As anyone who pays attention to goings on in the great white north is aware, the hated and expensive long gun registry that’s been in place in Canada since 2001 is soon to go the way of the dodo. The Conservative government of Canuck PM Stephen Harper has promised to repeal it and the bill to make it so, C-19, appears sure to pass. Or so we keep hearing, anyway. The latest word is that C-19’s expected to pass third reading – whatever that is – early in the next parliamentary session. Long story short: the Canadian feds will be getting out of the long gun registration business. But that doesn’t mean individual provinces or cities can’t establish their own. Take Fredericton for instance. . .
The New Brunswick burgh has its own registration law. And as broadly as it’s written, more than just shotguns and rifles will require a license sticker. From vancouversun.com:
Except that its registry covers any-thing that shoots a projectile by means of compressed air, spring or mechanical means. That covers pellet and paint-ball guns and, in theory, even such toys as Nerf guns and water guns.
Since 2005, Fredericton has maintained Canada’s only mandatory registry regime for such items, complete with fees, fines, databases and, in one instance, a SWAT team raid on a home.
So kids who happen to like to play with their Super Soakers on the six days a year it’s actually warm enough to swim in Fredericton – if they’re going to be in strict compliance with the law – are out of luck. Technically, they’ll have to restrict their wet and wild fun to an indoor shooting range. And that’s only after little Jimmy and Suzy take their water pistols and Vortex Nitrons down to the local cop shop, pay two dollars each for a registration sticker and receive their user’s permit.
Screw up and you can have your toys seized, lose your permit and pay a fine of between $50 and $200 for each gun. Oh, but don’t worry. The city assures everyone they have no plans to extend their registry powers to Airsoft and Nerf guns.
City councillor Eric Megarity, chair of the city’s public safety committee, said the law has never been applied in such a strict fashion and children playing cops ‘n’ robbers should have no fear.
“You’re not going to see our city police go around the streets and confiscate water guns from kids,” he said. “There’s got to be some sensibility to this.”
Because if there’s anything city governments are known for when it comes to implementing gun control laws, it’s sensibility. Unless, of course, a kid “brings attention to himself.”
(Police Constable Rick) Mooney said he thinks many spring-and air-fired guns have not been registered, but added that’s not really the point of the law. The only people who have been charged attracted attention to themselves through irresponsible behaviour, he said.
“Often times it will be a young per-son,” he said. “The main reason we become involved with someone who is using one inappropriately, it’s because they brought that attention to themselves.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel much better now. I’m sure the kids of Fredericton do, too.