The following article appeared in The Northern
Life ( Sudbury , Ontario ) newspaper on Sept 16, 2010 and expresses the opinion of Tom
Fortin ( director of Ontrak Control Systems) on the Canadian Long Gun Registry.
By nature, I am not a political person, however, there have been many changes in our
government policies over the past several years that are starting to make me think I
should spend a little less time in my canoe . This Monday, while wiping the sleep out of
my eyes and enjoying a cup of java, I noticed on ( Sudbury NDP MP ) Glen Thibeault's
website that he had decided not to stand to have the gun registry scrapped in a vote later
this September. "I made up my mind based on what I was hearing from folks like
Chief Elsner( Sudbury's Police Chief ) Thibeault stated in a news release.
I think I will start by letting former Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian
Fantino express what I believe, as he stated in a press release in 2003: "We
have an ongoing gun crisis including firearms-related homicides lately in Toronto, and a
law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of
them. None of the guns we know to have been used were registered, although we believe that
more than half of them were smuggled into Canada from the United States. The firearms
registry is long on philosophy and short on practical results considering the money could
be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public
The Canadian Chiefs of police constantly state the number of times the registry is
accessed as justification for its existence. As of June 2010, the CFRO is reportedly
accessed 14,012 times per day. Only 530 (3.7%) of those "hits" are specific to
firearms registration (licence number, serial number and certificate number. The remaining
13,482 (96.3%) are automatically generated every time an address is checked or a license
plate is verified. ( Yes, when you get pulled over for speeding, your gun status is
checked! ) The specific registry hits are not limited to use by police officers and also
include legal sales of firearms. Every time a firearm is legally purchased, 3 hits are
generated on the CFRO - one for the buyer, one for the seller, and one for the firearm.
This alone, easily explains the 530 real "hits" per day. There simply is
no reliable information to suggest how many times per day police officers intentionally
access the firearms registry.
Statistics Canada states that in 2006 there were 605 homicides in Canada. Long guns
accounted for the following numbers of deaths, 36 victims were killed by a
rifle/shotgun, 24 by a sawed-off rifle/shotgun ( obviously not registered) and 22 by
another or unknown type of firearm. Of the 605 deaths, 210 were the result of stabbings.
Well isn't that interesting! Perhaps we should start a "Long Knife
Registry" requiring all knives over 8" in length to be registered! Knife
owners would then be required to take knife safety courses and carry a valid knife
possession certificate. This would generate plenty of extra cash for further
government beaurocracy and intrusion into our privacy.
Our privacy does matter. Shouldn't a law abiding gun owner be treated the same as
any law abiding non-gun owner if/when police interact with them? Shouldn't the police
simply have an awareness that there are long guns in Canada and treat all situations
accordingly? Think about this for a moment. If a police officer is attending a call and a
search of the registry shows no registered long guns at the residence, is he not at
greater risk by letting down his guard even if only slightly? Could there not be
unregistered long guns present? If the occupants are really dangerous criminals any guns
they may have would not likely be registered. It seems to me the registry endangers our
police officers rather than protect them.
The Long Gun Registry was originally forecast to have a net cost of $2M but ended up
costing over one billion dollars to implement and costs $44.3M per year to administer.
Could all this money have been used for other crime reduction programs such as gun
safety education or other social programs? The government often uses the figure of $40,000
of spending for each job created. Using that logic, about 1100 people, mostly RCMP , owe
their living to the gun registry. Should anyone be surprised that they are the
biggest supporters of the registry?
Look, the facts are that if the registry is scrapped, gun owners would still be
required to take mandatory safety courses, possess a valid PAL certificate and transport,
use and store firearms in a safe manor. Things would be much like they are now
except that there would not be a central registry draining millions of our taxpayer
dollars and doing nothing for the safety of us or police officers. Further, the fees from
these activities would still generate income, and without the central registry, result in
the gun safety program actually producing a surplus of funds.
It is disheartening to see the general public act so complacent as they incrementally
give up their rights and freedoms each time the government says "It's for your
safety!" when it comes to public policy. We don't need more protection from our
government. Rather, we need protection from more government. Oh well, thats my two
cents....now where is that paddle!
Tom Fortin is the director of a local ( Sudbury Ontario ) electronics manufacturing
I hearby give permission to copy, reprint or distribute the above article provided it
is done so in its entirety.
705 671 2652
Statistics Canada " The Daily Wed. Oct 17, 2007
RCMP Facts and Figures June 2010
Wikipedia notes on Canadian Gun Registry
RCMP Canadian Firearms Program Evaluation FEB 2010