The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

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.

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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.

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