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Ignatieff vows to defeat yet another Conservative attempt to kill gun registry.

On hearing yesterday that the Conservatives had decided once again to try to kill the long-gun registry, I was going to do a blogpost imploring Ignatieff not to let this obvious attempt to placate the Conservatives base pass. However, I thought I’d wait to see what Ignatieff had to say on this, and I’m encouraged this morning by what he did have to say:

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff last night pledged to defeat efforts by the Conservative government to scrap the controversial long-gun registry. “We won’t let him,” vowed Ignatieff, speaking of moves by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in the Commons, and yesterday in the Senate, to end national registration for guns. “We won’t pass his bills.” It’s the first time the Liberal leader has signalled clearly his party will vote against Conservative gun registry legislation.. To speculation a free vote in either chamber might scuttle the long-gun registry, Ignatieff effectively served notice his members of the Liberal-dominated Senate would face a so-called whipped vote, expected this month.

Any marginal gains (and I do believe they would have been very marginal) Ignatieff and the Liberals might have picked up out west by going soft on gun control would have been massively negated by the disapproval of such a move in Quebec and urban centres in Canada – which is the Liberals power base.

Furthermore, this is an obvious political ploy by the Conservatives to introduce this in the Senate first, rather then the House. Introducing a bill to the unelected Senate, which they’ve been disparaging, instead of to the elected House of Commons indicates they’re looking to use this bill for partisan political purposes. If it gets defeated in the Senate, they can rage against the Liberal senators who voted it down (despite the fact they’re the ones who introduced it there in the first place). I’m pleased to see Ignatieff not falling for this tactic.

By the way, according to this well placed Liberal, Iggy and the Liberal Party did rather well last night in the fund raising department.

UPDATE: The Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police oppose this weakening of the long-gun registry. (h/t knb) And here’s a nice little quote (in the Toronto Sun of all places) from the Toronto police chief:

Police Chief Bill Blair said yesterday he doesn’t want the registry scraped. “I think we as a society have to do everything we can to limit the access that any criminal can have to a gun,” he said Wednesday. “I can tell you the information that is on the gun registry is useful and valuable to the police,” Blair added. “We check in Canada that registry thousands of times each and every day.” He said the registry allows police forces to check whether people they’re dealing with have access to firearms. He said the registry should be run efficiently but the record-keeping system “helps keep our police officers safe when they’re doing their job, it keeps our communities safe.”

The so-called party of law and order and its supporters are apparently off-side with the biggest keepers of law and order – that being the police – on this issue. Will we see the Conservative attack machine rev up against the police? Somehow I doubt that would work. The police chiefs need to remain front and centre on this issue to keep letting the public know they support the long-gun registry.

17 comments to Ignatieff vows to defeat yet another Conservative attempt to kill gun registry.

  • Edwin

    I am not a gun owner and never will be, so it does not affect me. I was a member of the Liberal party when the long gun registry was first implemented, and was invited to take part in its implementation. While it was touted as a public safety issue, the real reason for it was to enrich a certain computer services company. So far no one has followed the money, but one day a real audit will be done, hopefully after the guilty are long gone. By demanding that public money continues to go into it, Mr. Ignatieff is showing that he supports the same corrupt practice that caused me to leave the party in the first place. Having seen that the current leader is corrupt both in this fiscal matter and in the manner of his taking the reins, I must continue to abstain from participating in working towards reinstalling a Liberal government. It looks like I am going to have to wait for a new generation to grow up before I get involved again.

  • The Rat

    Luke, what he means is that law abiding, legal gun owners like me will still have to be licensed and should I suddenly develop violent tendencies or mental illness my license will be revoked and the police will come take my guns away. Licensing the driver means the driver can drive any car, they can borrow a car, they can rent a car, and the same goes for firearms licensing. I can borrow a gun, you know. The reason for car registration is that cars are commonly involved in high dollar and high injury accidents. The facts show that guns aren’t often involved in those kinds of accidents and the vast majority of gun owners never commit a crime with them. If the police thing is your biggest worry, well, they’ll still know I’m a licensed firearm owner when they check my name in the registry (it will still exist for restricted weapons and will still have license info) and they should take whatever precautions they think necessary in dealing with me. Having a cop for a brother, I know me owning a shot gun, a .22, or an AR15 doesn’t make much difference, just the potential presence of firearms is what matters and the license will tell them that.

    • @The Rat,

      Rat, you are right on this.

      Imagine your father died, and you inherited his pump action .306 (a great deer rifle). At the time you had let your FAC lapse and couldn’t take it, so you gave it to your cousin (or your buddy) to keep for you. You haven’t had the time to get the PAL.

      Gosh, that sounds just like a way a criminal might get around the registry doesn’t it? That is just how effective it really is.

  • Goldenhawk

    The whole long gun registry issue is just a smokescreen, an attempt by Conservatives to soften up support of gun control in general. If this does go through, then they will want to overturn bans of restricted weapons like automatic weapons and handgunds. Then, concealed carry permits will be offered as a “crime prevention” tool. The long term goal is a society with as high a rate of gun ownership as the Americans. In their fantasyland, American society is much safer because 4 in 10 households own a gun and crime is “severely punished” with long sentences and death penalties. They want crime punishment and dream of being Dirty Harry, not preventing the crime in the first place.

    • @Goldenhawk,

      Actually, we already have a higher per capita rate of gun ownership than the US…

      “not preventing the crime in the first place.”

      Lets be honest here. Restricting guns has not affected the crime rate in Canada. It hasn’t reduced the rate of gun crime. Real gun control came into effect in 1978 and crime continued to rise, including gun crime, throughout the 80s and up to 1991. Crime has been falling ever since and was falling before the gun registry or the more onerous requirements of the PAL system of licensing. Crime is caused by socio-economic factors like poverty and racism and some genuine psycho pathology, not the presence of the tools to commit the crime.

      Gangsters in Toronto or Edmonton will have handguns or semi-automatics whether the law says they can or not. And because of the ban on guns, running and smuggling them is now a lucrative business for organized crime. And because of the gang violence created by the prohibition on drugs, there is a market for them.

      Legalize drugs (all drugs, not just pot) and watch the violence disappear in the drug trade, along with organized crime. Watch the market for these kinds of guns dry up too. Now THAT would be a great move to end gun crime and violence, not silly , ineffectual gun registries or taking guns away from law abiding people who might even be able to use them to protect themselves from the very violence you abhor.

      Of course, pragmatically, the Cons would never do this. No would they go as far as your little paranoid fantasy goes. They want something that would placate the rural base (get rid of the long gun registry) but wouldn’t do anything to enrage the urban base (carry permits or getting rid of restrictions on handguns).

      • Goldenhawk

        @Mike,

        “Actually, we already have a higher per capita rate of gun ownership than the US”

        A source for this please? The Toronto Star published a map showing gun ownership in the GTA at less than 4% of households. Wikipedia’s article on “Gun politics in the United States” pegs the household rate at 50% there, with 25% of adults owning a gun. A similar article on Canadian gun ownership states a rate of around 22%, but then states only 5.6% of Canadians had a valid firearm license in December 2008 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Canada). That seems to indicate lower rates of legal gun ownership.

  • Luke

    Mike writes: Luke, you are mistaking the long gun registry with the firearms licensing requirements.
    —————————————————————————————————–
    How am I mistaking the long gun registry with the firearms licensing requirements? Your statement that only law abiding people register firearms is incorrect.

    Read my post these people 15,045 of them had their firearms licence revoke because some of them broke the law. The majority of these people probably owned firearms and their firearms were probably registered. Legally, these people can’t own firearms; they must now legally transfer them.
    Mike note the reasons for people who had their firearm licences revoked. Can we just trust all of the people to follow the law and legally transfer their firearms? Without the registry how will the authorities know?
    a) how many firearms a person must legally transfer and
    b) if the firearms were transferred to people who have valid firearm permits.

    “Curiously, what, exactly is preventing these people from doing this anyway?”
    ———————————————————————————-
    The gun registry. With the gun registry a law officer can search through the data base and verify the firearms were transferred to people who hold a valid firearm licence.

    How would the authorities trace a firearm that was illegally transferred if there was no gun registry?
    Just because there is a law, doesn’t mean everyone will obey it.

    All non-restricted firearms should be registered by now or in the process of being registered. That is the law. To benefit from amnesty protection, individuals need to be taking the necessary steps to comply with the law during the amnesty period. If they do nothing to comply, they cannot claim protection from criminal liability and their firearms may be seized.
    People are willingly breaking the law now by refusing to register their firearms.

    What is the difference between licensing and registration?
    Licensing and registration under the Firearms Act can be compared to a driver’s licence and the registration of a vehicle. A firearms licence shows that the licence holder has met certain public-safety criteria and is allowed to possess and use firearms. A registration certificate identifies a firearm and links the firearm to its owner to provide a means of tracking the firearm.

    • @Luke,

      How am I mistaking the long gun registry with the firearms licensing requirements?

      You said: These people can no longer own firearms and must legally transfer their firearms to someone else.

      The way they know if someone can legally own a firearm is by the existence of a PAL, not an entry in the registry.

      Without the registry how will the authorities know?

      Uhm, because of a court order. Because the police will likely have already seized the weapons in the circumstances described. You realize that this was how the police and courts did it before the registry came along right? It worked well for decades.

      Besides, why do they need to know?

      How would the authorities trace a firearm that was illegally transferred if there was no gun registry?

      How would the authorities trace a firearm that was illegally transferred with the gun registry?

      An illegally transferred gun won’t be in the registry. If a person with a valid PAL has a gun in his possession, then he is legally entitled to own it and it doesn’t matter if it was also registered. If the person does not have a PAL, then its an illegal transfer and it doesn’t matter if the gun was registered or not. It is the valid possession of a PAL by the person with the gun that determines the validity of the transfer, not the existence in a registry. And as long as aperson is deemed able to possess a gun, it doesn’t matter if she has one or 100 guns. In short, there is no valid reason to register and track the firearm. Other than to charge people a fee to do it in order to raise revenue for the government.

      A registration certificate identifies a firearm and links the firearm to its owner to provide a means of tracking the firearm.

      Technically that is true, but you have not provided a practical reason to allow the police and the government to track it in the first place.

      From a civil libertarian perspective, forcing a tax on gun ownership and creating regulation that force them to reveal to the government what and how many firearms they own is an invasion of privacy, a breach of private property and is not warranted for any public safety reason (bad guys won’t register and won’t care).

      By what right does the government say I must pay them to own something and that they must know about it? Unless I actually do something harmful with it, it is none of their business.

      FWIW, I don’t think we should be forced to have driver’s license and car registrations with the government either. If there is a good reason for these things – insurance, for instance, proof of competence to drive and enumeration of vehicles so the insurance company can know risks and offer proper insurance rates – then they will be used even without the government mandating it. Same with guns.

  • Luke

    Mike writes:Sorry, but this is one of those rare occasion I have to side with the Conservatives. The registry is onerous, expensive and frankly, an infringement on the rights of law-abiding long gun owners.
    ———————————————————————————

    The Cdn Firearm Program website states, 15,045 people had their firearm licence revoked.(At one time they were law-abiding firearm owners) These people can no longer own firearms and must legally transfer their firearms to someone else. NOTE: Reasons why firearms licences revoked include: a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to himself/herself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information.
    A law officer can now verify by searching in the gun registry data base, that these 15,045 people legally transferred their firearms to a person who has a valid firearm permit. If, no registry, what would stop these people from selling their firearms to unlicensed people?

    • @Luke,

      Luke, you are mistaking the long gun registry with the firearms licensing requirements. Without the registry, owners would still be compelled by law to sell only to people with a valid PAL (what used to be called the FAC).

      Curiously, what, exactly is preventing these people from doing this anyway?

  • Ian

    Of course Iggy talked tough about the slush fund… But this won’t lead to a confidence vote, so he may go through with it this time.

    • @Ian, Previous attempts to kill the gun registry were not confidence votes.

      Further to that, when was the last time you saw a government proclaiming a bill to be a matter of confidence over a bill getting introduced and potentially killed in the Senate?

      As I said, I assert this is more to do with Harper trying to placate his base.

  • Sorry, but this is one of those rare occasion I have to side with the Conservatives. The registry is onerous, expensive and frankly, an infringement on the rights of law-abiding long gun owners.

    And I do not see how the Association of Chiefs of Police wanting it makes it a good thing. They probably want to use tasers unrestricted too. Just because the police like it does it mean we should favour it.

    Frankly, given the mountain of evidence of the police abusing our right and their powers, the Association of Chief of Police wanting this is itself and argument against it – if the cops want it, it can’t be good for individual freedom and civil liberties.

    Nope, get rid of it.

    • @Mike, Sorry Mike.. but I don’t equate or paint such a large brush on what a few members of the RCMP do to the varied police forces and people who serve as police across Canada.

      The “expensive” part is also a Conservative sham talking point, Mike, and I’m disappointed you’re parroting it. The auditor-general herself has said that since the initial roll-out of this, the program has been self-sustaining.

      It is only because the Conservatives are refusing to accept fees from people registering guns that it’s costing the government money to sustain the registry- a classic example of conservatives purposely starving a government program in order to turn around and claim that it doesn’t work, and its unfortunate the libertarians – even the socially left ones – fall for that line.

      • @Scott Tribe,

        Scott, I’m not surprise because we’ve had this same debate before.

        What is the purpose of the registry? Why would the police find it so helpful? How does knowing my Dad, a law abiding farmer, has a Lakefield Mosberg shotgun help them fight crime?

        And the expense is in the form of Corporate Welfare. I know first hand from colleagues who worked on the project that something that should have merely been an extra set of fields in the exiting CPIC system (a technically relatively minor change), ballooned into a fully separate network, with Siebel instances. It became an overly complex corporate welfare system that forces law abiding people to pay for it. I’m well aware of the CPC modus operandi of financially starving systems, but my criticism would stand even if they were charging full price for it.

        I still don’t know what the long gun registry is supposed to do or how it is supposed to keep us safe. This is an expensive, unneeded system that doesn’t do anything to prevent gun crime or make people safer.

        And that brings me to my main dislike – it is a backdoor tax on otherwise law abiding people who own long guns. Not handguns (though I personally have no problem with them either, but that is a different debate), but long guns – rifles and shotguns. It creates criminals out of people who do no harm, other than not pay this backdoor tax.

        Sorry, but if it doesn’t do anything to keep us safe and merely extorts money out of people who in every other way are normal, law abiding people, then it needs to be gotten rid of.

      • kwittet

        @Scott Tribe,

        I have mixed feeling on gun control In one way I can see it being a usefull tool for the coppers yet I have had OPP tell me that sometimes they check it just for a simple traffic stop just to see if the person owns guns that MAY be in the vehicle.
        Another point on this.

        Scott…you said this:
        The “expensive” part is also a Conservative sham talking point, Mike, and I’m disappointed you’re parroting it. The auditor-general herself has said that since the initial roll-out of this, the program has been self-sustaining.

        It is only because the Conservatives are refusing to accept fees from people registering guns that it’s costing the government money to sustain the registry- a classic example of conservatives purposely starving a government program in order to turn around and claim that it doesn’t work, and its unfortunate the libertarians – even the socially left ones – fall for that line.

        THis is not something you would know if you arent a gun owner.
        Back when the liberal goverment at the time FORCED us legal gun owners into this I will admitt I was pissed off. But i registered them anyway as I wanted to be legal. So dad and myself went online at the time to register about 24 guns between the two of us. The online fee for registration was $0. It was free so we thought why not do it this way because it isnt going to cost us anything. Fastforward a year later and I get a Letter in the mail from the LIBERAL goverment at the time. HOLY SHIT. I get $60 and dad gets over $100 dollars. On the cheque it says Gun Registry Refund. I know of many other gun owners who got the refund for nothing.
        To say the conservatives have refused money may be true but the liberals just gave me money for nothing in that case..so in effect it is the same thing.
        I told you..they are both the same!!

        • kwittet

          @kwittet, i tried to edit but it locked up so here is the rest:
          I dont see how the auditor can say it was self-sustaining given the fact that they were giving refunds to people who paid NOTHING? It goes back to what someone else said…that it is just another tax. Of course in one sense it was self-sustaining given the fact that the the rest of the population who pay taxes subsidized this program. Like I said..i can see some merits to it. But I do believe overall it was a tax. And if the sole purpose of it is..and it has been in other countries to eventually dis-arm the public then I hope Harper wins on that point alone. We will never know the truth!

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