Reading between the lines of Garry Breitkreuz’s gun registry column - Macleans.ca
 

Reading between the lines of Garry Breitkreuz’s gun registry column

Always good to spice up an op-ed with a laugh line


 
Reading between the lines of Gerry Breitkreuz's gun registry columns

Louis Andre Gregoire replaces a shotgun in the rack in a downtown Montreal outdoor store. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Why the gun registry needs to go.

– published Aug. 30 at The Mark

The media war over the hotly contested long-gun registry is in full swing, and it isn’t pretty. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is lobbying hard to keep our tax dollars flowing into the black hole that is the registry.

Goddamn those police chiefs – haven’t they see the Star Trek reboot? Those black holes are spooky. Spock fiddled with that damn red matter and, boom, suddenly there’s a black hole and they’re getting thrown back in time. I don’t have the sideburns to make it through the 1970s again!

Taxpayers should be incensed at the CACP for co-opting the role of policy-maker. When law enforcement managers try to write the laws they enforce, history has taught us we risk becoming a state where police can dictate our personal freedoms.

Happily, this hasn’t happened yet, so Garry Breitkreuz still has the personal freedom to be emotionally hysterical.

Policy-making is solely the mandate of elected governments on behalf of the people.

Um, okay. I also know a fact: Justin Bieber’s dog is named Sammy. Your turn again.

While police can and should be consulted on the efficacy of current policies, police chiefs should not be lobbying to tell the government which laws it should adopt. The tail is wagging the dog with such intensity, the pooch is a veritable blur.

How dare the people whose jobs are actually affected by a law speak up about the relative merits of that law. That would just be utterly and totally… useful? Relevant? What’s the word I’m looking for… helpful?

Why are the police chiefs so strident in their quest to keep the registry in place? They won’t admit it, but it appears they don’t want Canadians to own guns.

Did you catch that? It “appears” they don’t want Canadians to own guns. I write a lot of op-eds for people and “appears” is a great verb to use if you’re a bit short on evidence (ie. you have no evidence) but want to instantly generate a nice little conspiracy-theory vibe. It’s easy, just watch – it “appears” that Garry Breitkreuz wants to sell Canadian women of child-bearing age overseas as a way of reducing the federal deficit. He won’t admit it, of course, but how can we take the word of a man who “appears” to want to do that? Shame.

To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.

Here’s a thought if you actually believe this to be true: DON’T LET YOUR REGISTRATION EXPIRE. Just don’t. Actually go to the trouble of filling out the form. Danggummit – we WANTED to seize their firearms and we woulda got away with it too, if it wasn’t for the fact they made the minimum effort required to abide by what is, at the end of the day, a system of firearms control that demands very little of the gun owner.

Now the opposition has introduced a motion to kill Bill C-391, the private member’s bill that seeks to repeal the gun registry, prior to its third reading in the House of Commons… This after 33 witnesses testified before the federal Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, with many experts advocating that the registry is totally useless. As chair of that committee, I was flabbergasted when the opposition parties conspired to approve the motion, which could negate the important testimony of the witnesses who took the time to address Parliament.

I’m telling you: My gast was completely flabbered! How dare opposition MPs ignore the opinions of experts? That’s OUR shtick. Didn’t you see us with the census thingy? WE OWN THAT SHTICK!

The opposition’s desperation is twisting our parliamentary system to avoid an outcome they don’t want.

And THAT is totally my boss’s shtick! SWEET MOTHER OF CANOLA: THEY’RE STEALING ALL OUR SHTICKS!!

The 12 rural New Democrats who supported Bill C-391 at second reading will be pivotal in the Sept. 22 vote… This NDP support bodes well for Bill C-391, as those 12 MPs can vote in favour of it once again, assured that they represent the majority of NDP supporters on this issue. We can only hope the rest of the NDP caucus will see the wisdom in following suit.

Always good to spice up an op-ed with a laugh line.

Until Bill C-391 is passed, the media war will continue. Let’s get rid of this political aggravation so the government can address measures that actually contribute to the safety of all Canadians.

Unless some idiot prorogues Parliament again and kills his own crime bill for a third time.


 
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Reading between the lines of Garry Breitkreuz’s gun registry column

  1. But, but….. you're asking them to fill out forms again!

    My gawd, Feschuk….the cruelty in your column. LOL

  2. To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.

    ZOMG! If that's true it's only a matter of time before the police use the vehicle registration database to seize all our registered automobiles too. Well screw that. They can take away my car when they pry it from my cold, dead, flabby ass.

    • First, they came for the Honda Civics, and I helped them load the trucks…

    • This snide comment might be relevant if it were not for the fact that the gun registry already has been used to seize firearms from people who committed no crime. The same cannot be said for motor vehicles, at least to my knowledge.

    • Except that the countries where a long gun registry was brought into existence generally DID seize firearms.

      • Such as? Any concrete examples?

        • Looked at Australia? Perhaps the UK?
          The interesting part of the long gun registry argument seems to be that most responsible firearms
          owners have no objection, in fact support, the requirements for possesing a firearms licence, safe
          storage & handling and have accepted the mandatory registration of restricted firearms for many
          years (1930's). It is the long gun registry itself that is seen as cumbersome and of no real value.

          It is unfortunate that the 'register my vehicle' argument gets brought up. If you had to go through the
          same background check (spousal and neighbours approval, questions that must be answered on
          your financial, emotional – including the condition? of your personal relationship -, medical states, etc)
          to obtain a firearms licence as you did to obtain a driver's licence, I wonder how many would actually be given a driver's licence?

          • Because anybody can just walk into the auto licencing bureau and walk out with a driver's licence just like that. No qualifications required.

          • And this bill changes the licensing system… how exactly?

            After you've gone through all that, is it really that much hardship to fill out a card with your gun info? (This should be done at the store before you walk out, really)

          • The licencing system has nothing to do with the registration system nor is a card filled out with your gun info for a licence. In most retail environments, a application to register is done at the store – once approved by the CFC, the client may pay for and leave with the firearm ('long gun'). Any private licenced firearm's owner to licenced firearm's owner requires an approval and tranfer of registration through the CFC. There are multiple issues to deal with in the existence of the long gun registry and perhaps actual study of all sides of the issue may be of benefit.
            There are three sides to every story – one side, the other side and the truth.

  3. "This NDP support bodes well for Bill C-391, as those 12 MPs can vote in favour of it once again, assured that they represent the majority of NDP supporters on this issue. We can only hope the rest of the NDP caucus will see the wisdom in following suit."

    Gerry Breitkreuz supports a coalition! Release the houds!

    • that response has taken my frown and turned it upside down on an otherwise attrocious week (not sh@tty in case the auto-delete function is lurking). all good things to charlie angus.

    • Charlie Angus appeared on Power and Politics with Evan Soloman. He was totally incoherent. Scott should take a run at him and his inconsistant statements. Even Evan said that he couldn't follow him. But Charlie did look mad.

  4. You know those wacky dippers and their trigger-happy, gun-toting ways. That's why I never invite any of them to summer BBQs. Charleton Heston's a much safer bet if you don't want your BBQ to end in bloodshed.

    • Especially now that his gun has been pried from his cold dead hands?

      • Oh dear. I knew those rumours about a Spartacus remake were too good to be true.

        • To bring in the younger crowd, I think the working title is "Zombie Spartacus".

          • And to bring the "older" crowd back in to this discussion, not to worry. Kirk Douglas is still alive.

        • That's Kirk Douglas.

          • Perhaps the rumours DirtyOldTown is citing were rumours that they were planning on remaking Spartacus, starring Charlton Heston this time.

          • Remarkably his acting has apparently become less stiff with his demise.

          • Sadly, no. I confused Spartacus with Ben-Hur. But thanks for rallying to my defense, in any case. Now I'm going to go back to studying my Guide to 20th Century Cinema .

  5. duuuuuddddeeee, shhhhhhuuuuuuutttt up. nobody cares about numbers….. zeeeesh.

  6. Why are the Conservatives alienating the police? Don't they realize that you need the police on board to create a police state? It's right there in the name, people!

    • How is it that you equate conservatism, meaning smaller government and more individual freedom with a police state? A police state to my understanding stands athwart to a police state.

      • Is *that* what conservatism means? Someone should probably consider telling that to Mr. Harper. It seems his party is a tad unclear on the concept.

        Huh.. and here I was thinking conservatism meant "reactionary government imposing puritanical value systems upon the populace while leaving the disadvantaged to suffer whatever comes their way," I guess a person learns something new every day.

        • "reactionary" huh?

          Funny how the old terms keep coming back comrade.

          • OK, start the sentence just after "reactionary".

          • Well there, you have those who want to impose puritanical values in direct conflict with those who want to leave the disadvantaged to suffer whatever comes their way.

            Namely SoCons vs. Libertarians.

            Of course, there seems to be no problem with the left imposing their values, and labelling those who have a different viewpoint as "reactionaries". Somehow, that's not a problem.

  7. This column resembles a troll replying to a post he didn't like on Usenet. Hardly the work of a professional.

    In any case, the idea that gun owners should just "don't let your registration expire" speaks volumes. First, registrations usually don't expire. I say usually because the Canadian Firearms Center lost at least 1/4 of their registration records for handguns when they tried to merge it with the new database for long guns. Handgun owners were asked (or was it told?) to re-register their firearms. I think Feschuk meant to refer to renewing the firearm licence. It is true that one should not let it lapse, lest they suffer a visit from the police to seize their property. But the real problem with this is that failure to do so for whatever reason turns the owner into a criminal. Canadian criminal law is based on the idea that one must commit a criminal ACT and INTEND to do so. Failing to file papers qualifies as neither. Before you state that negligence is a criminal offence that does not require mens rea, save it. Criminal negligence still requires that a consequence was made to someone by the act of the negligence. If I have a shotgun locked in a safe in my house, harming nobody, there is nobody harmed if the mail to Miramichi was a day late., therefore no negligence.

    And Feschuk should also know that many firearms were reclassified as prohibited with a pen stroke when the Libs were in power. This was done regardless of whether they had renewed their "registrations" or not.

    • It's called humour SooperNoob. You know that stuff that people laugh at. Like you.

      • The only problem is – it is just not funny. Just a poorly written attempt to sell magazines.
        Maybe Mr Feschuk needed another stamp on his "Ontario Forever – I Love Liberals' card.

  8. This is the second time today that you played game. Why do you reduce your arguments to polls? It is as though you claim your position as the majority and demand that others prove you wrong with narrow polls that you define. You do this by re-framing what others have said and demanding proof against your misdirection. The polls I have seen have 44% against the registry, but far fewer are in favor of it. The number in favor drops dramatically when asked to prioritize it against other government initiatives, such as the economy. So no, there is nowhere that Breitkreuz claims that NDP supporters are against the registry at a higher rate than the population as a whole.

    • OMG.

      You were making such logical points right up until your last sentence, which is just completely divorced from everything you wrote before that.

      OF COURSE Breitkreuz is claiming that NDP supporters are against the registry at a higher rate than the population as a whole!!! What part of 44% is less than a majority do you not get???

      Breitkreuz: "those 12 MPs can vote in favour of it once again, assured that they represent the majority of NDP supporters on this issue" (emphasis added).

      So, right there, Breitkreuz is claiming that the majority of NDP supporters support scrapping the gun registry. MAJORITY. As in, over 50% of NDP supporters want to scrap the gun registry (unless of course Breitkreuz defines "majority" differently than the rest of the planet, which I admit, is a distinct possibility).

      So, to recap. About 44% of Canadians want to scrap the gun registry (vs. about 35% who want to keep it, as you point out). Breitkreuz is saying that a majority of NDP supporters want to scape the gun registry. If a majority of NDP supporters want to scrap the gun registry, and only 44% of Canadians want to scrap the gun registry then, BY DEFINITION, Breitkreuz is claiming that NDP supporters support scraping the gun registry at a rate at least 6 points higher than that of the general population.

      51 is a bigger number than 44.

      IMHO, while there are no doubt many NDP supporters who want to scrap the gun registry, there's just NO WAY that a majority of NDP supporters want to scrap the gun registry (a number which, I noted, would put NDP support for scraping the registry at least 6 points higher than support among Canadians generally). All I really ask is that if a Tory MP is going to publicly proclaim that a majority of NDP supporters think X, that someone, somewhere, at least be able to point to a poll that even SUGGESTS that a majority of NDP supporters MIGHT think that way.

      Otherwise, it's clear that Breitkreuz just pulled that out of his… hat. I'm gonna go with "hat".

  9. The First Nations are against the registry, by and large. That's a problem for all of those NDP seats in the North.

    Mostly though, if the NDP whips the caucus, they can kiss the last shreds of their once-mighty rural support goodbye.

    • I'm certainly not saying that there are no NDP supporters who want to scrap the gun registry. I'm not even saying that voting against scraping the gun registry would be a good idea for those 12 MPs. It probably WOULD hurt some, if not all of them, electorally. However, I just can't believe that a majority of NDP supporters want to get rid of the gun registry. If a Tory MP is going to claim that that is the case, that over 50% of NDP supporters want to scrap the registry, even though polls show that only 44% of Canadians generally want to scrap the registry, then I'd like to see a poll somewhere that even SUGGESTS that that MIGHT be true.

      'Cause personally, I'd be pretty shocked to find that a majority of NDP supporters want to get rid of the registry.

      • No, this isn't like the old days, where the NDP had a sizeable rural vote made up of farmers and other rural types. They learned long ago that progressive ideals only favour those who consider themselves progressive, and if you deviate from those progressive ideals you are a reactionary and therefore scum who don't deserve representation.
        So consequently, the rural support dried up.

        Most NDP supporters look on rural people as those who are going to roll into town on the back of pickup trucks to impose facism while draped in the cross, randomly shooting urban people in the streets. So I imagine that you are correct about whether the majority of NDP supporters want to keep the registry or not.

        • Well, thanks for that last sentence, but the rest of that seemed kinda like an unnecessary drive-by at the NDP.

          Is it not possible that the NDP decided to focus more on their urban constituency than their rural constituency simply because the urban-rural divide in Canada is about 80-20, with the 80 growing and the 20 shrinking? Are we absolutely certain that it's not that, but must instead be that the majority of those in the NDP are ignorant bigots???

  10. "And Feschuk should also know that many firearms were reclassified as prohibited with a pen stroke when the Libs were in power. This was done regardless of whether they had renewed their "registrations" or not."

    This is the key point. The registry was brought in along with confiscations and reclassification of certain types of weapons. This was done because with the rhetoric that rural gun owners were a dangerous menace unless we can track exactly what kind or how many guns they had.

    It left many who were gun owners feeling that the registry was just a prelude to the handgun and long gun confiscation that was to come as soon as it was politically feasible. If the Liberals (and the left generally) doesn't have that sentiment, then they went about selling the registry to gun owners in the worst possible way. Hell, they are still doing a piss-poor job of salesmanship.

    • If that's the key point, then you got no point.

      • Like it or not Mike, the Liberals did seize various types of weapons.

        Also, I'm pretty sure you are a person who would love to confiscate every gun you could get your hands on, and would prefer if the only people who had guns were the police and the military.

  11. "This was done because with the rhetoric that rural gun owners were a dangerous menace unless we can track exactly what kind or how many guns they had." If there were any sort of rhetoric along those lines, especially from soemone responsible for the registry, you could certainy come up with a few examples, couldn't you?

    I do not recall a single instance wherea single class of gunowners, such as rural gunowners, were singled out as a problem. It would be against the principle of equal application of the law to do so. You are creating your own straw man to rail against in the hopes that others will take up the cry as though it were true.

    I call bullsh*t.

    • To be fair, they didn't create the bullsh*t… just imported it.

    • So what's the purpose of the gun registry then?

      To solve gun related domestic violence and suicide? It doesn't do anything for that, because people are just as likely to use registered as unregistered guns for that purpose.
      To prevent shooting sprees? The registry doesn't add anything that previous legislation didn't do.
      To solve cases involving organized crime? Not particularly useful, because crimes are committed using unregistered firearms, and they haven't been able to solve any crimes using the registry after 12 years.

      So what exactly is the purpose of the gun registry?

  12. The Liberals long term policy is to confiscate hand guns and semi automatic long guns. Several models of firearms have already been confiscated and none of them were related to public safety issues but were made political issues. As long as poitical parties wish to scapegoat firearm owners, those owners will undertake to protect their property rights which in this case is the registry that contains information that could lead to confiscation.

  13. Funny how the Canadian Association of Chief of Police likes to get into politic…

    Because I always thought that the code of conduct for police officers says it is unacceptable for them to get involved into politic…

    Ho wait, I know how the Chief's get around this technicality… the CACP is nothing but a lobby groups… and since they are receiving quite a few dollars from CGI and other firms working the registry, the least the police chief could do is support their financial contributor

    Eventhough the registry has proven to be uterly useless.
    – $5 billion dollars
    – 10,000 queries a day for 10 years

    and not ONE SINGLE crime solved nor prevented. It's hard to come up with a more meaningless way of wasting tax dollars.

    • There are some interesting articles on the CACP in relation to firearms and some ethical issues of their
      operation. These can be read at http://www.afga.org.
      To save time for the 'get rid of all guns at any cost' anti firearm individuals – please note – all articles should be critically read and the source(s) objectively evaluated. That includes 'anti-gun / conservatives evil' articles as well – they are not immune from scrutiny.

  14. Just for the record: His name is Garry Breitkreuz, not Gerry. I hope that Mr. Feschuk doesn't charge people for those op-eds he writes for them.

    • Fixed now. Thanks for letting me know. Oliver Sacks just wrote a long piece in the New Yorker about not being able to recognize faces. I have that same condition, but with spelling names. Apologies.

  15. To firearms owners who fear that registration will lead to confiscation, Feschuk adivses "DON'T LET YOUR REGISTRATION EXPIRE".
    In stating that he shows just how little he knows about the concerns of licensed gun owners. First of all once a firearm is registered the registration certificate NEVER expires. What he also doesn't seem to know is that hundreds of thousands, of firearms since the Montreal Massacre have been banned and confiscated from licensed gun owners who have done nothing wrong. It was only possible to take so many firearms because of Gun Registries (Restricted and Long Gun). Those registries provided the list for police officers to use to go and take away (previously) lawfully owned property. Recently, Paul Martin promised to take away all handguns from licensed owners, Dion promised to take away all semi-auto rifles and shotguns. To do that, a confiscation list is needed. The way for gun owners to avoid having their property taken without compensation is not havge their property on a confiscation list.

    • hundreds of thousands, of firearms since the Montreal Massacre have been banned and confiscated from licensed gun… It was only possible to take so many firearms because of Gun Registries… Those registries provided the list for police officers to use to go and take away (previously) lawfully owned property

      Of course the important point here is that said guns were legally banned first, and THEN confiscated. That the registry provided a means to take away guns which were PREVIOUSLY legal, but NO LONGER LEGAL.

      Now, one can certainly argue against an increase in the number of weapons that are listed as prohibited. One can also argue that currently prohibited weapons should be taken off of the prohibited list. However, what you're arguing here is that a big problem with the registry is that it stops people from continuing to posses prohibited weapons after they've been prohibited! i.e. that the registry was the only way for police to confiscate weapons that people aren't allowed to have, from the people who aren't allowed to have them.

      I'm not personally in favour of confiscating people's shotguns or hunting rifles, but the fact that the registry has been used in the past to confiscate weapons that have been legally prohibited by the Parliament of Canada from people that posessed those weapons isn't an argument against the registry. It's tantamount to saying "if it weren't for the damned registry, I'd still have all of my legally prohibited weapons!"

      Hardly a strong argument against the registry.

      • Sure, but is the registry part of long term plan to confiscate long guns as soon as it becomes politically feasible?

        If not, what is it for?

      • I believe you should verify that it (except in the broadest sense possible) was the Parliament of Canada that caused these firearms to be prohibited. I understand that some were an Order in Council and some fairly recently some were as a result of a reclassification by the RCMP. Hardly a strong argument for an Act of Parliament confiscating firearms.

        • Excellent point, and fair enough.

          Still, the firearms in question were banned first, confiscated second. However the firearms in question became legally banned, they were LEGALLY BANNED, so again, the argument being put forward above is basically "the registry is bad because, due to the registry, the police will know if I own illegal guns, and then they'll be able to come and take my illegal guns from me!!!!".

          All I'm saying is that "as long as there's a registry, I'll have trouble keeping any banned guns that I own once they get banned" isn't a terribly strong argument in favour of getting rid of the registry. And it suggests that the real reason people don't like the registry is because they want to keep all their guns, even if those guns are eventually banned by law. Which does drive a little bit of a hole in the whole "law-abiding gun owners" meme, as it portrays some gun owners as people who are perfectly willing to obey TODAY's laws, but would like to keep fully open their leeway to ignore tomorrow's laws, if you don't mind.

          • I understand your point. It is difficult to support being a law abiding citizen if you choose the laws you wish to abide by.

            I believe the issue lies more with the idea of law. Orders in Council etc. have the force of law but no real input by any elected representative or in many cases, any public perception of debate on their merit. Laws that are aribitrary and can change without a strong majority public perception of need have been subject of criticism since ancient times. Arbitrary or poorly conceived laws confiscating firearms (recent RCMP re-classification and subsequent confiscation of certain firearms after being allowed for sale) do not breed trust in a justice system. Eg: Should an Order in Council suddenly decide the age of majority is 21, what of all the contracts signed by those who are 19? The civil (citizen and government) contract is broken. This can be/has been debated extensively and these are only thoughts put forward. 'Bad law' is easy to create and difficult to remove.

  16. I support the gun registry, and I'd take it further. Firearm ownership should be prohibited in Canada. That way, in the middle of the next century when there are 800 million Americans looking north at all that empty space… .

    • Oh I don't think so – the Democrats and the Liberals would debate each other to death over who has the most guilt over whatever the current 'cause celebre' is, the West Coast would not notice and Western Canada may have left by then anyway. Then there's Quebec……..

  17. I don't really see the value in the gun registry. I don't think the police have been able to adequately demonstrate or explain why they need it. Others may disagree.

    That said, this column is hilarious. And I don't mean Feschuk's insertions.

    My fave:

    While police can and should be consulted on the efficacy of current policies, police chiefs should not be lobbying to tell the government which laws it should adopt.

    God forbid the police should weigh in on law enformcement policy.

    Perhaps we should exclude doctors from weighing in on medical legislation. Or teachers on education legislation. Or statisticians on statistics Canada legislation. Good times.

    • How about if the doctors are paid bribes in one form or another to represent a third party's interests..mm? Like for instance the CACP and the firm CGI who works for them and wines and dines them.. At least be fair. Its bad enough doctors are paid off by drug companies to push their products, lets not have the RCMP doin it too. They are better off at killing immigrants at the BC airport, or sending innocent people to foreign countries for torture.. LOL

  18. Wow, shows Scott is just another Liberal commie

  19. Want to know how bad things are with the Canadian Association of Chief of Police?

    Dr. John Jones resigned his position on the CACP's ethics committee…

    In April 2009, media reports confirmed the CACP accepted about $115,000 from CGI Group, a Bell Mobility affiliate. Is it mere coincidence that CGI is the software contractor for the gun registry and the chiefs' organization is strident in its support for the registry?

    The CGI donation was used to send CACP conference delegates to a Céline Dion concert. The CACP annual galas are legendary for their opulence as cities compete to out-do the conference before. During this year's gala in Edmonton on August 22-25, the media reported that the chiefs voted unanimously to support the gun registry.