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NDP urges MPs to keep gun registry

Posted by cgccanada on June 29, 2010

Jun 17, 2010
Cottage Country Now

(Editor’s note: This is a copy of a letter sent to federal MPs and forwarded to the Almaguin News with a request it be published.)

As the federal NDP candidate for Parry Sound-Muskoka, I am writing to urge you to vote against Private Member’s Bill C-391, which would eliminate the registration of long guns and the records it currently holds.

The Firearms Act distinguishes Canada from our neighbour to the south. It reflects a disposition toward the public good. It is supported by millions of Canadians and dozens of organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, as I’m sure you know.

As a former ER nurse, I can certainly attest to the suffering and death caused by firearms. And I can appreciate the assistance a registry provides to frontline staff dealing with mental illness and violence, domestic or otherwise. All of this is well documented.

Nevertheless, I cannot be unaware of the opposition in Northern Ontario to the long-gun registry. Owners of firearms complain that the process is cumbersome, that they feel targeted, even criminalized, by the requirements both to obtain a license and to register all guns in their possession. During the 2008 election, I spoke with self-described NDP supporters in Nipissing-Timiskaming who planned to vote Conservative based on the gun registry issue and no other.

But dismantling the gun registry is not the way to address their concerns. Nor is allowing the matter to be defined as urban vs. rural, as if all the violence is in the cities or caused by handguns. In fact, studies conclude that Northern Ontario communities have higher rates of long gun ownership and gun-related injuries than the provincial average (CAEP presentation, May 13, 2010).

The gun registry is a socially responsible, if imperfect, creation that has contributed to improved public safety by reducing gun-related suicides and homicides since its inception.

That seems to be the perception of the majority. Please don’t let a small but vocal minority government undo a fundamentally positive direction for Canada.

Dianna Allen
Federal NDP Candidate, Parry Sound-Muskoka

http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/opinion/letters/article/835127

(Editor’s note: This is a copy of a letter sent to federal MPs and forwarded to the Almaguin News with a
request it be published.)
As the federal NDP candidate for Parry Sound-Muskoka, I am writing to urge you to vote against Private
Member’s Bill C-391, which would eliminate the registration of long guns and the records it currently
holds.
The Firearms Act distinguishes Canada from our neighbour to the south. It reflects a disposition toward
the public good. It is supported by millions of Canadians and dozens of organizations, including the
Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Association
of Emergency Physicians, as I’m sure you know.
As a former ER nurse, I can certainly attest to the suffering and death caused by firearms. And I can
appreciate the assistance a registry provides to frontline staff dealing with mental illness and violence,
domestic or otherwise. All of this is well documented.
Nevertheless, I cannot be unaware of the opposition in Northern Ontario to the long-gun registry. Owners
of firearms complain that the process is cumbersome, that they feel targeted, even criminalized, by the
requirements both to obtain a license and to register all guns in their possession. During the 2008
election, I spoke with self-described NDP supporters in Nipissing-Timiskaming who planned to vote
Conservative based on the gun registry issue and no other.
But dismantling the gun registry is not the way to address their concerns. Nor is allowing the matter to be
defined as urban vs. rural, as if all the violence is in the cities or caused by handguns. In fact, studies
conclude that Northern Ontario communities have higher rates of long gun ownership and gun-related
injuries than the provincial average (CAEP presentation, May 13, 2010).
The gun registry is a socially responsible, if imperfect, creation that has contributed to improved public
safety by reducing gun-related suicides and homicides since its inception.
That seems to be the perception of the majority. Please don’t let a small but vocal minority government
undo a fundamentally positive direction for Canada.
Dianna Allen
Federal NDP Candidate, Parry Sound-Muskoka(Editor’s note: This is a copy of a letter sent to federal MPs and forwarded to the Almaguin News with arequest it be published.)

As the federal NDP candidate for Parry Sound-Muskoka, I am writing to urge you to vote against Private

Member’s Bill C-391, which would eliminate the registration of long guns and the records it currently

holds.

The Firearms Act distinguishes Canada from our neighbour to the south. It reflects a disposition toward

the public good. It is supported by millions of Canadians and dozens of organizations, including the

Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Association

of Emergency Physicians, as I’m sure you know.

As a former ER nurse, I can certainly attest to the suffering and death caused by firearms. And I can

appreciate the assistance a registry provides to frontline staff dealing with mental illness and violence,

domestic or otherwise. All of this is well documented.

Nevertheless, I cannot be unaware of the opposition in Northern Ontario to the long-gun registry. Owners

of firearms complain that the process is cumbersome, that they feel targeted, even criminalized, by the

requirements both to obtain a license and to register all guns in their possession. During the 2008

election, I spoke with self-described NDP supporters in Nipissing-Timiskaming who planned to vote

Conservative based on the gun registry issue and no other.

But dismantling the gun registry is not the way to address their concerns. Nor is allowing the matter to be

defined as urban vs. rural, as if all the violence is in the cities or caused by handguns. In fact, studies

conclude that Northern Ontario communities have higher rates of long gun ownership and gun-related

injuries than the provincial average (CAEP presentation, May 13, 2010).

The gun registry is a socially responsible, if imperfect, creation that has contributed to improved public

safety by reducing gun-related suicides and homicides since its inception.

That seems to be the perception of the majority. Please don’t let a small but vocal minority government

undo a fundamentally positive direction for Canada.

Dianna Allen

Federal NDP Candidate, Parry Sound-Muskoka

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Report: Domestic deaths have a number of common links

Posted by cgccanada on June 23, 2010

By April Cunningham, Telegraph-Journal, June 22, 2010

SAINT JOHN – Women in New Brunswick are more likely to be killed by their intimate partner if they are in a common-law relationship, there are guns in the house, alcohol abuse and a history of violence, a researcher says.

Deborah Doherty, executive director of Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick, spoke about domestic homicide at the Saint John Free Public Library.

In a study of the province’s last 35 domestic deaths – including homicides and murder-suicides – since 1989, Deborah Doherty has found that often, judges call the deaths “senseless acts,” she said.

“But we must make sense of these deaths. We need to learn something that might help us prevent deaths in the future,” said Doherty, the executive director of the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick, at a presentation at the Saint John Free Public Library.

Doherty, an expert in family violence, has researched New Brunswick’s domestic deaths since 2001 for the Silent Witness Project – an exhibit of life-sized red, wooden silhouettes representing women killed by their partners.

Her research doesn’t yet include Melanie Getson or Deborah Gunn, who were both killed in two separate slayings on May 10 in Saint John and Moncton respectively. Each of the women’s partners has been charged with first-degree murder.

“I just find it so disheartening every time I hear of a domestic death,” Doherty said in an interview. “Doing the research, and seeing so many of them were experiencing the same types of abuse in their life, I keep thinking, ?What could have been done? Can we learn one more thing from this death to help the next woman? Was there a signal that someone could have acted on to help Melanie?’ ”

Of the 35 cases – 15 of which were murder-suicides – Doherty found that 25 of them were in small towns or rural New Brunswick communities. That compares to 0.9 per cent for Ontario domestic deaths.

Guns have been the weapon of choice. Nineteen of the women were shot, and all but one was with a long gun rifle. “I have a pretty good idea it relates to the fact that this is a hunting province, with more firearms in homes,” Doherty said.

Combined with alcohol, the risk factor increases. Seventy-five per cent of the perpetrators had a serious drug or alcohol problem. That compares to 42 per cent in Ontario.

An overwhelming factor was a history of violence, which Doherty defined as not just physical, but emotional or sexual as well. Ninety per cent of the cases appeared to have a history of violence – though it wasn’t clear in court documents, she said.

Relationships were described as turbulent, stormy with a lot of bickering. Often friends, family or crisis workers knew about the violence, but police were never involved, so reports didn’t make it to court, she said.

Mental health also increased the risk, she found. Out of 20 court cases she examined, eight had documented depression, and several had attempted or threatened to commit suicide.

One of the more surprising factors for Doherty was martial status with 66 per cent of the women killed by their common-law partner.

Only 37 per cent of the women killed were recently separated, compared to 81 per cent in Ontario.

Doherty said it points to the need not just to help women leave abusive relationships – but to help them stay safely.

Along with awareness, communities need to start identifying abuse, she said.

“We as a society have a lower threshold for abusive behaviours and violence, firearms misuse, behaviours when people are drunk,” she said. “That’s not an excuse. We have to speak out against it.”

http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/city/article/1104216

Posted in Cost of gun violence, Current Events, Gun Registry, news, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Report: Domestic deaths have a number of common links

Candice Hoeppner’s anti-long-gun registry road tour

Posted by cgccanada on June 16, 2010

By: Alison Crawford, CBC News, June 15, 2010

Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner says she’s hitting the road this summer to promote her private member’s bill to scrap the long-gun registry.

The controversial bill escaped a final vote this week, after Liberal MP Mark Holland missed his time slot in the House of Commons to move a motion that would have asked the House not to proceed with Hoeppner’s proposed law. The debate on that motion is now scheduled for Sept. 21 with a third and final vote on C-391 tentatively lined up for the next day. Many opposition MPs had hoped Holland’s motion could have been debated and voted on this week.

Those who follow this issue closely will remember how 12 NDP MPs and eight Liberals helped Hoeppner’s bill pass second reading last fall. Several of those MPs are not looking forward to a summer back in the riding being lobbied by opposing sides of the firearms registry debate. A vote before the summer break would have afforded them the opportunity to dodge a prickly issue.

In any event, Hoeppner says she’s going to make the most of her summer vacation. Today she expressed relief in having more time to persuade her opponents to stick to their guns.

“I plan as taking as much time as I can to go to different ridings to make sure that constituents in these 12 NDP ridings are aware of what’s going on,” she says. “I would like see these NDP and Liberals come out very publicly as to what they’re going to do. I think each one of their constituents deserve to hear that.”

Hoeppner says she’s pleased that NDP MPs John Rafferty, Bruce Hyer and Peter Stoffer have communicated their ongoing support for her bill to scrap the long gun registry.

“But you know members like Charlie Angus, Nathan Cullen, Carol Hughes, there are a lot of them that have not been public. So I would certainly would like them to come on record. They don’t owe me an explanation, but they owe their constitutents.”

As for who would pay for her tour, Hoeppner says she still hasn’t worked that out. She says many of the Southwestern Ontario (NDP) ridings in her sights are close to her southern Manitoba riding.

“I basically only have my MP budget so that’s what it would be on.”

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/06/candice-hoeppners-anti-long-gun-registry-road-tour.html

Posted in Canadian gun control, Gun Registry | Comments Off on Candice Hoeppner’s anti-long-gun registry road tour

Missing the mark

Posted by cgccanada on June 15, 2010

By North Shore News, June 11, 2010

The federal government’s push to kill the long gun registry is irrational.

The private member’s bill to abolish the controversial database, widely supported by Conservatives and by a handful of opposition MPs, will achieve nothing beyond buying a few rural votes.

As its critics are quick to point out, the registry — basically an electronic list — cost taxpayers a mind-boggling $1 billion to create. True, this is as inexcusable as it is incomprehensible, but it is not by itself a reason to end the project. At this point, the registry costs just $3-4 million annually to maintain — peanuts by federal standards. Its death will save that relatively small sum, but it will not recoup the initial outlay. It will just mean that, rather than a billion-dollar database, that initial outlay will have bought us nothing.

Police in B.C. have made it clear they want the registry to stay. Officers here search it close to 3,000 times daily in the course of their work. Surely, as the frontline workers most likely to come face to face with a gun on the job, they are best positioned to judge the registry’s value — and in their estimation it’s worthwhile.

The only people who adamantly oppose the database are gun owners themselves or the ideologues who support them. Registering a gun is no more onerous or unfair than registering a vehicle — some people just don’t want to do it. The registry is being killed for no other reason than to appease this group. There is nothing in it for the rest of us except an erosion of public safety.

http://www.nsnews.com/news/Missing+mark/3141664/story.html

Posted in Canadian Government, Canadian gun control, Gun Registry | Comments Off on Missing the mark

Top North Vancouver Mountie supports gun registry

Posted by cgccanada on May 19, 2010

By Benjamin Alldritt, North Shore News, May 19, 2010

The officer in charge of North Vancouver’s RCMP detachment is defending the usefulness of Canada’s Firearms Registry in response to efforts from a Conservative MP to abolish it.

In her capacity as vice-president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, Supt. Tonia Enger said the registry is used by the province’s police officers thousands of times each day.

“It’s used in criminal investigations to determine the origin of firearms,” she said. “It gives us a heads-up; we can determine if a residence that we might be going into may or may not have a licensed firearm and also the number and type of firearms. We have a lot of domestic violence situations and a lot of disturbance calls when we don’t know why we’re getting called. If we have the names and addresses we can see if there’s any firearms.”

Enger said the registry is also used to help return stolen firearms to their lawful owners.

Candice Hoeppner, who represents the southern Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar, filed a private member’s bill that, if passed into law, would remove the requirement for gun owners to register their weapons, effectively abolishing the registry. The bill has enjoyed the support of rural MPs from several different parties.

“For me, when I’m driving around listening to the radio,” Enger said, “I’m very alerted when dispatch tells a member ‘Just so you know, so-and-so is residing there and is believed to be in possession of four handguns and three rifles.’ I know on the North Shore it’s active all the time.”

The Firearms Registry was first set up in 1995, and the Liberal government of the day believed the program would cost taxpayers about $2 million. But in a scathing 2002 report, Auditor General Sheila Fraser said the registry’s bill would be closer to $1 billion. Abolishing the registry has been a popular topic for Canada’s centre-right parties ever since.

“The estimated cost to operate the program currently is between $3.5 million and $4 million per year,” Enger said. “You may be able to say there were substantial costs to start it up, but we are now in a maintenance mode and it costs substantially less than it did initially.”

Enger also turned aside criticism that the registry is an expensive hassle for law-abiding gun owners without helping to catch armed criminals.

“It helps,” she said. “It’s one component and if you take it away, we lose something. B.C. chiefs of police are coming out to say they support the registry and there’s no question that it’s strongly supported by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police as well.”

http://www2.canada.com/northshorenews/news/story.html?id=61a54f24-f7c5-4d46-a9c4-60a4d104f8d9

Posted in Canadian gun control, Current Events, Gun Registry, news | Comments Off on Top North Vancouver Mountie supports gun registry

Chatham police support long gun registry as a valuable tool

Posted by cgccanada on May 19, 2010

By Blair Andrews, Chatham Daily News, May 18, 2010

The Chatham-Kent Police Services Board strongly opposes the move to scrap the long gun registry.

Conservative MP Candice Heoppner’s private member’s bill to abolish the registry is coming up for a third and final vote.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Chief Dennis Poole said that although the registry had a controversial beginning and was criticized for significant cost overruns, it has become a valuable tool for police to track firearms in Canada.

“In most cases, guns that are used in crimes come from law-abiding citizens who have had their homes broken into or had their weapons stolen,” Poole said. “And it certainly allows us to trace those weapons back or account for them, even years later when they show up, either in a pawn shop or in the hands of a criminal.”

In his report to the board, Poole said the registry is used thousands of times each day by police when answering calls such as domestic disputes.

The board accepted a recommendation to outline its position to Chatham-Kent MP Dave Van Kesteren.

Board member Uly Bondy suggested a firm message should be sent.

“We hear about rifles not being used (in crimes). Most of the incidences that you can see on television in the past few years have involved long rifles,” Bondy said. “I think a very strong message should be sent to the government, which we will do.”

Van Kesteren said he “respectfully disagrees” with the board’s position to keep the long gun registry. Despite the official positions stated by associations of police chiefs and officers, he countered that there are many in the law enforcement community that agree with government’s position to abolish the registry.

Van Kesteren believes the gun registry has been wasteful and has accomplished very little.

“There are thousands upon thousands of guns that are not listed in the registry. When I talk to police officers, they tell me that any time that they would make an inquiry (to the registry), they still treat it as a situation as they don’t know what is on the other end,” he said.

Van Kesteren also claimed that most gun crimes are committed with guns that are smuggled into Canada from the United States.

A parliamentary committee is studying the private member’s bill – Bill C-391 – before it receives third and final reading.

While the timing is uncertain, Van Kesteren said MPs could vote on the legislation within a few weeks.

“I think it could very well be out of committee before we (the House) rise. That would be in the summer. If not, then the fall.”

http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2584208

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No registering of unrestricted sniper rifles?

Posted by cgccanada on May 18, 2010

The Steyr-Mannlicher HS .50 is classified as an “unrestricted” sniper rifle in Canada. It is reported that “it can pierce light armour from a distance of up to 1.5 kilometres.” It can also be legally acquired in Canada by anyone with a valid firearms license.

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security is currently hearing witnesses on Bill C-391. If passed, this Bill will repeal the requirement to register unrestricted firearms like the Steyr-Mannlicher HS .50 sniper rifle. There are also no provisions in Bill C-391 to reinstate the requirement that businesses keep records of firearm sales, a requirement in place since 1977 that was removed when the Firearms Act passed in 1995 as the information would be in the registry. This information, which is a crucial component of Canada’s gun control strategies, would be lost with Bill C-391 and no efforts would be made to rebuild such information in a way that helps police officers (as the current registry does).

Austrian Weapons in Iraq: A Smoking Gun from the Alps
By Marion Kraske in Vienna
From Spiegel Online
Published on Sunday, February 14, 2007

Steyr HS .50

Steyr HS .50

More than 800 high-powered weapons were shipped to Iran from Austria in 2004 over US and British objections. Now, the rifles may have turned up in the hands of Iraq insurgents.

It is considered one of the world’s most modern and precise weapons — the Steyr HS .50, made by Austrian weapons manufacturer Steyr-Mannlicher. The easily disassembled gun goes for about €4,000 in the Internet. And the buyer gets a deadly weapon that can penetrate basic armor at a range of 1.5 kilometers (just under a mile).

And they may now be in Iraq. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, the US Army uncovered 100 of the weapons in a raid in Baghdad. Individual weapons, the paper writes, had already turned up in recent months, but now the number found has jumped to more than 100. Indeed, a Steyr HS .50 was reportedly used to shoot and kill a US officer in his vehicle.

“Obviously, if the reports are true, it would be profoundly disturbing,” said William Wanlund, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Vienna, according to the AP.

If the reports are true, it is highly likely that the hoard of HS .50 rifles US authorities found came from a shipment that left Austria in late 2004. Eight hundred of the rifles were shipped to Iran with the express approval of the government of then Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. Steyr-Mannlicher, the manufacturer of the weapons, had filed a request with the Austrian interior ministry for approval to export the weapons a year earlier.

Officially the Austrian company’s buyer was Iran’s federal police force, specifically a special anti-drug unit. The Iranians claimed at the time that they needed the weapons for use in fighting the drug trade — smugglers and dealers.

Concerned that these dangerous weapons could fall into the hands of insurgents and terrorists, the governments in London and Washington both tried to put a stop to the controversial sale, but were unsuccessful. Steyr-Mannlicher went through with the deal anyway.

The reaction came swiftly. In late 2005 the US government angrily imposed an embargo on the Austrian weapons manufacturer. Since then Steyr-Mannlicher, together with manufacturers from India and China, has been excluded from lucrative US government contracts.

The company remained stubborn. Wolfgang Fürlinger, the CEO of Steyr-Mannlicher at the time, made a public effort to downplay the dangers of the weapon, claiming that the HS .50 was less harmful than a pistol. He also insisted that the Iranian government had signed a so-called end-user certificate that ruled out the re-export of the guns.

Certificate or not, the Iranian weapons deal also triggered a heated political debate in Austria. The opposition party believed that the deal between Steyr and Tehran was everything but clean. Peter Pilz, a Green Party member of the Austrian parliament and his party’s spokesman on security issues, even went so far as to call the deal “illegal.”

Pilz argued that HS .50 was not a “toy weapon,” as many had claimed, but that the rifle was in fact capable of piercing armor-plated vehicles and body armor from great distances. The HS .50, according to Pilz, hardly seemed designed for use in fighting the drug trade.

The recent discovery of the Austrian weapons in Iraq has only served to confirm Pilz’s initial criticism. Pilz assigns the blame for the politically sensitive deal to the cabinet of former Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, and most of all to Günther Platter, the then interior minister and current defense minister, former Interior Minister Ernst Strasser and Ursula Plassnik, Austria’s former and current foreign minister.

Steyr-Mannlicher continues to fend off criticism of the deal. According to Franz Holzschuh, the company’s new owner, the serial numbers of the weapons that were found in Iraq would have to be checked clarify the source of the rifles. The weapons found in Iraq, says Holzschuh, could also be imitations. After all, he adds, the patents for the HS .50 expired “years ago.”

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,466284,00.html

Austrian Weapons in Iraq: A Smoking Gun from the Alps
By Marion Kraske in Vienna

From Spiegel Online

Published on Sunday, February 14, 2007

Posted in Canadian gun control, Current Events, Gun Registry, news | Tagged: , | Comments Off on No registering of unrestricted sniper rifles?

Just another unrestricted firearm

Posted by cgccanada on May 4, 2010

The L115A3 sniper rifle mentioned in the article below, which can shoot more than 2 km away, is classified as a non-restricted firearm in Canada.  The rifle, as issued by the British army, is equipped with a sound suppressor which is a prohibited device in Canada. If the sound suppressors is removed, the L115A3 sniper rifle is classified as a non-restricted firearm. More details on this firearm is available on the British army web site:  http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/support-weapons/1459.aspx

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security will begin to hear witnesses on Bill C-391 today. This bill proposes to repeal the requirement to register unrestricted firearms like the L115A3 sniper rifle. There are also no provisions in Bill C-391 to reinstate the requirement that businesses keep records of sales, a requirement since 1977 that was removed when the Firearms Act passed in 1995 as the information would be in the registry.

British sniper shoots down Canada’s bragging rights
Colin Freeze
From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, May. 04, 2010 12:07AM EDT
Last updated on Tuesday, May. 04, 2010 1:54AM EDT

Military observers are marvelling at a British sniper, revealed this week to have killed two Taliban fighters from a mountain perch 2.47 kilometres away. The story of these shots is being heard around the world as a feat of marksmanship without parallel in history.
Sadly, the news also puts an end to some national bragging rights: Until now, the Canadian Forces had claimed the world’s best sniper shot.

In 2002, when the Afghanistan war was still in its infancy, Canadian army Corporal Rob Furlong killed an alleged al-Qaeda fighter from 2.43 kilometres away – seemingly an unsurpassable feat.

That shot was never formally publicized – snipers are covert by nature, after all – but word leaked out over the years. The legend grew to the point where military observers hailed it as a landmark Canadian achievement.

“There was a certain frisson of pride involved there,” said historian Jack Granatstein. “I don’t think it’s significant in Canadian military history except insofar that it demonstrates that we are good snipers, after 25 years of assuming that we didn’t fight anybody.”
Contemplating both shots, he couldn’t help but marvel. “It’s amazing,” Mr. Granatstein said. “It’s absolutely amazing that you could fire a shot a someone [that far] away and hit them. … And the Brit hit two!”

Last November in Helmand province, British Corporal Craig Harrison killed the two insurgents from an astounding distance of 8,120 feet. News of the new record is only now being made public.

“The first round hit a machine-gunner in the stomach and killed him outright,” the British soldier told The Sunday Times of London. “The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too.”

Former Canadian Forces sniper Rob Furlong killed an alleged al-Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan from 2.43 kilometres away in 2002, a legendary feat – but one now taking a back seat to British Corporal Craig Harrison’s two kills of Taliban fighters from a distance of 2.47 kilometres.

In war zones, soldiers are given high-powered scopes and other rifle technologies that get better all the time. “The reason they are able to make these kind of shots is they have high-quality lasers that tell them where their target is within one metre,” said retired U.S. major John Plaster, a Vietnam War veteran who now runs a U.S. sniper school.

Good students there, Mr. Plaster said, can hit a dime at 100 yards.

Luck, as ever, remains a factor. Snipers live for the those moments when their rules of engagement and a windless day combine to create the conditions for the perfect kill – even if a target is a mile or more away.

Marksmanship, of course, has impressed nations ever since ancient Greeks boasted that clear-eyed Odysseus could kill many enemies with a single arrow. The Swiss had William Tell shoot an apple off his son’s head with a crossbow. Medieval Brits marvelled at Robin Hood.

And Canada had Francis (Peggy) Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwa Indian from Ontario who was the highest-scoring Canadian sniper of the First World War, with accounts of his kills running as high as 378.

As for Corp. Furlong, his shot, though surpassed, will create chatter for years to come, Mr. Plaster said. He said he even bumped into the shy Canadian – now an Edmonton police officer – at a U.S. gun show last winter.

“I applauded him. Shook his hand,” Mr. Plaster said. “You can take great pride in him.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-sniper-shoots-down-canadas-bragging-rights/article1555772/?cmpid=rss1

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Doctors say scrapping long-gun registry a health risk

Posted by cgccanada on April 30, 2010

OTTAWA – A group of emergency doctors, nurses and suicide prevention workers asked members of Parliament to vote against a federal bill that seeks to quash the long-gun registry. The group says a significant drop in gun-related suicide since 1995 is evidence the registry works and scrapping it would set them back years in suicide prevention. “Suicide, contrary to public opinion, is often an impulsive gesture,” Dr. Alan Drummond of the Canadian Association for Emergency Physicians said Wednesday. “Keeping guns away from depressed people is essential.” Drummond has never seen a handgun injury in his 27 years as an emergency physician in rural Ontario, but he’s seen more than a few injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shot guns – most of them suicides. “As a coroner I go to lots of gun-related suicides. I’m telling you it’s difficult, it’s gut-wrenching.” The majority of firearm deaths in Canada are suicides and the guns most often used are rifles and shotguns, the group wrote in an open letter to MPs Wednesday.
That’s why the 61 organizations and medical professionals who signed the letter see gun registration as a public health issue rather than a crime control issue. (…)  A Canadian Press/Harris Decima poll released in November found 46 per cent of Canadians believe abolishing the long gun registry is a good idea, while 41 per cent think it’s a bad idea. The registry has been criticized for being inefficient, ineffective in reducing crime and massively overrun in cost. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who supports a reduction or elimination in penalties for long-gun owners but wants to keep the registry, has said he will force his MPs to vote against the bill when it comes up for its third and final reading. “The Liberal leader is not fooling anyone with his proposals for unconstitutional amendments to Bill C-391,” Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said in the House of Commons Wednesday. “It is time to end the criminalization of our hunters and outdoor enthusiasts once and for all.” There may be more guns and stronger opposition to the registry in rural areas. But health experts point out that there are also higher rates of gun deaths in rural communities and western provinces. “Firearm related injury is not an urban crime problem in downtown Toronto. These things happen in idyllic little communities like Perth,” said Drummond, who is a physician at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital. Since the gun registry was implemented there has been a 23 per reduction in gun-related suicide and a 36 per cent reduction in the use of firearms in intimate partner violence, Drummond said. He said people who are suicidal are often brought to the hospital by police who can alert doctors if the person has a gun in his or her home. “Knowing that a patient owns a gun is extremely important and valuable information for us as we determine the future risk of suicide.” “We commonly ask the police to remove guns from the home of those identified at risk.” Gun-related suicide attempts are far more lethal than other methods. Gun users stand a 96 per cent chance of dying, while the lethality rate of drug overdose is six per cent. Drummond said he is a gun owner himself and is not against gun ownership but he is an advocate for responsible use. “Suicide usually affects young people with big lives ahead of them,” he said. “And we know that with effective treatment for depression and mental illness that they can go on to lead productive lives.” “Every potential suicide victim counts.”
Full article at: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/doctors-nurses-tell-mps-scrapping-long-gun-registry-a-health-risk-92340189.html

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Repealing long-gun registry could get officers killed: Chief

Posted by cgccanada on April 30, 2010

By Laura Stone, Canwest News ServiceApril 28, 2010 8:02 PM

OTTAWA – The head of Canada’s association of police chiefs says
repealing the long-gun registry would harm police officers’ work and
“could get them killed.”

William Blair, chief of police in Toronto and president of the
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, made the strongly worded
comments this week as the fight over a private member’s bill that
would scrap the registry raged on inside and outside of Parliament.

Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s Bill C-391 bill takes aim at what
the her party has long called a costly and ineffective registry, but
police chiefs, including Blair, have repeatedly defended the program.

“Police officers rely on information,” Blair said in comments posted
on the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police website.

“Accurate and complete information is the best protection I can give
them. Knowing (not assuming) who has firearms is valuable,” he said.

“The registry gives officers information that keeps them safe. If the
registry is taken from us, police officers may guess, but they cannot
know. It could get them killed. We are going to fight to make sure the
information they need to be safe is available to them.”

The difference between licensing and registration, according to the
RCMP, is that a firearms licence shows the licence holder has met
certain public-safety criteria and is allowed to possess and use
firearms. A registration certificate identifies a firearm and links
the firearm to its owner.

Ontario’s chiefs of police have also expressed their dismay
surrounding the bill, calling the registration “a vital public-safety
tool.”

“A licence tells us a person can have a gun. The registry tells us
what guns that person has. There is a huge difference – a difference
that could put the lives of citizens and our officers in great
danger,” said Chief Robert Herman of Thunder Bay, Ont., who is also
the vice-president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

The association said Canadian law-enforcement organizations use the
federal firearms registry 11,500 times a day on average, and more than
4.1 million times a year.

At least one police chief, however, recently announced his opposition
to the registry.

Rick Hanson, Calgary’s police chief, told CTV on Monday that “the gun
registry has done little to make the streets safer.”

He said officers use the registry as an investigative tool, and it
doesn’t work when dealing with gangs and drug dealers.

“It’s not helping. The guns these people have, they don’t register,
they don’t care, they’re probably stolen, they’re probably obtained
illegally, in many cases they’re prohibited,” Hanson told CTV.

Blair chalked up such comments to “a police chief or two who may not
be well informed about the real value of the registry. They are very
rare exceptions.”

Health-care experts also said Wednesday the controversial registry is
essential to Canadians as a “public health-and-safety” law – one that
can help prevent domestic murders, accidents and, most significantly,
suicides.

Most firearm deaths in Canada are suicides and the guns most often
used are rifles and shotguns, said a coalition of experts. They said
that in the nine years between 1995 and 2005 – the first year that the
long-gun registration was introduced as part of a wider gun-control
plan by a then-Liberal government – firearm suicides involving 15 to
35 year olds in the home decreased by 64 per cent.

Hoeppner responded by saying these doctors, while meaning well, are
“really confusing the issue.”

“I think we definitely have a problem with suicide in Canada, but the
long-gun registry does nothing to stop, to curb, to do anything to
actually address suicide. Licensing might help so that those people
don’t get guns, unfortunately if someone is going to commit suicide,
many times they’re still finding other ways,” said Hoeppner.

The bill passed in a preliminary vote in the Commons last November
with support of the eight Liberals and 12 New Democrats, and is
expected to return to the House of Commons late this spring or next
fall for another vote. Five Liberals have reversed their positions
since Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said his party would modify the
registry.

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