The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Archive for the ‘Canadian Police Association’ Category

Media Advisory – Canadian Association of Police Boards

Posted by cgccanada on November 2, 2009

OTTAWA, Nov. 1 /CNW Telbec/ – The Canadian Association of Police Boards (CAPB), the national association representing civilian oversight of policing in Canada, has written to all members of parliament asking them to reconsider dismantling of the gun control system when private member’s Bill C-391 receives second reading on November 4, 2009.

CAPB’s members provide governance and oversight of more than 35,000 municipal police officers and chiefs in Canada. In their role as civilian oversight bodies, police boards appoint and manage the performance of chiefs and deputy chiefs, set policing objectives, establish policies, and generally represent the public interest. The effective governance and oversight of policing in Canada is an important means to ensure that Canada’s police services are fully accountable, transparent and enjoy public confidence as they tackle important issues of public safety, social stability and international terror. It is one of the foundations of our democracy.

It is from this critical and unique vantage point that CAPB advocates for strong firearms laws. CAPB believes such laws to be essential for the safety and security of individuals, families, communities and police officers and accordingly it vigorously opposes any ideologically motivated effort to weaken existing provisions as being inimical to the public interest.

As civilian oversight bodies of municipal policing, CAPB cannot support any attempt to weaken police ability to deal with gun violence, as this bill will surely do, if passed. At a time when gun crime is a serious concern in communities across the country, such an act will be irresponsible and a disservice to the cause of building safe communities.

If passed, Bill C-391 will not only eliminate the need to register more than 8 million rifles and shotguns but it will also require that the existing registration records on long guns be destroyed. The federal firearms program is a vital tool for effective policing. The registry is consulted thousands of times on a daily basis by police services across the country.

CAPB is proud of Canada’s international reputation as a country with effective gun-control legislation and strenuously opposes any legislation that weakens Canada’s current firearms registry.

CAPB rejects the notion promoted by certain special interest groups that the gun registry is somehow an intrusion on the rights and freedoms of law abiding Canadians. Like innumerable other laws, regulations and practices that Canadians readily accept, the gun registry provides a reasonable balance between the exercise of an individual privilege and the broader right of the society to be safe.

CAPB is, therefore, asking members of parliament to vote against this bill.

For further information: Jennifer Lanzon, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Police Boards, (819) 682-1440 or via email to jlanzon@capb.ca

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From Advocacynet, July 26, 2009: An Interview with Detective Rick Hawes, Peel Regional Police

Posted by cgccanada on July 28, 2009

By Elizabeth Mandelman

This week I was lucky enough to meet and talk with Detective Rick Hawes of the Peel Regional Police in Ontario.  Detective Hawes has been a police officer since 1978 and for the last four and a half years, has been the Coordinator for the Family Violence Unit.

As part of his position, Detective Hawes holds multi-day classroom seminars for officers on how to properly handle domestic dispute calls, as they are much different from other situations to which officers respond.

Talking with Detective Hawes solidified for me many of the things I have learned and heard during my weeks in Canada.  For example, knowledge of a firearm in the home makes it more difficult for a victim of domestic abuse to seek help and leave their abuser, as firearms act as tools of intimidation and work to induce fear.  In fact, on the question form victims are asked to complete when officers respond to a domestic call, six out of the twenty-eight questions are related to firearms and licensure.

In addition, exiting an abusive relationship is not as simple as just making the decision to leave and leaving.  Often times, there are elements involved in abusive relationships that prevent victims from seeking help, such as children, housing, or financial dependency.

When I asked Detective Hawes about the registry included in Canada’s Firearms Act, he asserted that it is helpful in eliminating the guessing game of whether or not households to which officers respond have firearms.

Although cautious officers responding to calls never assume that a home is free of firearms even if the registry has nothing on record (especially with the rise of unregistered firearms by once legal owners), Detective Hawes views the registry as a very useful safety tool for both officers and victims.  The only substantial argument Detective Hawes has heard against the Firearms Act relates to cost and according to him, it is hard to put a price on public safety… more

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Guns in the News: Police chief talks gangs, strike and the gun registry

Posted by cgccanada on July 21, 2009

JOSH WINGROVE

From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail

Last updated on Tuesday, Jul. 21, 2009 03:34AM EDT

All Canadians enjoy basic fundamental freedoms and it is a responsibility of the police to protect and defend those freedoms in our society.

Q: What would a handgun ban mean for Toronto?

A: About 30 per cent of all crime handguns that we seize from criminals have been stolen or otherwise diverted from legal gun owners.

Legal gun owners are not dangerous but their guns certainly become dangerous when they get into the hands of criminals. I support any measure that will make it harder for criminals to get guns.

Q: I believe the gun registry has failed to save one life. Do you agree that spending billions to harass law-abiding citizens does nothing to reduce criminal gun violence?

A: With respect to the gun registry, you are misinformed. It is an important source of information for public and police officer safety. It helps us keep our people safe. Filling out a form does not limit anyone’s ability to be safe, and it hardly constitutes harassment.

You are also misinformed about the cost of the registry. Although there was certainly concern about its initial cost, I am now advised that it costs about $3-million a year to administer. This is money well spent.

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Guns in the News: Police put at risk by decline in gun-license renewals/L’enregistrement du permis de port d’arme en baisse

Posted by cgccanada on June 30, 2009

Updated Sat. Jun. 27 2009 1:43 PM ET
The Canadian Press CTV.ca

OTTAWA — The number of firearm owners who fail to renew their gun licences has steadily increased since the Harper government tabled legislation to scrap the federal long-gun registry. Opposition critics and the Coalition for Gun Control in Canada say the problem has increased risk for frontline police officers and undermines public safety.

Despite an amnesty the Conservatives introduced to coax gun owners into licence renewals, the latest RCMP figures show the opposite occurred.

The rate of non-renewals climbed to 25.3 per cent of expired licences in the first three months of this year, compared with 14.1 per cent in 2005.

Cabinet began the amnesty in 2006 and extended it for another year last month, waiving licence fees and providing protection from liability under the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code for those who take steps to comply with the law. But the government’s mixed message over the last three years — bringing in the amnesty along with legislation to dismantle the registry — has confused gun owners and is eroding the integrity of the program, critics say.

“The real issue is that there is a dramatic inconsistency between what the government has filed, in terms of its rationale for the amnesty, and its political statements on the program,” says Wendy Cukier, head of the Coalition for Gun Control.

A little-noticed RCMP report for 2007 on the Canada Firearms Centre contains positive information about the registry and its use by police that could surprise even diehard opponents. The report includes a groundbreaking RCMP survey that found general duty police officers use the online version of the registry at a high rate to check for potential weapons while responding to trouble calls. On average, 73 per cent of the officers said they log on to check for the presence of firearms en route. The rate was even higher for officers trained to use the online registry — 81 per cent of that group use it on calls.

A total of 408 officers with 56 police departments across Canada, representing large, small, urban, rural, federal, municipal and provincial police forces, responded to the survey. The government tabled the report from RCMP Commissioner William Elliott in the House of Commons during Parliament’s summer recess last August, while MPs were in their ridings or on vacation. The report covers the 2007 calendar year to Dec. 31.

A departmental spokesman, to whom the office of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan referred all questions, did not respond to enquiries about the effect of the amnesty or the RCMP report. Officers with the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police were unavailable to comment.

But a CPA spokesman said the group continues to support the registry. And the association of chiefs last April published an opinion piece saying “the registry has been instrumental in removing guns from potentially dangerous people.”

The high rate of police use of the online registry during service calls is central to a three-year battle over the amnesty between registry supporters and the Conservatives. As more firearm owners opt out of the licensing and take the government on its word that it will dismantle the registry, the system becomes less dependable for police on call, critics note.

“The main objective of the Canadian Firearms Program is to enhance public safety,” says the government’s own argument in favour of using the amnesty to encourage licence renewals.”This is achieved in part by maximizing the number of firearms owners who comply with the licensing and registration requirements set out in the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code.”

Once registered and licensed, gun owners are subject to continuous screening as a condition of possessing a licence and owning firearms. RCMP records show 24,234 firearm owners out of 171,133 whose licences were set to expire in 2005 did not renew them.

In 2008, the number of gun owners who did not renew their licences grew to 66,006 out of 309,161. For the first three months of 2009, non-renewals totalled 18,548 out of 73,261 set to expire. Only 2,596 rifles and shotguns were deactivated or destroyed in 2007. “It’s a problem for that police officer, when he goes into that house,” said New Democrat MP Joe Comartin. “The risk level has gone up dramatically.”

Liberal MP Mark Holland says the renewal statistics demonstrate the government rationale for the amnesty is a “fraudulent argument.” He accused the Conservatives of attempting to satisfy both sides in the registry debate by continuing to table legislation to dismantle the system, while taking no steps to try to push the bill through Parliament.

The government tabled its latest bill to disband the registry in the Senate, where it has been languishing without debate since last April 1. The Canada Firearms Centre cost $82.3 million in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, with $15.7 million going toward the registry and continuing registration of firearms.

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http://www2.canoe.com/infos/quebeccanada/archives/2009/06/20090627-192125.html

Le nombre de propriétaires n’ayant pas renouvelé leur permis de port d’armes a augmenté depuis que le gouvernement Harper jongle avec l’idée d’éliminer le registre des armes à feu.Selon l’opposition et la Coalition pour le contrôle des armes à feu au Canada, ce problème met en danger la vie des policiers et sape la sécurité de la population.

Le gouvernement conservateur espérait, en accordant une amnistie, convaincre les propriétaires d’armes à renouveler leur permis, mais le plan n’a pas fonctionné si on se fie aux dernières statistiques de la GRC. Le pourcentage de non-renouvellement s’est élevé à 25,3% au cours des trois premiers mois de 2009, comparativement à 14,1% en 2005.

La mesure d’amnistie a été adoptée en 2006 par le conseil des ministres et a été prolongée d’une autre année, le mois dernier. 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.

Les opposants soutiennent que le signal du gouvernement _ accorder une amnistie tout en affirmant son intention d’abolir le registre  a jeté la confusion chez les propriétaires d’armes à feu tout en sapant l’intégrité du programme. La présidente de la Coalition pour le contrôle des armes à feux, Wendy Cukier, a déploré l’incohérence «dramatique» du discours gouvernemental au sujet de l’amnistie et du registre.

Un rapport de la GRC, dont le gouvernement avait fait peu de cas en août dernier, inclut un sondage mené auprès de différents corps policiers à travers le pays. Les résultats indiquent que beaucoup de policiers consultent la version Internet du registre pour identifier la présence potentielle d’armes à feu dans un endroit donné. En moyenne, 73% des agents ont dit consulter le registre avant de procéder à une intervention. Ce taux était encore plus élevé parmi les policiers formés à l’utilisation du registre _ 81 pour cent d’entre eux affirmant l’utiliser dans les opérations

courantes.

Un total de 408 agents de 56 corps policiers au pays ont répondu au sondage. Le rapport du commissaire de la GRC,
William Elliott, couvre l’année 2007. Un porte-parole du ministère de la Sécurité publique n’a pas répondu aux questions sur l’effet de l’amnistie ou sur le rapport de la GRC.

Les représentants de l’Association canadienne des policiers et de l’Association canadienne des chefs de police n’étaient pas disponibles pour commenter. Mais un porte-parole de l’Association canadienne des policiers a indiqué que l’organisation était toujours en faveur du maintien du registre.

Le haut taux d’utilisation du registre pour les opérations courantes se trouve au coeur d’une bataille de trois ans sur
l’amnistie entre les partisans du registre et les conservateurs. «L’objectif principal du programme canadien des armes à feu est d’améliorer la sécurité du public. Cela est accompli en partie en maximisant le nombre de propriétaires d’armes à feu qui se plient aux exigences de permis et d’enregistrements inclues dans la Loi sur les armes à feu et dans le code criminel», fait-on valoir au gouvernement pour justifier l’amnistie. Un projet de loi sur le démantèlement du registre se retrouve au Sénat, mais n’a pas fait l’objet de débats depuis le 1er avril.

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Gun Control Vital Part of Strategy to Address Violence

Posted by cgccanada on May 12, 2009

From the Edmonton Journal
By Stephen Chabot

Gun control saves lives.

For the past 40 years, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) has been at the forefront pressing for strong firearms control measures. Canada’s police leaders have adopted 25 resolutions on firearms control, including support for the Firearms Act and registration of all firearms, in the interests of public and officer safety.

Where do guns come from? Every illegal gun was once legal. Handguns and assault weapons smuggled in from the United States certainly are part of the problem. We have seen escalating gun violence among rival gangs and the devastating results when legal guns are diverted to illegal markets and unlicensed users.

We need to be able to track firearms to enforce laws and combat the illegal gun trade in co-operation with other nations. Without the registry, Canadian police would no longer be able to trace unrestricted firearms and would become dependent upon police in other jurisdictions to establish the source of firearms and lay the evidentiary trail needed for prosecutions. This would undermine Canada’s compliance with international agreements and facilitate the illegal importation of firearms.

The B.C. government commissioned “A Report on the Illegal Movement of Firearms in British Columbia.” The 2008 report revealed that a substantial number of firearms recovered in crime were once legally owned in Canada. The report documents legal dealers importing guns legally and selling them illegally, and legal gun owners providing guns to unlicensed owners. It also highlights the problem of stolen guns, which by definition are in the hands of criminals.

The report also underscores that rifles and shotguns account for a substantial proportion of crime guns seized. Recently, police in Surrey seized more than 200 rifles and shotguns. In Toronto, a significant number of crime guns seized were once legally owned rifles or shotguns. Rifles and shotguns, many legally owned, are the weapons of choice in domestic violence, in suicide and in the murders of police officers in Canada.

Regrettably, no law or system is 100-per-cent foolproof. However, ensuring that all gun owners are screened and licences regularly renewed reduces the risk that people who are a threat to themselves or others will have access to firearms.

And the current computer-based system, which provides regular alerts if licensed gun owners come into conflict with the law, is not the only control mechanism in place. Screening processes are designed to identify risk factors not known to police and to keep information in the database current.

Registration of firearms is essential to the licensing process. When gun owners are held accountable for their firearms, they are less likely to sell or give them to unlicensed individuals. Registration assists police in knowing what firearms to look for when enforcing prohibition orders. Information about registered firearms found at the scene of a crime supports criminal investigations and convictions.

The registry has been instrumental in removing guns from potentially dangerous people. Shortly after the Dawson College shooting, police found threats from another man. The registry confirmed that there were guns in his home and police removed them quickly. Police across Canada use the firearms registry nearly 10,000 times daily during investigations and for preventive action.

Yes, rifles and shotguns are used less frequently in crime today than 15 years ago. Why? Inquests into several high-profile shootings recommended their licensing and registration. It would seem that these measures have paid off. The rates of firearm murders (particularly of women), robberies and suicides have all declined significantly with improvements to the legislation.

Rhetoric around the registry’s cost obscures the reality that the money has been spent. To dismantle an effective system now would be a waste.

The costs going forward are largely associated with licensing of firearm owners. In 2006 the RCMP testified that eliminating rifle and shotgun registration would save less than $3 million a year, roughly the cost of a couple of complex murder investigations.

The bottom line is that all firearms are potentially lethal. Gun control is a necessary part of an integrated strategy to address violence. The CACP is proud of Canada’s international reputation as a country with effective gun-control legislation, and strenuously opposes any weakening of Canada’s current firearms control regime. Lives depend on it.

Steven Chabot is deputy director general, Sûreté du Québec, and president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

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Recent Gun Control News in Canada

Posted by cgccanada on May 8, 2009

Links to these news stories and more can be found at http://www.guncontrol.ca

Canadian Police Association President says: “We … consider the licensing of firearms owners and the registration of firearms to be a valuable public-safety tool for front-line police officers” “Tories appear to regard attempt to kill long-gun registry as lost cause” Canadian Press, April 20, 2009

“Breitkreuz shows up for lobby group’s dinner after speech and weapon raffle are called off” Toronto Star, April 19, 2009

“Gun control vital part of strategy to address violence” Edmonton Journal, April 13, 2009

“Police forces use long-gun registry daily to track firearms and combat illegal gun trade” Toronto Star, April 10, 2009 …download pdf “Gun control victim in Harper legislation” Metro, April 7, 2009

“Sticking behind the gun registry” Toronto Star, April 6, 2009

“Gun owners blast firearms bill” Globe and Mail, April 6, 2009

“Don’t Touch the Firearms Registry” (Translated) La Tribune, April 6, 2009

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