That Pesky Gun Registry Issue Again

The Regina Leader Post may not be the worst daily newspaper in Canada, I'm sure there are others as bad in other communities but if there are I'd wager they are owned and operated by CanWest too. I don't blame the reporters who I'd guess, short staffed and under budgeted, are doing the best they can and I have long thought that there may not actually be any editors working at the LP.

They really get under my skin when they report on things like gun control. A case in point. The headline to this story in the LP today was Police Divided Over Gun Registry.

Yesterday three predominant police groups, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Police Boards held a press conference in Ottawa to urge the government not to get rid of the long gun registry.

“The knowledge of who possesses firearms helps us to prevent tragic events virtually every day in this country,” said William Blair, Toronto police chief and president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Charles Momy, president of the Police Association, said if the registry “can prevent one person in this country from either committing suicide, from being injured or killed, or that a crime is solved as a result of information obtained by the registry, isn’t that worth it for all Canadians?”

Chief Frank Beazley of the Halifax Regional Police said “There is no question the system is a valuable tool. We have problems with rifles and shotguns as well as handguns. We need rigorous controls for both...The registry has made Canada a safer country. The registry has saved lives. We lose it at our peril. "

The RCMP that support the registry heeded Namcy Ruth's advice and chose not to be at the press conference.

The Harper government tried to counter the advice given by the police organizations by digging up a couple of embittered former members of the Winnipeg SWAT team to say the registry is ineffective. They failed to say the major reason for its ineffectiveness if that the Tories continue to give amnesty to people who refuse to register their guns.

The LP -and the CanWest News Service seem to support the scrapping of the legislation but lets look at the facts

• The gun registry is accessed by police in the job 11,000 times a day. Up to four million times a year.
• In 1991, more than 1400 Canadians were killed with guns, today it’s less than 800.
• The firearm homicide rate is down by 40% while the homicide rate without guns is down only 28%.
• The rate of homicides with rifles and shotguns and the rate of women murdered with guns have plummeted. Both the 1991 and 1995 legislation focused on strengthening controls on rifles and shotguns.
• Domestic homicides with firearms, suicide with firearms and robberies with firearms have also declined dramatically over the last decade.
• The rate of homicides with rifles and shotguns has decreased by 70% since 1991.
• Murders of women with guns plummeted from 85 in 1991 to 32 in 2004.

The gun registry has been an important tool in tackling domestic violence. Police use the registry as a crucial resource which allows both families and police to stay safe.

Why does the Harper "tough on crime" government want to scrap the registry? It is pure politics. These guys pander to the rural voters who see the registry as an infringement of their rights.

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