It’s not about the “hockey stick” »« Kepler confirms: Super-earth found in star’s habitable zone!

Massacre survivor speaks out against Harper scrapping long gun registry

Another chapter in the ongoing evisceration of everything that makes Canada great, thanks to the Harper government.

A survivor of the Montreal Massacre has spoken out against the planned scrapping of the long gun registry. While the law is pretty much a fait accompli at this point, with the majority in government being Conservatives, it’s good to know people are protesting.

She reminded the committee the bill will abolish the requirement to register non-restricted weapons like the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 that Lepine used. She and Rathjen urged the government to realize the bill eliminates the legal obligation to verify the validity of a firearms licence when a long gun is sold or otherwise transferred.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told the Commons: “It is against the law to sell firearms to an unlicensed individual. There is a penalty of up to five years for that.”

But Provost, Rathjen, and NDP critic Jack Harris assailed his logic, saying there is no requirement to keep any records of the transaction, no requirement to verify the validity of a licence with the Firearms Centre, “nor to record anything about the licence, the rifle being sold, or who he’s selling it to. He just has to ‘believe’ that the licence is real,” said Rathjen.

Emphasis mine. This has been my point all along. No matter how important it is to have a license at time of purchase, if there’s no requirement to record anything, how’s anyone going to know if you followed the law or not?

Conservatives have been trolling me with brand-new accounts on Twitter, sweeping in out of nowhere to provide Gish gallops about how horrible a burden it is to register your long gun. But they’ve already won this fight, they’re just sweeping the field to make it look more like this change that they’re ramming down the 61% of Canadians’ throats is an actually disputed or at all controversial ruling. It’s entirely polarized — Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens don’t want this. Conservatives do.

Those of you who voted Conservative just to give them the majority so “stuff could get done”… well, fuck you. That’s all, just fuck you.

Comments

  1. karin lewis says

    I immigrated here in 1992 from a country where I did not feel safe, nor free. This is the first time in Canada where those feelings are starting to resurface. Ugh. Thanks for a perfectly pitched piece. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Ray Comas says

    I’m assuming Canada has finite monetary resources to spend on law enforcement and crime prevention. Given that, some questions arise:

    1. How much money has the government spent on the long gun registry?

    2. How many crimes have been solved using it?

    3. In how many prosecutions were data from the registry a factor, or even used?

    Given answers to 1-3, we have the critical question:

    4. Can the money being spent on the gun registry be better spent on something else, which might have a more positive impact on public safety?

    and:

    5. Is this really not a debate about public safety?

  3. lordshipmayhem says

    From what I’m aware of the situation, Marc Lepine would not have been denied permission to obtain the legal, if restricted, firearms he possessed, nor the ammunition he required – he had not committed any crime prior to his lunatic “counter-attack on those attacking me” that would have flagged him as unsuitable.

    How would the long-gun registry actually have prevented the Montreal Massacre?

  4. says

    I’m about as anti gun as they come. You couldn’t convince me that any human being should have the right to own any firearm for any reason. That said, I have always been of the opinion that the long gun registry was an example of the government putting up the appearance of doing something without ever actually taking any real effective action. If we had spent the money wasted on the gun registry on actually actively enforcing the already existing legislation we’d have prevented more crimes and taken more guns off the street than we ever have in the past.

  5. says

    If you read this link I included in the original post, you’ll have the answers to question 1: they’ve already sunk $20 billion, which cannot be recovered (and is bonfired by destroying the resulting database). They will save between $1 and $4 million a year, assuming there is not a significant uptick in firearms injuries as a result, which can cost $80,000 per incident to treat, and I’m not sure how much to investigate. Additionally, since 2006 the Harper Government has been waiving the renewal fees for long gun registrations, knowing they were going to scrap it anyway, so they’ve been taking an additional $20 million loss annually.

    Question 2 is a tough one. It is referenced 17400 times a day, and its major use is in preventing gun smuggling and criminal ownership by providing a much quicker way for agents in the field of determining the last legal owner. I don’t have hard and fast statistics for how many crimes it has directly solved, and I suspect it’s a misframing, given that it’s a prophylactic — how many babies have condoms prevented? How do you measure that? But one can assume rather safely that it is valuable, given how many officers, chiefs of police, and other law enforcement individuals have testified to its utility. And outliers, who are few and far between, are likely Conservative voters, who do in fact exist within law enforcement circles.

    Question 3 is a misframing. If the point of the registry is to ensure law enforcement has the ability to track gun ownership, making it easier to determine who the last legal owner was, then yes, it’s possible to prosecute the last legal owner for it. But with all the statistics — gun related suicides, domestic homicides, gun-related homicides and gang homicides — all being drastically down, I guess we’re going to find out whether they all tick back upward once it’s possible to buy/sell/trade guns with no traceability as to its provenance.

    As for question 4, how far will $4 million a year go?

    The answer to question 5 is yes. Yes it is about public safety. What do you think it is?

    So let’s turn some questions on you, since I’ve seen these exact questions repeated severally on my blog and elsewhere.

    1. How many people have been physically hurt or killed by the existence of the long gun registry?

    2. How much money do gun injuries cost, and how many extra gun injuries or deaths a year can we afford before the return-on-investment of the gun registry is wiped out?

    3. How do you propose to ensure that only licensed individuals obtain long guns, if there’s no registry? How do you propose to hold people accountable?

    4. How do you know you aren’t buying a stolen gun, or one that was used in a crime?

    I’ll have more questions soon but I have work to do.

  6. says

    lordshipmayhem@3: isn’t there a psych evaluation for licensing? Lepine would have almost certainly failed that. With no registration, you can claim to have a license but there’s no actual check or balance there.

    Two salient facts from the RCMP:

    Continuous eligibility checks identified over 97,000 potential public safety issues (Firearms Interest to Police); FIP hits led to 466 Licence Refusals and 1701 Licence Revocations.

    Without the gun registry, there’s no accounting whatsoever for whether you’ve got a license. You might need one by law, but without records, where’s your proof?

  7. jolo5309 says

    1. How many people have been physically hurt or killed by the existence of the long gun registry?

    Is that really a question? The only response to that is “So, when did you stop beating your wife”? Neither makes any sense, and both imply something else.

    2. How much money do gun injuries cost, and how many extra gun injuries or deaths a year can we afford before the return-on-investment of the gun registry is wiped out?

    There is no evidence that the LGR actually saved any lives, nor is there any evidence that it is. Consider this, the Taber shooting (1999), the Breton shooting (over the weekend) and Mayerthorpe (2005) all occurred after the Long Gun Registry. I think you are trying to use emotion as your argument.

    3. How do you propose to ensure that only licensed individuals obtain long guns, if there’s no registry? How do you propose to hold people accountable?

    Who says they are doing it now? There are ways of buying unregistered long guns already.

    4. How do you know you aren’t buying a stolen gun, or one that was used in a crime?

    That is why you buy your firearms from a gun dealer, not “Guns in a Truckbed”.

    It’s entirely polarized — Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens don’t want this.

    You say the NDP are opposed to it, but I am willing to bet that many NDP MPs in Western Canada are relieved that it is gone, not because it is a good thing but because it is harmful to their chances for election here because they no longer have to deal with this.

    Seriously, you, and many other non conservatives are fucking whining over “61%, 61%!” you are doing the exact same thing that the Democrats did from 2001-2004 with George Bush in the US (and we saw how that worked out in 2004). You are too busy whining about his percentage of the vote to focus on your task, instead you are complaining and complaining that he is “ramming down the 61% of Canadians’ throats”.

    Do you know who the last PM was to get more than 50% of the votes?

    Brian Mulroney, prior to that it was John Diefenbaker.

    Get over it.

  8. says

    That is why you buy your firearms from a gun dealer, not “Guns in a Truckbed”.

    And by eliminating the long gun registry, the Harper government has essentially made all gun purchases the equivalent to buying guns from the back of a truck. Rifle sales are held to the honor system now.

    Even if the registry was not successful in saving any lives, it was helpful in helping track weapons, especially those that might have been involved in a crime. What’s the monetary value of that?

    Similarly, vehicle registration doesn’t prevent people from being killed in collisions, so I guess it’s a waste of money. Maybe we should funnel all the money spent on vehicle registrations to driver training or law enforcement instead.

  9. Ray Comas says

    The reason I asked if this was really a public safety issue is that in many cases, “gun control” is actually political grandstanding and ideology – it’s more about “control” than about “guns.”

    It serves as theater, and is used to present the illusion that something is being done about a particular problem, but which in reality is no solution at all, since a real solution would be complex and probably impossible to legislate. A similar theatrical device is “airport security.”

    $20 billion is a lot of money to spend on an illusion. For example, if the government really wanted to reduce the amount of gun-related criminal activity, they could offer to buy firearms from the public, at the very attractive price of $10,000 each. Then that $20 billion would have removed *two million* firearms from circulation.

  10. jolo5309 says

    Even if the registry was not successful in saving any lives, it was helpful in helping track weapons, especially those that might have been involved in a crime. What’s the monetary value of that?

    So what good is it, Jason argues it saves lives, you are saying even if it didn’t.

    Similarly, vehicle registration doesn’t prevent people from being killed in collisions, so I guess it’s a waste of money. Maybe we should funnel all the money spent on vehicle registrations to driver training or law enforcement instead.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

  11. Ray Comas says

    @jolo5309: The purpose of vehicle registration is not to prevent collisions. If preventing collisions were its stated purpose, then you’d have a great argument. However the purpose of vehicle registration is to raise revenue, and it does that extremely well.

  12. says

    Ray: putting people through microwave scanners at the airport is a hell of a lot of money for an illusion of security. Making shop owners record who got what gun and attaching it to what license, that’s not exorbitant. Much of that $20 billion was for infrastructure, for the salaries of all the people over the past almost seventeen years who’ve worked for departments dealing with long guns and licensing and registration thereof, as well as for retrofitting the existing handgun registry for long guns.

    The destruction of the database will actually take a significant amount of money as well, though I’m not sure how much, because destroying a database involves destroying all copies of it in all archival forms, as well as separating it out from the handgun registry before doing so. Or would you prefer the handgun registry disappear too?

    The reductio ad absurdum is appropriate in this case. It is a good example of exactly what you’re arguing — the registration of firearms is exactly like the registration of vehicles, and has probably a more significant net effect on safety, given the numbers presented here. Since there’s a demonstrable downtick in firearms deaths related to long guns after the long gun registry was put into effect, we’re going to see if there’s a demonstrable uptick in firearms deaths related to long guns after your party finishes steamrolling us.

    Jolo, yes, steamrolling us. That’s what a majority government does, and that’s what conservatives made no end of crying about during the last liberal majority. The problem of being steamrolled into what a tiny fraction of the people want would be obviated if your far-rightists separated from the right-of-centers in the Cons again, or it would be obviated if the left coalesced into one party instead of four. As it stands, either we devolve to a two party system, we adopt instant runoff voting, or we kowtow to a small fraction of super-far-rightists (aka ex-Reformers/Alliance) presently running the only right-wing party in the country.

    Yes, I’m crying about this. It’s broken. It needs to be fixed. Preferably before we become WORSE than America by adopting all the policies that are driving it into the shitter presently.

  13. says

    Jason

    In principle, one loses when they argues from the framing of their opposition: The long-gun registry is a heath and safety issue, particularly when it comes to women and yet the hard right trolls and neo-kon klak are always on about their civil liberties as if we had a second amendment or that was even what it meant.

    The real issue here is how do we shut these fuckers up when their very framing of morality has nothing to do with morality as we know it: Lying and angry shouting is de rigueur in their social Darwinist world and the very act of dragging us in is their victory.

    After my long time frustration with their shit, I am beginning to understand that all we need to do is laugh at the poor bastards – it is like the Star Trek (season 3, episode 7) ‘Day of the Dove’, they feed on anger. If we deny it, they will end up eating each other as there is little the neo-cons have in common except the insatiable urge to strike out. Just imagine who these guys where in high school that they are so socially fucked… and what motivates them to desire such big guns…

  14. Weary of Trolls, Too says

    Important clarification: the long gun registry has NOT cost anything near $20B. At best, the ENTIRE Canadian Firearms Program has cost TWO billion since its inception 16 years ago (it’s annual budget was about $100M, now it’s about $70: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2010-2011/inst/rcm/rcm02-eng.asp#firearms ), of which the LGR is just one part, and licensing/screening etc. is the biggest part.

    And don’t forget, the previous FAC license program & smaller registries for handguns & prohibited guns, which only applied to 1/3rd of the gun owners & 10% of the guns, cost $30M/yr back then, so we would’ve been spending at LEAST half a billion on that over the same interval, anyway, shared among the various forces.

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/372/lega/witn/cukier-e.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>