I tried. I just couldn’t go a day without posting on the campaign to save Canada’s expensive and ineffective Long Gun Registry. Did I say ineffective? I meant to say ineffective. Not that the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Canadian Association of Adolescent Health, the Ontario Public Health Association and the Quebec Public Health Association agree with me. The groups smoked, I mean signed a joint letter which “underscores the risks firearms present to the health and safety of Canadians and the need for rigorous controls.” Can’t wait to read it? Download their anti-anti-Long Gun Registry kvetch here [paraphrasing]. But you don’t read blogs/websites to do all the heavy lifting. A point which TTAG and the above groups realize. Hence the bullet points after the jump. But here’s the money shot: “As health professionals, we know the importance of investing in prevention, whether in road safety or prevention of infectious diseases. We cannot easily measure prevention, but we can certainly measure the effects of ignoring it.” Yeah, that makes sense.
– most firearm deaths in Canada are suicides and the guns most often used are rifles and shotguns.
– when firearms are available, domestic homicides are more likely to involve multiple victims and end in suicide.
– gun related deaths have been reduced since the latest waves of legislative reforms were introduced.
– the greatest progress is in the deaths associated with rifles and shotguns – weapons that have been subject to most of the new measures.
– licensing works hand in hand with firearm registration to keep legal guns in the hands of legal gun owners. Because it allows guns to be traced back to their last legal owner, registration helps prevent illegal sales or straw purchases to unlicensed (and potentially dangerous) individuals.
– registration also helps police with the temporarily removal of firearms in households where there may be a risk for suicide or violence.
– this is why the Supreme Court maintained that the registration component is critical to enforcing licensing provisions and cannot be severed from the system.
At a press conference to publicly release the letter (be free letter! be free!), Dr. Alan Drummond from the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and an assistant coroner in Perth, Ontario, told the assembled throng:
As a rural emergency physician and coroner, I can safely say that I’ve never seen a handgun injury. I have however seen my share of injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shotguns. I have felt the pain of investigating a double murder-suicide as a result of escalating domestic violence. Suicide, contrary to public opinion, is often an impulsive gesture. Keeping guns away from depressed people is essential. In the assaults and murders I have seen that have involved guns, the perpetrators acted on impulse and the unsafely stored long gun was readily available. Gun-related injury is not just a Toronto problem that involves gangs. It has occurred in my small idyllic rural community and involved people that would otherwise seem quite normal. Registration of firearms is important to ensure accountability and compliance with safe storage.