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Well said.

I said this briefly at the end of my piece a couple of blogposts ago, but Stephen Hume of the Vancouver Sun can’t be any more unequivocal: Scrapping the registry is bad policy and not what the majority of Canadians want:

Scrapping long-gun registry is pandering to vocal minority

The biggest risk for Harper’s Conservatives will be how women react, since women are predominantly victims of murder by long gun, a fact conveniently overlooked in mostly male anger over the registry. Yet an Ipsos Reid poll in 2006 found three out of four Canadians want stricter, not more permissive, gun controls. Most agree the gun registry is flawed. They want it fixed, not dismantled to appease special interests.

Most Canadians reject rural arguments that only handguns — the assumed weapon of choice for urban criminals — need to be controlled because rifles and shotguns are just benign implements in the hands of sober, law-abiding rural citizens who watch the crime waves in the cities and shake their wiser heads… recent studies in both the U.S. and Canada confirm that rates of domestic violence are comparable in urban and rural settings and a 2007 federal study reports that homicide rates in rural Canada are consistently high and that small-town Canada has higher overall crime rates than large cities. Furthermore, statistics show clearly that women are more likely to be murdered with a long gun than with a handgun. So much for the myth of the big, bad city and the moral superiority of a tranquil country life.

Mr. Hume lists some more stats, but here are the key ones and the key statement:

Eighty-five per cent of domestic homicides involving firearms were committed with a non-restricted rifle or shotgun. According to a 2007 study of family violence by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the victims of murder or attempted murder by a spouse or ex-spouse were women 87 per cent of the time… These statistics tell us that the decision by parliamentarians to scrap the long-gun registry is ideologically based pandering to a self-serving myth held by a minority of Conservatives and amplified by intense lobbying from a special interest group.

Here are some more editorials going against the decision, including another article on the police who support the long-gun registry, and a new release from the Canadian Emergency Physicians – folks who are most often to see the effect of long guns and rifles in the emergency operating room – also announcing their opposition to the repeal of the long gun registry:.

For emergency physicians these are real people whose demise by long gun bring tragedy to our emergency departments as we frantically try to save their lives. Families’ lives are shattered in a moment, and despite doing this regularly, we can never get used to witnessing their anguish. Dr. Carolyn Snider, a CAEP member and lead author of the peer reviewed and published “CAEP Position Statement on Gun Control” says “We recognize that the great majority of gun owners in Canada are responsible citizens. The long gun registry is not about treating them as criminals; it is about protecting the vulnerable among us. The recent vote is appalling. We will witness the tragic consequences of this bill.”

This is an issue the Liberals and NDP opposition parties simply cannot concede to the Conservatives. They must launch a campaign – starting during the Committee hearings – to galvanize opposition to the Conservatives plans here. The majority of Canadians live in urban centres. The majority of Canadians support tighter rules and firearms, as well as tweaking the bugs of the registry, not outright killing it.

I agree with some of those who say the supporters of the registry are not as passionate about defending it – it being one of many issues they might look at – as opposed to those wishing to kill the registry – many of them being single issue voters and the thing that drives them to the polls. This vote should be a wake up call to those folks who support the need for a long-gun registry, and it’s up to at least one of the opposition parties to make it even more crystal clear to them and galvanize critical opposition to the Conservatives’ attempts here to pander to their base. Hopefully, as I’ve been repeating, that will start at the Committee hearings on it.

38 comments to Well said.

  • Big Winnie

    Ray, show me where in the constituion where it says people have the right to bear arms. Also, gun usage is governed by the criminal code, not the constitution. Also your statements about police searches, questioning without representation, property seizures, is nothing more than fear mongering.

    • Ray

      I appolgize if I was unclear….after eading my comment I see that how I worded it could be mistaken. When I said
      “The Canadian Constitution incorporates all preivious English laws from the BNA as well as laws going back to the 1600’s. That’s where the right of Canadians to have arms comes from……again read the act and its in the pre-amble to the constitution”

      I did not mean to imply it was actually stated in exact words….if you read the preamble it clearly indicates that all previous rights thatwere in place in Canada are included in our current constitution. These rights go as far back as the Magna Carta. If I’m not mistaken this is where Candian’s right to “Armes for their Defense” comes into play. Please research everything.

      Secondly there is no FEAR MONGERING about this. That’s what’s written into Bill C-68. And as far as it not happening. It recently did in Toronto over a paperwork violation that took the police 13 years to discover

      • Ray

        If you need specifics try

        1) The Bill of Rights 1689

        2) Constitution act 1867

        If you go even further back you’ll find reference made to this being a RIGHT long before English common law was even thought of.

        All this is incorporated into the Canadian Constitution by the pre-ambles to the various Bills and Acts

  • Ray

    Scott, what you COMPLETELY FAIL to understand is that for a lot of owners of long guns it’s not just about having to register a firearm. It’s the blatant violation of the rights of any Canadian who owns a long gun.

    Try reading the act and you’ll soon see anyone owning a long gun looses all the rights that other Canadians have under the law.

    But then I guess that’s why you’re a liberal always wanting to deprive others of their legal rights and yes having arms for defense is part and parcel of our constitution…READ the LAWS of this Country and then make an informed case.

    • @Ray, you show me the part where the Canadian Constitution allows you a right to bear arms.

      You’re living in Canada, Ray.. not the US.

      • Ray

        Scott,

        The Canadian Constitution incorporates all preivious English laws from the BNA as well as laws going back to the 1600’s. That’s where the right of Canadians to have arms comes from……again read the act and its in the pre-amble to the constitution

        • Ray

          Also you’ve not responded to the loss of the right of firearms owners to be searched without a warrant, the right against having to answer any questions the police ask without a lawyer, the ability of the police to seize your personnal property, etc, etc….all without being charge with any crime or guilty of any crime.

          To put in the frame of infamous automobile argument. How would you feel if the police could enter your home (without a warrant) force you to answer any questions they have and seize your house and property when you’ve done nothing or nothing more than blocking a crosswalk with your vehicle

          And please don’t say the police will not do this without reason……the way bill C68 is worded they don’t need to have a reason to do this

        • Mentarch

          @Ray, how about pointing out to us your assertion, using the exact paragraphs and lines of the actual BNA. I just read it again and just can’t find this “right to bear arms”. Oh – and nor did I find anything to this effect in our 1982 Constitution Act, let alone in the preambule of our Canadian bill of rights

  • John

    This poll is depressing and basically contradicts everything you said Scott about the wide popularity of the gun registry:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/quebeckers-alone-in-wanting-gun-registry-saved-poll/article1359466/
    Even in Quebec 44% want the long-gun registry abolished, the Cons would love to get 30% of the vote there, let alone 44%.
    Basically the Liberals,NDP and Bloc have utterly FAILED to defend the registry over the years while the Cons kept hammering at it. Now the majority support the Con position. It may be too late for Liberals to make up lost ground. Very depressing indeed and sad that the opposition allowed this to happen by not being more forceful in defending the registry over the years. I’m sure the majority of the public now just sees it as a nuisance rather than as the useful tool for police that it is.

    • Richard

      John – one word makes all the difference.
      I’d be interested to know who paid the pollster to insert the word “long” in front of “gun registry”.

      • jimmyjim

        @Richard, Probably the person who actually read the legislation and realized that is what this arguement is about not the whole gun registry. Hand guns should be controlled and registered, where as long guns a simple licenses should be enough.

  • Gayle

    By the way, he did claim it had been stolen months before. The police were suspicious, however, because this claim was made the day after the mass murder and the gun was found with Rosko’s possessions.

    I don’t think you need to be a cop for that to raise a suspicion. This lead police to investigate this man.

    Or maybe you think police investigations rely on one piece of evidence to prove the entire case? If so, you need to educate yourself better. Usually it is one piece of evidence that leads the police to investigate further. In this case, tying the gun to Hennesy was enough to justify the undercover operation that lead to the evidence used to convict him.

  • Gayle

    Sigh. It was the gun registry and a confession. And if there had been no confession, it woukd have been just the gun registry.

    What if there had been no confession? What if the guy who received the confession did not come forward? What if the confession was not admissible in court?

    There would have been the firearm, registered to the grandfather of one of the men who assisted Rosko, and they woukd have been able to arrest him.

    Do you think the police are lying when they say they use the registry to help solve crime?

  • Gayle

    Are you having trouble reading?

    I am not claiming the registry prevents crime. That is the false premise people like you cling to in order to argue against the registry.

    I am claiming it helps solve crimes – like the mass murder of four RCMP officers (I guess you missed that one when you claimed I did not provide an example of how the registry solves crime).

    Finally, neither drugs nor bananas are usually used to kill people. The only reason you do not like that point is that it hurts the dubious position you are trying to take. Cops are not worried about gang bangers with marihuana, or bananas. They are worried about gang bangers with guns.

    • jimmyjim

      @Gayle, Really the gun registry helped solve the crime of the guy who was prohibited from owning weapons, and who the police knew to be violent? Quite the useful tool it must have been when they knew he did it and they ran his name through it. You have proved your point so well.

      am for gun control but smart gun control, no gun control for the sack of gun control. That seems to be the Liberal position as of late.

      • jimmyjim

        @jimmyjim, I might add to this:

        “What led investigators to investigate Hennessey and Cheeseman was a registry hit linking Hennessey’s grandfather to a rifle, having nothing to do with the crime, found on Roszko’s property. In fact, media reports have indicated that all Hennessey had to do to make a dead end in the investigation was say that the rifle had been stolen. It was in fact Cheeseman’s boss, Brad McNish, who came forward with a tip for the police implicating Cheeseman, and a subsequent police sting operation yielded a (what might be considered bogus) confession”

        from the london free press. So it wasn’t the registry at all but a tip from someone close to the person which actually cracked that case but it wont stop you Gayle from clinging to this story. The gun registry has been around for 10 years almost and you have one embellished story nice.

    • Richard

      I reject your premise. There is overwhelming evidence, in fact it is almost universally true that societies with lower rates of gun ownership have lower incidence of gun crime, and lower incidence of crime in general. The gun regsitry makes it a pain in the ass to acuire more guns, therefore it likely has a genuine impact on the long term reduction of crime.
      Crime rates, inlcuing gun crimes, and most particularly crimes involving long guns have gone down every year since the regsitry came in to existence. There’s no proof of correlation, but tell me, all you sceptics, what statistic would you need to see in order to believe the gun registry helped?

      • Gayle

        @Richard, Not sure if that was directed at me.

        Truth is I believe it does reduce gun drime, however it is difficult to prove. The reason the gun lobby seize on this and claim it is the purpose of the registry is because it IS so hard to prove.

        What is not hard to prove is the usefulness of the registry as a criminal investigation tool.

        Those of us who suppor the registry need to start choosing the basis of the argument.

        • Richard

          Nope. Those of us who support the registry need to donate the same amount of money to the ONLY party who has ever brought in good gun laws, just like our opponents do for the only party that would rescind them. Until that happens, the gun nuts will beat us every time.

  • KC

    Maybe you should not ignore the facts.

    I’m not ignoring facts. You’re failing to bring any forward. At least any relevant to the issue of whether or not a long gun registry is effective in reducing crime.

    Are you not interested in bringing murderers who kill with long guns to justice? Does it just not matter to you or something?

    Nice appeal to emotion. Show me HOW a registry brings murderers who kill with long guns to justice. It isn’t a balistics registry. You can’t use it to trace a bullet back to a registered firearm.

    Sure it did not prevent the crime, but what is wrong with a registry that helps solve the crimes? Did you ever consider that solving crimes puts the bad guys in jail? Are you against that?

    Evidence that the gun registry solves crimes please. I havent seen any.

    As for the “stupid” argument, let me use the same example I used the other day. Police get a warrant to search the residence of a known gang member for drugs. No drugs are found, but an unregistered gun is. They cannot charge him with the drugs, but they can charge him with having an unregistered firearm.

    While we’re at it why don’t we just criminalize bananas so then people would NEVER get off on a crime because everyone has a banana. This is a stupid, illiberal argument. People should be acquitted or convicted on the basis of the case. We shouldnt make up faux laws for those circumstances when we can’t make a case stick. I have no interest in living in a police state.

    you might have failed to notice this, but marihuana is rarely, if ever, used to kill people. Guns are.

    Thats not the point. We shouldn’t have laws that ban X in case we can’t make a case for possession of Y. I call that doing an end run around the presumption of innocence.

  • Luke

    From 1999 to 2008 approx 16,000 people had their firearm licence taken away because they were deemed to be a threat to public safety. Some reasons for a firearm licence to be revoked are; a history of violence, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information. So I guess criminals do register their firearms. Yes I do know the difference between a firearm licence and registration certificates. Stay with me here.

    These 16,000 people now have to dispose of their firearms under the direction of the Registrar of Firearms. The Registrar of Firearms is notified of all licence revocations, is responsible for revoking all associated registration certificates, and works to ensure proper disposal of the firearms. Now if these firearms weren’t registered how would the authorities know how many firearms a person must get rid of?

    The criminal doesn’t register their firearms? So where do they get them? Do they make them in their basements.

    So if only non-registered firearms were used in all crimes, don’t it make sense to have all the firearms registered then there won’t be any more firearm related crime.

    • jimmyjim

      @Luke, There are around 4 gun for every household in Canada or about 20 million out there. 7 million of them are registered. You are crazy if you think it is hard to get one which isn’t registered. Where do they get them? When people ask these questions it shows how silly those who fight for the registry are. I could go out and buy one tomorrow. There are only 13 million or so of them out there Luke they aren’t making them in their basement they are buying them. Around 70% of all fire arms aren’t registered in Canada.

      “So if only non-registered firearms were used in all crimes, don’t it make sense to have all the firearms registered then there won’t be any more firearm related crime.”

      There are about as many knife crimes in Canada as firearm crimes you start advocating for registering those tomorrow and we can talk ok? But you wont.

  • jimmyjim

    Look the problem is those who are against the registry are really against it, and those who are for it vote on all kinds of other issues. If we are playing politics it is a losing situation to fight the fight to keep it. It just is, because those who are against it will go to the polls just out of spite and those who are for it wont.

    Our system isn’t based on the will of the majority it is based on the opinion of the majority of voters. Sad but true. I bet if you asked 51% of people butter there toast on a plate and 49% butter it in their hand but they don’t vote on that difference do they?

    • Gayle

      @jimmyjim, Right, which is why, if the liberals are serious about the registry, they have to come out and fight for it. Maybe explaining WHY the police want the registry would be a good start.

  • Roll Tide

    I do not own a gun, and do not care for guns.
    However, the criminal is not going to register his gun, this is only a big brother harassment on the law abiding citizen.

  • KC

    Minimum sentences don’t result in less crime, and jails cost a lot more than the registry, so why aren’t you out there complaining about that?

    I acknowledge that mandatory minimums don’t reduce crime, and have stated so before. Its pretty funny watching this debate between left and right juxtaposed against the mandatory minimums debate. This time its the LEFT refusing to provide real evidence that the gun registry works, appealing to broader public opinion, and resorting to emotional appeals.

    Besides, how about the fact that the registry is a tool for crime investigation – such as in the Mayerthorpe murders of four Mounties

    Those four mounties are still dead and the gun registry did nothing to stop it. This is what I don’t understand about the pro-registry argument. How does it help police? Where is the nexus? ‘Oh good there are no guns registered to this address so we’re just going to stroll up to the front door as if that isn’t a possibility’ or ‘it turns out that man who murdered his wife did it with a registered firearm… good to know’.

    How about the fact the registry provides a legal means through which law enforcement can detain, search and arrest criminals?

    Lol this is one of the same stupid arguments that is used in favour of continued prohibition of marijuana. ‘Maybe the law itself doesn’t make sense but we can clean up some vagrants in the process so its worth it in the end’.

    I’m really wanting to find a good reason to keep the registry since the worst of the expense is already sunk, and its not that expensive to keep around. But I haven’t heard anything to persuade me that the registry makes a lick of difference.

    • Gayle

      @KC, Maybe you should not ignore the facts.

      Are you not interested in bringing murderers who kill with long guns to justice? Does it just not matter to you or something?

      One of the guys who helped Rosko gave him a gun that was registered to his grandfather. Said gun was one piece of evidence that led to his capture and conviction.

      Sure it did not prevent the crime, but what is wrong with a registry that helps solve the crimes? Did you ever consider that solving crimes puts the bad guys in jail? Are you against that?

      As for the “stupid” argument, let me use the same example I used the other day. Police get a warrant to search the residence of a known gang member for drugs. No drugs are found, but an unregistered gun is. They cannot charge him with the drugs, but they can charge him with having an unregistered firearm.

      I guess you have something against that too.

      PS you might have failed to notice this, but marihuana is rarely, if ever, used to kill people. Guns are.

      I know, why don’t we just forget even having police. The fact they solve crimes doesn’t prevent them, so why are we spending so much money on them?

  • Good post Scott.

    Love this ridiculously misguided argument: “So I assume I can install a camera in your bedroom? I mean, you’re not doing anything illegal, right?”

    Sure.

    The registry was not mounting a camera on the backside of your scope – aimed at you. THAT would be a privacy issue. Where do these nuts come from? The woodwork seems to be rich with nuts… Must be walnut or something…

    Of course, if you had said a fireplace in said bedroom, it’s pretty highly likely that IT is also regulated by your municipality. The argument against registering and “rights” (which DON’T exist vis-a-vis guns) is simply a ruse that a well-funded lobby is casting over a gullible public… (who aren’t quite that gullible yet – still largely in favor of stricter gun control).

  • Gayle

    Sigh…

    Minimum sentences don’t result in less crime, and jails cost a lot more than the registry, so why aren’t you out there complaining about that?

    Besides, how about the fact that the registry is a tool for crime investigation – such as in the Mayerthorpe murders of four Mounties. How about the fact the registry provides a legal means through which law enforcement can detain, search and arrest criminals?

    If the LPC want to win on this isse, they better start defining it as a criminal investigation tool instead of allowing the CPC to continue with this false premise as a crime reduction tool.

  • KC

    Im still waiting to see one piece of solid evidence that the gun registry helps to reduce gun violence. None of these stats supports that proposition.

  • ASME

    Richard, I’m with you.

  • I read that right- wing in the US pay the Cons up here to scrap it…is that where they get all their money?

    • billg

      Yes that’s where the Cons get all their money. They also get money from the mafia, murderers, rapists, con artists, cat burglers, grumpy white men, anti-abortionists, neo-nazi’s, cannabals and of course…Satan himself pays a huge amount to the CPC. I’m sure if Hitler, Tojo and Musolini were alive they would also contribute. With all those forces of evil its no wonder the LPC keep slipping in the polls.

  • Richard

    As a taxpayer, I am offended that I have to pay any proportionate share of the financial cost to society that gun ownership brings. Hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal justice, health care and security costs that get paid out of my taxes. Make the gun owners pay for it. I don’t own a gun. I don’t want a gun. I don’t want them in my community. And I hate seeing my tax dollars siphoned away to keep gun enthusiasts happy.

    But I recognize that my feelings on the issue may not jive with others in society, or in my community. So here’s the deal: I’m prepared to let you keep your gun, despite the cost and risks that it imposes on me, as long as you and your gun-toting brethren are prepared to foot the bill.

    • jimmyjim

      @Richard, You do know there are as many knife related crimes as gun related crimes in Canada right? So I changed your statement to make you dumb.

      “As a taxpayer, I am offended that I have to pay any proportionate share of the financial cost to society that knife ownership brings. Hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal justice, health care and security costs that get paid out of my taxes. Make the knife owners pay for it. I don’t own a knife (I own a gun). I don’t want a knife. I don’t want them in my community. And I hate seeing my tax dollars siphoned away to keep knife enthusiasts happy.

      But I recognize that my feelings on the issue may not jive with others in society, or in my community. So here’s the deal: I’m prepared to let you keep your knife, despite the cost and risks that it imposes on me, as long as you and your knife-toting brethren are prepared to foot the bill.”

      See how your argument doesn’t hold when we see that it isn’t the guns creating the crimes it is the criminals. If you get rid of guns knife crimes go up, look at Briton.

      • Richard

        Ah but jimmyjim, who’s being stupid now? I own a knife. As do all of my neighbours, and most people in my community. I challenge you to point to more than a dozen people in this country who do not, otherwise your rewrite of my statement is ridiculous. I more than accept the social utility of knife ownership. Just about everyone has a drawer full of them. How else would I cut my steak?

  • The Rat

    Besides, nothing to hide why be afraid?

    So I assume I can install a camera in your bedroom? I mean, you’re not doing anything illegal, right? You have no real need for privacy and the government would never use those tapes against you, I’m sure.

    But Scott, how about doing a little more than parroting meaningless stats. Even if 100% of all domestic murders were committed with long guns it’s not the percentage that counts but how many per 1000 people. What is the REAL risk of long guns? There are apparently 8,000,000 long guns in Canada and how many of those are EVER used in a crime?

    You deal in fear, irrational fear, and fear for political profit. Fortunately political fear cuts both ways and enough MPs are more worried about losing their seats than they are about pleasing people like you.

  • slg

    Their argument – freedom – privacy/info. Duh, the government gets all the info on you when you do your income tax.

    Besides, nothing to hide why be afraid?

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