Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Canada's Long Gun Registry: The Left Fights For It

Well, I think I may have talked about this issue a few times as a periphery. Things are starting to heat up though. This piece of legislation and bureaucracy was brought into the Canadian political landscape by the Federal Liberal Party under Jean Chretien. There were howls of outrage and protest from the legal gun owners. We were told by the Liberals that the license fee would pay and support the gun registry. Well, turns out that after it got going it cost more then expected. Big surprise. Instead of millions it cost billions.

Well all the police chiefs said that it was working and a new RCMP report comes to the same conclusion. I am going to have to sit down and sift through this myself sometime today and check out what yard stick they are using to measure with.

The biggest problem I have with the whole thing is that most gun crimes I read or hear about seem to revolve around handguns. Handguns have been prohibited weapons since at least the 1930's and require reams of paperwork just to be allowed to own one legally. The majority of handgun crimes are done with stolen or illegal weapons.

Well off to the news articles and a few selected snips and quotes:

Gun registry effective but misunderstood, says RCMP:

OTTAWA—Canada’s gun registry is a cost-effective crime-fighting tool but misunderstood by many Canadians, the RCMP says in a long-awaited report.

The RCMP evaluation of the Canadian Firearms Program was released late Monday after accusations that the federal Conservative government had been deliberately sitting on a report it knew it would give ammunition to advocates of the registry.

With Parliament set to vote on the fate of the long gun registry next month, the RCMP report argues that the “full registry” be maintained, calling it a valuable tool that has helped reduce gun deaths nationwide.

“A high level of compliance of the long gun registry is necessary to provide the enhanced value to investigators utilizing the firearms registry. It is important for officer and public safety and is a legislated requirement for all firearm owners,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton is proposing a last-minute compromise he hopes will save the registry while addressing some of the concerns that gun owners and native groups have, but the NDP’s proposed bill appears to stand little chance of going anywhere given the division in Parliament.[snip]

And what does the Federal Liberal party have to say about this upcoming vote?

Support long-gun registry or NDP has “no darn principles,” Ignatieff tells Layton:

BADDECK, N.S.—Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says the NDP will stand for “no darn principles” if leader Jack Layton and the New Democrats fail to support the long-gun registry in a crucial vote this fall in Parliament.

In a speech to open the Liberals’ big, summer-end retreat at this scenic resort in Nova Scotia, Ignatieff turned his fire on the New Democrats, urging Layton to rally his party fully behind the gun registry that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government wants to dismantle.

Quoting a man he spoke to recently in Manitoba, Ignatieff said: “The problem with the NDP, know what it means? Know what it stands for? No darn principles . . . On this gun registry stuff, they’ve got to step up or they’ve got no darn principles.”

The Liberal leader has lined up his entire caucus to vote for keeping the long-gun registry when the Conservative private members’ bill to abolish it comes up for a vote in the House on Sept. 22. Ignatieff has managed to get all his dissenting MPs on side with a compromise bid to decriminalize any offences for failing to register long guns.

But on Monday, Layton said he was treating it as a free vote, meaning that his 12 New Democrat MPs who voted against the registry last time will probably do so again.

The Liberals obviously intend to use the next month to ratchet up the pressure on Layton and the NDP — putting the onus on the New Democrats to face the choice of propping up Harper’s Conservatives this fall.

This was what Ignatieff tried to do at last summer’s caucus retreat as well, when he said that Harper’s “time was up” in government and that Liberals would no longer prop up the Conservatives in power.

The idea last year was to put pressure on the NDP and the Bloc to choose whether to plunge Canada into a general election campaign. But the strategy backfired when Liberals opponents painted the move as over-eagerness by Ignatieff to send Canadians to the polls. [snip]

By the way, every time I see the term "decriminalize" in relation to anything I think of opportunities for police forces to pump cash into the system. Like parking fees or other items. The Liberals don't want this baby to die on them.

Now here's an interesting editorial from the Toronto Star.

The one paragraph I have issue with is this one:

Harper, who has consistently put politics ahead of public safety, is unlikely to be swayed. So it will be up Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton to act on Blair’s appeal by ensuring that none of their MPs vote with the Conservatives to kill the registry, as 12 New Democrats and 8 Liberals did last time.

Once again it's all about ideology with the Star. One reason I think crimes are down with rifles and shotguns is not because of the registry, or rather because of the registry.

It boils down to costs. Not government costs, but costs for the long gun owner. You have to take a mandatory firearm safety course, apply for a permit, pay for a permit, purchase government approved storage, and THEN you purchase a firearm. Most storage devices are pretty expensive. So I think most people that want to get a firearm now have to really budget for it.

Is the Firearm registry really working and necessary? Who knows really. What we are going to get is a lot of hype from the left and the RCMP that manage it. Personally I think the only reason why the RCMP is fighting for it is the amount of jobs it guarantees them. We will see what happens when the vote goes down.

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