Why We Are Scrapping the Long-Gun Registry
Ottawa Journal (Ottawa Journal (December 05 – December 09, 2021)
David Tilson, MP
Canadians want and deserve safe communities. Canadians want effective measures to reduce gun crime and rightly, Canadians expect government programs to efficiently contribute to these goals or to be replaced by better alternatives. Our Government agrees. We will scrap the ineffective Long-Gun Registry and focus resources on dealing with real criminals.
Unfortunately, the Long-Gun Registry has never contributed to the enhancement of public safety. It has never prevented a gun crime; never kept guns out of the hands of criminals; and never made our communities safer. It has never made it safer for police officers to do their jobs. It simply doesn’t work.
The failure of the registry is something that our Government warned of from the beginning. The reality is that criminals do not obey the law and do not register their guns. Moreover, the great majority of gun crimes are committed using handguns – weapons which have nothing to do with a registry of long-guns.
Furthermore, the registry imposes significant costs. It squanders taxpayer dollars. Despite predicted expenses of $2 million a year, the registry has cost more than $2 billion, an incredible over-run. Despite this rise in costs, it has failed to deliver results.
The registry is also a burden – not on criminals – but on law-abiding farmers, duck hunters, and rural Canadians. They are required to waste time filling out forms, navigating red tape and dealing with bureaucracy – all to no avail, as it only benefits a registry that does not work. Furthermore, the implication that they are potential criminals, just because they own a common, legal object, is understandably resented by these Canadians. Even some Opposition MPs understand this with one NDP MP commenting that, “a lot of that resentment is well founded.”
We will end the burden on farmers, duck hunters, rural Canadians, and taxpayers. We have introduced a bill to finally scrap the registry. Our bill also ensures that the information collected from law-abiding Canadians, information that is not useful in preventing gun crimes, will not be preserved or passed on to other parties. We will protect the privacy of Canadians.
Our Government will also continue working to help keep Canadians safe with measures that put the burden on real criminals. We’ve done just that on serious gun crimes with important measures, such as longer sentences and tougher bail conditions. In addition, we enacted mandatory minimum sentences for drive-by shootings and for using a gun in the commission of another crime. By keeping criminals locked up, we make sure they aren’t on our streets committing additional crimes.
We’re continuing to act on this principle with the Safe Streets and Communities Act, currently before Parliament. This key piece of legislation contains measures to protect our children from sexual predators, crack down on organized crime, and protect the rights of victims. These are measures that, unlike the long-gun registry, address the real and legitimate concerns of Canadians from all regions of our country.
Despite the costs and a 16-year history of failing to prevent crime, Opposition MPs obstructed our previous efforts to end the waste. In the previous Parliament, we fell only two votes short on our bill to eliminate the registry. During the 2011 election, we promised to revisit the issue. Canadians responded by giving our Government a strong mandate. It’s time. Our Government will scrap the registry once and for all and focus attention and resources on measures that will actually help keep our communities safe.