Thursday, December 3, 2009

Countering gun registry disinformation

In the attempt to delegitimize Canada's long gun registry, a concerted disinformation campaign has been mounted by those ideologically opposed to it.

Myth 1: gun death is an urban, gang-related problem. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians points out nearly 75 per cent of gun deaths are suicides. Here’s the perspective of a small-town doctor and coroner in rural Ontario:

"My own personal experience with gun-related death has mirrored the national statistics. Most are suicides, the great majority have involved long guns and, of course, they live in rural environments. I have never seen a death with a handgun and have never seen a death committed as a criminal act, with one notable exception of a murder as a result of domestic violence. Typically, I am called to a rural property or farm, where some headless corpse lies with blood and brains bathing the hunting rifle or shotgun that lies by the motionless body. As if this image wasn't soul-wrenching enough, I then have to deal with the anguished cries and the shattered lives of the loved ones of the deceased huddled in the family kitchen…Those who have voted to repeal the long gun registry clearly have a sterilized view of gun-related deaths. How else to explain their callous disregard for the health and safety of rural Canadians?"
--Alan Drummond, Perth ON, The Ottawa Citizen, November 9, 2009.

Myth 2: the gun registry does nothing to prevent gun deaths. In the words of a rural psychiatrist in an area of B.C. where guns are prevalent:

"I have invoked the gun registry…to either get someone’s guns removed or prevent them from getting guns because of mental illness. I am sure this has prevented tragedies but, unfortunately, none of those events make headlines…Before the gun registry was available…it was difficult…to have guns removed. There have been some 22,000 licences denied to date, and a recent Ottawa Citizen article reported that the number of firearms surrendered and confiscated…is 8,281 — 74 per cent of which were nonrestricted shotguns and rifles…the reason for these confiscations is usually that the individual has threatened or used violence. So, are we really comfortable with allowing these people to arm themselves by removing the mechanism which allows authorities to locate and remove firearms…?"
--Dr. Barbara Kane, the Guelph Mercury, July 3, 2009.

The long-time psychiatrist also notes gun deaths and injuries are at their lowest levels in over 30 years, that the rate of homicide with rifles and shotguns is half what it was in 1995 (when the long gun registry was introduced), and that gun-related murders of women have fallen by two-thirds. The gun registry may be an inconvenience for hunters, farmers and other gun owners, she says, “but it helps people like me and the police prevent tragedies.”

Myth 3: the long gun registry has cost $2 billion. Two-thirds of the costs opponents attribute to “the Registry” are related to screening and licensing all gun owners, not to the registering of long guns. These costs will remain even if the registry is shot down. Between 1995 and April 2005, net costs for the Canadian Firearms Program were $946.4 million, or about $95 million per year. In 2006, the auditor general found eliminating the long gun portion of the registry would only save a projected $3 million annually. (

To put this in perspective, not long ago, the federal Government invested $400 million to widen a stretch of highway in New Brunswick where 43 people had died over 5 years. In the same period, guns killed 5,000. In any case, the cost issue is easily solved: make the gun owners pay.

Myth 4: Long guns are not associated with criminal activity. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians points out that last year, 34 per cent of Canadian gun-related homicides were committed with rifles or shotguns, as were 72 per cent of firearm-related spousal homicides. Between 1995 and 2004, the drop in the use of firearms in spousal homicides was 36 per cent.

We register our cars, boats, trailers, dogs and bikes: why is the registration of long guns such a unique hardship? And how does ignoring the opinions of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Quebec Public Health Association, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the civic administrations of Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg advance the Conservative government’s devotion to "law and order"? Not to mention their duty to protect Canadian women, children, and of course men, who make up the lion’s share of gun violence victims.


Anonymous said...

Dear Bev
Such lies and half truths you spout.

It's too bad you don't use your time a little more constructively to stop criminal activity instead of trying to legalize the theft of legally owned firearms. More people actually die from stab wounds and yet you are strangely quiet about knives - evidently (for you) that is an acceptable way to die.

Just what is your real agenda

M.Street said...

Well said Anonymous...

Anonymous said...

"Well said, Anonymous."
I guess we'll never know what Anonymous had to say because Beverly Akerman has the deplorable penchant of deleting opposing dialogue instead of debunking it.

Beverly has deleted hundreds of fair and insightful comments on this blog and on OpenSalon. I suggest that Beverly's MSc be revoked, as she obviously isn't interested in debating evidence and finding truth. Her totalitarian ideology appears to govern her conduct. She appears to delete all opinions which do not agree with hers.