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.