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Upcoming strategy needed for defending the long-gun registry.

A lot of commentary in the media about the gun registry and what to do going forward. I note Jim Travers is in the Star today complaining that the Liberals (and to a lesser extent, the NDP) haven’t had a very good strategy so far:

If they had started sooner and thought harder, Liberals could have offered a more creative solution than the simplistic ruling party plan to scrap the registry. Or they could have turned a Conservative wedge issue to Liberal advantage by taking a principled position appealing to the 80 per cent of us living in cities…Instead of making a firm proposal to bridge the gap between urban and rural realities and sensibilities, Ignatieff lamely mused about decriminalizing the registry, a solution Liberals rejected years ago. Instead of making Conservatives, a law-and-order and family values party, pay the highest possible political price for being offside with police chiefs and women worried about domestic violence, Liberals, along with the NDP, issued a get-out-of-jail-free card.

That all said, he thinks there is still time to turn things around:

It doesn’t have to be that way. Between now and then, opposition parties can and should rally around specific ways and means to assure city voters that everything possible is being done to counter gun crime, while not making farmers and hunters feel like criminals. Between now and then, the ruling party’s rivals can and should debunk inflated claims that the registry is utterly useless and grossly wasteful. A more nuanced registry is long overdue; the counter-attack beckons. Applying ointment to registry sore points should be easy for a country that accommodates cultural diversity and regional differences.

You’ll note that Jim doesn’t offer up any specifics as to what he would like to see the Liberals do in reforming the registry instead of offering up decriminalization of the registry for long guns – that’s apparently for the party policy wonks to come up with, not him – which irritated me a bit. Nevertheless, the other part of his advice about taking the fight to the public is something that should be done. I’ve already offered my 2 cents up – call in the police chiefs and the RCMP, plus the people impacted by the shooting rampages at Dawson College and L’Ecole Polytechnique to come and testify at the Committee studying this bill and let the public be reminded by them why the long-gun registry is necessary.

There are other facts in support of the long gun registry one can highlight as well, such as what Janet Bagnell of the Montreal Gazette did the other day in her article titled, “MPs are way off target”:

Supporters of the kill-the-registry effort see it more as common sense, a welcome attempt to rid the country of cumbersome, expensive and unnecessary record-keeping. Of the three complaints – the aggravation, the needlessness and the expense – only cost is a legitimate grievance. The “intrusiveness” of the registry requirements is less an invasion of privacy, frankly, than having to declare personal income. Is public safety at stake? Research is clear: Guns of all kinds fuel violence. By 2006, the year the Conservatives brought in legislation to abolish the long-gun registry, Canada’s firearm homicide rate had dropped by 40 per cent since 1991. The homicide rate without guns decreased by only 28 per cent.

Long guns are the most common type of firearm used in spousal homicide, according to the RCMP. With restrictions in place against them, the number of women murdered with firearms dropped by 62 per cent between 1991 and 2004.

If MP Candice Hoeppner’s bill successfully navigates examination by a Commons committee, a third Commons vote and then Senate approval, nearly 8 million firearms records will be destroyed. When police answer a domestic violence call, they won’t know whether they are about to enter a house where there are firearms. Who is made safer by dismantling the registry? Not the people trapped by domestic violence and not the people we depend on to protect us. Their safety should have been enough to sink Hoeppner’s bill.

There is still time to either sink this bill or to gut it in Committee (with the opposition having a majority on that committee). There are compelling facts that show the gun registry is useful, has helped police and controlling gun violence, and retaining it will have the support of a good majority of the populace. Quite frankly, the opposition parties should not be kowtowing to a minority of voters in this country that were likely never going to vote for anyone but the Conservatives in the first place. Amending the gun registry to address some of their concerns is certainly viable.. but letting a vocal minority where most of them happen to be the base of the Conservative Party kill this is not.

42 comments to Upcoming strategy needed for defending the long-gun registry.

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  • Jim

    Wow, Gayle…just wow.

    Seek help.

    • Gayle

      @Jim, Is there something about my post you do not understand?

      Here is your problem – if in your example you really forgot, then you will not be convicted, since intent is an essential element of any criminal offence.

      Otherwise it is just an excuse, and as such is not a defence. If you are legally required to do something, then you have to do it. In other words, when you say you have not “done anything wrong”, in fact, you have. Yes, you have not been convicted, but then they take people’s drivers licences away just because they are charged too.

      Not that you have to worry – according to you the rank and file police do not support the registry. Therefore it is highly unlikely they would actually charge you.

      • Andrew

        I think that some of you out there (namely Gayle) don’t quite understand how it used to work and will once again work if the registry is scrapped.
        **You still have to have a valid Firearms PAL License to obtain and possess Firearms**

        Gayle said “Let me that another way – police raid a suspected drug house, find some gang members there with a couple of unregistered firearms, and nothing else.
        Until recently, they could arrest and detain those gang members for this. Wilson would have us set them free with a ticket.
        Those conservatives – always thinking about our safety.
        So Scott, I totally agree with you and Travers.”

        What would be more effective in these situations is having very severe punishment for possessing any firearm without a license unless of course you think that these “gang members” at this “drug house” are registering all of their legally purchased guns. If that’s the case then you truly are delusional.

        • Gayle

          @Andrew, See, that is what I love about you gun types. When the going gets tough, you just make things up, and then preemptively call anyone who disagrees with you “delusional”.

          First, unless you can demonstrate that drug dealers and other gang members purchase their guns illegally 100% of the time, you can forget your little argument here.

          Second, you seem to have missed the point that an unregistered firearm found in the possession of a drug dealer allows the police to lay a criminal charge. In other words, I don’t think they always register their guns. Again, I thought you guys were all about charging and putting people in jail for a long time? Don’t you think someone is going to do a longer sentence if their firearm was both purchased without a licence AND is unregistered?

          Mostly, though, I cannot help but notice how so many of you simply ignore the fact this registry was used to solve one of the most heinous crimes our country has seen in years. Why is that? Facts a little too inconvenient for you? Why are you people so selfish?

  • Jim

    The registry is not the only problem, the entire Firearms Act is bad law.

    Let me give you an example.

    Suppose I am heading to the range with a couple of pistols. After removing my pistols from my safe and placing them in my opaque locking container, as well as making sure I am in possession of the registration certificates for those pistols and making sure my Authorization To Transport paperwork is in order and on my person…as well as making sure my Possession and Aquisition Licence is in my wallet, I head to the range.

    I get a lane on the range right beside a police officer, I put my pistol case on the bench and unlock it, in my haste to get packed up and go, I notice that I have forgotten to place trigger locks (which are the illusion of safety) on my pistols…the police officer beside me notices too.

    What do you think should happen next?

    I think in a perfect world, at a best case, he should chastise me for forgetting, at a worst case, I should get a violation ticket and pay a small fine.

    In reality, that officer can arrest me on the spot, seize my guns and my licence, then they can go to my house, seize all of my firearms and any related ammunition and accesories. They will also seize my firearms licence.

    All before I have been proven to have done anything wrong.

    Imagine for a second that you are pulled over while driving for failing to wear your seatbelt or not signal your intention of a turn. If you could be arrested on the spot, your car impounded, then the police go to your garage and impound the wife’s minivan and clear your garage of every automotive related item, down to a bottle of washer fluid, would you think that that was fair enforcement of the law?

    Probably not.

    Firearms law in Canada needs to be reviewed from the ground up.

    The current act is deeply flawed and was written in haste to placate the screamers, not to be fair to those that are neither inclined nor likely to break the law.

    By and large, Canadian firearms owners are the most law abiding segment of society. We have to be. Owning firearms is an enormous responsibilty.

    The Liberal party would be wise to treat us with more respect…there are millions of us.

    • Gayle

      @Jim, Suppose I forget that I drank an entire bottle of vodka, and get behind the wheel of my car and drove it. Would it be fair for the police to arrest me? Is it fair I lose my right to drive a car for at least a year? Just because I forgot?

      You do something illegal when you fail to place trigger locks on your pistols. “I forgot” is not a defence.

  • I thought defeating the Bill was a good opposition strategy.

    Frankly, if the strategy is anything other than defeating it on third reading – and both the NDP and the Liberals whipping the vote to do so and imposing meaningful consequences for not doing so – it’s no better than the strategy that Layton and Ignatieff have used to date.

    Either they mean it or they don’t.

    I haven’t seen anything from Layton or Ignatieff to suggest that the next vote will turn out any different than the last one.

    If they can’t be bothered, we’re all pissing up a rope.

    And BTW, vehicle licensing is a useful anti-crime measure. Why were rural Albertans upset when the Tories eliminated front licence plates? Because they couldn’t tell who was coming up the driveway.

  • foottothefire

    Scott, you’d make a better party leader…hell, I’d make a better party leader. Looking for leadership from the Liberal party on any issue is a dead issue.

  • slg

    How about if an elderly man’s house (in the country) is broken into and the criminals get a hold of his rifle (he being a hunter) and use it against him…..knowing there’s a rifle in the house the police know how to deal with it?

    It happened to my elderly uncle.

    • jimmyjim

      @slg,

      What about when you live on rural route and you have no adress, so you use you post box and the government sends back telling you that is not address then you become a criminal? Happened to my elderly uncle. See we all have stories.

    • wilson

      Perhaps the criminals hacked the GR to find out where the registerd guns were first,
      and them picked their victim.

      The stats on the number of times, and the ease with which the GR has been hacked are frightening.
      Astonishing number of gun collectors, being robbed….

  • wilson

    Gayle
    ”What it does do is help the police investigate when a crime is committed with said vehicle.”

    when a CRIME IS COMMITTED with the said vehicle

    You proved my point.
    The law is about the CRIME not the vehicle.

    • Gayle

      @wilson, I proved my point wilson. The gun registry is an investigative tool, just like the car registry.

      What is it about that you find so hard to understand?

      • jimmyjim

        @Gayle,

        How has it ever helped Gayle? Besides making criminals out of law abiding citizens?

        • Gayle

          @jimmyjim, Did you miss the part about how the registry was key in the investigation of the men who helped Rosko when he murdered four mounties?

          Do you really not understand this? Registered firearms are used in crimes too.

        • jimmyjim

          @jimmyjim,

          Ohhhh yeah you mean this Gayle?

          http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/2006/817.htm

          Yep big help. Point.

        • Gayle

          @jimmyjim, No, I mean the fact that there was a gun found to have been in Rosko’s possession when he died that was registered to the grandfather of one of the two men who assisted Rosko. That gun was given to Rosko by that man the night Rosko went out and killed four Mounties. That gun later led the RCMP to that man.

          Yes – BIG help.

          Counterpoint.

  • Whooee! Just more proof that the Con’s are soft on crime. The past coupla years, the Con’s ain’t been enforcin’ the legal, on-the-books registry law we spent so dang much gettin’ up an’ runnin’. They’ve been publicly and selectively lax on laws they don’t find to their ideological liking. In doing so, they convey the message that citizens only need to obey those laws with which they agree.

    JB

  • Gayle

    Let me that another way – police raid a suspected drug house, find some gang members there with a couple of unregistered firearms, and nothing else.

    Until recently, they could arrest and detain those gang members for this. Wilson would have us set them free with a ticket.

    Those conservatives – always thinking about our safety.

    So Scott, I totally agree with you and Travers. The LPC should be front and centre defending this.

    • wilson

      So you think that in a very miniscule number of cases,
      where police walk away from a drug raid with only an unregistered firearms charge in their pocket,
      that justifies a law that makes the ‘assumption of guilt’, that EVERY Canadian that has on their property, a firearm that is not registered is automatically a criminal in federal law?
      Jed Clampet = Al Capone

      Don’t get me wrong Gayle, I want enforcement officers to have more tools to get the criminals.
      But we all know that even with a truck load of evidence, these guys often get off.

      • Gayle

        @wilson, How do you know they are miniscule?

        I think a little inconvenience for farmers to register their firearms in order to provide urban dwellers some sense of security is not too much to ask. Why are farmers so selfish?

        • wilson

          ‘sense of security’?
          It’s an emotional issue, not based on reality?

          If city dwellers want real security, the $8 million used to register duck hunters could put more police on the street, more youth programs etc.

          The police could make it a federal offence for any convict to possess a weapon of any kind and kevlar sheilds.

          It’s not about paper work, it’s about principle.

        • Gayle

          @Gayle, Funny – that is what I say about the minimum sentences, restricted parole etc. All of which take money away from policing and investigating crime.

          I assume you will be out there advocating against those measure too wilson?

          Next time try not to duck the issue. The registry is used as an investigatory tool. That assists the police in charging and convicting criminals. That is supposed to be what Harper wants, right? But I guess no one cares about the urban dwellers because it is just too much to ask farmers to fill out a form.

  • wilson

    Libs have to quit using silly comparisons to cars and dogs, it helps OUR side.

    Registering a vehicle does not stop people from driving like idiots, street racing, killing pedestrians, causing multi car pile ups, and killing WAY way more people every year than a long gun.

    Not registering a vehicle gets you a huge fine, collected by the Province,
    unlike an unregistered firearm which gets you jail time and a criminal record, without ever having been a threat to public safety.

    What registering a vheicle does is pump bucks into the Province, and helps the owner, sometimes, if the vehicle is stolen or has a lien against it, re: property registry.

    • Gayle

      @wilson, No, it doesn’t.

      What it does do is help the police investigate when a crime is committed with said vehicle. And they do that all the time.

      Just like the police used the gun registry to help solve the murders of four mounties in Mayerthorpe.

      When the police raid a suspected drug house and find a huge quantity of drugs, money and an unregistered firearm, do you think that firearm is being used to hunt rabbits? There is a reason to criminalize unregistered long guns – and I am not sure why urban people have to put their safety at risk because farmers find it inconvenient to fill out some forms.

      • wilson

        ‘…and an unregistered firearm, do you think that firearm is being used to hunt rabbits?”

        Obviously, there is the ‘possible intent’ to use the firearm in a crime, Gayle.
        And what are the chances that particular firearm was legally bought and registered?

        The police could check the GR and licence records, and find nothing. Should police enter a suspect building all happy that no guns will be inside?

        Question
        If the firearm was REGISTERED in your example,
        does that then mean there was NO intent to use in a crime, even if a criminal is in possession of the firearm?
        Can that, has that, been used as a ‘defense’ against criminal charge?

        The way the GR law is written,
        a farmer or hunter, having a rifle safely stored in a locked gun case is just as much a criminal as the situation you described.

        also
        Libs have to stop using overstatements in their appeal for retaining the GR.
        TorStar reporting:

        ‘Of the more than 10,000 daily queries, the average number directly related to the guns registered
        – the serial number or registration certificate –
        was 296 or 2.7 per cent.
        But that number is not broken down to long guns versus other firearms.’

        How many of the 296 (not 10K) GR inquiries are long guns?
        How many are hand guns, restricted firearms etc.

        Get all of your facts straight, or you guys can not make anything more than an EMOTIONAL appeal.

  • Big Winnie

    Amendments can be proposed to the bill which will then have to be voted on (3rd reading, if I understand policy matters correctly). I am looking forward to the committee meetings where the Police Chiefs/RCMP/victms will offer testimony as to why the registry should be kept.

    I’m still waiting to hear a compellng arguement why “law abiding” gun owners are being treated as criminals.

    • @Big Winnie,

      You aren’t being treated like criminals just like law abiding car owners are not being treated like criminals for registering their automobiles.

      • jimmyjim

        @Robert McClelland,

        And how many crimes a year do those car registrations prevent a year again? Ohhhh I forgot when there something happening the police can look it up and see how many cars are in the home, it is always good to know that. Unless they have have an unregistered car in the home, which police always approach as anyway. But it prevents so many car related deaths a year just knowing they are there.

      • wilson

        Robert McClelland,
        is it a Federal Offence to own an unregistered vehicle?
        is it a Federal Offence to drive and unregistered vehicle?
        No, the punishment is a ‘Provincial’ fine or a 24 hour notice.

  • jimmyjim

    By the way there is no way to gut it in committee. It is a one page long bill and committee can’t change the spirit of the bill in anyway.

    • @jimmyjim, It can be amended.. even Dave Mackenzie, my local Conservative MP who is anti-gun registry as anyone, acknowledges in a media interview in the local paper here that the No opposition members hold a majority on this committee and can do so. I’m not going to pull out the direct quote, but he says if they wish, they will attempt to water it down.

      • jimmyjim

        @Scott Tribe,

        This does not matter because in committee you can not change the spirit of the bill. It is really hard to amend a one page bill that says get rid of the gun registry with out changing the spirit. It wont be gutted in committee because it is so straight forward.

        • wilson

          Scott, perhaps Libs should focus on registering the person instead of the long gun.
          Are convicted criminals automatically put on a list of person’s banned from owning a firearm?
          That would help in the police having an additional Federal Offence charge.
          Shouldn’t a person actually be a criminal BEFORE possession of a registered or unregistered firearm is a criminal offence?

  • jimmyjim

    Tell you one thing there will be one NDP member working to swing votes the other direction. I hate the long gun registry and all it stands for. It is dead and no amount of urban rural divide will save it.

  • Conservative MPs in urban ridings should be targeted. That rural/urban divide swings both ways. Greg has put together a list to get started.

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