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Nov 04 2011

Ending the Canadian long gun registry means more domestic murder

On December 6th, 1989, a virulent misogynist named Marc Lépine entered a school in Quebec and murdered fourteen women and wounded ten women and four men with a long gun — a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic .223 calibre rifle, which he obtained and owned legally. He hunted women explicitly, screaming “I hate feminists” as he mowed them down, separating men from women before shooting them en masse.

In 1991, in response to this massacre, a number of long guns became restricted weapons including semi-automatics and the class of gun called “sniper rifle”, generally any rifle built for accuracy over long range and/or fitted with scopes for precision firing. And in 1995, a federal long gun registry was established, so owners of any long gun would, like owners of handguns have had to do since the 1930s, register ownership of these longer guns. Any transfer of ownership would be recorded and kept in a database that law enforcement could use to trace the gun to its owner. In addition, to legally obtain the gun, a license proving your competence was required, and the gun registered on purchase.

Creating the database took between one and two billion dollars, depending on the person reporting. Maintaining the database thereafter costs about 66.4 million a year, or about half the Conservatives’ annual advertising budget.

The database is used at a rate of about 17,400 queries a day. It is considered a useful tool by those officers in the field who use it daily, and a full report by the RCMP gives hard numbers that tend to agree. But it is to be scrapped as part of Harper’s steamroller government’s plans to reformat the entirety of the country while they have the Mandate of the 39%. The actual projected savings per year for scrapping this registry of unrestricted long guns, however, according to a study by consulting firm Pleiad Canada for the RCMP, are a mere $1-4million, suggesting strongly that much of the 66.4 million is defrayed by the costs of the registration, and the facts that it will actually cost money to scrub old database records to comply with the new law and sizeable chunks of the existing infrastructure will remain in place for the ongoing registration of restricted weapons and handguns.

This omnibus legislation also plans on delisting sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles altogether, rather than placing them on the restricted list. Meaning the gun that caused the backlash, the gun that Marc Lépine used, will be perfectly legal to obtain without a license — owing to the fact that the gun will be wholly untraceable. While you have to go through a criminal record check and get licensed to get or transfer ownership of a handgun, sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles will be every bit as free-for-all as the shotgun you use to hunt deer with. No record of ownership, no way to tell if you’ve simply handed the rifle to someone unqualified, all such guns will become essentially ghosts.

Statistics Canada has measured a great number of statistics regarding handguns, long guns, and deaths by firearm for many decades. There is a significant downtick in almost every number from 1991 to present, though some conservatives have argued that gun violence has ticked downward in some areas of the United States in the same period, and that gun violence was actually on the decline even before these restrictions came into play. There’s one extraordinary number that has most assuredly not ticked downward prior to these new regulations: spousal homicide. And more specifically, homicide by firearm, according to the aforementioned CBC reporting on the StatsCan numbers:

Share of firearms used in homicides that were registered: 30% (Police recovered 61 firearms that had been used in suicides in 2006, about 36 per cent, and 18 of those guns were registered.)

Spousal homicides caused by shootings, 2000-2009: 167 (23%)

Reduction in the rate for spousal homicides involving firearms from 1980 to 2009: – 74% from nearly three per million spouses in 1980 to less than one per million spouses in 2009, according to Statistics Canada

Share of firearm-related spousal homicides involving a long gun: 50% (The rate of long-gun spousal suicides dropped about 80% between 1983 and 2009.)

Share of family-related homicides of children and youth (7 to 17 years), by shooting, 2000-2009: 26%

About 80% of spousal deaths are men killing women. If that number is reduced 74%, that’s an amazing drop in the number of women killed in domestic abuse situations. All this from adding a few not-insurmountable barriers to obtaining and maintaining a gun, whose permit only needs be renewed every five years. Is this so onerous that we simply cannot spare the chump change it takes to drop these numbers so precipitously?

Considering that the vast majority of the money that needed to be spent to establish the registry was already spent, and considering that the federal government is mandating that all this useful data be outright destroyed to “protect citizens’ privacy” (never mind that they’re going to have to register their cars!), how can you consider this action anything but a bonfire of the $2-billion it took to set this registry up? You can’t unspend that money. And the data is useful to police, and useful in providing actual barriers to crime (which no Conservative politician would ever dare argue — they simply can’t). Whether the precipitous drops in actual crimes are mere correlations or causally linked, it seems absurdly wasteful to simply throw the system out over some desire to appease the ‘tinfoil hat crowd’.

And worse, the stipulation to destroy the existing data is wholly intentional — the Harper government wants to ensure that the registry cannot simply be reused in the future once they are out of office. They want to make sure that the registry is gone for good, since it would be practical political suicide to have to rebuild the data from scratch.

Quebec is fighting back, though. They remember why the gun registry was built, and they understand what utility function the registry has. They have designs on defying the government’s orders to delete all the data, building their own autonomous provincial database for their Sureté to use. And barring that, they will require gun shops to keep records, the way the States does presently, to ensure that this data-destruction does not result in wholly untraceable guns.

And what’s more, the Tories are not interested in debate, having invoked cloture for the 5th time in 35 days to shut down attempts to debate the topic in parliament. Which is an unprecedented frequency, but not entirely unsurprising given Harper’s 39% “majority” government — might as well ram them through, since you know you’ll get more than enough votes to pass every damn time. Even if you were voting to stone every firstborn child.

My own antipathy against firearms — weaponry designed to put holes in things at range — notwithstanding, this sort of steamroller nonsense wouldn’t sit well with me even in cases where “my team” was in power. (Whoever “my team” happens to be at the moment.) Considering the consequences will be clear, I completely fail to comprehend apologetics about this gun registry evisceration. I mean, the closest thing to a convincing argument I’ve heard is the Libertarian “one shouldn’t register ANYTHING with the government, not guns or cars or nothin’”, but that falls well short of my “rational debate” mark given the other mitigating security factors at play here. And not even “security theatre” factors or fearmongering e.g. about terrorists, but actual demonstrable statistical differences in numbers of violent crimes against women.

Is there any good reason to destroy the existing data and let long guns go wholly unregulated and untraceable? And do these reasons overwhelm my intense desire to protect women from misogynists with unregulated firearms?

29 comments

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  1. 1
    The Ys

    Harper has taken all the wrong lessons from the United States…and there are a lot of those from which to choose.

  2. 2
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m not surprised. Here in Alberta the cries of “lost freedom!” were deafening when the registry was first introduced, so of course the Harper government has to please its base. (I really, really don’t like my province, and if I didn’t have friends and family keeping me here…)
    What’s really weird is that it’s almost like conservatives think the United States constitution’s Second Amendment applies to us. Thankfully it doesn’t, and hopefully this isn’t the end of it completely.

  3. 3
    lordshipmayhem

    I live in Toronto. The press reports gun crime quite thoroughly, and most of their coverage indicates that the vast majority of murders by firearm are committed by drug dealers by illegally obtained (usually, smuggled into Canada from the States). It further indicates this has continued to be the case since long before we spent billions on the long gun registry. I think we can safely predict this will continue to be the case after the long gun registry has bit the dust.

    Canada has never had a handgun registry. There is no database like the Long Gun Registry – it’s just been made very difficult to obtain such a firearm. I can’t get one: nobody’s threatening my life, and I’m not routinely carrying large sums of money or bearer bonds.

    Toronto’s deadliest years for gun crime actually happened long after the establishment of the Long Gun Registry. The Year of the Gun was in 2005, when out of 80 murders, 52 were committed by firearms. I don’t recall a single report of a legal firearm being used in any of the cases, either long gun or handgun.

    There are also some indications (or at least, front-line police suspicions) that gangs have used the Long-Gun Registry as a sort of Sears Catalogue, telling them exactly where to obtain long guns. We had a long spate of break-and-enters where registered long guns were stolen.

    Canada does not have, nor has it ever had, a handgun registry. It has never permitted fully-auto weapons, nor long guns with the barrel shortened. Yet when we delve into the statistics, that’s what we find the bulk of gun crimes to be committed with.

    Finally, one point. While the Chiefs of Police are all in favour of continuing the Long Gun Registry, the cops who actually have to deal with crime on the streets are unimpressed. They are not adjusting their behaviour based on it – because there could be handgun, legal or not, or an unregistered firearm, or a just plain illegal firearm (think MAC-10) on the premises. Going in acting like there are no firearms just because some list says there’s no legal long gun is a great way of widowing your spouse and orphaning your children.

    In short, I am of the opinion that the billions spent on the Long Gun Registry could have been better spent on crime prevention programs than on getting a bunch of hunters and farmers to register their fowling pieces and squirrel guns.

  4. 4
    jolo5309

    I have a question for you, what constitutes a “sniper rifle”, because realistically any high calibre rifle with a scope could be used as a sniper rifle.

    You don’t mention that the CBC article includes a chart that shows that long gun homicides have been dropping from 1983 downward instead of 1995, and the only spike was in 1989. The trending for both pistols and sawed off shotguns have both trended upward since 1989. Therefore, the long gun registry doesn’t seem to have had as much effect as you are implying.

    Long guns (including shotguns) accounted for 36 deaths last year, I didn’t look hard enough to find what ratio of spousal homicides to long gun homicides there were, but I did notice that long gun spousal homicides have been dropping since 1981.

    Homicides of spouses by firearms are (since 2000) 23% of all spousal homicides, so this means that 23% of 89 was caused by a firearm (22) and since half of those are by long guns we are talking about 11 murders.

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    A few things, since I can’t fisk everything said in comments right at the moment. First, Canada’s had a handgun registry since 1934, when the first registry was created out of fear that enemies would subvert our firearms. The handgun part of it remained intact when they dismantled the rest of the registry after the end of the war, and handgun registration has existed untouched since then. I simply don’t know where you’re getting your assertion on that point, lordshipmayhem.

    I mentioned in the original post exactly what constitutes a sniper rifle, and yes, any reasonably good shooter with a regular rifle could attach a scope and turn it into a sniper rifle. Guns that are designed to be sniper rifles are designed with accuracy in mind, moreso than durability, since they’re generally used in urban settings for military or police purposes.

    And I did say there’s no way of telling if the decrease in overall firearms deaths was causally linked with the registry, or with the increased restrictions, but we’re about to find out whether or not making guns untraceable increases gun deaths. Is this the way we wanted to find out? Hell no.

    Besides, my angle wasn’t overall deaths. It was spousal deaths. Which, even given your numbers jolo, are still down precipitously since 1991. And were not down appreciably before 1991.

    Additionally, a number nobody’s taking into account — caring for a survivor with a bullet wound costs on average $400,000. In 1991, in 2010-adjusted dollars, it cost $300,000. Do we know how many deaths are prevented by these programs making it harder to obtain weaponry? Not really, no. If you want a gun, you can still get a gun, especially illegally. So when you want your wife dead, you have to do a bit more work than opening the gun cabinet. Raising that bar is, to me, a good idea.

  6. 6
    Ash

    Whether or not the registry results in a significant decrease in crime, I don’t see the point in destroying all the data except to appease extremists. While I think the money originally spent on the registry could’ve been more effectively spent elsewhere, the money has been spent so just having it all go to waste seems kind of pointless.

    I’ve honestly never understood why some people are so opposed to registering firearms, despite having lived most of my life in Alberta (albeit urban Alberta where we do crazy things like elect left-leaning Muslim mayors). It’s not like the government was saying they couldn’t have firearms, and if you aren’t planning on using it for crime why is it a big deal if there are records that you have a rifle?

  7. 7
    cmv

    @Ash – It’s because registration inevitably leads to confiscation, of course! I mean, you saw how they started confiscating cars right after they made us start registering them, didn’t you?
    Seriously, that’s the only argument that I’ve heard to justify total opposition. Plenty of people have argued that it is simply not effective, as criminals will get guns anyway.
    Before reading Jason’s excellent post above, I wondered about the effectiveness myself. Clearly there is a correlation with decreased gun violence. Whether this is better explained by the concurrent ban on semi-automatics (answers the questions I had on the preview post about disabling old guns) is debatable, but I would not want to test this by getting rid of either.

  8. 8
    Jason Thibeault

    For the record, I’m being trolled rather heavily suddenly on gun control on Twitter. I’ve had to block and report as spam four two-digit-follower-count users who started messaging me about how bad gun control is, how big of gun nuts they are and how it’s our patriotic duty to allow freer access to guns.

    Someone’s coordinating this effort, I think. A bunch of new Twitter accounts, all talking only about guns, all messaging me out of the blue for daring to support the long gun registry? I smell dirty tricks.

  9. 9
    VeritasKnight

    I wasn’t aware the Tories were going to be removing several rifles from the restricted list. Sigh. Unnecessary.

    I don’t think that the registry is what stopped people from murdering each other at home. I think it’s stricter gun control regulations that have forced more people to learn gun safety. An inaccessible gun is one that cannot be used to murder in the heat of the moment. And if you’re going to plan to kill someone, you’ll do it regardless of the easy availability of a firearm.

    With any luck, we will remain a more responsible nation of gun owners after this passes (and it will pass), and our violence will remain at the lower levels. Of course, if it increases, let’s hope that whatever flash-in-the-pan leader the Liberals get and whoever succeeds Jack Layton in the NDP are actually making notes for the next election.

  10. 10
    VeritasKnight

    And for reference, my largest opposition to the long gun registry when it was created wasn’t the fact that guns were being registered, but the ham-fisted way the Liberals handled it. I get a feeling if we broke it down the way the Sponsorship Scandal was broken down, we’d find a ton of money spent incredibly poorly. Now that it exists, there’s no point in scrapping it, other than to keep the Conservatives’ promises.

    But hold onto your hats. This ain’t gonna change over the next 4 years.

  11. 11
    Paul Little

    The problem with the long gun registry from the very beginning was that it was a the wrong legislation. It basically amounted to accomodation of the right. They didn’t have the balls to pass the right legislation, which was to make the fucking things illegal in the first place.

  12. 12
    VeritasKnight

    If you’re referring to semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14. Yes.

  13. 13
    GoFigure

    Your story is misleading in order to promote an agenda. This is not journalism, but propaganda. The Gun used by Marc Lepine is not a Restricted Firearm like a handgun, but a non restricted long gun. And it is perfectly legal for anyone who holds a valid PAL to purchase and use for hunting, target practice etc. This is not an Assault rifle but a ranch gun that many use for predator control. Marc Lepine planned a horrific crime and saw it through. The long gun registry will not stop crimes like this from happening again, criminals will get weapons by legal or illegal means and use them how they please. Second you say that after the registry is scrap for long guns that anyone will be able to by a rifle. This is simply not true, the same licencing requirements will be in place and only pre screened licenced persons will be able to purchase any firearms and ammunition. The application process is the same for unrestricted firearms as it is for restricted firearms which means that the screening procedures followed for handgun owners is followed for rifle owners as well. There is no class for “sniper rifles” or “semi automatic rifles”. Currently many military rifles are classed restricted or prohibited. If following the information you have presented most modern hunting rifles would be qualified as either a “sniper rifle” or a “semi automatic rifle” as they are either very accurate or semi automatic, or both. This story is nothing more than fear mongering to promote an agenda. There is also no proof that the will be any changes to the list of firearms currently restricted, and if anything the RCMP and adding more guns to that list, not removing them.

    The fact is that criminals will get what they want by what ever means. They are not concerned about being arrested, or going to jail or prison. it is the law abiding people who loss with legislation that allows the government forces to search them, their property at will with out notice because they followed all the rules when they bought their firearms. Of course it is easier for the police to harass the people they know have the guns, hence the 17400 queries of the gun registries. The Restricted gun registry will still be in place, which includes all the restricted assault rifles, handguns, and any prohibited firearms.

    As far as money is concerned, the Liberals used the Long Gun Registry to funnel billions into the pockets of their supports in Ontario and Quebec, in the form of grossly over priced contracts in the name of the Registry. It shouldn’t have cost anything as the registry already existed for all restricted firearms. It is nothing more than a database, how does it cost 2 Billion dollars to add another column to an existing list?

    You need to get your facts straight or present them as opinion not as fact.

  14. 14
    Jason Thibeault

    Wow. Just wow. GoFigure, did you alter that at all before cross-posting that comment from an actual newspaper’s comments feed to this BLOG? Do we need explicit disclaimers that the bloggers on this blog are bloggers and not journalists?

    And do the facts laid out via the dozens of links I included in that BLOG post not suffice as a rebuttal? Especially where I explicitly described the gun that Lepine used as having been obtained legally?

    The Ruger Mini-14 is a restricted rifle. You need both a regular and a restricted PAL and you need to be a member of a certified range to own one. The Harper bill will not change any of the licensing regulations, but it does delist several restricted rifles, including the Mini-14 semi-automatic and several “sniper rifles”, which are regular rifles that, as I said in the original post, are any reasonably accurate rifle fitted with a scope.

    I have discovered two facts about the $2billion number that has been floating around. First, the long gun registry cost $1 billion to set up over 15 years of its existence, and has cost a grand total of $2 billion when you count all the additional staff needed to provide licensing for the long guns as well as handguns. This cost was attenuated over the lifespan of its existence, and was not a single $2bil money sink at time of purchase. Dismantling the registry will save the government between 1 and 4 million dollars a year. Million with an M. And gunshot wounds for survivors cost $400,000 to treat, out of taxpayer pockets. So if ten people are shot that otherwise might not have been, then you’ve just sunk your entire savings.

    Your own comment is not journalism but propaganda. Perhaps if you’d listed it as an opinion divorced from reality, that would be okay.

  15. 15
    GoFigure

    Here is a link to a retailer that sells the Mini 14, note that it is a non restricted rifle, get your facts straight.

    http://www.shootingcentre.com/catalog/firearms/non-restricted/centrefire/ruger-mini-14-223-rem

  16. 16
    Jason Thibeault

    From the RCMP website:

    According to the Criminal Code, a restricted firearm is:

    a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm;
    a semi-automatic, centre-fire rifle or shotgun with a barrel length less than 470 mm (18.5 inches) that is not prohibited;
    a rifle or shotgun that can fire when its overall length is reduced by folding, telescoping or some other means to less than 660 mm (26 inches);
    any firearm prescribed as restricted (including some long guns).

    The Mini 14 is a semi-automatic centre-fire rifle with a barrel length of 18.5 inches. It is not explicitly prohibited, nor is it prescribed to be on the restricted list. If it does not fit the classification here (because it’s exactly 18.5 inches), then the way it is being delisted is merely by removing the long gun registry. It becomes a totally acceptable and untraceable gun that you can obtain however you please, but need a regular PAL license to get from a shop.

    The point of the registration is to ensure you have chain of ownership information in the event that such a gun is used in a killing spree or even just in a domestic murder or suicide. Long guns, prior to the registry, made up the majority of those. After the registry, illegal handguns made up the majority.

    Since we have to register our vehicles to provide chain of ownership information, and register our pets to help curb the feral pet population in cities, and register our health information to provide tracking information to the government about what has happened in our bodies, I don’t see why we shouldn’t register our weaponry. And if the Mini-14 is really not a restricted weapon, then that means the gun used in the Montreal Massacre which spurred the very movement to, you know, collect information so we know things about classes of guns, failed to cover the very gun that was used to kill a hell of a lot of people.

    This won’t prevent the mass murders, but it would allow us to track and prosecute accomplices and in some cases the murderers themselves. I truly don’t understand what the Harper government has against collecting data, given the amount of data they collect and use illegally (e.g. targeting Jewish demographics explicitly, then having to admit they collected that information without the Jews’ permission). I strongly suspect this antipathy to data collection is not about privacy, since they’re willing to obtain the info illegally. It’s about catering to the tinfoil hats who think that having to register a gun means the government going door to door and rounding them up. It’s madness.

    Given the amount of spam I’ve gotten to my twitter and blog on this topic from brand-new accounts (all under three months old, most under one week old, all with 200+ tweets about guns), and given reports that the American NRA is helping Harper’s government develop something that seems like a grassroots movement about how good and patriotic and virtuous it is to be a gun owner and how therefore filling a piece of paperwork every five years is an undue burden to gun owners, I strongly suspect you’re an astroturfer. Given your side has already won the battle, why you folks are doing as much astroturfing as you are is completely beyond me. Perhaps you’d like to explain why so many brand new accounts are being generated and flooding blogs and news articles and such with your ridiculous pro-untraceable-murder stances?

  17. 17
    Jason Thibeault

    I should say — the registry didn’t actually “fail to cover” the gun if it wasn’t restricted, but the registry covers all long guns so they’re treated the same about collecting info as all handguns. Why we should stop collecting information about any class of gun is unbelievably short-sighted, especially if it turns the whole class of gun that is not restricted otherwise into “ghosts” that are wholly untraceable.

    Another thing we register and restrict is purchase of ammonium nitrite, which unduly burdens farmers. The reason we do this is so that some joe on the street can’t just walk into a shop and come out with enough materials to blow up a building. The Harper government enacted that restriction. I see no conspiracy theorists going on about how this prevents farmers from their legal rights.

  18. 18
    Fred from BC

    Jason Thibeault says

    The Ruger Mini-14 is a restricted rifle. You need both a regular and a restricted PAL and you need to be a member of a certified range to own one.

    …followed by:

    The Mini 14 is a semi-automatic centre-fire rifle with a barrel length of 18.5 inches. It is not explicitly prohibited, nor is it prescribed to be on the restricted list. If it does not fit the classification here (because it’s exactly 18.5 inches), then the way it is being delisted is merely by removing the long gun registry. It becomes a totally acceptable and untraceable gun that you can obtain however you please, but need a regular PAL license to get from a shop.

    Even before I read some of your more inane utterances (like “pro-untraceable-murder stances” and a rather puzzling attempt to compare fertilizer restrictions to a gun registry), I knew right away that you didn’t have a clue what you were talking about. You made two flat-out, unequivocal statements above that were 100% WRONG, then offered the corrected information without acknowledging that fact. That’s not too classy, is it?

    Using your own logic, then, how about I take away your right to a computer because you *could* be using it to spread kiddy porn? That makes sense to me. Shouldn’t we err on the side of caution? That’s your own argument for maintaining a long-gun registry, right? You admit that the stats don’t prove anything (your spousal homicide numbers are as wrong as the rest of your arguments, BTW), but you still want to impose regulations on law-abiding people who have done nothing to you. No gun control measure (not that the registry had anything to do with actual gun control)has ever been shown to reduce the homicide rate anywhere in the world, sorry.

  19. 19
    Jason Thibeault

    Hooray for more astroturfers! I’m glad that my site is being well indexed by Google!

    I linked a site that claims that the Mini-14 is restricted in the original post. I provided the description of what counts as a restricted long gun via the RCMP. I provided the rules that one has to conform to, in order to own a restricted gun. I even gave the explicit out that maybe, MAYBE, by being 18.5 inches, the gun WASN’T restricted, and the source I gave in the original post was wrong.

    If all you have to show for your arguments is “you’re wrong, guns are great and have no correlation with gun murders”, perhaps you’d like to show your work at some point? I and my readers are swayed by evidence, not polemic.

  20. 20
    Jason Thibeault

    Additionally, your line that no gun control measure has ever been shown to reduce the homicide rate anywhere in the world is an outright lie. (See what I did there? When I say you’re lying, I provide clickable, easy to follow evidence.)

    How’s that astroturfing working out for you folks, anyway? Are you finding that you’re succeeding in making it look like the country is ACTUALLY divided about guns? And why do you even want to do so, given that you have already won this battle? Shouldn’t the astroturf now be about the mandatory minimum sentences that Harper’s gearing up to cram down our gullets in direct contradiction to every study about its utility?

  21. 21
    George W.

    Anyone know where I can get a good beer hat? I was hoping to keep my hands free while I fire my shotgun.
    LOL

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    George is referring to spam that got ZOMG CENSORED.

  23. 23
    JaviKnows

    Only going to comment on one erroneous point:
    eliminating the long-gun registry will not eliminate the requirement of gun owners/users to have proper training and licencing.

    The PAL (Possession Acquisition Licence) is still mandatory for all who purchase, borrow, store, and use firearms. To get a PAL, you must pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course.

    Please stop saying that it will be a free for all and no one will need a licence. Get your facts straight before blogging off.

    - a woman’s rights advocate, hunter, Conservation Officer’s daughter (The whole package of info here.)

  24. 24
    Jason Thibeault

    Nobody said that, JaviKnows. The Google search that led you here triggered on this phrase instead:

    While you have to go through a criminal record check and get licensed to get or transfer ownership of a handgun, sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles will be every bit as free-for-all as the shotgun you use to hunt deer with.

    You’ll note that you have to get a PAL to get a shotgun to hunt deer. The problem is these guns are now untraceable.

  25. 25
    GoFigure

    Long-term decline in firearm-related homicides due to lower use of rifles or shotguns

    Police reported 190 homicides that were committed with a firearm in 2006, 33 fewer than the previous year. Although there have been annual fluctuations, the rate of firearm-related homicides has remained relatively stable over the past decade.

    The rate of homicide committed with a firearm declined throughout most of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. As a result, the rate in 2006 was about half of what it was 30 years earlier.

    This decline is largely attributable to an 86% decrease in the rate of homicide involving rifles or shotguns between 1975 and 2006. The rate of homicide involving handguns remained relatively stable over this period.

    The use of handguns surpassed rifles or shotguns for the first time in 1991. By 2006, three times as many victims were killed with a handgun than with a rifle or shotgun.

    Prior to 1985, shootings were much more common than stabbings. Since then, shootings and stabbings have each accounted for about one-third of all homicides annually.
    (Note that long gun homicides were on decline for 30 years prior to the registry coming into force in 2001)
    Source: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080220/dq080220b-eng.htm

    Violent crimes were more often committed with other types of weapons than guns. Knives accounted for 6.2% of violent victimizations and clubs or other blunt instruments were used against 3.0% of victims.

    Source : http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080220/dq080220b-eng.htm

    Almost all of the “inquiries” are routinely generated by traffic stops or firearm sales and are not specifically requested; nor do police often find them useful.

    Almost all of these inquiries involve licensing, not the long-gun registry. Inquiries specific to the gun registry amount to only 2.4% of the approximately 3.5 million inquiries into the database in 2008, which has declined each year from 8.3% in 2003 as awareness has grown that actually looking for this data has limited usefulness.

    Bill C-391 will not change the licensing system so 97.6% of these inquiries will continue as before.

    Note: the firearms registry only contains gun-specific data, e.g., the serial number and certificate number.

    Despite its reported irrelevance, some police associations have endorsed it. These endorsements may reflect where they receive funding and are currently under scrutiny. The majority of MPs who voted for Bill C-391 were right to ignore the disingenuous claims of these police associations.

    Here is what one serving RCMP corporal (who requested anonymity) had to say:

    “I certainly do not understand how the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police can claim that the registry is a useful tool. I think their doing so is more a statement of how long it has been since any of them has been in touch with front line policing. I supervise 10 RCMP members on a daily basis and have done so for quite some time. I have never once in my career found the registry to be a useful tool in solving a single crime and can say without a doubt that I have never witnessed the long-gun registry prevent a crime.”

    SOURCE: Email to Candice Hoeppner, M.P. – October 2009

    The registry is a shopping list for criminals. The RCMP has admitted to more than 300 breaches so far. Early in 2009, the RCMP handed over sensitive information to the polling firm Ekos Research Associates for a customer-satisfaction survey. Gun owners believe this is a serious breach of privacy. No registry means no shopping list for computer-hacking criminals (Hoeppner, 2009).

    In summary, almost all of the inquiries are routinely generated by traffic stops or firearm sales and are not specifically requested by police. More than 97% of these inquiries involve licensing, not the long-gun registry. Inquiries specific to the gun registry amount to only 2.4% of the approximately 3.5 million inquiries into the database in 2008.
    Source: http://www.nfa.ca/presentation-dr-gary-mauser#claim8

  26. 26
    Jason Thibeault

    Lemme ask you a question, GoFigure. Since you’ve already won, the long gun registry has already been destroyed, and the money already bonfired, why are you continuing to fight people who think the long gun registry is actually a good thing by merely presenting the other side over and over again?

    There’s such a thing as a sore winner, you know. Especially where many of the facts and figures are presented from the exact same sources (e.g. StatsCan) that I used in my main article, for completely unrelated concerns to the thrust of my main article, or are presented by interested third parties like the National Firearms Association, who are, I’m certain, presenting a balanced accounting of all firearms related statistics.

  27. 27
    Brett Knoss

    Yes guns are used to kill people. Yes, nut jobs like Marc Lepin occasionally commit mass shootings. But, while these shootings are extremely rare guns are used every day by people to defend themselves.

    The gun registry is full of holes millions of guns across Canada are not registered, there has been no real enforcement, and 1 in 6 of the guns registered do not have a serial number. The same is true of the handgun registry which has been in place since 1934 and made mandatory in 1969. From 1969 to the early 1980′s gun crime rose dramatically in spite of the registry. Gun crime declined after the long gun registry but at the same rate it had been declining since before the law was proposed.

    The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the English Bill of Rights dating back to the Glorious Revolution and has been recognized as a fundamental right by John Locke and Sir William Blacksotne who argued human beings have a natural right to protect ‘life and limb.’ The preamble of the BNA give Canada this British legacy of natural rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms enumerates the right to life, liberty and security of the person. Guns including handguns serve are a natural right because in the hands of citizens they can save lives.

    Guns have been called the great equalizer, they allow women and the elderly to defend themselves against young men, they can allow minorities to protect themselves. Using a gun for self defense often does not mean killing, displaying a firearm is often enough, firearms are very effective at deterring attacks when fired into he air.

    If we look at the US were gun laws very from state to state the data suggests gun crime has decline in states that have allowed concealed carry on average have less gun violence. New York, Chicago, LA, and Washington DC with virtual or actual gun bans have higher violence than cities like Houston which some of the freest gun laws. The US Center for Disease Control looked at gun control measures including waiting periods, gun registries, ammunition bans, total handguns bans and total gun bans and found no proof that a single life was saved by any of these. In Britain gun violence has gone up 40% since the 1999 handgun ban.

    The police say this registry has been used, but that does not mean it is needed. Police also opposed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which protects the rights of the accused and restricts police abuses of power. In Canada to register a handgun you must give up your right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure; in Toronto police terrorize gun owners with random checks to ensure guns are stored legally(the law prevents guns from being stored in a manner that permits their use in defending the home.)

    Although news media allows us to see shooting across the world, and such shootings are tragic, they are very rare. And is several shootings guns have been used to stop killers. In 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia an man opened fire with a handgun; two ROTC students of the school retrieved handguns from their cars and used them to force the shooter to surrender.

    The idea that society can be completely disarmed and that insane acts like Ecole Polytechnique can be prevented by gun control fails under scrutiny. We need to allow citizens the right to own guns and to defend themselves.

  28. 28
    Dutchman

    No comment on the article, or the issue, just found it AWESOME that the banner ad at the top is for an electric stun-baton, an item classified in Canada as a “Prohibited Weapon”, like a switchblade or machinegun.

  29. 29
    alain

    I am anti-gun. However I am more pro-freedom. The military and police should not be the only armed people in society.
    G20 should make anyone realize that the government controls the police and can use that power for arrests without Habeas Corpus.

    I would be okay with removing all guns from citizens if also we made it illegal for police and military to carry guns in Canada. Tasers are fine.

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