The registry isn’t about reducing crime. It’s about public control.
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.
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.
Policy-making is solely the mandate of elected governments on behalf of the people. 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.
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. To that end, they need a database that will help them locate and seize those firearms as soon as a licence or registration expires.
It’s about public control. The registry can’t reduce crime because the criminals don’t register their guns or buy licences. Responsible gun owners who have taken firearms safety, handling, and storage courses are the only ones adversely affected by it. But they are the good guys!
Beware the CAPC contention that the registry is supported by “the police.” A straw poll taken by Edmonton Police Services constable Randy Kuntz found that 92 per cent of rank-and-file police officers believe the registry should be scrapped immediately. They don’t use it because any officer who believes the database results could be in grave danger.
Consider that the CACP’s vocal endorsement of the registry caused the sudden departure of its own ethics expert last year. John Jones quit the CACP ethics committee after the chiefs accepted a $115,000 donation from the gun registry’s software provider. Indeed, Jones says the CACP has a track record of providing public endorsements to private sector companies that help to fund their lavish annual conference galas.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) has been carrying the ball for hunters, farmers, and sport shooters in this debate. I recommend a visit to their website to see the pro-registry lobbyists’ myths debunked in detail. The public can be forgiven for its collective confusion regarding the usefulness of the gun registry – that confusion is a recurring tool for the pro-registry lobby.
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. That motion will come to a vote on Sept. 22. 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. The opposition’s desperation is twisting our parliamentary system to avoid an outcome they don’t want.
At the time of this writing, the Liberal caucus is being whipped to kill Bill C-391. If the whip is successful, watch for several rural Liberal seats to change hands in the next election.
The 12 rural New Democrats who supported Bill C-391 at second reading will be pivotal in the Sept. 22 vote. A Canadian Press/Harris Decima poll showed 44 per cent of NDP supporters want the registry abolished, compared to just 42 percent who want it retained. 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.
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.