Gun registry rightfully gone for good

Kamloops Daily News
December 5, 2012 01:00 AM

Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau got one thing right as he faced questions earlier this week about Canada's recently scrapped gun registry.

Trudeau, considered by many to be the front-runner in the race for leader of his party, told reporters the gun registry was "deeply divisive for far too many people." As a result, he called the registry, which was the creation of previous Liberal governments, a "failed policy" that isn't worth bringing back. Let's hope, if he is successful in winning his party's trust, he sticks to his word.

Canada's long-gun registry was one of our country's silliest exercises in public safety and a costly one, too. It was rightfully put on the spike. The registry offered illusions of safety but provided no tangible benefits.

Canadians have long accepted some controls on the possession and ownership of firearms are necessary and meaningful. Requiring those who want to own and use firarms to be licenced, for example, is a worthwhile measure. Restricting or prohibiting the sale or owenership of some kids of firearms is another.

Requiring duck and deer hunters to register their sporting shotguns and rifles, however, served no practical purpose and amounted to a senseless and needless bureaucratic exercise.

Proponents of the registry claimed it was useful for police officers required to attend domestic disputes or other kinds of disturbances in private homes. Knowing guns were there allowed them to approach situations differently, it was suggested. The fact is, officers never assumed guns were not present in a home simply because a bureau of government said none were registered to occupants there. To the contrary, police accepted the possibility unregistered firearms might be present in a home and acted accordingly. To that end, the registry made no difference.

All the registry created was a new class of offences in Canada's Criminal Code - "paper crimes" that had no impact on society of public safety and targetted otherwise law-abiding folk.

Trudeau is dancing around the gun registry issue now because he voted against scrapping it in April when Bill C-19 reached Parliament. And the registry remains a hot-button issue in Quebec, where residents are still required to register their guns, thanks to the intervention of a judge there.

In the rest of Canada, however, the gun registry is rightfully gone and Trudeau, with his comments, shows he understands that.

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