Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Phil's Gun Crazy

The following is a great recent article in the Expositor:

Keep the long gun registry, Mr. McColeman

By Pat Kawamoto, The Brantford Expositor, August 7, 2010

Contrary to Brant MP Phil McColeman’s recent article on ending the long gun registry, not all Canadians are fed up with paying for it.

While the initial cost to implement the registry was high, police associations confirm that it is now controlled by the RCMP and costs this country a reasonable $4.1 million per year to run.

Also, while McColeman’s article iimplies that police chiefs and officers do not support the long gun registry, it should be noted that all of the major Canadian organizations representing police support the registry -including The Canadian Police Association, representing 41,000 police officers in Canada and The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs.

Additionally, Ontario’s Attorney General, public health organizations, labour organizations, social organizations, women’s safety experts and many others support the long-gun registry.

In fact, the parliamentary standing committee on public safety and national security, which McColeman acknowledges he is a part of, recommended to the House of Commons in its latest report that the government should keep the long-gun registry as it is a tool “…that promotes and enhances public security and the safety of Canadian police officers.”

Here’s what the experts are saying (visit www.guncontrol.cafor more information) and what McColeman’s article didn’t tell you:

– As of 2009, 111,533 firearms were seized by police for public safety reasons. Of those 87,893 or 78.8% were long guns;

– Of the 16 police officer shooting deaths in Canada since 1998, 14 were the result of long guns.

– Police across Canada access the long gun registry about 11,000 times a day, or more than four million times a year. Of those inquiries, more than 2,800 a day, or one million a year, directly involve community safety issues.

– Between 1974 and 2008, 40,000 long guns were stolen from Canadian residences and 1.85 million long guns changed hands in Canada since 2006. Registering long guns holds owners accountable for the safe storage of their firearms, for reporting lost or stolen guns and reduces the chances that legally owned guns will be diverted to unlicensed owners.

– On average, one in three women killed by their husbands is shot -88% of them with legally owned rifles and shotguns.

– When firearms are available, domestic homicides are more likely to involve multiple victims and end in suicide.

– Northern Ontario communities have higher rates of long gun ownership and gun-related injuries than the provincial average.

– Contrary to popular belief, it is relatively easy to register a long gun and it is free.

McColeman states in his article that the Conservatives support the registration of prohibited and restricted weapons but not the registration of long guns.

His argument for this is that the long gun registry is ineffective as criminals do not register their guns. If criminals do not register their long guns, why would they register their prohibited and restricted weapons?

Where is the logic in supporting one registry over another?

In closing, keep the long gun registry, Mr. McColeman — don’t waste the significant tax dollars already spent and please help protect our families and communities.

Pat Kawamoto was born and raised in Brantford and is a career banker currently working as an independent financial planner. She is a strong believer in giving back to both the local communities in which we live and the broader global communities with which we share our humanity.

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