Well, there’s a lot more than rhetoric. There’s uncomfortable squirming in chairs and there’s job threats too. From a well-connected and major player behind the Registry.
Below are some rebuttals to help cut through the half-truths and mis-information at truthandmyths.ca.
1) The Firearms Registry is a financial boondoggle & costs billions to run.
In 2009, it cost $4.1 million to operate the long gun registry.
Actually, the annual budget of the CFC is ~$100 million. Of this amount
it is reasonable to expect that a sizable portion is spent on the
paperwork arising from 7 million guns as compared to that arising from 2
million gun owners. At any rate, this figure does not account for the
huge associated costs of policing the registry on the street and in the
2) There’s too much red tape in registering a long gun.
Registrations or transfers are done over the phone or online in a
matter of minutes.
Just because an unnecessary intrusion is made “easy” is not in itself
justification for that intrusion. Even were it so, trusting your legal
safety to a nameless bureaucrat’s voice over the phone is naive folly.
3) It’s expensive to register/transfer a long gun.
Oh really? Where exactly does the tax money funding this system come
from then? Thin air? No government program is ever “free”.
4) The gun registry targets the wrong people.
As of 2009, 111,533 firearms were seized by police for public safety
reasons or after criminal use. 87, 893 were long guns.
And exactly how many of these were the duly registered long guns held
by licensed lawful gun owners vs the illegally possessed, smuggled,
unregistered guns of repeat violent offenders? Oh, right 2.5% according
to VPC report.
5) Criminals use handguns. Long guns are used by law-abiding hunters and
Not always. Of the 16 police officer shooting deaths since 1998, 14
were committed with a long gun. In 2007, about 15% of known firearm
homicides in Canada were committed with a long gun.
First off, lawful gun owners never claimed that long guns are never used
as weapons by violent offenders. Of course they are. They just aren’t
used very often compared to other items. Guns are abused in a minority
of crimes compared to other tools, which account for 85% of homicides.
As for danger to the police, please tell me how a lawful owner
registering his/her long gun in any way stops an act of violence. The
biggest risk to cops’ lives is actually the cars they drive around in
all day. Road traffic accident is the biggest killer of on-duty police
members while the health effects of a sessile lifestyle account for the
majority of their off-duty deaths. Of course, registering their cars has
done nothing to stop this, has it?
6) Police don’t support the CFP.
All of the major Canadian organizations representing police support the
registration of all firearms in Canada.
Actually, it is the executive committees of these organizations, a mere
handful of people nation wide, who support the long gun registry. The
real opinion of most cops is they could care less. There are also many
actively opposed to it as per the viewpoints expressed here:
http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publi…s/2010/978.pdf Unfortunately, these
members are vastly underrepresented on the executive committees of the
police organizations for purely political reasons.
7) Police don’t use the gun registry or the CFP’s other services.
Police across Canada access the Firearms Registry online on average
11,076 times a day, 2,842 of those queries for addresses involving
community safety incidents.
Again, lawful gun owners never made this claim. What we claim is that
the majority of these queries are automated computer requests that occur
whenever anyone’s name is entered into a police computer for any reason.
Very few, only 2.5% in fact, are intentional queries by members seeking
to know whether-or-not the person they are researching has any guns
registered to their name. The answers they get are meaningless: Positive
results say only that the person in question has been licensed to own
firearms and has one registered. It says nothing about where that gun is
at the current time. A negative response does not guarantee the absence
pf guns as the violent criminal most assuredly will not be licensed or
have registered guns and so will not appear in a registry query.
8 ) The Firearms Registry online has no impact on Police.
It does impact officer safety as evidenced by the fact that police used
it 4,042,859 times last year.
The Registry’s vocal mouthpieces have variously claimed that the police
query the Registry 5000, no 6000, er make that 8000, I mean 11,000,
actually 12,000 times each and every day. It seems that every time they
open their mouths, the claimed number of queries climbs. At this rate,
pretty soon they will be making more queries daily than there are
records in the Registry, but I digress…
Lets assume for a minute that the 12,000 figure is incontestably
correct and the police actually do query the Registry every 7 seconds.
That means they query the Gun Registry 4.38 million times last year. Let
us pretend this has some societal benefit.
Let’s forget for the nonce that nearly without exception these were
automated queries that are performed by police computers every time
someone’s name is entered and pretend that they were actually
intentionally done by concerned police officers who wanted to know with
certainty whether-or-not the person they were about to interact with was
law-abiding and unarmed and not a violent sociopath packing heat. Let us
further pretend that the answers they got from the registry could
accurately reflect their risk as they approached the person in
question. We will ignore the facts that career criminals do not
license themselves nor register their illegally obtained firearms and
so a negative response does not mean with certainty that there are no
guns present . We will also ignore that a positive response does not by
any means guarantee that guns are in fact present. Most of all we will
refuse to accept that negative registry responses say nothing at all
about the characters of those present whereas positive responses show at
the very least the people in question have passed stringent background
checks and screens, and may actually be a safer bet than those who do
not have firearms and have not been screened.
Just as the CACP and other Registry proponents do, let us further assume
without any substantiating evidence, that the trend toward lessening of
long gun related murder and suicide claimed by the CACP, (and also the
CAEP and the CGC) actually exists, that it represents a true drop in
murder and suicide and not just a switching of methods, and that it is
entirely the result of the long gun registry these groups are so
fanatically defending in the media, not the natural result of an aging
Exactly what is the value of the registry? How much bang do we get for
our buck? Current estimates of the decline in gun deaths between 1995
and present place this figure at about 4%.
Therefore it takes 4.38 million queries to ostensibly prevent 4% of gun
related deaths. This equates to about 50 per year. Thus the number of
queries needed to “save” one life is 87,600. Even more telling, there
are 7 million guns in the system. So we must register 140,000 guns per
life “saved”. There are some 5 million lawful gun owners in the system,
meaning that we must intrude on 100,000 harmless lawful citizens to stop
one gun death. The annual cost of the registry is ~$100 million. So
every year we must spend $2 million to “save” a single life. Over the
last 10 years we have spent $2 billion to “save” 500, or $4 million per
In medicine we have a concept called “Number Needed to Treat” (NNT)
that gives an idea of the beneficial value of a proposed screening,
prevention, or treatment program. Acceptable NNTs in most fields of
medicine are in the 5 – 20 range. Very rarely we may find one in the 100
– – 500 range. It is generally held that higher NNTs represent wasteful
practices and that the money and expertise they represent should be used
to better effect elsewhere (1).
In the case of the gun registry, however, we are expected to accept a
NNT of 87,600 (queries), 100,000 (persons licensed), or 140,000 (guns
registered). We are told repeatedly by the registry’s proponents that
“If it just saves one life, then it is worth it”. The problem is, we
cannot show any evidence that any lives actually are saved by the gun
registry, and even if they were, we could save a heck of a lot more by
pursuing more effective strategies.
You would think that the CACP and its talking heads would realize that
every time they inflate their claimed number of queries, they are
actually arguing against the usefulness of the gun Registry.
9) The CFP does not save lives. The CFP does more than register guns.
It’s another tool that assists police in making informed decisions that
contribute to community safety.
See my answer to (8) above. To continue the tool analogy, I have lots of
tools in my tool box. Some are useless and should not have been bought.
I only found this out when I got them home and tried them out. What may
have seemed like a good idea in the store turned out to be a mistake in
the real world of my workshop. The same can be said of the Gun Registry.
10) The “gun registry” database has been breached over 300 times by hackers- – our information isn’t safe.
Wrong. The CFP’s national database has never been breached by hackers.
Information is safe and secure.
No one needs to “hack” this data base when the government itself has
released confidential information to a variety of third parties over the
years. One such release was in the news when a polling firm was given a
copy of the licensees’ private information. Two years ago there was a
spate of targeted break-and-enters against lawful gun owners in and
around Toronto. This was when Mayor Miller’s pogrom against legal gun
ownership and use was in full swing. I wonder how the criminals knew
whose houses to rob? At any rate, most successful “hacking” involves
inside work. The fact is the information is there to be illegally taken
or legally released. Therefore it poses a real danger to lawful gun owners.
*, MD (Mike)
[name and address withheld pending permission]
I am also awaiting the arrival of a copy of the CSSA ad in the Hill Times. The Hill Times is a newspaper that everyone, who is anyone on Parliament Hill reads. Most of all Members of Parliament. The people who write legislation and vote on it.