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Importance of the gun registry…

… to victims of gun crimes.

The Cons aren’t going to change their dogmatic minds on this as they pander to rural votes (picture an Alberta rancher out huntin’ coyotes!), but the Registry works – at least to some degree. Knowing if there are arms in a house before knocking on a door is an invaluable piece of intelligence for law enforcement folks. Even if you dispute the effectiveness of preventing gun crimes, you can’t deny that.

The operating costs are not high, and it is praised by the RCMP and the body that represents Canadian Chiefs of Police.

As a rule, I don’t trust cops or their opinions a helluva lot… yeah, yeah, I know that there are exceptions… but this is one area where i think we should take their word for it.

But I’m blowing into the wind here… and I know it.


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  1. MICK2222 says:

    I read the gun registry news and editorials often. One repeating theme, arguing for the registry is “Knowing if there are arms in a house before….” I feel compelled to set the record straight when I can.

    I am a firearms owner and I know the laws and system very well. The Long-gun registry has absolutely NO information about the location of firearms…. only the legal ownership. I could “legally” have 100 borrowed guns in my closet and not be listed on the registry.

    The list of “Possession and Acquisition (PAL)Licence” holders is a much more accurate list of the “location” or “possession” of legally possessed guns. This list existed before the registry and will also remain when the registry is gone. The registry is serving no purpose.

  2. Andrew E says:

    Evolving Squid wrote:
    “As for what the police chiefs think, well, they want warrantless search powers for internet traffic too, so by the same logic we should just give that to them? I’m sure they’d be happy if we scrapped the charter of rights too. Sorry, the opinion of police chiefs may be interesting but is hardly a conclusive argument.”

    That’s an excellent point… readers may not be aware that the CACP was in fact against the Charter.

    In their letter of January 27, 1981, the CACP wrote to the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada to express their outrage at the legal rights which were to be enshrined (and now form part of) the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The CACP argued in strident opposition to such crucial freedoms as the right to counsel, the right to silence, the right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

    The CACP wrote that upon examining these proposed rights – which now form the backbone of Canadian constitutional protections – they were “distressed and totally confused”. Enshrining these rights in the constitution would, in the CACP’s opinion, “effectively emasculate law enforcement”. They claimed that as a result of these rights, Canadians would be “the eventual losers”.

    History has proven them wrong. These rights and freedoms have been entrenched in the Canadian constitution for nearly thirty years. Law enforcement has not been emasculated and Canadians, despite the dire predictions of the CACP, have only won out, protected by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Also, on Aug. 20, 2010 a story broke of a poll of front-line officers’ opinions of the long gun registry. It was conducted by Edmonton Police Services Detective Randy Kuntz in Blue Line magazine. The results as reported were that “2,410 of the 2,631 officers from across the country …believe “inaccurate” data from the registry is affecting police safety in every province and territory.”

    The CACP is a lobby organization which aims to advance its own interests. Often, those objectives are laudable and should be supported. However, with regard to the Gun Registry, much like the Charter of Rights, the CACP is simply out of step with the needs of ordinary Canadians and front-line police officers.

    (Note: The CACP letter can be found in Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, at 47:25.)

    1. I think it’s important, after my recent posts, to make it clear that I am not against gun control in general, but am against ineffective measures.

      Obviously, our level of gun control is effective at some level – we have less crime involving firearms than the USA, even accounting for population density and so on.

      Being against the long gun registry does not mean being against gun control. I like the idea that you need licences and training, for example, to purchase firearms. I like the idea that automatic weapons are banned and semi-automatic need to be registered and have restrictions on their movement.

      I even suggested in writing to (then justice minister) Kim Campbell that firearms owners be required to carry 3rd party liability insurance, much as the provinces require with automobiles.

      However, gun control on otherwise law-abiding citizens has limits on its effectiveness. Strong, enforced measures on gun crime need to be used as well. Unfortunately, gun charges are typically plea-bargained away very quickly… that is a major weakness in our gun control that needs to be addressed, and it’s not something that ANY registry is going to sort out, long-gun or otherwise.

  3. Oh, addressing the two points at hand.

    The mothers link is a simple appeal to emotion. While I can empathise with their feelings, their anger and desires are misdirected. As previously stated, it is demonstrable that the long gun registry does not prevent or even reduce gun crime.

    As for what the police chiefs think, well, they want warrantless search powers for internet traffic too, so by the same logic we should just give that to them? I’m sure they’d be happy if we scrapped the charter of rights too. Sorry, the opinion of police chiefs may be interesting but is hardly a conclusive argument.

    I do disupute the value of the police knowing whether guns are present. Based on the observation that gun crime has not been reduced substantially over the life of the long gun registry, I am forced to conclude that the police knowing that information has been of no effect. I can understand that they want to know it and why – indeed, there was a time when I backed that position 100%. But with time I have been forced to conclude that having that informatoin has not been useful.

  4. The operating costs are not high in the grand scheme of government programs, on that i’ll agree.

    however, the results are embarrassingly low, even on the scale of government programs. I pointed this out clearly in another thread. The very statistics you posted show that there is no decline in the number of gun victims in real numbers or by a per-capita view, and that the decline in suicides, if wholly attributed to the gun registry, is minimal.

    The government is spending millions each year to save essentially nobody. Worse, it’s pretty demonstrable that the guns a lot (most?) criminals use aren’t registered long guns anyway.

    Therefore, I say that the long gun registry should be scrapped because it is wasteful. The money spent on it can be better spent on mental health (to reduce suicide) and actual crime prevention. The long gun registry is clearly not an effective mechanism to reduce crime or otherwise save lives.

    This is an EASY argument to make. Pro-registry people use logical fallacies like the appeal to emotion (Ooo, think of the victims of gun crime), but that doesn’t make them right.

    When I think of the victims of gun crime, I wish we had effective measures to deal with the crime and the money to support those measures. Money that could come by cancelling ineffective, window-dressing measures like the long gun registry.

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