can someone please answer that question?

     
    • Marlene
  15. We don’t have guns. Me and my husband have guns. Our experience with people with guns is not very pleasant. Have you had someone threaten you at point blank with a gun just because of a simple misunderstanding? Did we report it? Yes. Was he apprehended? No.

     Dennis replies: Trisha, I am not sure I understand your comment. Are you saying that you and your husband do, or do not, have guns? Thanks.   

     
  16. I have a simple question. How many gun Owners have registered as of now or even as of July 1/10?

    Dennis replies: I have read that about 7 million guns have been registered in Canada.

     
  17. Letts just say I think thje new law being passed is stupid. I don’t think that it’s going to change anything. I completly agree with EVERYTHING Dan said. Good job man…

     
    • Kris
  18. To Dan, sorry if you feel unfairly criticized, but I wasn’t criticizing you for wanting more freedoms, simply disagreeing with the reasons you gave for opposing the LG registry.

    The point I was making (and Dan either missed or consciously ignored) was that individuals register their private property with the government every day and make no bones about it, which to me means that Dan’s claim about this being a violation of civil liberties is baseless when compared to what we all accept as reasonable.

    I assumed that Dan considered the requirement to have a motor vehicle registered and a drivers licence as logical and reasonable things.

    What I stated was “Dan would probably explain that the reasons for registering your vehicle and having a licence are in the greater interests of the public and that there is a need for knowing who is on the road and ensuring that they are in compliance with the law.” – these are the words that I put in Dan’s mouth. I guess from his reaction that he does not agree with this. I encourage Dan to please tell me what assupmtions I made on his behalf that upset him and were untrue and I will retract them immediately.

    If you truly don’t see the benefits or the logic that stems from registering vehicles or licencing drivers I am very interested to hear your thinking.

    I retract the assumption that a police officer would want to know if there are weapons registered to a particular individual whose location he/she is about to visit. By Dan’s admission that is not something they need to know and apparently don’t want to know.

    So, to reiterate Dan’s words (not words I’m putting in your mouth, but the ones you wrote yourself) your only issue with the LG registry is that it a) violates property rights and b) uses taxpayer money to pay for itself.

    I’ve addressed a) already – if you believe that registering property violates civil rights, then you are already being violated on a daily basis and likely agree that it makes sense in many cases such as vehicle registration. If you are not opposing these cases then your argument doesn’t hold water in regards to weapons.

    Regarding b) – there are many things that individuals would consider a waste of taxpayers money, and I can’t argue the government is wise in their use of our taxes. If you think this is the easiest pound of flesh to carve off of the wasteful budgets that come out of Ottawa, I can’t tell you that you’re wrong (but I can think of a lot of other things that do no good for the population at large and take a lot of taxpayer money).

    Dan – I am very interested to get your response on the points that I actually made in both of my posts, and not your reaction to feeling criticized. I apologize for that, but still don’t see how you’re addressed my criticism of the main pillars of your argument against the registry.

    Dennis comments briefly: I want to thank both of you, as well as some others, who have conducted a respectful debate in this Comment section over a question that divides you. I believe this kind of civility in our debates about public questions is extremely important.

     
    • Joseph
  19. The long gun registry is a dismal failure that was doomed from the start by it’s very nature. The information contained in the database is uncertain and incomplete at best and will never be any better than that. The registry only serves to keep a few people employed at the taxpayer’s expense while thousands, maybe millions, of illegal and unregistered firearms continue to circulate unhindered in the shadows.

    Face the facts, it was a mistake, get past it. The registry is a neat toy that can be used for a few cool things, but if nobody can prove definitively that it saves lives… then it doesn’t.
    It’s very foundation is flawed, and that cannot be fixed. Who wants a fixer-upper gun registry anyway ?

    There are far better ways to spend 3 or 4 million dollars per year, ways that will definitely save lives, many lives, definite, can be proven, no doubt. Isn’t that what this is really about ? Saving lives ? …or is there a hidden agenda here ? am I missing something ?

     
    • John
  20. Hi Joseph,

    Thanks, there is no need to apologize. I was not upset by your comments, only amazed.

    I see that I did not directly address your comments about vehicle and driver registration. When I said that you put words in my mouth I was also referring to your assuption of what I would say about those registries. To clarify, no I do not agree with those registries either. They are useful, but they are a violation of freedoms aswell because they are mandatory. Since they are mandatory, that also means that they are enforceable, and force always takes away freedom. The only time the government should be allowed to force you to do something or not to do something is by using force to stop you from violating someone else’s freedoms.

    For example, if there is an assault in progress, the police have the authority to use force to stop it from continuing. Or, if an assault has already been committed, police have the authority to investigate the incident and present the evidence to the courts. The courts then decide the best action to take in an attempt to deter it from happening again or at least from happened as often. However, the courts decision should not be one that takes away other people’s freedoms in the process, such as creating some sort of mandatory registry that everyone else is forced to commply with against there will. That would be the opposite of freedom, therefore contradicting the law’s job of preserving freedom.

    I’d also like to clarify that my opinion that police do not need the firearms registry does not reflect the opinion of all police officers.

    I hope I have answered all of your questions. Let me know if I didn’t, it is late, lol.

     
    • Dan
  21. I would like to thank Dan for his clear thinking. He has it right, The House of Commons has it wrong.

    Dennis replies: I beg to differ Flip but thanks for your comment and thanks as well to everyone else who contributed to our online debate.

     
    • Flip Ross
  22. Ok First things first. I think Dans Comment are great. That being said, the reason we have to register s vehicle is because then you would be insured for a accident, right? We dont get insurence when we register our guns, and then shoot someone do we? the thing that im trying to get at if they give you a Possession and Aquisition Licease, Then that should be enough for the Police to Suspect that there might be a possibilty for firearms at a distubence call or whatever call they might get. There always going to be a chance of anybody having a firearm in those situation on them regardless if there registered or not. I really think that people are fooled by thinking that this registry helps. Criminal arent going to register there gun to do a bank hiest are they? that whould be silly of them to do that. I know we all have are own opinion but i really think its a waste of taxpayers money to use a registry that isnt saving lives.

    Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:
    “7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the
    person and the rights not to be deprived thereof except in
    accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

    This section re-inforces the right of self-defence and strengthen
    the argument that access to firearms by law-abiding citizens is a
    right that continues to exist for Canadians.

     
    • Darren- Saskatchewan
  23. I realize this is older, but it was posted on Twitter recently.

    While it may be remote and make me sound paranoid, a registry may one day aid gun confiscation. 15 years ago, this happened to certain guns in Australia. Not all guns, but may guns, according to action type, were purchased and destroyed. I do not believe the seller had a right to refuse to sell the firearm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Australia

    Now in Canada, the NDP recently introduce a bill that had some sneaky language which could open the door to confiscation. Charlie Angus’s bill C-580.

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-580_1&File=24#1

    The point of concern is this

    4. Section 117.15 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
    (3) The Governor in Council may make regulations requiring a manufacturer or importer to provide information for the purpose of establishing that the thing in question is reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or sporting purposes.

    This opens the door to the government arbitrary deciding what guns are for sporting purposes and which guns aren’t. Its not exactly what happened in Australia, but its a start.

    Here is a link, this guy explains it better than me.
    http://bcwfpaa.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/ndp-mp-charlie-angus-fix-the-long-gun-registry-bill-part-1/
    Andy

     
    • Andy
  24. True there are some who don’t register their guns. There are also some who don’t register their cars, Should we take that away? We register dogs, cars, boats, but the Harper Government is threatening to take this away. It terrifies me. A lot has changed and more people want to see it than who don’t. Thank you for trying to educate people on this important issue

     
    • TLH
  25. I keep hearing that you are not allowed to own a car without it being registered… this is not true, i own two or three cars that jus sit out at the farm completely unregistered… now why cant my guns sit out there unregistered right beside them?

    And Dan, I really hope more police officers have the same attitude you do. I would hate for police to be too dependent on using the registry to find out if guns could be present when attending to a call, because i think most people who are the type of person to shoot a cop, are also the type of people to not bother registering there guns

     
    • Chris
  26. The thing about cars is, you are not at all required by law to have them registered. If you bring them on public roads, however, you are required to have them insured, and in order to have them insured, they have to be registered. Also, if automotive registry were the same as the gun registry this could happen: You can’t afford to put $100 of gas in your car every week to go to work, it’s summer so you decide to park it in the driveway and ride your bike to work. Since you’re not using it, you don’t bother renewing your plates that expire in say June. Next thing you know, the police are at your house with a tow truck and your car is now property of the government, too bad, so sad.

     
    • Glen
  27. i dont have fac i hunt bow. my question is if they scrap registery does that mean u still need get fac to hunt with guns ? please answer me thanx

    Dennis replies: Sorry, I do not have that information. You might try caling the office of MP and cabinet minister Vic Toews.

     
    • bill
  28. As Colby Cosh noted, the $4.1M figure is utter bunk. For one thing, it doesn’t even cover the salaries of the civil service hired to implement the registry. It doesn’t include the added costs to the Corrections System for imprisoning people who run afoul, nor of the related costs impacting other government agencies.

    The registering of cars/boats/dogs is not mandatory, merely a precondition for letting the above run on Her Majesty’s public lands. If we want to bring in a registry only for guns that will be fired on public roads, let’s do that.

    Dennis replies: I believe the $4 million figure is drawn from a report completed by the RCMP and released last year. If that cost figure is inaccurate, I would be interested to know what the accurate figure is — backed up by some research. Re licensing: I really don’t think the comparison of cars, guns and roads holds. It would seem the more accurate comparison is that you license cars so that you can drive them and you license guns so that you can fire them.

     
    • FACLC
  29. I think the biggest problem with this debate is that people are equating a firearms license (POL / PAL) with the long gun registry (LGR). You have to understand that these two things are ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. What is being proposed is to scrap the LGR, NOT the firearms licensing program, which was introduced at the same time as the LGR.

    For example, the following two statements you made in your original post;

    1) The firearms registry does not save lives.
    2) The firearms registry does nothing to prevent violence against women.

    IMO, both of these statements are correct. The LGR does nothing to save lives, nor does it protect violence against women. Had you said;

    1) Firearms licensing does not save lives.
    2) Firearms licensing does nothing to prevent violence against women.

    Then I would strongly disagree. The act of licensing saves lives and helps prevent violence (whether it be against men or women). Realize that there is no proposal in the HoC to scrap licensing.

    Without a license, you cannot own a gun, therefor, you cannot shoot someone with something you do not own. Sure, anyone can go buy a gun “on the street”, but that really has no bearing on the discussion of licensing, or registration, does it?

    With a license, one can get mad at their spouse, drive to their local gun shop, buy a gun and take it home and shoot their spouse – even if the gun is registered. It is the act of LICENSING that gives people the ability to shoot someone, not the act of registering it. Do you think someone would point a gun at another person and think “Geez, I better not… this gun is registered.”? Do you think someone willing to commit suicide would think the same?

    As for the registry aiding police services… I have to agree that knowing how many guns are in a particular household may prove to be beneficial where someone who is unstable and has had their license revoked. The police go in and confiscate all of this unstable persons guns. They are now safe to walk around his house, right? Ooooops, a cop just got killed because he/she ASSUMED that all guns at the premises were actually registered and confiscated. Hmmm… who do you think is going to register all of their guns… a farmer/hunter, or an unstable person. Maybe one of the commenting police officers can comment on how often this would be the case as I cannot know (but, I think I’d be a safe bet to say this is not an every day occurrence).

    This brings me to your statement “more than seven million guns have now been registered.”. Wow! Seven million guns registered since 1995! But wait, how many guns are there in Canada?

    The National Firearms Association has come to conclusion there are approximately 7 million owners with 21 million firearms. Our figures were calculated using three different methods. (reference –> http://www.nfa.ca/resource-items/journalists/number-firearms-and-firearms-owners-canada)

    21 million guns and only 7 million registered? Where are the other 14 million guns? Any way you look at it, it sounds like failure to me.

    I do disagree though, with the statement that a police officer knowing how many, or what type of gun is located at a particular residence is needed. What is the golden rule of gun handling/safety? ALWAYS ASSUME the gun you’re handling is loaded. Does it help me to know what type of bullets it takes, or how many in order to prove it safe? The same can be said of a police officer responding to a call. The police know immediately if anyone at that address has a POL/PAL and that’s really all they need to know. From there, the golden rule is ALWAYS ASSUME there are guns located anywhere there is a POL/PAL, even if that POL/PAL has NO registered guns.. How does it help the responding officer to know that there are 12 shotguns, a .270, a 30-30, 4 .22 long rifles, a 9mm Glock and a S&W .45 on site? Does it matter what the type of gun is if it’s brought out against an officer? Is the officer safe if they can account for all registered guns at a particular address?

    And what about this statement –> “Criminals use handguns. Shotguns and rifles are used by law-abiding hunters and farmers.” Shouldn’t that say “Criminals use illegal or stolen firearms.”? Does it matter what type of gun a criminal is using? Does it matter that the shotgun they stole was registered? Criminals, in general, are not going to take a gun safety course, acquire a PAL, go buy a gun, register it and THEN shoot someone.

    “Of the 16 police officer shooting deaths in Canada between 1998 and 2009, 14 were killed by a long gun.” How many were with a registered long gun? AND, if any of them were registered, how many were used by their registered owner to commit these crimes?

    How about the Polytechnique massacre? Marc Lepine used a Ruger Mini-14, which is a restricted weapon in Canada. After the scrapping of the LGR, the Mini-14 will STILL be RESTRICTED in Canada, as is the AR-15. One needs a PAL AND a restricted weapons addendum to that license. How would the LGR helped to have prevent these shootings? (The LGR is for UNRESTRICTED guns.)

    “The government wants guns to be registered so that it knows where to go to confiscate all of them.”

    If not for this purpose, what are the reasons the police need to know how many and what type of guns someone has? (See my other comments above regarding this.) It has already been pointed out that this has happened in other parts of the world, and it does happen here. I have seen it happen.

    Again, the biggest thing for people to understand is that LICENSING and the LGR are two separate entities and the proposal is to scrap the LGR, NOT firearms licensing.

    Respectfully;
    Kyle

     
    • Kyle Stubbins
    • Kyle, one thing that has to be stated quite clearly is that knowing firearms are on-site at a particular call changes the dynamic of how a police officer will respond. A police officer would assume they might get attacked in some way responding to a call, but if you know that there is a rifle/handgun on site, you can approach it with a greater degree of caution and control.

      The number of officers that were shot with unregistered firearms (long-guns or otherwise) is up in the air and will likely require a courts records search to determine that with accuracy.

      But to be frank: anyone under stress will respond to it differently, and if a cop is going to be effective then having every tool available (foremost, knowledge) will bring about a better outcome, would you not agree?

      Leave the registry as it is. Police use it to keep their members safe, and that old boogey-man tale about the widespread confiscation hasn’t happened yet, and it was possible years before the registry.

      Last point: The Ruger mini-14 Mark Lepine used is listed as a Non-Restricted weapon, it was a semi-automatic and had no pistol grip/bayonet lug. Had the registry been in place at the time, would it have stopped the massacre, likely no… however, there is a high likelihood that perhaps 1 of the officers that was shot and killed between 1989 and 1995 would have had a bit of information that might have saved their lives.

       
      • Matt
  30. FAC’s no longer exist. They were replaced by a document called
    PAL; Possession and acquisition licence. You need to have that
    document in your possession to buy and to own anything that is classified a firearm; that is long gun, shotgun,rifle ,handgun etc.. As far as the long gun registry is concerned, it is a waste of money where it penalizes legal gun owners, hunters and sports enthusiasts. When a person kills someone as the result of impaired driving do they suspend everyone else who drives for that idiot’s conduct.

    Dennis replies: Your comparison does not hold. People register their cars without complaint as far as I can tell. That way if vehicles are sold, stolen or involved in an accident the necessary information can be traced quickly by police if need be. Same for long guns — until now.

     
    • Paul
  31. People buy licenses for dogs, cats, motor vehicles, and so on. Yet, when it comes to a tool designed solely to kill (target shooting was not the reason firearms were invented), the hard of thinking suddenly demand unrestricted freedom to buy and use killing implements with no oversight.

    There’s a very strange psychology – dare we say pathology – at work in such thinking or, rather, lack of thought. So long as the matter is relatively trivial, such as buying a license to go fishing, these folks are all law abiding types who support conservation and other good things.

    Yet, when the matter is, literally, one of life and death, such as murder by firearm, the gun libertarians rush to line up with the criminals and decry any government attempt to come to grips with the undeniable firearms problem.

    And yes, it is a problem. Data is available for those interested in facts as opposed to polemic, and that data shows the more guns in circulation in a country, the more gun deaths there will be. Just this week there was another college shooting in the U.S.

    Those with seriously imparied cognitive processes often say inane things like “guns don’t kill, people do.” It never seems to occur to such lumnaries that guns were designed and invented to be used for killing. Anything whose primary purpose is to kill should be subject to strict regulation.

    Why don’t the gun nuts also call for the legalization of bazookas and rocket-propelled grenades? After all, in the same way that guns don’t kill, bazookas and rocket-propelled grenades doesn’t kill – people kill by the misusing those otherwise harmless and innocent tools! So why not legalize bazookas? After all, responsible bazooka owners don’t kill.

    You know, when you think about it, tanks don’t kill – people kill! By golly, if I can really develop this theme, I have a chance at the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

     
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