Thursday February 16, 2012
Long Gun Registry Gone
Women's groups outraged over Bill C-19 vote outcome
Compiled by Voice Staff
n February 15, the House of Commons voted 150-139 in favour of Bill C-19, which aims to scrap the need to register rifles and other "long" guns. The vote shows how split the government rank and file are on the issue. A difference of 11 votes and the entire country is affected.
The Conservative government is now facing the wrath from agencies like the YWCA and various transition houses after the vote.
The following are three releases from; local Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl, The Coalition For Gun Control and the Ontario Federation of hunters and Anglers.
Three opinions to help you formulate yours.
MP Mark Stral Release
Tonight the House of Commons passed
Bill C-19: Ending the Long Gun Registry Act by a vote of 159-130.
The bill will now be sent to the Senate moving the Conservative
Government one step closer to delivering on a campaign promise to
end the long-gun registry.
For more information, visit: www.markstrahl.com
Coaltion For Gun Control
Members of Parliament are expected to vote today to send Bill C-19 to the Senate, which, if passed, ends the long-gun registry and destroys all long-gun data collected since the registry's inception. Victims of gun violence and women's safety experts are outraged at the possibility that Bill C-19, a Bill which places the safety of all Canadians in jeopardy, may become law. Given the likely conclusion of today's vote, the government is completely ignoring the recommendations of the majority of Canadians including victims of gun violence, women's groups, suicide prevention experts, police and labour organizations.
Unlike previous iterations, C-19 goes far beyond simply ending the registration of non-restricted rifles and shotguns, including the powerful semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 used in the Montreal massacre. It removes critical measures that have been in place since 1977 regarding the sale or transfer of firearms, with gun dealers no longer required to record information on the guns they sell or to whom, severely crippling the ability of police to trace firearms recovered in crime. It will also enable individuals to acquire an unlimited number of rifles or shotguns without someone having to verify they have valid firearms licence.
Bill C-19 also mandates the immediate destruction of all the data on 7.1 million registered long guns despite the warnings by safety experts that it will create a terrible legal and moral precedent and that the destruction of data may be a further cost to taxpayers. This information has been a valuable tool to police in helping to bring criminals to justice, by supporting the prosecution of gun-related crime and providing almost 18,000 affidavits between 2003 and 2008. The Quebec Government has pledged to turn to the courts to preserve the data should Bill C-19 become law and has received support from other provinces.
The Coalition for Gun Control will not end its fight to keep sensible gun control and will continue to oppose Bill C-19.
Priscilla de Villiers, whose daughter Nina was abducted while jogging and killed with a legally owned non-restricted rifle in 1991: "At least six public inquests, at different times, in different places, have emphasized the need for comprehensive controls on all firearms to hold owners accountable and avoid the diversion of legal guns to the illegal market. Bill C-19 will turn back the clock 30 years. By not requiring that sales of non-restricted firearms be recorded and by deleting the data on 7.1 million registered guns, it will be nearly impossible for police to trace rifles and shotguns that are recovered from crime scenes. These proposals ignore the concerns of victims of gun violence who are mourning their dead or tending to their crippling injuries: this must never happen again. We must do all in our power to prevent this carnage, including supporting effective gun control."
Pamela Harrison, Coordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia: "The divisiveness of the gun control issue is fuelled by misinformation. Because of their relatively easy availability, so-called 'hunting guns' — non-restricted rifles and shotguns — are the firearms most often used in domestic violence to threaten and intimidate women and children. Threats made with these guns are not counted in the statistics, but the damage they do is very real. Scrapping the long-gun registry will save the RCMP less than $4 million per year but how much is it going to cost Canadians? The government has conservatively estimated the value of one lost human life at $5 million."
Karen Vanscoy, a psychiatric nurse whose 14-year-old daughter Jasmine was shot and killed in St. Catharines using a stolen gun: "From the moment I learned that my daughter had died until now, I have been living with the devastating impact of gun violence. Nurses are on the front lines of dealing with gun violence in all its forms. I deal on a regular basis with people who are suicidal and I understand the importance of having controls in place to reduce suicide. Studies have shown that there have been 250 fewer suicides annually since the implementation of Canada's gun control laws. The proposed weakening to the licensing requirements will make it easier for suicidal people to acquire firearms. It is incomprehensible that on the same day MPs will vote for the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act, they will be voting to end the long-gun registry."
Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada: "YWCA Canada and YWCA Yellowknife told the parliamentary committee that Bill C-19 removes effective and tangible means to protect women facing violence. Service providers working to end violence against women unanimously oppose ending the long-gun registry. Our shelter workers, including those working in rural and northern communities, tell us that registering firearms helps police enforce prohibition orders and to remove guns when needed. Verifying the validity of licences is key to women's safety. The 1998 coroner's inquest into the killing of Arlene May, shot by her former partner with a rifle, identified not checking licences for validity at gun stores as a major flaw in the previous system."
Elaine Lumley, whose 20-year-old son Aidan was shot and killed while visiting Montreal: "Those of us who have suffered want to prevent others from experiencing what we have experienced and make it harder, not easier, for dangerous people to get access to guns. Even the government-appointed Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has made its position clear, stating that we must do all we can to prevent further tragedies from happening and that includes supporting the tools we have to help keep communities safe."
Alexa Conradi, President of the Quebec Women Federation: "The safety of women must take precedence over a small "bureaucratic hassle." Guns are registered one time and the owner does not pay a fee. The decision by the government to delete the existing data can only be described as a punitive measure that has little to do with privacy and much to do with ideology. Taxpayers have invested significantly and provinces should be allowed to preserve the data in their efforts to protect their constituents."
The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the 1989 Montreal Massacre, is an alliance of more than 300 organizations including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the YWCA of Canada, the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Canadian Auto Workers, the Canadian Labour Congress, and numerous other organizations and community groups across the country. The alumni and families of the victims of the Montreal Massacre along with other victims of gun violence also played a pivotal role.
For further information, visit: www.guncontrol.ca
Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers
Later today, the House of Commons will hold Third Reading on Bill C-19, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and Firearms Act (Ending the Long Gun Registry Act).
"We are pleased that this day has come," said Mike Reader, Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). "The Prime Minister has been steadfast in his commitment to eliminate this costly, ill-fated and much maligned piece of legislation, and we are delighted that the government has been true to its word."
Mr. Reader noted that the outdoor community across Canada has always been a strong supporter of reasonable laws that focus on the need for the safe use, handling, storage and transportation of firearms, which the long gun registry does not. "There is no quantifiable evidence to demonstrate that the registry works. The Auditor General of Canada has previously concluded that the system has been unable to demonstrate how it has helped to reduce deaths, injuries and threats to the public safety from the criminal use of firearms. As a result, it should be scrapped and the money spent on more effective crime prevention programs that target the real sources of crime, not legal, law-abiding, licensed and trained firearms owners," added Reader.
The creation of the long gun registry under Bill C-68 by a previous Liberal government focused on legal, licensed, law-abiding firearms owners, instead of targeting criminals and prohibited offenders who threaten the public safety and do not register firearms. The current system was supposedly based on two leading principles; it would save lives and it would enhance public safety. Proponents of the system continue to support its existence and claim that it has succeeded, but there is no fact-based evidence to suggest that it has done so, and major public opinion polls over the last few years have consistently shown that a large majority of respondents support scrapping the long gun registry. To that end, the OFAH is calling on all Parliamentarians to vote in support of Bill C-19.
"One of the major sources of crime in Canada is the use of illegal guns, smuggled into the country from the United States and other points of origin. In some areas, the incidence of crime involving these guns is as high as 90 per cent. We need to refocus the discussion and ensure that valuable tax dollars are being spent on programs and policies that address the real causes of crime," concluded Reader.
With over 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers, and 675 member clubs, the OFAH is the largest nonprofit fish and wildlife based conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the VOICE of anglers and hunters.
Visit www.ofah.org or follow the OFAH on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.
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