Gun registry didn't make Canada a safer place to live
Posted By PETER WORTHINGTON
Now that MPs have voted 164-137 to repeal the registry of long guns and shotguns, several realities stand out in the whole emotional question of gun registry.
For starters, gun registration has cut down on neither crime nor gun violence -- and forget the support given the program by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Try asking individual cops, and you get a different, non-political answer.
The idea that police rely on the registry in the detection of crime, makes no sense. When you get down to it, no one has an accurate idea of how many guns there are in Canada, or who owns them.
Officially, three million Canadians own seven million guns. (The Toronto Star's editorial board thinks two million are gun owners). Two or three million gun owners in a population of 33 million? Who is kidding whom?
In the mid-1970s, when gun registration was barely hinted at and Canada's population was under 25 million, it was estimated that seven million Canadians owned 21 million firearms. How come such a discrepancy, when our population has grown by 25% from those days?
The answer is that there are literally millions of unregistered hunting rifles and shotguns out there that Canadians haven't registered and aren't declaring -- and aren't using to commit crimes.
If you accept this -- and how can you not, if you check the record -- gun registry is little but an expensive, unnecessary, largely useless waste of time? Bureaucratic boondoggle aptly describes the program.
The Toronto Star editorially supports gun registration, arguing that the Conservatives "have no valid reason to kill off Canada's rifle and shotgun registry . . . ." On the contrary, there is no valid reason to keep it -- especially when most Canadians are probably ignoring the law. Besides, as a Private Members Bill -- C-139, courtesy of Tory MP Candice Hoeppner (Portage-Lisgar) -- it became easier for party leaders to okay a free vote. Something of a mercy killing of gun registry.
Repealing the registry has no effect on hand gun registration and control, which has been in effect since 1934. Hand guns are still the weapon of choice for crime and murder.
The repeal applies only to shotguns and rifles -- bolt action or semi-automatic. It does not apply to assault weapons, machine guns, grenades and fully automatic rifles -- all unnecessary and for the most part illegal.
We are not the U. S., where 50% of the population own an estimated 270 million firearms -- 90 guns for every 100 people.
In the trivia department, there are roughly 210 million cars in the U. S., and every year some 46,000 people die in traffic accidents, while 30,000 are killed annually by guns -- homicides, suicides, accidental shootings combined.
Although the U. S. has more firearms than any other country, Switzerland (population 7.5 million) has more firepower per citizen that any country on earth. Yet it is one of the safest, most law-abiding of countries. By law, every male must own a weapon -- a well-armed population is the country's main line of defence.
To assume that firearms lead to crime and violence is wrong. Not in Switzerland, not in Canada. Eliminating long gun registry in Canada will be trimming bureaucracy and freeing up money to be wasted in some other way.
Peter Worthington writes for Sun Media.
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