In 1989, Marc Lépine entered Montreal University’s École Polytechnique engineering school armed with a Ruger Mini-14 and murdered 14 people. Six years after the École Polytechnique Massacre (a.k.a. The Montreal Massacre), the Canadian parliament passed Bill C-68. The Firearms Act mandated that all Canadian long gun buyers—and hunters visiting Canada from abroad—register their weapons with the government. And a whole lot more, including a blanket clause deeming any citizen ineligible for registration if the rejection “is in the interests of the safety of that or any other person,” stating that “an inspector may at any reasonable time enter and inspect any place where the inspector believes on reasonable grounds a business is being carried on or there is a record of a business, any place in which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds there is a gun collection or a record in relation to a gun collection or any place in which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds there is a prohibited firearm,” and giving the Justice Minister the power to ban any weapon he or she chooses without judicial or parliamentary review. And so on. Conservative critics have now moved to eliminate the registry. And the battle is joined . . .

Conservative critics of the registry have introduced a private member’s bill that would eliminate the gun control scheme entirely and destroy its database, which contains entries on seven million firearms (25 percent of which are incorrect). Speaking at a news conference this morning, carried far and wide by a Canadian media that can’t seem to figure out how to link to the actual bill [see: above], one of the registry’s longtime advocates defended the legislation.

Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of Montreal’s 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, said at Friday’s news conference in Montreal that the leaders of the Liberal party and NDP need to unite against the move, [Heidi] Rathjen said it does work. She pointed to statistics showing the registry has helped reduce domestic violence deaths by 70 per cent since it was established as a result of the massacre.

Wouldn’t you know it? CBC doesn’t link to the data or present the alternative view. The Montreal Gazette is more informative—but only slightly. “The Conservatives have argued the registry is a waste of money and an intrusion into the lives of law-abiding gun owners.” But they do give Rathjen’s remarks plenty of play, as well as civil servants.

“It’s a testament to the strength of the gun lobby that they keep pushing and pushing all these years at what we have won democratically with the support of Canadians,” she said. “It’s a scandal.”

Last December, the unions representing 4,000 Montreal police and 3,500 other officers working in Quebec municipalities called for the registry to be maintained.

The Chronicle Herald is equally accommodating, and just as succinct about the bill’s supporters.

But it has been dogged by cost overruns and the Tories claim it has done more to harass farmers and hunters than target criminals.

I haven’t read all 85 articles on the subject, but the first two dozen or so are all much of a muchness. I can’t find ONE that mentions the dangers of a government holding a registry of long guns. Do Canadians value their individual liberties so little? Well, no. They do value those rights. Otherwise, this bill would have never made it so far. In case you’re wondering.

One Response to Canada Looks to Ditch Gun Registry

  1. I for one as a conservative Canadian think this is a step in the RIGHT direction. Of which I totally support. Gun control will cost $2 billion in 2010 and it is a system that just does not work. Criminals get their guns illegally, we shouldnt punish law-abiding citizen’s because of the abuses of criminals. We are guilty until proven innocent like Bruce Montague.

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