From The Toronto Star, September 30, 2009, Gun licence can cost less than dog licence, Antonia Zerbisias
Posted by cgccanada on October 1, 2009
The one thing I will never understand about the Conservatives is how they say they can be so down on crime – and yet so up with guns. Some guns, anyway. Guns such as that used to murder those four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alberta in 2005. Guns such as those that took out 13 of the 15 police officers killed over the past decade or so. This week, again, and again, bills to scrap portions of the national gun registry – specifically “long guns,” as in rifles and shotguns – were brought up for debate, both in the House of Commons and the Senate by Conservatives. That doesn’t count a third bill, also Conservative, that was killed on the order paper this summer. Private member’s Bill C-391, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry), was introduced last spring as by Candice Hoeppner (Portage-Lisgar) who argued that the “long-gun registry unfairly targets our hard-working farmers, hunters and sport shooters, but not criminals.” Well, tell that to the murdered cops’ families. No wonder both the Canadian Police Association and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have stated that the registry helps them protect our communities. As for the Senate Bill S-5, it aims to “amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to repeal the requirement to obtain a registration certificate for firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms.” Same difference, more or less. All this despite how poll after poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Canadians – about 75 per cent – support gun control. And yet, not a session of Parliament seems to go by when some Conservative MP isn’t shooting his or her mouth off about how the gun registry is a costly boondoggle. No question it has been mind-bogglingly expensive since its introduction in 1995. Some $2 billion – about $750 million of that on setting up a database – has been spent for a program that was to have almost paid for itself with licence fees. That’s for nearly 2 million registered guns in Canada – with fees for non-restricted guns, such as the hunting rifles my dad taught me to fire, costing $60 for five years. That’s cheaper than dog licences in some towns. But, if you have a gun rack, it can add up. As another auditor-general’s report pointed out in 2006, the money’s been spent and progress is being made. What’s more, according to the RCMP, scrapping the registry now would only save some $3 million a year. Anyway, how many Canadians would object to a few million per year to know that, when police answer a call for, say, domestic violence, they can check with the registry – as they do thousands of times per day – to see if there are guns in that home? You knew I would be coming to domestic violence sooner or later, didn’t you? Fact is, according to Canada’s Coalition for Gun Control, one out of three women killed by their husbands is shot, 88 per cent of them by legally owned rifles and shotguns. Fact is, reports the International Action Network on Small Arms, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the house. Fact is, according to Statistics Canada, firearm spousal homicide is down drastically since the gun registry was enforced. Fact is, when police know that there are guns in the possession of people who are threatening themselves, their families or others, they can take them away. And yet, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in his closed-door speech in early September in Sault Ste. Marie, a majority win for him would let him kill the gun registry. This was during the same speech in which he likened women’s rights to “left-wing fringe” causes. Time to blast him and fire off some emails.
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