The publication of a new poll gauging Canadians' views on the long-gun registry proves Candace Hoeppner's so-called Private Member's Bill goes against the views of the majority of Canadians.
The poll, conducted by Leger in December 2009, shows twice as many Canadians want to keep the registry as wish to scrap it (59 versus 27 per cent); in every province but Manitoba and Saskatchewan, more people support the registry than oppose it. The poll also shows women support the gun registry more than men (66 versus 51 per cent), that more people living with gun owners support the registry than oppose it (47 versus 36 per cent) and that a substantial proportion of gun owners (36 per cent) actually support the registry themselves. The gun lobby may be louder and better financed, but even among households with guns in Canada, votes are almost evenly split.
Newspapers have lately been flooded with support for the registry from policing, health and safety organizations, women's and victims groups. But our Conservative government still intends to take the registry out, covering their ears and singing "la-la-la!!" to all the experts.
It's disheartening to watch Mr. Harper play politics with public safety: the Conservatives are the government of ALL Canadians, not just their gun lobby friends. While this coalition tries to convince us that licensing alone is an adequate safeguard, the truth is that licensing only functions with registration as its backup. The Supreme Court even issued a ruling to that effect.
If a gun owner is deemed a danger to himself or others, in the absence of the registry, how would a prohibition order be enforced?
The police MUST be able to easily discover how many and what type of firearms each licensed individual owns: that's the function of the registry. Safe storage regulations become unenforceable if we don't know who owns the particular gun in question. Dismantling the long-gun registry would be a shot to the heart of the Firearms Act, and will undermine public safety.
Gun violence is not just about urban gangs. More guns means higher rates of gun death and injury, and there are more guns in rural areas. Most police officers killed with guns are murdered with rifles and shotguns; suicides with firearms and domestic violence in rural communities seldom make the front page. Rifles and shotguns are the guns most often used in violence against women because they're the firearms most readily available.
For more information, please see a wonderful new website set up to counter the gun lobby's lies, http://truthsandmyths.ca/, supported by such well-known "cults" (according to Garry Breitkreuz) as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Police Boards, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention, etc. etc. etc.