One persistent suggestion in the post Newtown conversation about gun control is a law requiring the registration of all guns, even so called “long guns” like the rifle Adam Lanza used in the school killings. Lost in the discussion: Canada tried it and gave up, discovering like several other nations that attempting to identify every gun in the country is an expensive and ultimately unproductive exercise. Criminals, of course, don’t register their guns. And even law abiding citizens tend to ignore registration when it comes to long guns mostly used for hunting and target shooting.
When Public Safety Minister Vic Toews disclosed early this month that the federal government’s promise to destroy millions of records of registered long guns had finally been delivered, with the exception of court protected data from Quebec, he kept the news in the family.
Frank Reid says the idea came to him several years ago, back when he was a regional councillor. Perhaps it was the year he ran for regional chair, in 1991, when he was spending a lot of time looking for campaign planks and thinking about how to solve the problems of a large city.
On Thursday, Toronto City Council voted 28-13 against having an emergency debate to discuss banning the sale and storage of ammunition within the confines of the City of Toronto. While there would have been some exemptions for police officers, Armed Forces personnel and a few other very narrow categories, those who legally own handguns in Toronto — something determined by federal law, not city code — would have had to find another place for their bullets.
Canada says the United Nations’ push for a global agreement to track and control the trade of firearms is “unrealistic,” and could result in a costly, ineffective new bureaucracy.
Canada has modified its controversial position on a United Nations arms control treaty.
In a new position paper submitted to the UN, the federal government has dropped its proposal to exclude all sporting and hunting firearms from the international Arms Trade Treaty, an agreement that seeks to regulate the import, export and transfer of all conventional weapons.
The province of New Brunswick announced Tuesday that it will adhere to the federal government’s wishes and no longer require gun dealers to keep records of sales of long guns and who purchased them.
RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson has instructed chief firearms officers to ensure that any conditions they impose on gun store owners do not facilitate the creation of a long-gun registry.
In a letter sent Thursday, Paulson doesn’t explicitly tell the CFOs that gun store owners should not keep ledgers that record the names and licence numbers of customers, but he carefully reminds them that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews doesn’t want any records kept.
Paulson tells the CFOs that the passage of C-19, the bill that abolished the requirement for unrestricted long guns to be registered, “leaves no doubt that Parliament has sought to eliminate any form of a long-gun registry.”
Unless public sentiment has been misread, police forces across Canada have a tough slog ahead if they hope to restore both their collective image and the confidence of those they serve and protect.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has threatened bring the law down on any provincial or territorial chief firearms officer who insists on setting up a backdoor long gun registry.
Bruce Hyer has quit the federal New Democrats, electing to sit as an Independent member of Parliament, weeks after being at odds with his party about the end of the long-gun registry.
The long gun registry was officially scrapped two weeks ago, on April 5. After it had passed through the House and Senate, Governor General David Johnston signed off on the decision to shut down the registry, which kept records on who owned non restricted firearms (mainly shotguns and hunting rifles). Destruction of existing records has begun, but is expected to take some time to complete — perhaps months.
The Conservative government wants to destroy data from the long gun registry for no reason other than to keep the information out of the hands of the provinces, a Quebec government lawyer argued in a Montreal courthouse Thursday in trying to preserve the hard won material.
Yesterday the Canadian Senate voted 50 27 to abolish the long gun registry. Bill C 19 received unanimous support from Conservative Senators, and some support from Liberals. The bill had previously passed the House of Commons. It became the law of the land today, with the Royal Assent of Canada’s Governor General.
The Conservative government vowed during the 2011 election to eliminate the long gun registry.
On Wednesday evening the bill to officially end the registry Bill C 19 had its final vote in the Senate, leaving only a signature from the Governor General needed to officially kill the registry.