Criminals didn’t register guns, but registered guns figured in crime

What about those guns that are no longer in the possession of law-abiding citizens?

by John Geddes

Among the arguments against the long-gun registry, I think the most compelling, at least superficially, was the indignant assertion that gun owners are, by and large, law-abiding citizens who present no danger to society. I know that’s true. Why impose a registration requirement on them?

I’m inclined to respond with smart-alecky questions about similar impositions. Why audit taxpayers when most dutifully pay up? Why ask drivers to blow at those RIDE checks when most are sober? But I fear that many of those who hated the gun registry would miss my rhetorical point and heartily agree that random roadside breathalizers and routine CRA audits should be done away with next.

So let’s stick to the registry for a moment. Since criminals didn’t register, was the system useless? In 2009, Statistics Canada reported that in the previous five years police recovered 253 guns used in murders and, in fact, about a third were registered. Some had been stolen, some used by their owners, some were owned by the victim. In any case, registration records figured in the police investigations and trials.

Did registration help police in tracking down stolen guns that might end up being used in future crimes? Police chiefs certainly told us, to no avail, that it was a useful tool. Critics of the registry dismissed that claim. Yet Statistics Canada recorded 3,100 thefts and robberies in 2006 in which at least one firearm was stolen. Three-quarters were rifles or shotguns. None will be registered now. That will make it less likely owners will report the thefts (especially if, say, they neglected to store their guns properly), and far less likely police will figure out where criminals got those guns if they turn up later at crime scenes or in the arsenals of gangs.

But guns used by career criminals of that sort likely aren’t the biggest concern. So we turn to the saddening matter of suicides, accidents, and violence done by troubled individuals. In 2009, 515 firearms licences were refused and 2,085 licences were revoked, often by judges. Licences will still be required, thank goodness, after this week’s scrapping of the long-gun registry, but police and courts won’t know anymore exactly what guns are in the possession of people previously granted licences, but later deemed unfit to own a gun.

And that means people who succumb to mental health problems, or who have been convicted of crimes but are out on probation, or who threatened a spouse or neighbour, or who show suicidal tendencies. Providing courts and cops with a tool that helped get guns out of the homes of hundreds of Canadians who fall into these disparate categories might even have been worth asking law-abiding farmers and duck hunters to put up with a bit of inconvenience.




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Criminals didn’t register guns, but registered guns figured in crime

  1. Hear hear!

  2. Mandate !!!!!

  3. I always object to the characterization of “law abiding farmers and hunters.” Would these be the sam people that, when registration was the law of the land, refused to register their guns en masse, to the point the government ultimately declared they wouldn’t be enforcing the law until it was off the books? If you have any respect for the English language, you can’t call these folks law abiding. That’s not a value judgement on whether or not the registry was a good idea, just an insistence on accuracy and that we all follow the same rules and standards.
    How does what they did differ in any way from a pot smoker who thinks the pot laws are bunk and ignores them? Is that pothead law abiding? If not, neither are farmers and hunters who wouldn’t register their guns when that was the law. 
    It’s essentially claiming that laws they don’t like can be ignored, but not laws they like. That way lays anarchy. And it’s also a terrible double standard. 

    • Ah, but farmers and hunters are Real Canadians. Pot smokers, union members, Torontonians (the list varies depending on political expedience) are not Real Canadians.

      • The new expression is ‘salt of the earth people’.  Everything old is new again as the country regresses.  

        • ‘Salt of the earth people’ – also explains why Harper’s Cons will broke no arguments with the processed food industry…

      • You assume no farmer smoke pot….hahaha!

        • Well, we all know that politicians are entirely honest, and wholly uncorruptible…just look at the hundreds of images of Emperor Harperius Mandatorius Minimus with a drink in his hand!

          That proves that he’s completely against (not profitable for major corporations) drugs (you can’t drink).

          (sigh…)

      • You’re only considered a “Real Canadian” if you entirely support whatever the most wilfully ignorant politically mandated mass mindset happens to buy into, after being told it is true by our elected criminals.

        If you’re one of those “CrAzY pEoPlE” who think such things as “we have the right to safe food supply” or “we have a right to natural medicines, even if they DO work and ARE safer the liver-toxic chemicals and radiation and surgical excisions” or anything else based on non-politically-mandated thoughts…well…you can forget about being a “Real Canadian”, because you only care about the TRUTH, and not the far more important “political ideology” which is set to destroy Canada in the USA’s image.

        Luckily for the politicians, most people enjoy being poisoned for profits.  Nobody cares that our monetary system is based on the same high-grade AIR that the US dollar is.  Nobody gives a rat’s ass about paying more and more to get less and less at every turn, and being told you should be grateful for “what the government gives you” without ever once thinking that if we didn’t give the government the money they so magnanimously “gave to us”, they’d never have had the money to “give us” in the first place, and we’d ALL be better off.

        Whatever you do, NEVER THINK FOR YOURSELF!  If you do “stupid things like that” then you’re never going to be a “Real Canadian.”

        Well…not until more people start using their own heads again…but really, how likely is that to happen?

      • I am  Torontoian. Owned three long guns by the time I was 19. I see no problem with registering guns.

    • What?! Civil disobedience is uncool again? Have you let the kids at Occupy Fillintheblanks know this?

      • But civil disobedience at least acknowledges that a law is being broken, to make a political statement. It doesn’t try to claim that anyone is law abiding. That’s my beef. 

    • It’s called Civil Disobedience when you ignore a law deemed unjust. Enough people ignoring the law, the law gets repealed. Remember Rosa Parks?

      • See above. 

        • You couldn’t have rock ribbed small c conservatives labelling themselves as law breakers; the cognitive dissonance would make their heads explode. Safer all around to save that label for pot heads, tree huggers, environmentalists,occupiers and folks of that ilk.

          • Yet here’s the first sentence in the Wikipedia entry on civil disobedience:

            Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. 

          • Just indulging myself ; i completely agree with your earlier point re: lawbreakers. It is just typically tory hypocrisy. It is entertaining to watch them suck and blow at the same time. They just can’t bear the thought of being in the same boat as a bunch of so called hippies who want to occupy something or other for some reason or other. It is a form of snobbery really, one that many protesters indulge in themselves when they look at more privilleged folk.

          • LOL!

      • Well said. The USA was founded on Civil Disobedience as is Arab Spring. Bottom line is when the public gets sick of stupid laws they fight back. What is the difference between rebellion and revolution? …………………………. Victory.

        • Its not that i totally disagree with your point but it is worth noting that in both cases the protests were not legal and faced real harsh reactions and both were related to situations where there were not democratic governments.  While the ideals you are intending to embrace are both admirable and I share, I am not sure the 2 examples you mention have or will yield the the desired results which is eliminating having to be subject to stupid laws.  

    • It is amazing attitude for a law and order government. 

      • Well, Jan, this is one of those unreported crimes they want to crack down on. And rather than jail a huge swath of their voters, they decided it’s better to do away with the law that’s being broken.

        • It’s like turning water into wine .

    • I would say that all the registry has accomplished is turning a class of people who were formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals.  Much like prohibition in the 30′s and marijuana laws now.

      • I wouldn’t disagree with that characterization, but isn’t that the explicit intent of laws? To regulate what we can and cannot legally do? By that definition any law makes a formerly law abiding citizen a law breaker if they don’t change their behaviour. For example, say I used to be able to drive drunk without much fear of serious legal reprisals — but that’s changed dramatically over the past three decades or so. Now it’s clearly illegal and one can face very severe penalties, especially for repeat offenses. If I’m a drunk who likes to drive, do I get to claim that I’m a law abiding citizen and the problem is with the terrible law? I doubt I’d get very far in front of a judge trying to argue that point. I simply don`t see why the laws of logic appear to be suspended for this one law.

        • But that is the quandary we find ourselves in, isn’t?  If a large segment of the population is not complying with the law, we basically have three options:

          1) Increase the enforcement and give harsher punishment (marijuana in the US)
          2) Repeal the law (alcohol)
          3) Ignore the people who aren’t complying (speeding)

          Do we really want to bog down the justice system with people who are non-compliant with the registry (option 1)?  I would hardly compare a non-registered *log gun to the same level of seriousness as drunk driving.  And is ignoring the problem really a solution?

          *edit: long gun, The Knave

          • I don’t disagree that the law probably should be repealed. As I’ve told people more than once, I suspect we’ll soon be awash in unregistered guns illegally important from the US, so I view it as the regulatory equivalent of the Maginot Line.
            What I’m less certain about is how this government, and its supporters, appear to be willing to cherry pick the laws they like. In part that’s the right of any government, of course, but they’re required to actually repeal the law before they stop enforcing it are they not?
            At the very least I want them to stop playing the Orwellian game of calling a group they like that clearly said “we’re not going to follow this stupid law” law abiding. That’s my fundamental objection. 
            And if they are going to insist that you can break a law and be law abiding a the same time, I’d like someone to pass me the bong and pack it good and full on the way by, please. 

          • I won’t disagree with that argument, except to say that they’re taking option 3 until they can implement option 2.  But the part about the semantics and propaganda is true.

          • @TheKnave… we appear to have come to agreement, damnit. Where’s the fun in that? Thanks for the great discussion

          • No, thank you, sir!  Let reasonable debate prevail!

          • The Liberals kept on putting off enforcing it.  The Conservatives weren’t going to start.

            Canada is already awash in illegal handguns from the states that are actually used in crimes.  Those are the guns that you should be worried about.

          • I imagine you are not subject to the harassment that comes with this ‘law.’  If you were, you wouldn’t be able to stomach such a glib and insensitive assertion.  Repealing this Act is one of the few times the good guys (and gals) actually won the day.  It’s refreshing.  Organized hatred failed.

      • Families of suicide victims of registered long guns may have a problem with your easy analogy. Laws are never to restrict law-abiding behaviour but to protect them. So it was with the registry and will be no more. Families have lost a small protection and criminals have gained an open source for stealing guns.
        The loss of the registry benefits criminals and penalizes law-abiding citizens.

        • See my comment below detailing the trend of deaths related to long-guns over the last 40 years.  Also note in said comment how suicide by strangulation has increased proportionally to the decrease in suicide by firearms (beginning long before the long gun registry took effect), with the net effect of total suicide rate remaining mostly constant over the past 20 years.  Would a family rest any easier knowing their loved one committed suicide by hanging as opposed to a bullet?  

          Give me numbers to support your assertions.  I believe in statistics by non-partial organizations: not anecdotes or guilt trips. 

          A further point on suicide (based on my opinion): if it is an impulsive suicide attempt, the gun registry does nothing because these people would still have access to their guns.  If the suicide is based on mental illness, the gun registry also does nothing because these people will use other methods. 

        • I do not understand how the registry helps lower the risk of suicide unless the suicidal person presents to the ER and denies the existance of firearms in the home and then is discharged home.   Are you suggesting that a person who is truly suicidal would not employ methods such as strangulation and asphixiation, if a firearm were not available? 

    • Civil disobedience is completely legitimate means for a law-abiding citizen to protest bad laws.  They dared the government to arrest and prosecute them.  The government didn’t have the balls.

      • No, its a completely legitimate means for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to protest bad laws.  There is a slight difference.

      • I agree completely — it`s definitely a legitimate means to protest laws. But by its very definition, it`s not `law-abiding`and they should have the intellectual honesty to say so.

    • Lol ya some didn’t register it so what your telling me that makes them 1000% more likely to kill someone?

      How does pot have anything to do with firearms. Our constitution doesn’t say everyone has the right to self defense and smoke pot. Firearms go in self defense if you passed grade 2 you should know.

      • I didn`t say that all, Jessey. I have no real position on the registry itself, other than a sneaking suspicion that it won`t be particularly effective over the long run. I certainly don`t think there`s a clearcut airtight case that it affects criminality one way or the other.
        But the facts DO clearly support my argument that anyone who looks at a law, says “that`s BS and I won`t do it out of protest” is with knowledge and forethought, breaking a law. By definition, that’s not law-abiding behaviour and attempting to say otherwise is just playing word games. 
        As for your assertion on self-defence, perhaps. But I’m also quite certain that our constitution contains a not withstanding clause that (feel free to jump in here constitutional scholars) essentially grants the duly elected government of the day to override constitutional guarantees in the interests of “peace, order and good government.”
        So, if that’s the case, and the government of the day followed due process, it’s undeniable that the law was the law. You can debate whether it was a good law — that’s what democracy is all about after all — but whether or not it was the law seems to be an open and shut case to me. 
        Therefore, my original point stands. There was a law. These folks chose not to obey it out of protest. That makes they civilly disobedient, not law-abiding. Which is legitimate. But calling them law abiding is simply unsupported by the facts of the matter.

    • The problem with the registry was in how owners were treated
      - the very vibe that the Liberal party emanated at every chance regarding it
      annoyed people to death and only set the stage for the endless confrontation
      this has caused.  What you have to remember is that many folks just don’t
      give a damn what the Liberal party may think is “inherently
      questionable” – this is a democracy and everyone gets to vote – even duck
      hunters.

      • Sure, and they voted, the government changed and the registry is disappearing. But that certainly doesn’t change the facts up to now:
        -The registry was the law of the land.
        -Many hunters and gun owners ignored it out of protest.
        -That behaviour is called civil disobedience.
        -By definition it’s not law-abiding.
        -Calling those actions law-abiding is inaccurate.

        • And the new law of the land says registry data MUST be destroyed.  Ironic that now Librocrats are doing what they can to ignore that law.  They have stated in public that they will not comply.  Hmm.  I guess we should harass THEM, right?

          • If they’re breaking the law, and it can be proven in court, absolutely. I believe it’s called “rule of law”, is one of the fundamental precepts of a functioning democracy, and must be sacrosanct.
            Which is exactly why I’m calling bull on this “law abiding hunters and farmers” nonsense.

          • The same mistake the Liberals made all along – that is tarring
            everyone with the same brush because “obviously” there is something “questionable”
            about the whole concept of personal gun ownership – in other words because the
            ideal of owners, hunters and farmers being 100% law abiding is impossible to achieve,
            it gives one the right to discount that a vast majority actually are, to discredit them and to
            lend suspicion on them because they are “clearly” part of the offending
            group because they own guns as well – it is this type of absolutism that
            strikes average people, offends their sensibilities and never leaves them. 

    • The issue of guns is unique and cannot be compared on the same basis of other things .  A gun is a lethal weapon. Weapon is Oxford lethal is logic.  Soldiers, police or hunter all shoot to kill not wound or disable what they are trained to do. Each shot is intended to kill and would if the shooter was as accurate as he tries to be A grenade can probably kill 10 people at the maximum and you can only use it once. how many times can a rifle be fired over its useable life?  Which weapon is more of a threat to society? 
      A golf club can be a weapon but you can’t play golf with a rifle. if you point a joint at someone are they in physical danger? To compare guns to pot is unreasonable.  To imply breaking intended to provide security to Canadians  by helping protect them from the risk of extreme violence refuse to provide information about lethal weapons is  the same as publicly demonstrating on a social issue is also not logical.  compare this: Would you prefer seeing everyone in your community register their car or their shotgun?   Most gun owners would never refuse or even object to registering their car which can cost hundreds of dollars every year, they will obey every law that is created even stupid and unnecessary ones,  but to have to identify the weapons they own which I believe was free  they seem to consider is somehow  immoral, oppressive and abuse of the power by government or society and they have some divine right to not only protest but simply disobey it. If a gun owner is this inconsiderate of other people  and this unreasonable do we want him to  have guns?  I realize all gun owners are not like this but the ones that are worry me. 

  4. Is there any way to tell what kind of homicides the registered guns were involved in….gang violence v. domestic violence?

    • Sure if you follow the link that Geddes provided.

      253 were registered, but only 212 could determine ownership.   So that means there was some problem with the registry for around 16% of the recovered guns.  I suppose this might mean that the serial numbers were filed off, but then how would you determine if it was registered?   I imagine that in 16% of the cases, there were probably just errors in the registry.

      Of the 212 remaining, 103 (49%) were owned by the accused and 17 (8%) owned by the victim.   I imagine few of those were used in gang activity, but were probably domestic homicides.  Of the remaining 43% you might have the gang activity you want, but it couldn’t be the whole amount, because you would have several cases of borrowed guns committing crimes, such as junior borrowing grandpa’s gun to shoot dad.

  5. Quibble with your last point.  If a person is licensed to use/posses guns, and that license is taken away, what prevents a warrant being issued to search the premises for firewarms?  A throrough search of a residence should be performed whether firearms themselves are registered or not.

    Put it this way, if we kept the registry, and a court ordered the removal of all registered firearms from a residence, would it not make sense to thoroughly search for any unregistered weapons as well?  In either case, a thorough search has to be performed. Ergo, a good team will find all weapons regardless of the status of their registration.

    • Searching the premises for unregistered arms is something that should be done, yes. But, without a list it becomes quite easy for someone who’s pending review of their license to offload his weapons on someone else “to hold on to” or store them offsite to avoid such a review. This is, and was, not entirely unknown to happen. 

      Having a list of items that should be there for retrieval or have to be transferred legitimately to another owner prevents this because these weapons now need to be accounted for either way. 

      • I get your point.  But I know gun owners that were casually transferring weapons back and forth while they are registered, but this not reflected in the registry in a timely manner.  And in any event, a registered owner could still claim he disposed of his weapons “pending a review” and claim sorry, no I don’t have the proof of that, other than they are no longer here.

        The list is useful, but it is not proof.  It cannot be trusted.  Therein lies the problem (and my key point).  So yes it has utility, but that utility cannot be trusted because it is easy to circumvent.  This decreases the actual value of the list.

        Please note that I am stating it decreases the value of the list, not that the list has zero value (there is a difference).

    • The police already have been doing arbitrary searches of gun owners premises and seizing legally owned firearms on exteremely dubious storage violations. What’s to stop them from continuing this behaviour? Hey, it increases the arrests-to-conviction ratio, and let’s the police take a break from solving real, tricky, crimes. Win!

  6. I must disagree with the assumption that the firearm registry prevents suicides.  Only about a fifth of suicides are done with firearms to begin with, and restricting access to them will only shift suicides to other methods.  I think this is a reasonable statement unless there is evidence to the contrary.  Suicides by firearms fell from 41% in 1979 to 26% in 1998, but strangulation rose from 24% to 40%.

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2002002/article/6349-eng.pdf

    Check out Chart 3 in the link Geddes provided.  It provides much more useful data than just saying a number.  Firearm violence due to long guns have been falling steadily since 1977, with no observable change in rate since 1995, when the registry was introduced.  I would say that means the registry was: a) ineffective, and b) unnecessary, since long gun violence was pretty much a non-issue by that point.
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/10518-eng.htm

    I find it amusing that the Conservatives are pushing their crime bill even though crime has been falling steadily and isn’t an issue, but the people on the other side of the spectrum who (rightly) oppose them are hung up on long-gun violence, even though it has been steadily decreasing and is in fact a pretty small segment of violence as a whole.  Both sides are staking their positions out on ideological/emotional grounds.  

    I want to see hard statistical evidence that the long gun registry prevents crime, not just what-ifs.  

    • I’d like to see hard statistical evidence that registering one’s car prevents accidents and drunk driving…..

      • Those statistics are harder to compile so I’m not going to do it.

        But, anecdotally:
        a)  To register your car it must pass a safety inspection.  It would therefore be reasonable to assume this prevents accidents.

        b) Do you have anything to contribute to this conversation? Obviously registering vehicles doesn’t prevent drunk driving.  Quit being facetious. 

        • Safety inspections don’t prevent accidents. It’s the nut behind the wheel that causes them.

          A gun registry registers guns. It does not prevent murders.

          • If a registry’s only purpose is it’s own existence, then it shouldn’t exist.

            Tell me what it’s purpose is and give me evidence that it is accomplishing that.  Because it’s certainly doing a lousy job of registering long guns.

          • The gun registry exists to register guns. The same way a car registry exists to register cars.

            They make guns and cars traceable.

            The gun registry has existed since 1934.

            If you think it’s doing a lousy job, complain to Harper not me.

          • Thank you for ignoring all my arguments and instead responding with non-sequiters and tangential statements.  It was really worth my time to read your comment.  Thank you so much!

          • @jldonald:disqus 

            You don’t have an argument. You have a chip on your shoulder.

          • @OriginalEmily1:disqus 

            Maybe if you insult me some more your comments will become more relevant.  It’s worth a shot.

          • @jldonald:disqus 

            Maybe if you stuck to the topic, and had something useful to say….without the chip….you wouldn’t be so paranoid.

          • @OriginalEmily1:disqus 

            “Maybe if you stuck to the topic…” says the person who made the posts about drunk driving and nuts behind the wheel, which were of course completely relevant to the topic of whether the long gun registry should be scrapped.

            Do you know what the definition of “paranoid” is?  I don’t see how you can remotely say my posts were paranoid.  

            I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that supplying statistics qualified me as being “paranoid, with a chip on my shoulder”.  You must have been so happy when the Conservatives scrapped the long form census and kneecapped StatsCan.

          • “the nut behind the wheel”…..gee they are called accidents for a reason.

          • Emily’s argument (from my understanding):

            “Most vehicle collisions are caused by drunk drivers, therefore we need a long gun registry. “

          • @jldonald:disqus 

            Your understanding is not great.

            Neither is your logic.

          • @jldonald:disqus 

            I was replying to your comment about safety inspections stopping accidents, and to Healthinsider who apparently had never heard the phrase ‘nut behind the wheel’…although it doesn’t just apply to drunks.

            And now that you and your chip have effectively talked your way out of this entire discussion amongst rational people….ciao.

          • Oh, there were rational people here?  Can you introduce me?

          • Why would rational people want to meet YOU?

            Now Ciao….

          • Gee Emily I checked you assertion that “the nut behind the wheel” causes the car accidents in your favorite source – wikipedia and actually – driver error is only soley responsible 57% of the time.  The rest of the time it is a combination of things like road condition (who would have thought so in wintery Canada) and car problems, etc.

          • Safety inspections don’t prevent accidents.

            LOL WUT???

            Safety inspections don’t prevent accidents???  Think about that for a second Emily. 

            Sure, safety inspections don’t prevent ALL accidents.  Accidents are often caused by irresponsible drivers.  You know what also causes accidents sometimes though?  Someone’s breaks failing.  Or their steering wheel locking up.  Or their car stalling in the middle of the 401 while they’re doing 120.  Or their tire exploding at speed.

            Safety inspections get unsafe cars fixed, and/or off the road.  OF COURSE safety inspections prevent accidents.  That’s why they’re called SAFETY inspections.

          • Be serious…K?

          • Wait.  I should be serious???  You’re the one who said that safety inspections don’t prevent accidents.  How am I the one who’s not being serious???

      • I understand registering your car is about the value of the car.  Car’s are expensive and if your car is stolen the VIN makes it more likely the car will be returned to you, the owner.

        • If that’s the reason, then why would it be mandatory? 

          • Perhaps so that if you stole someone else’s car, you would have to register it and then you would be caught with the stolen property or if you bought a stolen car and tried to register it, the car would be identified as stolen and the car would be returned to the original owner?

          • And why wouldn’t this same reasoning apply to guns?

          • Apparently the police don’t return stolen guns but rather destroy them ….I don’t know about this personally…I only read this on the blog.
            From what I have read, it seems the registry was an attempt to assure proper storage of firearms?
            Anyway Thwim, off topic but I wanted to give you a heads up that the Globe and Mail will be doing a special section on volunteers and philanthropy starting Saturday.  There are already short video clips of Bill Clinton, Belinda Stronach, etc. (just in case your interested).

    • As a psychiatric nurse I would have to say that you are likely right about the firearm registry not preventing suicides.  If families are aware that a person is depressed, they usually  remove the guns from the home on the advice of mental health staff.  

      • And yet Emerrgency Physicians are one of the groups that support the gun registry as a suicide prevention tool.
        *Is there some reason you have to tell us you’re a  nurse in every post? 

        • Well Jan, I wanted to CLARIFY that I am a psychiatric nurse because Emily accused me of pretending to be a nutritionist and a specialist in MS, etc.  I did tell her that I have done a lot of reading in various medical journals as that is part of the requirement of renewing my license every year but she was insistent that I have been dishonest.  Thus, I just want to always be honest and up-front about my credentials every time that I blog my opinion so as not to give anyone any impression that I have experience outside of what I do. 
          Having said that, I would really appreciate receiving your source regarding the emergency physicians.  In Alberta when a sucidal patient is brought into the ER they are referred to psychiatric services almost immediately.  As well, I was not aware that physicians had access to the long gun registry but I guess that is possible.

          • The CAEP has been an outspoken advocate for retaining the LGR as a suicide prevention tool throughout the last few years that the Cons have been threatening to abolish mandatory registration.  They’ve been on the news and appeared before both the House and Senate committees. I’m surprised, given your line of work you’ve missed their advocacy.  Here’s their website -
            http://caep.ca/advocacy 

          • Thank you Jan for the link.  It was very informative.  If you read the testimony of the physicians, you understand that most of issues with firearms arise in rural areas.  I work in acute adult psychiatry in a large city hospital.  In 15 years of working in psychiatry, I have only encountered 2 people who have attempted to end their lives with firearms and they both were from rural communities.  Despite what people think, not everyone in Calgary has a gun.

          • Thanks for the link, but I’m calling shenanigans on some of their assertions.They claim that firearms deaths have fallen since the introduction of the long gun registry: this is true, but as my StatsCan link shows, they were falling long before the registry was introduced, so it is misleading of them to imply that the gun registry was the cause.  Suicides by long guns have been fallen steadily since before the registry was introduced and have continued to fall, but that other suicide methods have risen proportionally to keep the total suicide rate mostly constant over the last 20 years.  Poverty reduction and mental health awareness is far more important for reducing crime and suicide and would be resources better spent than the Conservatives’ prisons and the Liberals’ long gun registry.

  7. “Licences will still be required, thank goodness, after this week’s
    scrapping of the long-gun registry, but police and courts won’t know
    anymore exactly what guns are in the possession of people previously
    granted licences, but later deemed unfit to own a gun.”

    I know someone who still has a semi-automatic rifle he gained through a restricted license, and after being charged with a felony, lost his ability to legally own a firearm.   He still has his gun.

    So I doubt the registry was doing its job the way you think it was.   That’s my real rub with the gun registry.  It is an intrusion into people’s lives, and is incredibly expensive, but it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do despite that.

    • So you have of course reported this, so that the error can be corrected?

      • Yes.  He still has his gun.

        • Sounds like some lax law enforcement.

  8. The LGR in it’s current form was useless and expensive, and I’m glad the federal government has done away with it.

    That said, I’d have no problem with provinces or cities enacting their own LGR’s. Quebec, for example, still wants a LGR and I believe most of the people there would support it. Even out west, the major cities could start their own LGRs, because gun violence happens almost exclusively inside city limits, and that’s where the political-will for such a thing exists. 

    What our federal politicians need to realize is that this country is far too large and diverse for “one-size-fits-all” solutions to a lot of problems. I think the fact that a single spree-shooter in Montreal caused a change to federal law was the big mistake. Why wouldn’t Quebec implement it’s own solutions to that “problem”, and if other provinces like the results, they’d be able to follow suit. 

    • The chief of police in Calgary said the long gun registry was useless to his force because the criminals never registered their guns.  The Calgary city police shot and killed a man who was threatening his family and then police with a weapon…he was swinging an axe.

  9. Wrong again sir
    Its about cost benefit analysis. You would save more lives, have better police information by turning out cops on the streets as opposed to a paper exercise of who owns what.
    Again clearly you don’t understand what civil liberties are striken from someone who steps up as a firearms owner compared to everyday joe citizen.
    Did the fact these were registered firearms actually stop the homicides? no. . . .

    • They are still collecting census data.  It is still illegal not to fill out the short census form.  It is not illegal if you fail to fill out the long census form…that is voluntary.

  10. Ya its not because they have a gun that there a killer. Its not because they owned a gun they could of used a baseball bat or a knife which is used more often in homicides. A killing is an act of impulsion thats why the conservatives aren’t retarded they know that and they want to fund programs that would actually help. 

    The decrease of firearms related crimes in 1977 18 years before the gun registry. New zealand had a gun registry and scraped it and gun crimes never went up it kept on going down. 

    England and australia had a total gun ban and firearm crimes never went down they kept on going up.

    This just proves that the registry is useless. Someone with a mental illiness doesn;t have it stamped on his forehead and they can still get guns. 

    If the girls didn’t insult the guy a polytechnique it would of never happened. 

    The person who first though of gun control was Hitler he said it was the perfect idea. He also though killing all the jews was a perfect idea.

    I wasn’t aware that canada had so many ignorant and anti gun freaks and people approving of a communist laws.

    The reason theres more gun deaths in the USA is that anyone can get a gun you just walk in a gun store and buy it. Here its not the same thing thats why theres fewer gun deaths.

    Anyone with an IQ over 10 should know this.

    They think because there was a decrease in firearms violence when the after 1955 that it was linked to the gun registry but you can’t prove that and theres the fact we are way more aware of Mental illnesses and have better social services.

    Anyone that would want to save lifes would be fore scraping the gun registry. No where in the history of earth that theres actual proof linking a gun control to the decrease of gun violence.

    go buy a pistol in new york and come back to canada its that easy they still can smuggle drugs even if there illigal and you dumb enough to think they can’t smuggle tons of guns?

  11. Opponents to the long gun registry never opposed licencing gun owners.  In fact they feel controlling access to guns does a lot more to protect the public than having farmers and hunters register their weapons.  The registry never saved one life.

  12. Excellent points.  Where were you before the bill to dismantle the registry was introduced?

  13. Pray that when the next big massacre comes along, moronic Con supporters are the corpses on the ground.

    • Ah no – what kind of God do you have that would entertain that idea? 

    • A big massacre with a rifle?  I don’t think so.  They usually involve some sort of gun that fires a lot of bullets quickly….something like a semi-automatic perhaps.  I don’t believe those types of guns are even an issue here in Canada.

      • In this case I disagree.  Massacres quite often take place with long guns, and semi-automatics are very legal in Canada.  However, since these people usually seem pretty normal before they go crazy they don’t have any problem obtaining guns, registry or no.

    • YOU should be registered.

  14. In 2009, Statistics Canada reported that in the previous five years police recovered 253 guns used in murders and, in fact, about a third were registered. Some had been stolen, some used by their owners, some were owned by the victim. In any case, registration records figured in the police investigations and trials.

    So, if some registered guns were used by their owners to murder people, doesn’t that mean that some murderers HAD, in fact, registered their guns???

    • Yes, I am guessing those were domestic violence murders….dad kills mom; dad kills the family or one of the kids kills someone in the family.

  15. Last summer I was playing ball with the dogs in the back yard and the police arrived, guns drawn, in response to a noise complaint. Why the unhostered sidearms? Because I have 7 registered and properly stored firearms in my house. Guilty until proved unarmed. Imagine the neighborhood gossip. Priceless to my reputation.

  16. There was a story here yesterday (in the online Chronicle-Herald, which I can’t find now) about a Shelburne County man.  His home was allegedly broken into by a couple of ATV riding young adults.  He scared them off, and then took two potshots at them while they were riding away with his shotgun (one of the men was wounded in the back).  Now, I have no sympathy for the ATV riding hooligans, although we’ve pretty clearly ruled in Canada that shooting fleeing burglars does not constitute self-defence (see the recent story out of Red Deer, for example).

    The judge handling the case ruled that he was using his guns irresponsibly in shooting at those young men as they fled, and ruled that he cannot have access to any of his 43 long guns for 2 years because of this irresponsible use.  Yes, 43 long guns.  He can still hunt with his crossbows, though, since he his an avid hunter.

    Now for my question:  In the absence of a registry, how would law enforcement know if this man has turned over all of his weapons after sentencing?  Presumably, he’s licenced for the various game hunting that he takes part in (both with guns and crossbows), but do those licences list numbers and types of weapons?  I honestly don’t know.  Would they need to sweep his home?  Take him at his word after he catoonishly piles all 43 into their hands?

    • I am guessing they would deal with it the way they did before the long gun registry…they would search his property and remove all of his guns.   My guess is they won’t take his word for it that he registered them all now and will probably search the property. 

  17. The argument would be stronger if the author had figures for the number of guns seized by police after the people whose licenses were revoked failed to turn them in to police or over to someone else. There’s the rub. If a person’s PAL was revoked he could simply “give” his guns to a friend with a PAL. The guns also didn’t have to be kept in any specific place and could be loaned to other PAL holders.
    The police still need to find the guns which in many cases would include asking the people who first complained to the police where the suspect keeps them?

    Here’s another example of how the system might work but doesn’t. Mr. A has two guns registered to him and the police for some reason search his home for firearms. They immediately find both behind the back door. Do they stop searching? If they are competent not a chance.

    In another version Mr. A meets the police at his home and hands over the two guns from behind the door and the police go away not knowing that there is a third gun under the bed. Should the police have searched for other weapons? Yes.

    The investigative uses of the registry are far less than they would seem. In most cases simply searching the home of the suspect/ patient would achieve all that the registry would and not searching would be an omission. 

  18. Sure, but is the gun registry worth the hundreds of millions it takes to keep it running?  Couldn’t the money be better used for other things, like hiring more prosecutors and cops?  Secondly, a cop in Halifax said they used the registry to see if a person they were investigating had guns registered before they stormed his house.  Does this mean if the owner did not have guns registered the cops wouldn’t have to worry about SWAT teams, protective gear, etc?  Pretty ludicrous

  19. A portion of two billion dollars was used for 83 registered guns recovered that were used in murders in five years.  Surely the money could be better spent! There is a lot of rank and file police who do not support the gun registry, because they know there are better uses for that money.

  20. Your argument is a bit shallow. If someone has a license for a gun, how much does it matter to the police what kind, or how many? Licenses will still be denied… what’s your point?

    The flip side, what’s the point of my cousin paying to ‘register’ our grandfather’s non-working shotgun, kept for sentimental value?

  21. I AM AN ARMY VETERAN. WHEN THE GUN REGISTRY CAME IN TO EFFECT I REFUSED TO REGISTER MY RIFLE WHICH I OWNED FOR PROTECTION FROM BEARS. MY CONCERN WAS NOT THAT THE WEAPON WOULD BE REGISTERED, BUT THAT A CRUCIAL ASPECT OF LAW WHICH PROTECTED US FROM ILLEGAL SEARCH AND SEISURE WAS BYPASSED–NAMELY THAT THE POLICE COULD ENTER UPON ANY RESIDENCE WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANTAND DEMAND TO INSPECT FOR THE PROPER STORAGE OF WEAPON(S). HOW LONG BEFORE THIS CLAUSE WOULD BE MISS-USED BY THE POLICE AS ANOTHER MEANS TO EXPEDITE A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION?  A MORE REASONABLE METHOD WOULD BE TO REQUIRE WEAPONS MANUFACTURERS TO PROVIDE THE RCMP WITH BARREL SIGNATURE DATA FOR EVERY FIREARM ALONG WITH THE MANUFACTURERS DATA ON THE WEAPON AND REQUIRE REGISTRATION OF THE PURCHASER WHEN IT IS LEGALLY SOLD AND ENACT A LAW THAT REQUIRES A NEW REGISTRATION WHEN THE WEAPON IS SOLD BY THE ORIGINAL PURCHASER WITH A PENALTY OF $10,000.00 IF NOT COMPLIED WITH, AND-OR, TWELVE MONTHS MANDATORY INCARCERATION AT THE PERPERTRATORS EXPENSE. MANY US STATES ARE NOW USING THIS METHOD..      

    • YOU WERE MISINFORMED ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE LAW.

  22. Why are we discussing the long gun registry?  It’s dead, isn’t it?

  23. nonsense

  24. All tools are at least of _some_ use.  So what?  That alone is insufficient justification.  I can think of many things people are unfit to have.  Again, so what?

    “It might do some good” is the weakest and last refuge of a proponent of any policy.

  25. Enough!
    The real debate here is whether Canadians are in favour of firearms, or not. The whole LGR, etc., etc., is just a smoke screen. 
    I believe that most of the pro-LGR crowd are for the abolition of firearms and are using this issue as a front. 
    Let’s have a real discussion on this and resolve it on a national level. Because I am sick of hearing all this BS on the LGR when it really makes no sense. 
    Firearms owners are already investigated, licensed, and charged. What more do you want? Of course the police always want more control. Does that make it right? 
    Let the LGR go, and stop trying to brand a large segment of the Canadian population as criminals. 

  26.      It would seem from your article that I am not a “law-abiding citizen” just because I own firearms and am against the registry.  I didn’t need a gun licence when I went Taliban hunting on behalf of this country, I don’t need a licence when I spend weeks in a field standing in the rain and mud simulating a war to protect the rights half of all the posters espouse to hold dear-does that make me a criminal?  I enjoy a pastime that in years past kept food on the table.  I enjoy a sport that keeps my skills current and enables me to not end up coming home on the highway of heroes-does that make me a criminal? 
         The long gun registry was another money making scam set up to make all “the city folk” happy that the government was doing something about gun-crime.  I have to dispute the numbers used in the article pointing out how many registered guns were used in the commision of crimes by their owners.  Where did that information come from?  Perhaps the association of Police chiefs?  Any rank and file police officer will tell you, a check of the long gun registry, when used (a tedious check on the way to a crime scene), is purely for information purposes.  They go to all reports with the expectation that a firearm could be present, especially in (oh my god) bigger cities.  Heres news for all you liberal gadflies-real criminals don’t register their firearms.  And as a note of contention, who besides in idiot uses a long gun to commit a stick up?  Even using the authors numbers, only a THIRD of the guns recovered in crimes were registered-Some had been stolen, some used by their owners, some were owned by the victim.  So what, how many of that number were used by the owner?  Again, criminals don’t register their guns.  Another note, for owners of restricted and prohibited firearms, they have always and will always require those firearms to be registered and will always be held to a higher standard in storing, transporting, and using those firearms (and only at an approved range).  The government is not doing away with the requirement for gun owners to be licenced, they are doing away with the need for EACH AND EVERY long gun to be registered (under the liberals at $50-$80 a gun-plus $100 just for the licence to own a gun).
         It is probably enough to realize that the gun owners will still be required to get a licence.   And in order for that to happen, you have to take courses-the non-restricted Canada firearms course for long guns (and probably the hunter safety course), then if you want a restricted firearms licence (most pistols are included here) you have to take the course for that, then there is a test after each course (all paid for by the person).  Prohibited licences (certain smaller pistols and some collector pieces) are almost impossible to get, as are concealed carry permits (extremely tight rules to qualify-unless you are a politician and decide to flaunt the rules) but they too require a course and test.  When you apply for your licence, you must answer a questionnaire, get your spouse or even ex-spouse (don’t have an ex-spouse but what a horror that must be) to sign off that they approve, and then the police conduct a background check on you.  And finally, if you want a restricted firearm, you are asked what you want to use it for.  If the answer is anything other than useing it at a range then the sale will not be approved.  In order to use it at an approved range, you must be a member of a gun club-and take their safety course as well as the federally mandated ATT (authority to transport) course which all cost more money.  An awful lot of trouble to get a gun and commit a crime, also very time consuming.
         So, if I am a criminal for being a gun owner, I am a very safety concious criminal.  All you poncy eggheads who act horrified that farmers and hunters no longer have to register each long gun they own, just remember-they are still licenced; and criminals don’t register their firearms because it takes too long.  So leave the “law abiding citizens” alone and worry about real criminals.

    • Dingo (apt name)

      If you think that just because my tax dollars funded the junket for you  to engage in some fantasy trip to go and kill poor people in their homeland, think again.  Your comments are further proof that armed forces are, at best, a necessary evil.  And they need to be kept on a short leash.

      Whatever the reasons you were over there, you sure as hell weren’t there to protect my rights.  It wasn’t random chance that the US was attacked on September 11, it probably would have been much easier to attack Canada.  The US was attacked because successive administrations have spent the past 50 years attacking third world countries,  supporting right wing dictators and generally meddling in world affairs to support US corporate interests.  Now, you and your fellow Harperites would like Canada to follow that model, even as the US shows signs of moving away from it.

      You haven’t made Canada safer – far from it.  You’ve made us a target of the poor and disaffected.  You’ve made us seem even more like America’s poodle.  Well done.

      • I do believe that you are an idiot.  First you should be thanking Dingo and his buddies for putting themselves in harms way to protect this country.  And further, it wasn’t Harper that took Canada into Afghanistan.  It was your beloved Liberals.

  27. THANK YOU JOHN GEDDES!! You should run for PM!

    The Conservatives are trapped by foolish promises made years ago to the gun lobby (Canadian GunNutz) by Harper and his Reform buddies. Their souls have been bought by all the millions poured into the Conservative war-chest by these NRA clones. Too bad for Canada!

    • Funny how people who resist prejudice and harassment are a ‘lobby’ but other victims’ groups are ‘victims’ groups.’  With your comments YOU are the ‘gun lobby’ because you call your victims into action.  Well done.

    • But the Liberals weren’t “trapped by foolish promises to establish a gun registry”. 

  28. Registering guns does no harm  but it can do good. I vote to keep it.

    •  Does no harm?  At least not until the government’s notoriously porous bureaucracy is infiltrated by third-rate wannabes of organized gangs who use the information to decide where to find guns, and beat the owner(s) senseless, crippling or killing them.

  29. Vision TV has refused to air this week’s episode of Daily Split featuring Edmonton Police Constable Randy Kuntz discussing how rank and file police officers feel about the Long Gun Registry, but you can view the show on our website http://www.dailysplit.com (click on the TV icon on the upper right hand corner of the home page).

  30. I can’t imagine someone stealing a $1000 or $1500 rifle and me not reporting it.  Do people fail to report car theft because the meter was expired?

  31. There are so many holes in John’s arguments I could drive a Mac truck through. I  will make only three points, however.  The numbers of thefts and robberies quoted may be insignificant or very significant; we have no idea without knowing the total numbers of thefts and robberies.  Additionally, we know that owner registration statistics have been hacked and are available to criminals.  That makes gun owners homes a target.  I personally know gun owners who would not register for that very reason.  The only other point I will make is that the FAC remains in place, and I’m sure I don’t know how the registry has any impact on wackos getting guns. 

    Come on John,  you can do a lot better than this piece of tripe. 

  32. So we turn to the saddening matter of suicides, accidents, and violence done by troubled individuals. In 2009, 515 firearms licences were refused and 2,085 licences were revoked, often by judges. Licences will still be required, thank goodness, after this week’s scrapping of the long-gun registry, but police and courts won’t know anymore exactly what guns are in the possession of people previously granted licences, but later deemed unfit to own a gun.

    It’s cute that you actually think it’s difficult for someone desperate enough to get their hands on a firearm to get their hands on a firearm.  That it’s worth the billions (and the inept bureaucracy, oh, and the surrender of freedom) to keep this sick puppy.

    Bottles of Tylenol pills.  Those red plastic gasoline canisters, and matches.  Nail guns. Kettles. Irons.  Hot water heaters.  Bridges, cliff edges and staircases.  Rope.  Lead pipes.  Candlesticks.  The Rideau Canal accessible to a Nissan Sentra and a bumper car SUV.  If you REALLY care about the “saddening matter of suicides, accidents, and violence done by troubled individuals,” you are a hopeless loser if you decide you should care about ONE instrument of death, rather than care about the troubled individuals.

  33. Cons…Soft on Crime

  34. And as any law enforcement professional will tell you, the most dreaded call is to a domestic disturbance.  Cops really liked knowing if there were firearms in the home to add to an already volatile situation — now they’ll just have to guess. The safest course would be to assume that the guy who’s been slapping his wife around is armed and dangerous.

    • “The safest course would be to assume that the guy who’s been slapping his wife around is armed and dangerous.”

      Glad you finally understand!

    • And if the answer to the query came up negative, do you think they merrily walked in?  No, they assumed the presence of firearms.  That is the prudent position, and the only one necessary.

  35. ” None will be registered now. That will make it less likely owners will report the thefts”
    What a load of hogwash! A full two thirds of the firearms in this country are not registered.
    Millions of firearm owners have also simply said no to licensing themselves in order to posses  their own previously legally obtained property. Someone not having a firearms license, and/or owning an unregistered firearm that is stolen, will likely just suck up the loss and not incriminate him or herself by reporting the theft. As long as the simple possession of a otherwise legally obtained firearm, as well as not having it registered on some government shopping list, is a crime. Don’t expect people to turn themselves in by reporting the theft. Why would they want to open themselves up to financially crippling court costs, job loss, and prison? Under these conditions, for most it’s a no brainer. they would just shut up, suck up the loss, and go on with their life..Under the old FAC system (that made no legal owner a criminal) which worked much better, stolen firearms would be reported immediately, be recorded in the CPIC system, and be in effect registered as stolen. The owner could then collect his insurance for the loss, and the police would know it was ‘out there’. The current system promotes crime by criminalizing the theft victim.
    The Sooner the CPC realizes this, the sooner we can get back to the VERY effective FAC system that used to exist, and the sooner sanity will prevail in the case of firearms owned by target shooters, hunters, and collectors.

  36. Good for Harper to get rid of this totally useless bureaucracy but the next question is what do we do with all of the chair warmers the Liberals hired to create this sack of rubbish.

  37. “gun owners are, by and large, law-abiding citizens ”
     
    Unless, that is a government were to make a law they had to abide to — like, say, register their guns — other than the general proviso to not shoot people with their guns.

    When governments make such laws, gun-owning dudes lose all taste for abiding…

  38. To all those complaining about it being scrapped, has no one stopped to think about how much it is costing tax payers for a flawed system !?!?

    People are quick to point fingers, however how many have registered guns and had to pay the ‘gros’ fee attached to it when it was no longer free? Many do not remember those days. As well, who has gone through the hassle to do it properly to only receive 3 – 6 papers in the mail for the same gun registered to yourself? If the system was better laid out from the beginning and the task was much easier we avid hunters would not care so much, but one you have to go through a lengthy process for ever single fire-arm to just have it screwed up on the other end, it is tedious and frustrating. 

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