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EDITORIAL – Return of the gun registry won’t happen any time soon

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WOULD POLICE OFFICERS Robb Costello and Sara Burns be alive today if Canada still had a long-gun registry?

They’re the two officers who were killed along with civilians Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud when they attended a shots-fired call in Fredericton last week.

According to information released in the wake of this tragic waste of life, the weapon used in the shootings was a legally obtained, non-restricted firearm.

If there had been a gun registry, police might have known there was a firearm at the residence, and taken more precautions. That’s speculation, of course, but it’s the kind of speculation that’s bound to arise under the circumstances.

We’re used to hearing about shootings in which illegally obtained semi-automatic or automatic rifles are used, not the ones used by recreational hunters, or by farmers protecting their livestock from predators.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quickly squashed any thought that his government will revisit the long-gun registry started by Jean Chretien and abolished by Stephen Harper a half dozen years ago.

Trudeau says Bill C-71 will suffice to increase protection of Canadians through things like revamped background checks and tighter rules on transporting guns, as well as requiring retailers to retain sales records for longer periods.

The latter provision has brought protests from political opponents that it was a new form of gun registry, but it will only give police more information for investigations after something happens, not before.

The long-gun registry has become off-limits in the platforms of federal politicians who see it as a political non-starter, a sure way to lose the “rural” vote. That’s not only because of resistance to the very concept of a registry but because the first time it was tried it was a hugely expensive failure.

So no one who wants a new gun registry should get their hopes up. For the foreseeable future,  they should be pleased if current gun control laws are at least maintained and maybe fine-tuned a little rather than loosened.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6251 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Return of the gun registry won’t happen any time soon

  1. tony brumell // August 16, 2018 at 11:39 AM // Reply

    From what i saw/learned the long gun registry only increased the flow of illegal firearms from the US.With trump in power I think the same thing would happen but with even less “south of the boarder” controls.It did cause a lot of firearms in Canada to “Go into hiding” and the boondoggle that it turned into with CFC was a disgrace.Kind of like the computer pay fiasco going on now.

  2. John Noakes // August 16, 2018 at 6:13 AM // Reply

    At this point, there is still mostly speculation about the details of that shooting.
    The shooter was ‘registered’ with the police; the shooter apparently had a valid firearms licence (PAL) and may have bought the non-restricted firearm legally.
    I don’t know if the responding police officers knew the identity and location of the shooter when the reports came in about shots being fired.
    Anyone who has a firearms licence in Canada has had to take the required safety course, pass the exam and then pass a background check that is done by the RCMP.
    Even with all of the “checks and balances” that are in place, firearms can still be used to kill people, as was the case in Fredericton.
    I don’t know if police responding to calls at an address check ahead of time if the person(s) living there hold valid firearms licence(s). If so, and the person has a firearms licence, perhaps they already attend the scene with the understanding that if the person has a PAL, he or she may indeed have a firearm.
    When the officers in Fredericton arrived on scene, they saw a shooting scenario with one person lying on the ground and one in a vehicle. Knowing what we know of the two officers, it is no surprise they left their police vehicle to personally tend to the victims. They too were then fatally shot.
    I didn’t mind the long gun registry but I don’t know if it did what some members of society hoped it would do.
    Two high school friends were killed by a drunk driver who had a licence to drive and had obtained his vehicle legally.
    We all lose part of ourselves when senseless deaths occur.

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