The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Archive for May, 2009

An Open Letter from Doctors Across Canada in Support of the Licensing and Registration Program

Posted by cgccanada on May 28, 2009

Firearms Control and Injury Prevention : a good investment

Almost 7 years after Canada proclaimed its new Firearms legislation, the debate over licensing firearm owners and registering guns rages on, in spite of the strong evidence about its contribution to the safety of Canadians.  With the registration deadline critics of the law redoubled their efforts, sometimes confusing the facts with their opinions, and the costs of the law have taken center stage.

But the costs of firearms licensing and registration are only one part of the equation.  Firearms in the 1980s, cost Canadians more than 1,400 lives each year, including accidents, suicides and homicides.  That is almost 4 per day and for every death, many more were injured and traumatized. Firearm death and injury were estimated to cost the Canadian economy and society over 6 billion per year (in 1993 dollars), a price tag that dwarfs the investment in firearms licensing and registration.  The bulk of the investment to date, it is important to note, has been made in developing the systems and processes necessary to screen firearms owners for risk factors which we, as health professionals, identified as being critical.

Licensing firearm owners is critical to reduce the chances guns will be obtained by those who are a threat to themselves and others.  We have fought for this law because the vast majority of firearm deaths in Canada occur when an ordinary law abiding citizen becomes suicidal or violent often under the influence of toxic substances.  Registration is also essential to encourage accountability and to reduce the illegal gun trade. In comparison, there are approximately 3000 automobile fatalities each year in Canada and we invest heavily in trying to make our highways safer with little of the controversy surrounding gun control.  To put the costs in context, the province of Quebec spent $125 million just to inoculate its citizens against one strain of meningitis last year, after 85 cases occurred. New Brunswick spent almost half a billion dollars to make a road (called “Suicide Alley”) safer, after 43 persons died over a 5 year period.  During the same period in time more than 5000 Canadians were killed with firearms.

The most recent law is not yet fully implemented, but we have seen encouraging  results from Canada’s progressive strengthening of gun law. Both the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell’s legislation in 1991 (C-17) and the Hon. Allan Rock’s legislation in 1995 (Bill C-68) focused on improving controls over rifles and shotguns.  By 1998, firearm related deaths, in Canada reached a 30 year low of 996 firearm deaths and remained at 1006 in 1999, the last year for which we have complete data. The public health community is on the record saying that strengthening the laws has contributed to this decline. The research is abundant, reducing access to firearms reduces the lethality of suicide attempts and violence and also reduces unintentional injuries, particularly involving children.

The areas where we have seen the greatest progress are in the deaths associated with rifles and shotguns.  Suicides with firearms, firearm murders of women, accidents and of course murders with rifles and shotguns have all declined more rapidly than other types of fatal injuries.  In contrast, homicides with handguns, fuelled largely by the illegal trade, have remained relatively stable.

The Firearms Act allows for the rigorous screening of gun owners so that those who pose a threat to themselves or others do not have access to firearms. While guns are the third leading cause of death among 15-24 years old Canadians – following motor vehicle accidents and suicide by other means – in most cases, the firearm used was easily accessible in the home. The law specifically targeted rifles and shotguns, the firearms most often used in suicides, in unintentional injuries and in domestic violence. Given the law promotes notions of accountability among firearm owners which is essential in encouraging responsible behavior, it is clear that ultimately it will reduce deaths.

Our daily practice informs us of the risks associated with firearms. Indeed, that is why, health professionals have fought to pass improvements to the law in 1991 as well as the 1995 Firearms Act.  It is clear that Canada’s Firearms Act is essential to help prevent death and injury and make Canada a safer place to live.  And it brings Canada in line with most industrialized countries as well as emerging international norms such as the 1997 resolution of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Commission.  We know that on an international basis and within Canada there is a strong relationship between rates of firearms ownership and firearm death rates in industrialized countries.  Switzerland, for example, with one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in Europe also has one of the highest rates of firearms death. As health professionals, we believe this legislation needs to be kept rigorous and effective. We know the importance of investing in prevention, whether in road safety or preventing infectious diseases.

We, as health professionals, cannot accept further compromise to public health and safety. We know there has been huge pressure to “streamline” and to cut costs on this program or even to abandon it altogether.  Surely, however, the experience in Walkerton, Ontario, where the water supply was compromised, has taught us some lessons about what may occur when we lose sight of public health and safety objectives. It is true that one cannot easily measure prevention, but we can certainly measure the effects of ignoring it.

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Conservative MP’s bid to abolish gun registry fails

Posted by cgccanada on May 27, 2009

David Akin, Canwest News Service
National Post Published: Monday, May 25, 2009

OTTAWA — An attempt by a Saskatchewan Conservative MP to abolish the controversial long-gun registry quietly died Monday.

Garry Breitkreuz, who represents a riding in rural Saskatchewan, had introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons aimed at scrapping the controversial registry and the bill was to be debated in the House of Commons Monday morning. But Mr. Breitkreuz failed to show up for the debate and, according to rules of procedure in the House, that meant his private member’s bill now falls to the bottom of the priority list. MPs have introduced more than 190 private member’s bills and must count on a lottery system to have their bill advanced. The Coalition for Gun Control, a lobby group, had opposed Mr. Breitkreuz’s bill, saying it would effectively gut gun control in Canada. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police also opposed Breitkreuz’s bill.

While the move to abolish the long-gun registry is popular in many English-speaking rural areas in Canada — areas where the Conservatives are the dominant political party — it was less popular in urban areas and in Quebec — areas where the Conservatives need to grow support. Nathan Cullen, an NDP MP from British Columbia who supports the gun registry, said he believes Mr. Breitkreuz’s failure to attend the debate on his own bill was no accident but was a way for the Conservatives to back away from the issue.

“This is a huge step down for them,” Mr. Cullen said.

Mr. Breitkreuz was not available for comment but an aide said that he allowed his bill, C-301, to die in favour of a similar bill, C-391, put forward by Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner. Ms. Hoeppner’s bill would require registration of guns that are either prohibited or restricted. Hunting rifles, generally speaking, are neither restricted nor prohibited. If her bill became law, individuals still would be required to have a valid firearms licence, and to go through a police background check and safety training to purchase or possess firearms and to purchase ammunition. Individuals would also continue to be required to register prohibited and restricted firearms, such as handguns.

Private member’s bills, like the one from Mr. Breitkreuz and Ms. Hoeppner, rarely become law. Meanwhile, in April, the government introduced its own legislation to dismantle the long-gun registry but did so in the Senate. That bill, S-5, has essentially the same objective as Hoeppner’s private member’s bill. The Conservatives’ political opponents saw the move to introduce legislation in the Senate as a half-hearted attempt by the government to look as if it was trying to kill the registry without actually doing so. The Liberals, who back the gun registry, hold a majority of seats there and the Conservatives have provided no timetable for the legislation’s advance through the Senate.

When his bill was tabled in February, Mr. Breitkreuz called the gun registry “a useless money pit” and won the enthusiastic backing of many gun registry opponents. “I believe Canadians would rather see their tax dollars keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs, instead of trying to control law-abiding citizens,” Mr. Breitkreuz said at the time.

As recently as March 21, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a speech to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, was urging supporters of Breitkreuz’s bill to pressure their MPs to get behind that bill. Mr. Harper’s appearance came days after Mr. Breitkreuz faced an uproar over plans to address a dinner where the organizers, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, gave away a Beretta semi-automatichandgun as a raffle prize.

At the Harper event, organizers gave away a hunting package, which included a rifle. Earlier this month, the Harper government again extended an amnesty for firearms owners to register unlicensed guns, giving owners until May 16, 2010 a chance to register their weapons. Conservatives argue the long-gun registry only penalizes law-abiding Canadians and does nothing to keep illegal guns from ending up in the hands of criminals.

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THE COSTS OF GUN CONTROL VS. THE COSTS OF GUN VIOLENCE

Posted by cgccanada on May 26, 2009

There has been a lot of deliberate misinformation about the firearms program fuelled by its opponents. First and foremost, the “registry” has become short form for Canada’s entire system of licensing gun owners and registering firearms.  Close to a billion dollars was spent – over a 10 year period – most of the money was spent on screening and licensing gun owners NOT on registering firearms.  Currently the costs of the system are about $80 million dollars a year. 2 million gun owners have been licensed and their licenses must be renewed – this is an ongoing cost. But firearms only have to be registered once, unless they are sold or traded. To date 7 million guns have been registered – this is a sunk cost. The ongoing costs of registration are the costs of registering new guns entering the system or guns that are traded – about 400,000 guns per year. Consequently the costs going forward for registration are minimal.  If the government stops registering  rifles and shotguns it might save $10-15 million a year. But it will also destroy the system we have for tracking these guns back to their owners. A system which the Supreme Court of Canada said was essential to enforcing the licensing of gun owners. This does not make an easy sound bite. But scrapping the registry will be a huge threat to public safety. Remember – rifles and shotguns in the wrong hands kill just as dead as handguns.  And the costs of gun violence are enormous.

“Scrapping the registry” means dismantling gun control in Canada.

The opponents of the law have tended to deliberately confuse matters by referring to “the registry”. Many think that Canada spent a billion dollars registering guns. In fact, “the registry” has become short form for Canada’s entire system of licensing gun owners and registering guns.  Most of the money that has been spent to date was for licensing gun owners not registering guns.

• The licensing process includes checking police records and ensuring training has been completed. But key to preventing violence (particularly domestic violence) and suicides is the screening process, designed to identify risk factors not contained in police databases. Risk factors for violence and suicide include: marital breakdown, history of mental illness, substance abuse etc.

• Screening for these threats was first introduced by Kim Campbell’s legislation in 1991.

• Two referees must sign the application form to confirm the accuracy of the information and that they know of no reason why the applicant should not have a gun.

• Also critical to the protection of families is the spousal notification process. Current and former spouses (within two years) are notified of the license application to give them an opportunity to express concern if safety is an issue.  These measures respond to several inquests into firearms tragedies.

• Licenses are renewed every five years to maintain current address information and review the suitability of applicants. (Passports are also renewed every five years; drivers’ licenses every two years; dog licenses annually.) Safety experts wanted a shorter renewal period: five years is already a compromise.

• Currently, guns are registered only once and only need to be re-registered when transferred. Costs of “the Registry” were mostly related to screening and licensing gun owners not registering guns

• From to 1995 to April 2005, net program costs for the Canadian Firearms Program have been 946.4 million dollars.   Average costs over this period have been 94.6 million per year.   These costs include additional enforcement measures (NWEST), costs to Correctional Services Canada for increased sentences under the Firearms Act, and contributions to the provinces to administer the system (Approximately $180 million over 10 years).

• Two-thirds of the direct costs have been for the licensing of all firearms owners, and only one-third for the registration of all firearms.

• In May 2004, the Government announced a package of improvements to the Firearms Program which included the elimination of fees for the registration and transfer of firearms, and control of program costs by establishing an annual $25 million cap on firearm registration activities beginning in 2005–2006.

• Projected future funding requirements for the Canada Firearms Centre would be approximately $85 million annually, starting in 2005-2006.

Putting the Costs in Perspective

Gun death and injury in Canada were estimated to cost $6.6 billion per year in 1995. References to ‘the billion dollar registry” have been without context or explanation.

• The money was spent over 10 years. Going forward the costs will be $70 million per year. The old, flawed system cost $30 million per year.

• Costs are high in part because the government has refused to make users pay. It has waived fees as an incentive for gun owners to comply.

• The annual cost of a license to own as many guns as one wishes is $12 per year ($60 renewed every 5 years). This is half the annual cost paid in Toronto or Montreal for a license to own a single dog or cat.

• No one even knows how much we spend to keep highways safe. In New Brunswick, the federal Government is investing $400 million to widen a stretch of highway where 43 lives were lost over 5 years. In the same period, guns killed 5,000 people.

• We spend over $120 million a year on the passport office. No one complains. Users cover the costs.

• Prevention is not cheap, it is an investment in our future, for example, the meningitis inoculation program initiated in Quebec last fall, which came in response to 85 cases reported in 2001, and cost the province $125 million.

• As the Government of Ontario learned from the Walkerton tragedy, inappropriately cutting costs of water testing proved very expensive. The former Ontario Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Richard Schabas, has warned the federal government not to make the same mistake by cutting the gun control program.

• Lots of government programs are much more costly: for example, snow removal in Montreal costs $130 million each year.

Savings from “Scrapping Registration of Rifles and Shotguns”

• Registration is one time only and we have already registered 7 million firearms. The only guns to be registered in the future are those which are bought, sold or traded – about 400,000 per year. Consequently if the registration of rifles and shotguns were discontinued savings would be in the order of $10-15 million.  Licensing and continuous eligibility are the bulk of the costs.

*****

Les coûts du contrôle des armes á feu par rapport au coût de la violence des armes á feu

Il y a eu beaucoup de désinformation délibérée sur le programme des armes à feu alimentée par ses opposants. D’abord et avant tout, le «registre» est devenue le terme utilisé pour illustrer le système canadien d’émission des permis aux propriétaires d’armes et d’enregistrement des armes à feu. Près d’un milliard de dollars a été dépensé (sur une période de 10 ans), la majorité des argents ont été utilisé pour émettre les permis aux propriétaires d’armes et dépister les risques PAS pour enregistrer les armes à feu. Actuellement, les coûts du système sont d’environ 80 million de dollars par année. 2 millions de propriétaires d’armes à feu possèdent un permis et ces-derniers doivent être renouvelés (un coût continu). Par contre, les armes à feu ne sont enregistrées qu’une fois, à moins qu’elles soient vendues ou transférées. A ce jours, 7 millions d’armes à feu ont été enregistrées, il s’agit du coût fixe et terminé. Les coûts continus de l’enregistrement sont pour les nouvelles armes au système ou des armes échangées (environ  400 000 armes à feu par années). Conséquemment, les coûts pour continuer la procédure d’enregistrement des armes sont minimes. Si le gouvernement arrêtait d’enregistrer les fusils et les carabines, on peut parler d’une économie de 10 à 15 millions de dollar par années. Mais cette action détruira aussi le système que nous avons pour retracer les armes à feu à leur propriétaire original. Un système que la Cour suprême du Canada a considéré d’essentiel pour renforcer la appliquer l’émission de permis aux propriétaires d’armes à feu. De plus, détruire le registre entraînera une menace énorme à la sécurité publique. Souvenez-vous que les carabines et les fusils dans les mauvaises mains sont aussi dangereuse que des armes de poings. Et les coûts associés à la violence par armes à feu est énorme.

«Abolir le registre» signifie démonter le contrôle des armes au Canada

Les opposants à la Loi ont eu tendance à délibérément embrouiller les dossiers en faisant référence au «registre». Plusieurs croient que le Canada a dépensé des millions de dollars pour enregistrer les armes. En fait, le «registres» est devenue la version accourci pour le système entier de permis aux propriétaires d’armes à feu et d’enregistrement des armes à feu. La plus grande partie de dépenses à date étaient reliées à l’émission des permis, pas à l’enregistrement des armes.
• L’émission de permis inclus des vérifications quant aux données policières et la formation complétée. Mais l’élément clé pour prévenir la violence (particulièrement la violence conjugale) et les suicides est la procédure de vérification des antécédents, conçue pour identifier les facteurs de risques qui ne sont pas contenues dans les bases de données policières. Les facteurs de risque pour la violence et le suicide inclue : effondrement du mariage, antécédents de troubles mentaux, abus de substance, etc.
• La vérification de ces facteurs de risque a été introduit avec la loi proposée par Kim Campbell en 1991.
• Pour assurer la vérification des familles, on demande sur le formulaire que deux personnes confirment qu’elles « ne voient aucune raison pour laquelle il serait souhaitable, dans l’intérêt de la sécurité du demandeur ou de toute autre personne, que le demandeur ne puisse obtenir un permis de possession et d’acquisition d’armes à feu.»
• D’après la loi et ses règlements, lorsqu’une personne fait une demande de permis, le(s) conjoint(s) (des deux dernières années) en est immédiatement avisé(s). Le consentement du conjoint n’est pas requis pour l’acquisition mais s’il a des inquiétudes, une révision supplémentaire du dossier est déclenchée. Ces mesures répondent à plusieurs enquêtes du Coroner sur des tragédies impliquant les armes à feu.
• La procédure de renouvellement du permis, fait aux cinq ans, est moins rigoureuse et a été prolongée jusqu’à un maximum de neuf ans pour des raisons administratives (une fois seulement). (Les passeports sont renouvelés aux cinq ans, les permis de conduire aux deux ans et les licences pour chiens annuellement.)  Les experts en sécurité publique demandaient un délais de renouvellement plus court; cinq ans est déjà un compromis.
• En ce moment les armes à feu sont enregistrées une fois seulement et re-enregistrées advenant un échange d’armes.

Les coûts «du Registre» étaient principalement relié à la procédure de vérification des antécédents, non à l’enregistrement des armes.

• De 1995 à avril 2005, les coûts nets du Programme canadien des armes à feu étaient de 946,4 millions de dollars. Les coûts moyens sur cette période étaient de 94,6 millions annuellement. Ces coûts incluent des mesures des mesures d’applications de la Loi telle ENSALA (Équipe nationale de soutien à l’application de la Loi sur les armes à feu), une unité spéciale de la GRC, les coûts aux Services correctionnels du Canada pour augmenter lespeines sous la Loi, et les contributions aux provinces pour administrer le système (environ 180 millions$ sur 10 ans).                                                  • Les deux-tiers des coûts directs ont été pour émettre des permis aux propriétaires d’armes, et seulement le tiers des coûts était pour l’enregistrement de toutes les armes.
• En Mai 2004, le Gouvernement a annoncé des mesures d’amélioration du Programme des armes à feu qui incluait l’élimination des frais pour l’enregistrement et le transfert des armes à feu, et le contrôle des coûts du programme en établissant une limite annuelle à 25 millions$  sur les activités débutant en 2005-2006.
• Le financement futur du Centre des armes à feu Canada serait approximativement 85 millions $ par année, débutant en 2005-2006.

Mettre les coûts en perspectives.

Le coût économique des décès et blessures attribuables aux armes à feux au pays est estimé à 6,6 milliards de dollars annuellement en 1995.12 Faire référence au «registre d’un milliard de dollars» a été sans contexte ou explications.
• L’argent a été dépensé sur une période de dix ans. Continuer la procédure coûtera 70 millions de dollars par année. L’ancien système, désuet, coûtait 30 millions de dollars par années.
• Les coûts sont élevés en partie car le gouvernement a refusé de faire payer les utilisateurs. Il a abolit les frais afin d’inciter les propriétaires d’armes à se soumettre à la Loi.
• Les coûts annuels d’un permis pour posséder autant d’armes qu’un individu désire est de 12 dollars par année (60$ aux cinq ans). Il s’agit de la moitié des coûts annuels payés par les contribuables torontois ou montréalais pour posséder un chien ou un chat.
• Personne ne sait combien est dépensé pour garder nos autoroutes sécuritaires. Au Nouveau-Brunswick, le gouvernement fédéral a investit 400 millions de dollars pour élargir une section de l’autoroute où il s’étaient terminé 43 vies sur une période de 5 ans. Pour la même période, 5000 personnes ont été tuées par des armes à feu.

• Nous dépensons plus de 120 millions de dollars annuellement sur le bureau des passeports. Personne se plaints. Les utilisateurs couvrent les coûts.                                                                                                                                                                   • La prévention n’est pas bon marché, il s’agit d’un investissement pour le futur. Par exemple, le programme de vaccination pour la méningite au Québec, en réponse à 85 cas rapportés en 2001, coûte à la province 125 millions de dollars.                                                                                                                                                                                                             • Comme le Gouvernement de l’Ontario l’a appris avec la tragédie de Walkerton, la réduction inappropriée du budget alloué aux tests de l’eau s’est révélée très coûteuse. L’ancien Médecin hygiéniste de l’Ontario, Dr. Richard Schabas, a mis en garde le gouvernement fédéral de ne pas commettre la même erreur en sabrant dans le programme du contrôle des armes.
• Beaucoup de programmes gouvernementaux sont beaucoup plus coûteux; par exemple l’enlèvement de la neige à Montréal coûte 130 millions $ chaque année.

Économiser en «abolissant l’enregistrement des fusils et carabines»

• L’enregistrement est un coût unique et nous avons déjà enregistré 7 millions d’armes à feu. Les seules armes qui seront enregistrées dans le futur seront celles achetées, vendues ou échangées (environ 400 000 par année). Conséquemment, si l’enregistrement des fusils et des carabines était discontinué, les économies seraient d’environ 10 à 15 millions $. L’émission de permis et les vérifications continues sont la majorité des dépenses associées
au programme.

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Don’t Be Fooled: Conservative Bill Introduced to Senate Eliminating Long Gun Registration a Risk to Public Safety

Posted by cgccanada on May 25, 2009

April 1, 2009, Toronto, ON: Public safety is no joke warns the Coalition for Gun Control, as Conservatives plans to introduce a Bill to the Senate were leaked today. The Bill, recycled from 2006, if passed, will eliminate the registration of unrestricted rifles and shotguns. Police, women’s groups, gun violence victims’ advocates and the Coalition for Gun Control are urging Senators not to weaken gun control and compromise public safety. The unusual approach by the Conservatives follows a series of missteps and controversies around a private member’s bill, which also relaxed controls on handguns and fully automatic assault weapons.

“This is simply payback to the gun lobby. The system is working and police use it almost 10,000 times a day,” said Wendy Cukier, President of the Coalition for Gun Control.

Currently police can query a person or location to see if guns are present, the number and type. When they recover a gun at the scene of a crime they can search online. “The proposed system rolls back the clock to the days when police recovered a gun and had to search store by store to see where it was sold, the days when no records were kept of secondary sales, the days when the numbers of murders with rifles and shotguns far exceeded murders with handguns.”

The Supreme Court of Canada emphasized that registration of all firearms is essential to enforcing the licensing provisions of the law. If a licensed individual can purchase firearms without them easily being traced back to them, there is little to prevent them from selling or giving the guns to unlicensed individuals. Registration is about accountability. Owning a gun is a big responsibility.

The Firearms Act and specifically the gun registry is a vital tool for Canadian police in maintaining public and police safety.  A surprising number of rifles and shotguns are recovered in crime even in major cities. Plagued by an increase in gun violence, police in Surrey BC recently reported recovering over 200 long guns. “All guns are potentially dangerous, all gun owners need to be licensed, all guns need to be registered, and gun owners need to be accountable for their firearms, said Steven Chabot, President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in a letter written to Prime Minister Harper and opposition leaders on behalf of the CACP urging them not to weaken gun control. Chabot also wrote, “..ending the registration of long guns such as rifles and shotguns (the weapons most often used in domestic homicides and suicides) would seriously compromise a system that is working to the betterment of personal, community and police officer safety.”

Police from across Canada use the firearms registry daily during investigations and to take preventative action. For example, a registered long gun found at the scene of a crime led to the manslaughter conviction of two accomplices in the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.

Priscilla deVilliers, well known victims’ rights activist reminds us: “Six separate inquestshave recommended licensing and registration of guns, including the inquest into my daughter’s death. It was too late for us but what we learned from our tragedies could save the lives of other Canadians. We fought all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend the law that was forged in death and misery. And there is strong evidence that it is working.” The victims of gun violence want more than sympathetic tears and condolence. They want action.

“Sensible gun control does not demonize gun owners any more than having a license to drive and registering a car demonizes car owners,” said Wendy Cukier, President and Founder of the Coalition for Gun Control. “Gun control does not prevent firearm owners from hunting, target shooting or even collecting guns, but it does ensure accountability. Illegal guns begin as legal guns. Without knowing who owns what guns there can be no effective control.”

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From CBC News: ‘This is horrific’: 5-year-old shot in Toronto

Posted by cgccanada on May 22, 2009

From CBC News:

Toronto Police say they will “leave no stone unturned” in their hunt for the gunman who shot a five-year-old girl on Thursday night.

The child was shot in the chest as she stood inside her home on Bellevue Crescent, near Lawrence Avenue West and Weston Road.

Someone outside fired a spray of bullets. At least one of the bullets pierced the door of the girl’s townhouse apartment and struck her in the chest.

She was rushed to Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital where doctors found the bullet had struck her lung. In spite of the seriousness of the injury the hospital says she is in stable condition.

“We’re going to leave no stone unturned until we find who has done this,” said Staff Sgt. Karen Smythe. “This is horrific.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward. They also suspect others may have been injured by the bullets or from bullet fragments and are also asking those people to contact police.

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The Conservative Party’s Talking Points Leaked

Posted by cgccanada on May 21, 2009

From Wikileaks:

Canadian Conservative Party May stump speach and talking points for backbenchers. The document contains a number of current issues of interest to Canadians.

Our source states: “Just when you thought you elected a real politician, the central office of Stephen Harper comes in to tell your representative what to do. Just like was done when the Harper crew went after Mulroney, no questions are allowed.”

Check it out here

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Ottawa extends long-gun amnesty for another year

Posted by cgccanada on May 21, 2009

The Canadian Press

May 15, 2009 at 1:28 PM EDT

Globe and Mail

WINNIPEG — The federal government has once again extended its amnesty for long-gun owners who haven’t registered their firearms. Treasury Board President Vic Toews says it’s still the government’s intention to kill the registry for long-gunowners — something opposition parties would have to agree to in the minority Parliament.But for now the government is giving people another year to sign up their unregistered, non-restrictedfirearms. It’s also waiving fees for licence renewals and upgrades for another year.

“We are preventing the pointless criminalization of non-restricted gun owners, who are working to come into compliance with our firearms laws,” Mr. Toews said in a statement.“Make no mistake. This amnesty actually serves to enhance public safety. When previously extended, theamnesty encouraged an increase of gun owners registering as licensed firearms owners, as did the othermeasures we are renewing today.”The amnesty was first introduced in 2006 and was extended in 2008.Mr. Toews calls the registry a waste of money that penalizes law-abiding citizens, but its supporters say ithelps police crack down on crime.

“Our effort to combat criminal gun crimes remains strong,” said the minister.“We have introduced mandatory prison sentences for those who commit gun crimes and tougher bail rules for serious weapon-related offences.”Efforts by the minority Conservative government to kill the long-gun registry appear to be stalled.
Despite introducing an unusual Senate bill to great fanfare, officials have acknowledged there’s no timetable
for a vote on Bill S-5 in the Liberal-dominated upper chamber.Liberals have claimed the whole point of the exercise was political posturing rather than serious legislative change.

The Canadian Police Association, representing front-line police officers, has said the bill will compromise public safety.Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has said Liberals will not support either bill, which virtually guarantees they’ll never be enacted. Tories have long contended that the registry is a waste of taxpayers’ money and does nothing to combat crime. But in a recent letter to Mr. Ignatieff, police association president Charles Momy said officers used theregistry an average of 9,400 times a day last year. Among other things, he said, the registry is helpful in alerting officers to the likely presence of guns when responding to domestic violence calls or other volatile situations. He says the registry also “discourages casual gun ownership,” prompting people to get rid of unused or unwanted firearms. And it encourages those who do own guns to abide by safe storage laws and report thefts.

Critics of the registry have characterized it as penalizing law-abiding long-gun owners, primarily hunters and
rural residents. But Mr. Momy noted that of 15 police officers fatally shot in Canada during the last decade, 13 were killed with rifles or shotguns. Moreover, he said, long guns are used two times more frequently than handguns in spousal homicides and five times more in suicides. Being able to identify ownership of firearms can be crucial in investigating and prosecuting suspects, he said. For instance, Mr. Momy said a registered rifle found at the scene of the 2005 murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., was part of the evidence that ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of two men for manslaughter.

*****

Le gouvernement fédéral a, une fois de plus, prolongé la période d’amnistie accordée aux propriétaires d’armes d’épaule qui n’ont toujours pas enregistré leur arme au registre national.

Le président du Conseil du trésor, Vic Toews, a rappelé vendredi que le gouvernement conservateur souhaite toujours abolir le registre pour les détenteurs d’armes d’épaule -une mesure que devraient cependant appuyer les partis d’opposition au sein du Parlement minoritaire.

En attendant, le gouvernement a choisi de prolonger d’un an, jusqu’au 16 mai 2010, la période d’amnistie afin de permettre aux particuliers qui sont en possession d’armes à feu sans restriction non enregistrées de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour se conformer à la loi.

Cette amnistie avait été accordée en 2006 et prolongée en 2008.

Le gouvernement a également annoncé une prolongation d’un an de la dispense des
droits à payer pour le renouvellement et le reclassement des permis d’armes à feu.
Enfin, les titulaires de permis de possession simple pourront présenter, au cours de
l’année, une nouvelle demande de permis.

Posted in Canadian gun control, Gun Registry, long gun amnesty | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Ottawa extends long-gun amnesty for another year

Gun control victim in Harper legislation

Posted by cgccanada on May 20, 2009

WENDY CUKIER
April 07, 2009 1:00 a.m.
Metro Toronto

After a high-profile shooting, politicians flock to cameras to express outrage and sympathy for the
victims. But as elections loom they focus on the complex calculus around votes. Many Canadians are
aware of the influence of the powerful National Rifle Association in the U.S., but are astonished to
learn how the gun lobby drives the agenda in Canada. Speaking recently to the Ontario Federation of
Anglers and Hunters, Prime Minister Stephen Harper advocated dismantling essential parts of gun
control in Canada and then introduced legislation to the Senate. The proposed law will eliminate the
registration of rifles and shotguns, including the powerful semi-automatic rifle like the one used by
Marc Lépine at L’Ecole Polytechnique in  1989.
The gun lobby cries, “Punish criminals, not law-abiding gun owners.” But where do criminals get their
guns? While smuggled handguns fuel crime, so do Canadian guns diverted through theft and illegal
sales. And legal gun owners sometimes go off the rails. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
say any gun in the wrong hands is dangerous. All firearm owners need to be licensed and all firearms
need to be registered.
How exactly does filling in forms constitute “punishment.” We need licences to drive. In most cities we
need permits to own dogs and even cats. It’s not called “punishment.” It’s called being responsible and
accountable.Certainly, too much money was spent licensing two million gun owners and registering seven million
firearms — $100 million per year over 10 years according to the auditor general. But the money is
gone. It can’t be reinvested. The RCMP says ending the registration of long guns will save about $3
million per year.
Controlling firearms is not a panacea, but it does reduce the risk of gun violence. What sense does it
make to dismantle a system that is working? Suicides, particularly among youth and murders of
women with guns, have plummeted. Homicides with rifles and shotguns have declined precipitously —
thirty-two people were murdered with long guns in 2007 compared to 107 in 1991.
Priscilla deVilliers, whose daughter Nina was abducted and murdered, reminds us: “Six separate
inquests recommended licensing and registration of guns, including the inquest into my daughter’s
death.”

Posted in Canadian Government, Canadian gun control | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Gun control victim in Harper legislation

Quick Facts About the Firearms Program: The System is Working

Posted by cgccanada on May 19, 2009

Claims that the system is without value are simply untrue. The police have said time and
time again that the new law and the system provide valuable tools for keeping Canada
safe. In spite of the virulent opposition – over 90% of gun owners have been licensed
and 90% of guns have been registered. As of 2008, the system is being used by police
8600 times a day and police report many cases where its has been used to prevent
tragedies or solve crimes.

Most Gun Owners are Licensed. Most Guns are Registered.
• As of April 2008, 1,871,595 valid firearms licences have been issued representing
90% of gun owners. The licensing procedure ensures all firearms users are qualified
to possess or acquire a firearm.
• Over 7.2 million firearms have been registered representing 90% of guns in Canada.
Gun registration is essential to making gun owners accountable, helping prevent
diversion to the illegal market and assisting police in their investigations.
• 22,140 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by Chief Firearms Officers
for public safety reasons between December 1, 1998 and April 2008.
• 7,490 applications have been refused
• 14,650 firearms licences have been revoked.
• Reasons include: a history of violence, mental illness, the applicant is a potential
risk to himself, herself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences
and providing false information.

Canadian Firearms Registry On-line
• Law enforcement officers have queried the Canadian Firearms Registry On-line over
8.4 million times since it was launched on December 1, 1998. In 2008, it is used in
average 8,603 times each day
• More than 6,190 affidavits have been provided by the Canadian Firearms Registry to
support the prosecution of firearms-related crime and court proceedings. The
Canadian Firearms Registry prepared 2,400 affidavits in 2005.
• 1,322,901 firearms have been exported, destroyed, deactivated or have been
removed from the Canadian Firearms Information System since December 1, 1998.

****
Les affirmations que le système est sans valeurs sont tout simplement fausses. Les policiers ont
dit à maintes reprises que la Loi sur les armes à feu et que le système des armes fournissent des
outils de valeur pour maintenir la sécurité. Malgré l’opposition virulente, plus de 90% des
propriétaires d’armes à feu ont un permis et 90% des armes à feu ont été enregistrées. Depuis
2008, le système est utilisé par les policiers en moyenne 8600 fois par jours et les policiers ont
rapporté plusieurs cas où on s’est servi des outils de la Loi pour prévenir des tragédies ou
résoudre des crimes.

La plupart des propriétaires d’armes à feu ont des permis. La plupart des armes à feu sont
enregistrées.

• En date du mois d’avril 2008, 1 871 595 permis d’armes à feu valides ont été émis
représentant 90% des propriétaires d’armes. La procédure d’émission des permis vise à
assurer que tous les utilisateurs d’armes à feu sont qualifiés pour posséder ou acquérir une
arme.
• Plus de 7.2 millions d’armes à feu ont été enregistrées représentant 90% des armes
canadiennes.
• 22 140 permis d’armes à feu ont été refusés ou révoqués par le Contrôleur des armes à feu
pour des raisons de sécurité publique entre le 1er décembre 1998 et avril 2008.
• 7 490 demandes de permis ont été refusées
• 14 650 permis ont été révoqués
• Raisons évoquées inclus : antécédents de violence, troubles mentaux, le
demandeur pose un risque potentiel à lui-même, à elle-même ou aux autres,
utilisation et entreposage des armes à feu non sécuritaires, délits de drogue et
fournir des informations erronées.

Le Registre canadien des armes à feu en ligne
• Le Registre canadien des armes à feu a été consulté par les policiers 8,4 millions de fois
depuis sa mise en fonction le 1er décembre 1998. Il est utilisé en moyenne 8 603 fois par
jours.
• Plus de 6 190 affidavits ont été délivrés par le Registre canadien des armes à feu pour
appuyer des poursuites intentées à l’égard de crimes liés aux armes à feu et des procédures
judiciaires. Le Registre a préparé 2 400 affidavits en 2005.
• 1 322 901 armes à feu ont été exportées, détruites, désactivées ou ont été enlevées du
Système d’information canadien sur les armes à feu depuis le 1er décembre 1998.

Posted in Canadian gun control, Gun Registry | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Quick Facts About the Firearms Program: The System is Working

An Open Letter to Our Readers

Posted by cgccanada on May 19, 2009

Dear Readers,

Rather than using the blog as a vehicle for reasoned debate, people have been attempting to post abusive and  libelous comments. We are discontinuing the comments feature  until further notice.

Thank you,

The Coalition for Gun Control

Posted in About us | Tagged: | Comments Off on An Open Letter to Our Readers