Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gun Registry

Throwing away the gun registry is madness. So argues the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, for reasons of public safety. But I can go beyond his arguments.

The registry was a political powder keg right from the start. Those who opposed it did whatever they could to make its implementation as inefficient and expensive as possible, and then framed the entire issue as being about the cost of implementation. Canadians who didn't bother to read the details of what was going on - such as the many who rely on 90-second radio news clips for their understanding of the world - formed the opinion "Gun Registry = Bad". Canadian police have been saying for years that the gun registry is not only not bad, but essential for saving lives. That hasn't resonated as much as the Conservative malicious PR campaign. The irrationality of the argument is apparent now that the money has been spent to implement the registry, so why close it down based on the cost of implementation?

We have reached the point where it's near political suicide in some regions to support the registry, and consequently parliament is stepping through the process of dismantling it. I suspect that Liberals supporting the dismantling are like Democrats voting for the Iraq war... in the face of such strong public opinion politicians can't always vote their conscience. (Or who knows; maybe some have bought the anti-registration PR campaign too.) Our representative system is a mix of leading the public and following the public. Sometimes the latter is unavoidable. Sometimes that really sucks.



The Mound of Sound said...

Excellent point. The IgLibs are acting very much like Democrats to Harper's Republicans. We must thank Mr. Ignatieff as much as we blame Mr. Harper for shifting Canada's political centre well to the right. Yet, as well-placed Liberal bloggers admit, it would be even worse now for Iggy to pretend that he's liberal.

Anonymous said...

I remember when the registry was first introduced, a number of those who didn't want the registry phoned in to register their soldering guns, and then complained that those answering the phones on the other end didn't know what they were doing.

It has been a slow boil of civil disobedience all the way. Let's imagine if this opposition came from a different quarter, perhaps the Muslim population, or solely the Aboriginal population and see how tolerant anyone would be.

Anonymous said...

I was reading an item about the Republicans in the USA, who love guns..some organization, that Harper, years ago spoke to, and plenty of the Reform MPs now are attached to that group, that wants the gun registry killed and , they even paid money to the Conseravtive party.

Anonymous said...

We need to move on. Simply, there is no consensus within the party on this issue, and we need to quit coming across as fiddling and farting.

Yappa said...

Anon at 2:20 -

I agree with you, but mostly I gotta say: "Fiddling and farting" has now entered my imagination as a new musical genre. Yee-ha.

Tomm said...


The long gun registry may be a big vote getter with women. It may be big in urban areas, where nobody owns long guns. And it may be big with police chiefs since it is a measurable tool they can idenfity for their staff. The multiple billions of dollars may also be money long flushed down the john.

But it still needs to die. It is wrong to identify every long gun. It smacks of big brother. It has been a hurtful policy and caused much alienation in western and rural Canada. Ultimately, you are taking our best and most committed citizens and telling them if they fail to register their long guns, they are committing a criminal act.

The Liberal's, like Mark Holland, that wish to ridicule opponents, and delay or block this bill from passage, will just appear arrogant and remind people that the Liberal Party is the party of Allan Rock, and Toronto. But not the party for Melfort Saskatchewan or Uncle Henry.

ridenrain said...

It was a bad law, designed to buy votes instead of protecting people. Another billion dollar boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

A new poll suggests that most Canadians want the long gun registry killed. The truth hurts sometimes but those are the facts.

Bert said...

After all, look how well the gun registry did. Promised to have cost $2 million, ended up costing $2 billion.

Look at all the crimes the registry has helped solve. Look how many thugs & hoodlums (sounds like a Hardy Boy book) registered their firearms. It was nothing but a huge vote grabbing boondoggle. It was more likely to have found support in large urban centres, where the Liberals traditionally had most of their support.

Yappa said...

Actually, gun crime in Canada is very frequently caused by guns that are stolen from law-abiding people. Telling gun owners to register their fire arms does not demonize them or imply that they are untrustworthy; it's a pragmatic way to reduce gun crime.

As I said, the cost of implementing the registry had a lot to do with opponents purposefully messing up the system, or so I have read. But in any event, now the money is spent. The cost is moot. It's over.

My memory is just the opposite of the law being an attempt to buy votes: it was a courageous move to do something that needed doing in the face of some fierce opposition. There was certainly no boondoggle about it.

Tomm's comments are really poignant though. (Thanks for that.) It saddens me that our country is increasingly so polarized, with so many outside of southern Ontario hating Toronto, and rural people feeling they're being abused by city folk. I don't know what to say. It's just sad.

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