Sunday, February 22, 2009

Harper in denial: Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian Police Association, major safety and health groups still support registry

On February 6/09, our intrepid (Latin for soon-to-be-turfed) Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, announced a resumption of debate on scrapping the gun registry, promising at the same time that over 200 jobs in Miramichi NB, the site of the registry's main processing centre, will be maintained no matter what.

The Brantford Expositor published my letter in response:

Dear Editor

Too bad your reporter missed the part of the PM's Miramichi speech announcing another futile and divisive debate on the firearms registry. For good measure, he'll safeguard the 200+ jobs at the registry's main processing centre, which just happens to be in Miramichi. The PM must care more about those jobs than Canadian lives. He and his party are as mistaken in this file as they were on the economy in December: mega wrong, uber-wrong, "Dewey beats Truman" wrong.

Because rifles and shotguns are the firearms used most often to threaten women and children, and the weapons of choice in the murder of police officers. Many are stolen from legal owners; they're also frequently seized from gangs.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association and major safety and health groups continue to support the registry, consulted by police over nine thousand times daily. Remember, the recent Mayerthorpe shooting convictions were only possible because the gun involved was traceable through the registry.

Since the registry was created, close to 23,000 firearms licenses have been refused or revoked because of public safety concerns. We register our cars and our dogs--not registering our guns would be criminal.

In 2007, the rifle and shotgun murder rate was almost 80 per cent lower than in 1991--meaning 500 fewer such murders each year. The rate of robberies with firearms fell 68 per cent in the same period. There's only one possible conclusion: gun control works.

The gun lobby says target "criminals," not "law-abiding gun owners." Wake up and smell the coffee: legal gun owners are all entirely law-abiding--right up till the moment that they're not. After all, how long does it take to pull a trigger?