As an Angus Reid poll finds 72 per cent of Canadians think the long-gun registry is a waste of money that does nothing to prevent crime, Canada’s police chiefs, the RCMP and a plethora of social activists are fighting to save the registry.
A compelling argument made by the supporters of gun control is that every single day in Canada, police officers make about 12,000 inquires of the Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO), making it an indispensable crime fighting tool that protects police officers and saves members of the public.
If only it were so. The problem appears to be that this statistic is entirely made up, contrived and phoney.
A couple of weeks ago, when debating Metro Toronto Police communications commander Mark Pugash, who was speaking for the police chiefs on this issue, I was accused by him of spreading falsehoods and red herrings when questioning the accuracy of his figure of 12,000 daily hits on the CFRO.
I had suggested that if indeed there are thousands of daily firearms registry hits it’s only because the firearms database is connected to CPIC, the Canadian Police Information Computer which is used many times every day by police officers across Canada, even when they pull over a car at a traffic stop.
Pugash rejected this, saying every single day 12,000 separate, stand-alone, independent searches are performed of the firearms registry data base. Since then, I’ve received many emails from serving police officers calling “BS” on Pugash and the police chiefs.
RCMP and urban officers confirm, as I suspected, that the CFRO searches are most often linked to CPIC, and independent, separate searches of the CFRO are rarely, if ever, done.
One officer confided that when CFRO searches are done separately, it is because his police department — as a political public relations ploy — insists they be done on every single “persons” inquiry, so if a name is being searched by the police because you have been pulled over on a traffic stop, or even if you are a victim of crime, your name will be run through the gun registry.
The officer said he didn’t know why — it just seemed to push up the number of CFRO queries.
Even Saskatoon’s straight-shooting police Chief Clive Weighill, who supports the longgun registry, frankly admitted that most of the Saskatoon CFRO searches are linked to CPIC and are not done “stand alone.”
From this vantage point, it seems Toronto’s officer Pugash was indulging in a little bit of spin. It wasn’t me doing the fabricating after all.
But even if Canadians believe that police officers conduct thousands of gun registry searches every day, the proper question is “what do these searches tell officers?”
There are four possible outcomes of a firearms registry search: First, the person profiled is not licensed to use a gun and no guns are registered at the address; second, the person is licensed and there are registered guns at the premises; third, the individual is licensed but has no registered guns; or fourth, the person is not licensed but there are registered guns on the premises.
Assuming the registry data is accurate — which rank and file police officers tell us is a huge assumption given that less than one-half of Canadian long guns are registered on the CFRO — what difference do any of these firearms data searches make?
Where no guns are revealed on the database do officers shed their Kevlar vests and leave their guns at home because the firearms registry says “no guns.” If guns are listed, does this mean the SWAT arrives? Of course not.
Well-trained, professional police officers use diligence and caution in every situation whether considering the possible involvement of guns, carving knives or baseball bats for that matter.
And besides, the most fearsome scenario is where an unregistered firearm is being illegally used. Bad guys don’t use the gun registry — never have and never will.
As the full-court press begins to save the long-gun registry at any cost, you will hear about domestic violence, homicides, suicides and acts of carelessness involving guns.
And the putative answer is that the very existence of a long-gun registry will reduce gun incidents and make us safer as a result.
Usually, when bad things happen with guns it is from one of two situations. Either there was no record of the unlicensed user or unregistered gun before shots were fired or someone is killed by a licensed gun owner who starts shooting a registered gun.
In either case, a gun registry tells us the state of affairs after a tragedy. It cannot predict or foretell what will happen. How does this make us or police officers safer?
Using this logic, the only answer is to deal with registration and database issues before a crime happens by banning all guns in Canada and allowing only police officers and soldiers to possess rifles and shotguns.
Of course, don’t forget criminals because they’ve always illegally owned guns long and small.
Who knows — this might be the eventual end game of the gun registry anyway.
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Gormley can be heard Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on NewsTalk 650
There’s nothing I can add to Mr. Gormley’s comments.
Well. OK. Maybe one thing. Mr. Pugash, from the UK (we know about the UK being a gun control failure), sits behind a desk in a Public Relation position.
Besides being a propagandist? He’s a REMF. The Propagandist REMF to Chief Blair, who lied about the 5m law during the G20 and people were illegally detained or arrested.