The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Taking Aim

Posted by cgccanada on August 30, 2010

The Telegram, August 27, 2010

If nothing else, the debate is getting more interesting. And from the outside, if it wasn’t such an important issue, it would be limping towards tragic comedy.

As the leadup to a vote on a private member’s bill on Canada’s long-gun registry gets closer and closer, more interesting information keeps trickling out — and then is promptly derided by those who wish to see the registry disappear.

The CBC reported that they have obtained the results of a federal report on the registry, a report that has been in the federal government’s hands since February.

The 40-page report, done by the RCMP and outside auditors, says the registry is cost-effective, efficient and valuable to police.

Not only that, it says the costs to continue administering the program are between $1.1 million to $3.6 million per year.

The CBC quoted the report as saying “The program, as a whole, is an important tool for law enforcement. It also serves to increase accountability of firearm owners for their firearms. … Overall the program is cost effective in reducing firearms related crime and promoting public safety through universal licensing of firearm owners and registration of firearms.”

The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, which supports keeping the registry, has argued the report should be made public before the parliamentary vote.

Opponents have said the RCMP can’t be trusted to analyze the success or value of the registry — in fact, some critics have gone so far as to suggest that the RCMP can’t be trusted about anything.

For its part, the RCMP has only said the report is still being translated into French, and isn’t ready for release. That’s an answer with its own internal hilarity, given that the same force just had to defend itself against charges of political interference after the head of the registry — and an outspoken supporter of the registry — was transferred from his duties because RCMP bosses decided now was an urgent time for that officer to learn … French.

Tory MP Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s bill to dissolve the registry will actually face a vote in the House of Commons in September. It’s yet another step in a concerted effort to rid the country of one part of the firearms regulations system, a battle that’s regularly cast as a case of urban politicians not understanding the lives of rural Canadians.

For months now, editorial page editors have seen a constant flow of interesting letters to the editor: succinct, on-point letters from “individual rural Canadians” that remarkably, use exactly the same talking points against the long-gun registry and sometimes the same sentences. They are sent by letter-writers who magically are able to obtain the same collection of e-mail addresses for every single newspaper in Canada, often with those newspapers in the same order.

Overall, the message seems to be that a vast majority of those on either side have long since made up their minds, and are now ready to use whatever means necessary to reach their own ends.

There are dirty tricks enough for everyone in this little struggle for public opinion, and very little is what it seems.

But it should be very simple: if you have to register a car or boat or airplane, why shouldn’t you have to register a weapon? Somewhere, common sense seems to have been completely lost.


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