Monday February 20, 2012

Op/Ed

Gone For Good

Law abiding citizens have no need for gun registry

Released by Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl/Voice file photo

 

hen I stood in the House of Commons to cast my vote to put an end to the wasteful, ineffective long gun registry, I did so on behalf of my constituents, and also for the many people who have fought against it since its inception in 1995.

 

But in my mind there were two people, Gary and Garry, who deserved to see the registry ended the most.

The first was my Uncle Gary. My dad's oldest brother, and now the Strahl family patriarch, he has long been a military history buff, an occasional hunter, and a big time historical gun collector.

 

Uncle Gary gave me my first long gun, a .22 rifle that my grandpa, Bill Strahl, purchased in 1936 when he was just ten years old. When he passed away, the rifle passed on to Gary. And when I was old enough, Gary passed this "Strahl rifle" on to me as the oldest grandson. It remains one of my most valued possessions, and a precious family heirloom that will eventually be passed on to my son.

My Uncle Gary is a typical Canadian who plays by the rules. For example, while others roar past him on the highway, he drives 100km/h, because that's the law. So when Bill C-68 brought about the long gun registry, he begrudgingly registered his long guns. He was one of the registry's most vocal critics - but he followed every asinine, ridiculous rule to the letter. He spent thousands of dollars to ensure that his collection was up to code, even going so far as to renovate his home to abide by the rules.

 

Were Canadians any safer because of this? Of course not. But Uncle Gary complied because he knew that if he didn't, the RCMP could have been authourized to seize and destroy his heritage pieces. If he didn't, he could be charged criminally. This truly was the most outrageous aspect of the long gun registry.

 

Law abiding folks like my Uncle Gary were targeted, while the real criminals- those who would never register their guns, store them safely, or could care less about Allan Rock's rules - were a mere afterthought. It is shameful that it took 17 years to return the focus to where it should be - away from law abiding gun owners, to those who actually break the law and put Canadians at risk.

The second Garry who deserved that vote the most is Garry Breitkreuz. First elected to the House of Commons in 1993, Garry came to Ottawa like the rest of that first group of Reform MPs to bring common sense to the House of Commons. I don't think he imagined he would still be fighting the bureaucracy 19 years later, but all law abiding long gun owners should be thankful that he is. Garry became an expert on Bill C-68, and the long gun registry it created.

 

He documented every ridiculous contradiction and error that the registry created and he had plenty of material to work with. He shone the light on the $2 billion boondoggle that the registry became, after Canadians were promised it would only cost $2 million. And while it took him 17 years to see it, there he was, beaming in the House of Commons as he voted to end the long gun registry to cheers from the Conservative benches.

 

He kept the torch lit for all of those years when it would have been easier to just say "what's the use?" or "it's impossible to change things." Garry Breitkreuz is proof of the value of fighting for what's right, no matter how long it takes, and no matter what the odds are.

So, to Gary and Garry, and all of those who fought so hard, for so long, for such a worthy cause I say thank you. Law abiding hunters, farmers, gun collectors and target shooters are forever in your debt. The long gun registry is a Senate vote away from being scrapped for good. And you can rest assured that those of us who have picked up the torch will do our part to ensure that no party can ever bring it back again.
 

 

Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice