Abolishing the gun registry: following the links as suggested - Macleans.ca

Abolishing the gun registry: following the links as suggested

How is having to register a rifle more of an affront than all of the elements of gun control the Conservatives say they will retain?


It’s not fair, I suppose, to expect Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to have cleaned up all the inconsistencies on federal government websites in advance of his announcement yesterday that the long-gun registry is about to be, not only dismantled, but obliterated so all that expensively compiled data on guns can never be used again.

Still, I found it surprising that at the bottom of the background document his department provided yesterday, Abolishing the Long-Gun Registry: Proposed Reforms to the Firearms Act and Criminal Code, I found a note helpfully suggesting a visit to the RCMP’s Canada Firearms Program website.

Surprising because the RCMP has routinely provided, on that very website, sensible information about the registry and its usefulness, all running counter to Toews’ overheated arguments. Indeed, when I dutifully followed the link provided, I found myself reading the latest “facts and figures” released on the registry, under this brief explanatory note:

The registration of firearms links firearms and their licensed owners, thereby enhancing owners’ accountability for safe storage and use of firearms. A centralized, on-line, secure database of firearms information helps police and other public safety officials carry out investigations efficiently and effectively enabling them to quickly trace a firearm to its last lawful owner.

It’s hard to square that common-sensical summary of the aim of the registry with Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s comment yesterday, as she stood with Toews to announce the scrapping of the registry, that it had “unfairly targeted law-abiding Canadians, specifically law-abiding firearms owners, as criminals for simply owning a long gun.”

Regardless of whether the registry was worth the cost or not, how is it reasonable to declare that asking gun owners to register their weapons was tantamount to calling them criminals?

How is having to register a rifle or shotgun more of an affront than all of the elements of gun control that the Conservatives hasten to say they will retain, including the need to get a licence to own a gun, to pass a training course, to clear a police background check, and, yes, to register restricted firearms like handguns?

All these rules will continue to apply to law-abiding Canadians, and the imposition of them hardly amounts to calling those gun owners criminals. The registry was no different. Pretending it was is cynical in the extreme.


Abolishing the gun registry: following the links as suggested

  1. None of it makes any sense, it’s just another ideological dead-end.

    • you mean like the gun registry legislation was

      • We already had a gun registry…we just added long guns to it.

        • Yes…we always had a very strict hand gun registry with many many rules required to buy and transport a hand gun.  There were never rules for long guns.  When they added the long guns, they did not require the same stringent rules as the hand guns because they understood that would be ridiculous.  The entire registry was a huge cost over run and a PR ploy to make people think they would be safer when in fact, criminals never register their guns….well, I should say some of the gun used in crimes probably have been register…those used in domestic crimes…murder/suicides.

          • Registering your car doesn’t prevent traffic accidents either.

          • Of course it does. People drive more responsibly knowing that their vehicle can be easily identified by a license plate. Registration also means your vehicle has to pass a safety, which will obviously ensure there are fewer accidents.

          • @Rick_Omen:disqus 

            Thank you for supporting the gun registry.

          • Forget the analogy: registering your long gun does little, if anything, in preventing gun crimes. It may aid in the resolution of a crime after it has been committed (although it’s not obvious to me how this can be very commonplace), but it won’t make any real difference in crime prevention.

            As long as a gun owner must be licensed in order to own a gun, said owner is already in one or more government and/or police databases. Providing additional information on how many of what kind of guns this person owns really doesn’t seem to add a whole lot. As soon as a person is flagged as being a gun owner, then any sensible police officer will take all necessary precautions when dealing with the owner, regardless of the owner’s gun count (which may or may not be accurate).

            FTR, I’m an urban dweller who’s never seen a gun (long or hand) except a) belonging to a police officer, and b) being used by one drug dealer to eliminate another drug dealer when I happened to be minding my own business driving home from work. Since IMO the long gun registry provides little, if any, benefit for the public and little, if any, hardship on the gun owner, I have no real interest in its life or death. But I do find it annoying that people like to market it “as a remedy for urban gun crime and one-off atrocities like the École Polytechnique massacre” as Chris Selley mentions in his critique at http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/10/27/chris-selleys-full-pundit-the-national-shark-fin-registry-%E2%80%94-coming-soon/.

            BTW, another “interesting” experience I’ve had with guns is hearing the gun shots of a gangster assassin killing another gangster 1/2 block from where I live during a time in the evening when my kids could have been out and about. Needless to say the registry was totally irrelevant to that incident as well.

            In short, it’s my opinion that the long gun registry was an attempt by the government of the day to appear to be doing something about gun crime, while actually doing very, very little. It was a lazy approach to gun crime that did nothing to make urban dwellers like myself any safer, but provided cover for the government. And, sadly, the government of the day couldn’t even do this competently, and ended up spending $2 billion to set it up.

          • @9d83ef14a9c0952558dcc30f93618991:disqus 

            We’ve had a gun registry since 1934, and it’s worked just fine.

            The money to upgrade it has already been spent, so to eliminate the upgrading now just means you will have nothing to show for it.

          • We have had a gun registry since 1934. It’s never been used to solve a crime- No criminal has ever been stupid enough to leave a gun registered to himself at the scene of a crime.

            The use of the very type of gun -pistols- that have been registered since 1934 has been increasing steadily as the type of firearm used in homicides.

            What to make of it? Administrative gun control laws are a political response to a social problem. They are irrelevant to reducing serious crime.

          • @FT_Ward:disqus 

            A gun registry registers guns.

            That makes them traceable.

            Yes, criminals have left registered guns at the scene of the crime….theirs or someone elses. 

            Crime has been dropping steadily in Canada for years.

  2. I can’t wait until the abolish the car registry. 

    • Registering births, deaths, and marriages is a clear infringement on privacy.  Are we going to allow everyone to be treated as a criminal just because we were born?

      • Gotta fill those prisons somehow.

      • Well…births and deaths allow us to keep track of things like citizenship and the census; marriage registration is necessary for income tax purposes.  If you find them an infringement on your privacy, you could give up your citizenship and leave the country. 

        • Well…births and deaths allow us to keep track of things like citizenship and the census; 

          Not any more. As  this guy is finding out, a birth certificate is useless in the eyes of the Stephen Harper Government. And the census… well… there’s not much more to say about that. 

          • Okay…the birth certificate allows those of us born in the country to people that are not diplomats to keep track of our citizenship??
            As for the census….I filled out my “short form” not that long ago.  It is the long form that is now “voluntary”.

    • Do you have to notify the police every time your car leaves your property?

      A gun owner does, which is strange given you are more likely to kill someone with your car than he is going to kill someone with his gun.

      • Now to be fair….the only gun owners who have to phone in are the hand gun owners. 

        • Ah, my mistake.  I was under the impression you had to notify the police whenever you moved a long gun as well.

          Still, quite annoying for the handgun owners if you just want to go to the shooting range.

          • Actually many of them store the guns at the shooting range.  I am sure they are used to this rule as it has been in place for decades.

          • Make gun ownership really, really inconvenient!

            These are deadly weapons! Personally I’ve known one person who nearly lost his life to a long gun (no crime involved–though he did have to spend three month recuperating from a collapsed lung) and another who got shot (though survived) by a hand gun in an actual crime (that’s what you get for being in my line of work :-(.There is no excuse for allowing people to possess guns outside of the controlled environment of a shooting range. If people want to use them for hunting they need to be fully accountable and TRACEABLE at all times with easy access for the police. Of course, this current Federal gov’t sees increased gun crime or police deaths as something advantageous. It allows them to build more jails and to scare people. By taking away the oversight on guns it allows them to reduce the disincentive for people to use them and increase the likelihood that someone’ll end up in jail (or that they’ll be able to scare people into building more jails so their corporate buddies can get rich off of building and running them).

            How the morons that vote Conservative can live with the knowledge that they’re making it easier to possess and use guns in society is beyond me. I guess it’s because they’re largely older and thus are house-bound that they don’t care what happens to the most vulnerable in society.

    • Actually, I understand the car registry is in place because a car is a valuable item and if stolen the vin number helps you retrieve it……just something I heard. 

  3. The boys and girls are following their brain-dead agenda. Fine. Mandate !
    But they have great difficulty resisting the temptation to rub peoples’ noses
    in it.

  4. Incorrect.

    It introduced a new registry requirement to a longstanding legal environment of not requiring item-by-item registration of long guns once obtaining the general firearms permit. Not because there was any particular evidence that farmers and ranchers were a troubling source of gun crime, but as a post-Marc Lepine symbolic gesture. 

    That’s the difference – it did start from an assumption that all firearms (even those impractical for use in a Montreal-style spree) were so dangerous and prone to criminal misuse that it was essential government know the number, make and model of all guns owned by an individual. That’s treating peaceful citizens like potential criminals in my book.

    (It’s also a bit of a stretch to jump on contradictions between RCMP PR for a policy they liked, and the statements of a government that has always been against said policy, don’t you think?)

    • And again, how is this different from handgun ownership? Are you arguing we should eliminate that registry as well?

      • Handguns are impractical for utility uses like hunting or pest control that don’t necessarily involve use on a person. Not that I feel that registry is particularly useful either, but at least there’s a clearer line between more justified control/less justified control.

        • There’s whole groups of handgun owners that would dispute you on those assertions. And personally, I can see a hand gun being much more useful for certain types of pest control than a long gun. Ever try to get a rifle under a trailer?

        • I think that’s what Lepine’s justification was: Pest control.

      • The handgun registry is about as useful as the long gun registry.  The only difference is that Canadian firearms owners don’t seem to care about registering handguns.  It appears to be just a Canadian quirk.

        • I believe it is because Canadians have had to register hand guns for a very long time and have had very strict rules around procuring and transporting hand guns for a long time as well.  Hand guns are not part of Canadian culture.  Long guns are used for hunting and by farmers and ranchers to protect their herds.  They were shocked by the stuipidity of the registry as no hunter or farmer has ever gone on a shooting spree.

          • No shooting spree. They just kill their wives and children, ON PURPOSE. Or, they kill their hunting buddy by accident.

            Long guns are safe! And, while we’re at it, I’ve got some prime real-estate in Detroit for you for a mere $1 000 000. It’s waterfront property!

      • yes. Why not? How many murders are committed by people with registered handguns versus illegal ones. Hint, check your local Jamaican neighborhood.

        • And how many of those handguns are registered?

        • This is the kind of racist nonsense that doesn’t make sense and gives small town Canada a bad name.

          If you want to see murders go visit small town, white Canada. The murder rate in small towns is higher than in big cities? Why is that? Is it perhaps that gun ownership in big cities is lower than in small towns? Is it perhaps that we don’t have as many white people in big cities as in small towns? Hmmm…!!! Is it perhaps that we have more Jamaicans than in small towns?

          Whatever it is you just put your racist ignorance on display for the world to see.

    • Of course, the registry does make it easier to return stolen firearms to their rightful owners…

      • Police destroy guns, they don’t return them.

  5. You’re on the right track.  The registry would be all the RCMP claims it to be if it were not for the fact that the RCMP use it to harass law-abiding citizens.  Due to the poor wording in the original Bill C-68 (or as some believe, the ulterior motives of the then government), the registry has always been more than a reference list for the police, it’s a checklist of people for the police to harass and loiter over.  The only crimes solved by using the registry are crimes that are caused by having a registry.  The police use the registry to confiscate firearms and lay charges against people who aren’t commiting a crime aside from having lapsed paperwork.  The whole program comes off to most firearms owners as a deception to harass a specific segment of the poulation.

    • Ah, so you’re saying that there hasn’t been even a single crime committed with a long-gun that the police used the registry for to lead them to a possible suspect?


      • So, the registry IS a means of registering the activities of all long-gun owning citizens citizens in case SOME of them end up being criminals?

        I can’t believe that the response to this move by the Tories is actually making me start to RETHINK my support for the long-gun registry.

        • Same arguments apply to hand guns, vehicles, etc. We register all of these things even though only a portion are involved in criminal activity. Pretty much any argument that applies to any of them applies to all of them.

          However, what “activities” beyond purchasing/selling a long-gun does did the registry monitor? You seem to be implying it was quite invasive some how, so perhaps I’m ignorant as to all of what it was demanding.

          • You have to notify the police whenever your car leaves your property do you?

          • Actually Thwim, someone mentioned on another blog that vehicles are registered because they are very expensive items that are often stolen and the VIN allows the vehicle to returned to you, the rightful owner.

      • That’s correct.  There hasn’t been a single reported case where the long gun registry was needed to solve a crime.  That’s what fingerprints and forensics are for.  Put it this way, just because your name is associated with a firearm doesn’t mean you’re guilty of commiting a crime with that gun (aside from forgetting to renew your paperwork).  What leads to convictions is your fingerprints and DNA on the gun and casings.

        • So no leads ever came from the registray? That’s what you’re asserting?

          Do you anything that isn’t pulled from your arse to back that up?

          • Apparently the police do check the long gun registry before going to a domestic call to see if anyone in the residence has a gun registered…I do not know if they count on that information however, I am sure they approach all homes as though the person does have a lethal weapon (just in case).

          • I expect so, yes.  However, I would wager that when they see there’s a gun in the place, they place a higher priority on that case than on the same case without a registered gun.

            In a world with limited police resources.. that’s important.

          • No, the lookup is automated. It is not “checked”, the data is simply fed. Also, no, they most certainly do not rely on it,  all precautions are still taken.

          • Well listen that guy with the axe just about did in the police officer as easily as if he had been carrying a gun….they had to shoot him anyway.

          • Really? From 20 feet away? Hell of a throw with that axe.
            “as easily” has a specific meaning.

          • No, the officer knocked on the door.  The man with the axe came out swinging. The officer backed down the stairs, tripped, hit his head on the cement and went unconcious..his partner shot the man with the axe who was going to kill the dead officer.

          • How can I provide you with a statistic that is zero?  Scour the Internet and see for yourself.  Even the coalition for gun control can’t produce a single case where the registry was necessary in solving a crime. 

      • The Calgary police chief says the registry is useless because no criminals register their guns and so they don’t retrieve any guns that they can trace using the registry.  Having said that, I am sure some of the long-guns on the registry have been used in murder/suicides and suicides.

        • Okay. That’s certainly a valid point. I’m surprised that the Calgary police haven’t retrieved any at all, but I don’t have the facts to question that.

          Of course, one has to remember that enforcement of the registry in Alberta has been pretty damn lax, with even prominent politicians openly flouting the law and no charges coming from it. Given that, I’m not sure that we should generalize Calgary’s experience.

          • “I’m surprised the Calgary Police haven’t retrieved any at all”

            Seriously?!  I already told you the registry hasn’t been used to solve any crimes.  If it were, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police would be shouting the numbers and figures until they were blue in the face.

            Honestly, what do you think the registry is?  Law abiding people don’t commit crimes. 

        • About 80% of firearms-caused deaths in Canada are self-inflicted, and almost all of those are suicides.  I imagine that a suicide does not take into consideration whether the gun used is registered.

          • Does that include “suicide by police”?

          • 2% of firearms deaths are police shootings.

            3% are accidental.  

            The rest are legitimate homicides.

            The majority of homicides involve spouses shooting each other and gang violence.

            For youth intervention programs and support programs for battered spouses, that $1 Billion would have been mighty useful.

            But it doesn’t matter to the majority of commentators here that the money was and is foolishly spent and that registry doesn’t do anything productive.  It is all about fighting a culture war.

    • Paranoid much?

  6. I don’t have to register a car,  just if I want to drive it and I don’t go to jail if I fail to do so.  That is why I’m a criminal.   It also gives police services unwarranted search and seizure rights to my home just because I’ve identified myself as a firearms owner.

    The RCMP information would be usefull if it was complete, as it stands by the RCMPs own estimates only half of firearms and owners ever got registered if you use their ‘middle of the road statistic. The media reports their bare minimun statistic as to the numbers of owners and firearms because the RCMP had to guess how many there were to start and they use that statistic to show ‘compliance and success’

    Imagine you are a police officer and you show up at a womans apartment for a ‘domestic disturbance’ and no firearms are registered to her address.  Ooops what about that angry boyfriend!  Thats why when an Edmonton police officer conducted a straw poll over 90% said they would NEVER trust their lives to the registry

    • Trusting your life to it is, of course, idiotic. There will always be those who break the law and don’t register.

      However saying that’s a reason to not have the registry is like saying become some people will always commit murder we shouldn’t have a law against it. It’s poppycock as it assume only perfect enforcement is justification for legislation.

      • So, since a national DNA database of all citizens would be IMMENSELY helpful to police in separating the DNA of innocent people found at a crime scene from that of the criminals, and in tracking down witnesses to crimes, you’ll be lining up to hand in your blood sample when the time comes then?

        • Come on now. Are you seriously equating the two levels of intrusion, one asking for the registration of fire arms the other for a national DNA data bank?  It’s out of scale. I suppose the question is are the police using the registry as an excuse to hassle lawful gun owners or not, or is that overstated and worth the hassle if the registy is effective. [It is a great pity no non partisan body has studied the question] Given the heated rhetoric around this i think we need more then simple anecdotal evidence of that fact. If they are then scrapping would indeed be justified. 

          • You know, I did THINK that my DNA example was a hyperbolic exaggeration. An extreme rhetorical device used to illustrate my point (well, not MY point per se, but the point of view from which the Tories view this issue). However, elsewhere in the thread Thwim is asking me RIGHT NOW what exactly I find so heinous about a national DNA database? To quote Thwim “Hell, I wonder why we don’t get DNA and fingerprint samples from everybody at birth already.”

            So, apparently, my scary sci fi movie, totally “out of scale” hyperbolic example of the extreme, crazy, distopian possibilities that this kind of database might one day lead to is being met with calls of “Hey, that’s a pretty good idea!”

          • That’s what you get for throwing out hyperbolic examples of extreme, crazy, dystopian possibilities.  The LKO-inspired Bill C-1984: The Big Brother Loves You Only If He Knows Everything About You Act.  Congratulations.  You owe your conscience a beer, no, make that a keg.

          • You think that’s bad, I also made the comparison to the government establishing a registry to allow them to round up all of the nation’s kittens so that they can systematically torture and kill them all. Now I’m just waiting for someone to come along and say, “Hey, that’s brilliant! Why AREN’T we doing something about all these annoying kittens???”

          • That does it!  You can encourage dumbasses to spy on my chromosomes, but KITTENS?  Have you no shame, sir?

        • Hell, I wonder why we don’t get DNA and fingerprint samples from everybody at birth already. So absolutely.

          Beyond that, however, I’d suggest that the proportion of long-guns used in homicides compared to the number of long-guns out there vastly outstrips the number of people involved in homicides compared to the number of people out there, yes?

          • This question of yours makes me think of those boys who played Lacrosse at Duke University and got accused by a very ambitious DA of raping an exotic dancer.  What would he have done if he would have had samples of their DNA and finger prints on file?  We would all like to believe that the police and justice system are on the side of justice but it isn’t necessarily so.

          • Sorry, don’t know about the case. Do you have a summation?I’m guessing from the gist of your post that the DA falsified evidence somehow?

          • No, you can probably google the case.  It was few years ago.  Four university Lacrosse players at Duke University in the US were accused of rape and almost sent to jail.  It really was a set up.  Luckily there was no DNA evidence and the district attorney was evidentially charged with misconduct when it was proven that he ignored evidence that exonorated the boys included video tape of some of them in other locations at the time of the alleged rape.  Your comment that we should all give DNA and finger prints at birth made me think, that it SEEMS like a good idea until someone wants to “frame” you to further their own career in law enforcement.  Had that DA had those boys DNA or finger prints, he likely would have planted more evidence to get a conviction.

      • The real question would be: Do you think that putting a law on the books requiring someone to register their intent to murder would actually decrease the murder rate? And how many murderers do you think would actually register?

      • Time for some first-year crim theory!

        The element you’re not quite grasping correctly is deterrrence. The objectives of criminal law are, variously, some combination of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restitution. 

        Homicide is prohibited largely on the grounds of retribution (punishing for the harm done), incapacitation (preventing the offender from doing it again), rehabilitation, and restitution – but not really deterrence; we don’t live in a social environment where the fear of punishment is the single biggest factor in deciding whether or not to kill someone. We put a much higher value on the other things, and that’s why enforcement isn’t the inherent justification.

        Conversely, the long gun registry was premised on deterrence (let’s make it difficult and time-consuming to own a gun) and partial incapacitation (let’s make sure we know where the guns are in case of future crime, so investigation is easier). Neither one of those was fulfilled. So why was it good as regulatory/criminal law?

        • I’m sorry, I’m starting to think I’m unclear on the process. Exactly how did registering a long-gun make it difficult or time-consuming? Are you implying long-gun owners have difficulty filling out a form?

          • Some of the long-gun owners are old farmers who have lived on the same home place for 60 years or more.  They might not remember exactly how many guns they bought over that time period or where they stored them all.  They certainly don’t want to get arrested because it turns out that they have some antique gun in some old barn that they forgot to register.

          • If even they don’t remember where it is, I somehow doubt they’d be getting arrested for it because the odds of anybody else finding out about it are pretty small as well, yes?

            I mean, I can understand the concern, but it seems like we’re really reaching for theoretical anecdotes of where things might go wrong without considering the odds of it actually happening.

          • Red herring. We should also abolish all tax law because there is a hypothetical person who might not understand it.

          • Improper storage of a firearm is a crime whether there’s a registry or not. I don’t follow your argument. If anything, the requirement to register might prompt them to remember where those guns are, and do something to rectify the improper storage so their grandkids don’t shoot themselves playing with it.

          • Having to notify the police whenever you leave your property with a firearm (to go to another field to hunt or shoot vermin) is pretty difficult and time consuming.

            That was just one of the many regulations bound up with the firearms registry.   Aside from regulations, it is also about liability.

            Sure, everyone should be responsible anyway, but I don’t see you volunteering to increase the regulations on things you do to increase your own liability.

            Oh wait, you think there should be a DNA and fingerprint registry.  Nevermind.

    • I find it hilarious that they think setting up a new registry in Quebec would be “prohibitively expensive”, but that wasn’t a concern when the Canadian taxpayer was setting up the LGR.

      If Quebec wants to continue to force it’s residents to register long guns, I’m fine with that, because I’m not from Quebec. But this idea would go over like a lead baloon everywhere west of Toronto.

      • But nobody here cares about balloons west of Toronto.

        • That’s obviously an outright lie.

          • Noop sorry.

            If people there want to continue in their fantasy of being the rootin’ tootin’, shootin’ ‘wild west’, then let ’em.

            The rest of us will get on with civilization.

          • So then you agree that gun registry should be a provincial responsibility, and the feds are right to shut down the LGR! Wow!

          • No, it should be federal….however the feds are unaware of civilization.

          • As the most uncivil commenter here, I find it hilarious that you talk about civilization as if you’ve ever seen it. Civilized people have lived with guns and without gun registries for a long time. Civilized people are also capable of debate without resorting to childish name calling. A civilized person wouldn’t disregard the concerns of an entire segment of a country, either. I think it’s pretty clear who’s unaware of civilization (hint: it doesn’t mean “Toronto”).

          • You’ll have to come to grips with one important fact. It’s 2011, not 1811. Most people don’t use, or even think about guns as they go about their daily lives.
            They left the log cabin in the woods behind long ago. We are urban, multicultural, technological and 21st century.

          • If most people don’t think about guns in their daily lives, why are you so terrified by the idea that some people who do use guns on a regular basis might not register them?

            You’re a perfect example of the tyranny of the majority OE. You’d note that “most people” in this country speak English, that doesn’t mean we go around making the French register themselves.

            But I guess I’m just yelling at the wall here. I know you’re the most ideologically-driven person in  Canada, and you have no problem contradicting yourself regularly. So, please do continue.

          • I wouldn’t click a link supplied by you with a ten-foot-mouse.

          • Not so tough without your gun eh?  

            ‘Mouse’ is the operative word here. LOL

          • Ya, I’m actually not a gun owner. And I won’t waste my time viewing any propaganda from someone like you who clearly has no idea what they’re talking about.

          • @Rick_Omen:disqus 

            Well I AM a gun owner, not just someone shooting off his mouth on a chatsite.  Bye.

          • @OriginalEmily1:disqus  Yes, you most certainly are someone shooting off her mouth on a website (it’s not a chatsite, you should figure that out one of these days).

          • I know you’re trying to recover Rick, but don’t expect me to help you.

            I own guns, you do not….so the only thing you can shoot off is your mouth.

            This is a blogsite, with comments.

        • That’s not a very nice thing to say…

          • The truth hurts.

      • I’m not cool with a province treating its people like that.  It doesn’t matter where in Canada you live, we should all be treated fairly.

      • No worries Rick.  According to the Globe and Mail article that Emily is quoting, Quebec is demanding Ottawa’s database as starting from scatch would be “cost prohibitive”. Of course, Harper will never hand over the database, so it is an empty threat that Quebec will set up their own long gun registry.

    • And now it’s time for some first-year con law!

      They legally can’t “refuse to go along with it.” It’s federal government data, and it will be destroyed. Keeping their own copies will be a violation of federal privacy law, and make the Surete and provincial government sitting ducks for litigation. And even if it wasn’t, the constitutional principle of paramountcy makes overlapping federal legislation trump the provincial equivalent.

      (Also on the note of con law, Quebec politicians continue to have some hilarious ideas about the powers of the federal government in relation to provinces. It’s all there in the Constitution Act – if you don’t like it, get moving on a constitutional convention to amend it.)

      • “Keeping their own copies will be a violation of federal privacy law…”

        And we all know how seriously Quebec takes the threat of federal intervention.
        Canada Health Act, anyone? Their own immigration system? Illegal trade barriers? Illegal inter-provinccial labour regulations?

        They “continue to have some hilarious ideas” about the law because nobody stops them when they break it. To think that they’ll happily turn over the data is wishful thinking on your part.

        • Not saying they will, just that it’ll create a lot of litigation opportunities and work for government lawyers.

          In any event, Quebec intransigence is a big Meh; they can organize their own registry if they like at any time. They’re just not entitled to federal funding and logistical support, which is what they’re really angry at.

          • As with anything received by Access to Information requests, all personal information that would trigger PIPEDA has been redacted in that version. Swing and a miss.

          • Obviously you didn’t read the article

            Not even a swing, just a miss.

    • Why?  What’s the point of having an incomplete list of who owns what?  The Federal LGR proved without a doubt that criminals didn’t register their guns.  Effectively, there’s really no point in continuing to beat this dead horse. 

      Plus, the RCMP’s statement that having to register guns makes people subconciously more compliant with storage regulations is laughable.  Random inspections by the chief firearms officer might, but how far are we willing to go in harassing and trampling on the rights of one law abiding segment of our population in order to simply make another feel better?

      • Cons are responsible for the ‘incomplete list’…although I’ve always gotten notices of renewal for them, so I doubt they’re THAT incomplete.

        But even if they are, it’s a better deal than starting from scratch.

        I don’t intend to reargue this issue with you….there is no ‘right’ to own a gun in Canada.

        The biggest thing the gun registry does is prevent the formation of a ‘gun-culture’ here in Canada.

        We’ve seen the results of a gun-culture in the US, and we don’t want it.

        • Really? We were about to have a “gun culture,” after three or four centuries of peaceable (and non-peaceable) domestic firearm use, but the Liberals nipped that in the bud with decisive action only 17 years ago? You’re sure about that, now?

          • No, we weren’t ‘about to’….that was nipped in the bud.

            And it can stay nipped.

          • So you insist that it was going to happen, and was only stopped by enacting a widely-resisted regulatory policy a couple Parliaments ago? ‘Kay.

          • Widely resisted by who?

            Your dinosaurs.

  7. Diefenbaker chopped up all the Avro Arrows and destroyed the blueprints.

    Antediluvian Conservatieves:  Destroying all they despise for over 50 years.

    • Yes, it’s a tradition with them….hold back progress.

      It’s why they changed their name.

  8. The registration of firearms links firearms and their licensed
    owners, thereby enhancing owners’ accountability for safe storage and
    use of firearms. A centralized, on-line, secure database of firearms
    information helps police and other public safety officials carry out
    investigations efficiently and effectively enabling them to quickly
    trace a firearm to its last lawful owner.

    Mr. Geddes, are you not leaving out WHY the police are presumably tracking that gun?  Aren’t they most likely tracking that gun in the course of their investigation of a crime?  Because, while maybe my understanding of police work has been tainted by too many police procedurals on T.V., it seems to me that whenever the police trace a gun on Law & Order to it’s last legal owner, it’s last legal owner invariably becomes Prime Suspect Number One.

    I’ve traditionally supported the long-gun registry as a reasonable invasion of a citizen’s privacy balanced against the good that it does.  However, I’m not sure that the argument that the registry treats law-abiding citizens like criminals is exactly countered by the argument “no it doesn’t, all it does it let police track those people down more quickly”.  Ohhhh.  So, it’s not that you want to treat me like a criminal, you just want to make it easier for the police to track me down and connect me to their investigation.  I guess that’s different then.  But, uh, HOW exactly?

    Is it really that far from “If you’re not going to commit a crime with your rifle, why not let us register your rifle” to “If you’re not going to commit a crime, why not let us register your DNA”?

    • Could you explain what you find so heinous about registering one’s DNA?  Personally, I think it’s a great idea.  It’s pretty much been DNA evidence that’s exonerated every falsely convicted criminal so far. Wouldn’t it be great if that evidence was present on day one?

      I mean, the way you say it, you obviously think it’s some sort of horrid invasion, but can you tell me any objective reason why?

      • OMG.

        I thought that a national government database of the genetic code of every citizen in the nation was just about the most distopian, big brother, straight out of some scary sci-fi movie, extreme, hyperbolic rhetorical  example that I could use to make my point, and now we’re actually going to argue that maybe it’s a good idea???

        I’m right on the verge of reversing positions and jumping on the “Kill the long-gun registry, dead, dead, DEAD” bandwagon, and it seems like a lot of people are trying to push me on to it.

        A mandatory national DNA database?!?!?!  So, we’re just going to skip right over requiring everyone to carry national identity cards, and getting bar-codes tattooed on our forearms, and jump right in to the final chapter of the novel?

        Maybe I DO need a gun.


        • That’s all very nice and histronic.
          Got a reason yet?

          • I will come back with a more reasoned response at some point, but my initial reaction was pretty similar to the reaction I think I’d have to someone saying to me “You obviously think that the idea of the government rounding up all of the nation’s kittens to systematically torture and kill them is some heinous notion, but can you tell me any objective reason why?”

            First, I have to stop my head from spinning.  Second, I have to tell everyone who rolled their eyes and said that I was using an extreme, “never going to happen in a million years” example to make my point that (and I’m actually shocked at this myself) apparently my crazy hyperbolic example isn’t so crazy to some people after all.

            Then I’ll come back with a more fulsome explanation of why I think that a mandatory national database of the genetic code of every person in the nation is not a good idea.

          • Sure, but let me counter a couple of the arguments I anticipate you’ll put forward right now:

            1. Slippery slopes: If they collect this, we’ll wind up with eugenics, or at very least, the embodiment of the movie Gattaca.
            Counter: Even assuming that the notion of a slippery slope in this case is valid without any antecedent evidence that it would occur, and some evidence against it (we ditched the use of eugenics already), you’ll remember that in Gattaca the primary abusers of genetic information were corporations, and they were allowed to legally discriminate based on those genetics. A national DNA database does not imply either of these things would hold.

            2. Security: The government can’t be trusted to maintain the security of that sort of information, my DNA might be exposed to various corporations etc.
            Counter: You mean like the long or short form census? Government actually can be trusted to keep such information confidential except for when it actually needs to be used. Is it possible there might be some slip-ups in security? Sure. It is a huge risk? Not unless you’ve got the tinfoil on too tight. However, even assuming that.. uh. So what? Knowing a persons’ DNA and being able to use it for pretty much anything aside from discrimination are two different things. And if we don’t presuppose that discrimination based on DNA is legal.. then what?

            3: Adoptive privacy: Some parents may not want to be tracked using their DNA.
            Counter: Again, this presupposes that the wishes of the child will trump the wishes of the parent who wanted a closed adoption, and that the identity would be divulged. This is a legal problem, and one easily handled by a system of legislation for acceptable use around the database.

            And consider that in return for being willing to supply our DNA, police will be able to more rapidly identify bodies found, leading to them being able to better investigate crimes. We would be able to dramatically increase our solve-rate on rapes and other crimes where genetic material has been left.

          • I’ll still come back with a more reasoned response, but my immediate response to the above is:

            1). Oh, good, we ditched the notion of eugenics did we? Excellent. I guess I just missed that moment where the concept of eugenics was erased from human memory, and the potential of it ever being implemented in the future was irrevocably blocked. Did we also eliminate racism and cure cancer while I wasn’t looking? (btw, we somehow missed deleting the Wikipedia entry on eugenics!!!). I also forgot about the well established fact that only corporations can abuse information for evil, and governments are only capable of using information for good. I’m sure the people of China and Iran will be relieved to know that their national DNA databases will only be accessed by their governments, and not some heartless corporate power. That, and the fact that the only nefarious thing that one could ever do with a comprehensive database of an entire nation’s DNA is discriminate against some people. It’s comforting to know that developments in biological weaponry have been halted, and will never advance again.

            2) Yes, the government is excellent at keeping data secure. Wikileaks never happened. No system has ever been hacked. And there’s no possible, conceivable future reason why any bad actors would ever want to hack in to a database containing nothing more exciting than the genetic code of every person in the nation. There’ll never be any reason for the bad guys to want that data (especially since we’ve wiped the notion of eugenics, and possibly racism, from the collective memory of all of humanity, and no one is making any advances in genetic research, bioweaponry, or anything that could allow someone to do something bad with a vast treasure trove of genetic information collected through force of law from every single person in the country).

            3). OK. I don’t really care much about this one.

            As I said, I’ll try for a less emotional response once I get over the shock that I’m actually having this discussion with someone, but right now I think that my default position is that the government can have my DNA when they cut a sample of it from my cold dead body.

          • Yeah, stop reacting with your hindbrain and think.

            Your argument is essentially that because it happened before it must happen again and a DNA database enables this by.. uh.. how does that work again? I mean, we didn’t have a DNA database last time and that certainly didn’t stop it. Hell, going by your argument as it is there, we should eliminate the notion of government completely because it might lead to another holocaust.

            Your histronics about bioweaponry are simply insane. The genetic markers that separate races or most things are already well known, a DNA database adds nothing to that knowledge. And the idea that some evil superpower might make a genetic weapon targeted specifically at certain people is just so out of this world it hasn’t even been used in a James Bond movie. If bio-engineered assassination is what you’re worried about, you’ve got bigger problems, because conventional assassination is a helluva lot cheaper and more effective.

            2. Ooo.. more super-villains running around in your imaginary world. Come up with a concrete example or I’ll assume you’ve just bought into Alcan and are hoping to increase their sales.

            Here’s the weird thing, every purported use you’ve ascribed here relies on the database not only containing the DNA and some other form of identifying information (probably name and/or SIN), but additional details as to the person’s race or other affiliation. And if the super-villains already know that information, then they also already have enough information to create whatever evil plot-device you imagine — with the exception of a single-person targetted bio-weapon. Something so laughably inefficient and likely ineffective as a way to assassinate someone that anybody contemplating it doesn’t have the brains to get into a position where they could use it.

          • OK.

            How about simply the fact that I draw the line of the things the government can take from me through force of law at my DNA.

          • None of this is particularly surprising from the pro-registry mindset, y’know. Been pushed over the edge yet, sir?

          • LKO, you can do better than draw the line there, I trust.

          • Sure myl, I’d draw the line WAAAAY further down the “fighting against the government’s obsession with knowing and registering every detail of a citizen’s life” line than simply “you can’t have a sample of my DNA for a giant registry of the genetic code of every citizen of the nation”, of course. However, in this instance I was having a debate with Thwim, who seems to think that a national database containing the genetic code of every citizen in the nation isn’t so much something out of a a horrific distopian nightmare as it is a BRILLIANT IDEA.

            As I said elsewhere, I’m kinda upset now that I brought up that example of the government rounding up all of the country’s kittens so they can systematically torture and kill them, as I’m starting to wonder if someone’s going to wander along now and say “That’s brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that before!?!!?!”

    • The owner of the gun IS likely connected somehow with the person who used it. If I owned a gun and it was used in a crime, I’d understand the police showing up at my door. If I didn’t use it, then clearly someone else with access to it did.

      And if my gun were stolen, it would be easier for the police to return it to me if it showed up…

      • The police never return lost firearms, they destroy them.

  9. “cynical in the extreme.” — When talking about Steve and the boys this goes without saying —
    these folks will go for political points over good policy every time.

  10. The de rigeur cheeseball inclusion of a gun pointed at the reader is profoundly manipulative. I have no idea why the MSM is not called out more often over the use of such images.

  11. One of the major reasons this farce was rejected by ordinary
    ‘thinking’ people is the fraudulent liberal firearms act was passed
    using lies, promoted using lies, and now promotes group bigotry and
    persecution using lies. A BILLION dollars ‘could’ have put a MRI
    into virtually every hospital in Canada, it ‘could’ have given 1000
    police officers a 20 year career. It ‘could’ have done lots of
    things to benefit people and save lives, but Nooooo.. the Liberals
    thought Social engineering was the way to go, and they passed that
    BILLION dollars around amongst all their friends and now what do we
    have.. A pit that sucks up over 60 million dollars a year, and does
    nothing to help anyone but government/union employees. And of
    course, generate donations to the Police Chiefs Association from
    those that maintain the software for this farce.. What are we up to
    now? 20,000 fraudulent hits a day from the pre-programmed police
    computers, and ‘still’ no tangible benefit.. Put a bullet in

  12. “how is it reasonable to declare that asking gun owners to register their weapons was tantamount to calling them criminals”

    interesting question you pose…

    perhaps if you actually owned a gun and had been subjected to the public humilation of needless police harassment simply for being a gun owner you’d be able to anwser that question yourself.

    When a police office pulls someone over for a traffic violation, do you think they have the right to ask you if you’re transporting a fire-arm in your car? NEWS FLASH, THEY DON’T!!! But that hasn’t stopped them from victimizing gun owners in just that said fashion when they check a license plate a find that the registered owner of a car also is the registered owner of a firearm.

    Inncoent citizens on their way hunting have been victimized by “do-gooder” cops, pulled out of their vehicles and publicly humiliated in front of their friends and neighbors simply because their name comes up a a registered firearms owner in a database.

    And who on the street in front of their friends and neighbors would have the courage to stand up to a police officer and inform him he’s in the wrong??? Most wouldn’t, because then they would be arrested.  All because their name is in a database.  What a joke. 

    meanwhile druig runner willie down the street happily carries his unregistered glock under his front seat while he goes to make his next meth delivery.  But no one ever asks him if he has a gun when he’s pulled over, his name doesn’t appear in a database.

    That’s how it’s “tanamount”…. as you put it.

    It’s about the abuse of power by law enforcement agencies.

    If you’d been subjected to the “criminalization of being a firearms owner”, you’d understand.  But I suppose you’ve never even seen a gun, let alone owned one.  You probably buy all your meat at Safeway too, where no animals are harmed

  13. For all you lunatics who are in favour of Insite due to the “science”…  are you in favour of the gun registry despite all the scientific evidence that shows that gun control laws have no impact on homicide rates?

    Langmann, C. “Canadian Firearms Legislation and Effects on Homicide 1974 to
    2008.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, In Press, Accepted Sept 30, 2011.

    “This study failed to demonstrate a beneficial association between legislation and firearm homicide rates between 1974 and 2008.”

  14. The registry is a step toward banning the private ownership of firearms. We’ve already had thousands of different types of firearms banned by the government (Tory and Liberal) and the Liberal and NDP caucuses are filled with people who wish to ban more. Thousands of guns are “prohibited” as well decreasing their value with the eventual plan that they will be destroyed as their owners die. We also have the examples of the UK and Australia.

    The author is quite right in that the Firearms Acts contains many provisions worse than the LGR. The Tories have the opportunity to repeal many illogical, unjust and wasteful parts of the act but have so far failed to do so.

  15. Requiring gun owners to submit to warrantless searches of their homes is
    an affront and should have been repealed. I wonder what would be the
    Supreme Court’s view of a law making warrantless searches of the homes
    and property of anyone convicted of a criminal offence be? Or make
    refusing to answer police questions truthfully a crime? At least the criminals
    would have dome something to warrant this treatment but I suspect such a
    law, as is the Firearms Act, would be held to be unconstitutional.

  16. We register motor vehicles so why not guns? 1) Because the aim of the people who want you to register your car isn’t to ban cars. It’s to raise money- by fees or tickets. 2) many motor vehicles actually aren’t registered- on dealer lots, in junk yards, abandoned on farms, farm & construction vehicles, race cars, etc. 3) not registering your car isn’t a criminal offence