Easing of additional restrictions in the wake of the LGR’s death?

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Firearms News

Canada.com reports that Calgary MP Rob Anders apparent demotion to a committee with oversight of the RCMP’s Firearms program is pushing for change.

Up for review:

  • the ATT system (Authorization to Transport);
  • the criminalization of individuals with expired licences.
  • Heavy handed classification of firearms

I am blissfully optimistic, I hope some real change can come about, some sweeping change to the system that reduces or eliminates the paperwork process without endangering the public.

The classification of firearms needs to be closely examined.  The breakdown of Non-Restricted, Restricted and Prohibited to far too subjective,  when at the core we are really talking about guns.   I believe there some things a civilian should not be able to own, and conversely, certain some prohibited and restricted firearms should be available to licenced individuals.

What’s the problem?  Statistically, it’s not the owners of legal Restricted or Prohibited firearms that are causing crime.  The countless hours spent shuffling papers, renewing things months in advance because the system is so slow at processing them.  It’s neither efficient or effective.

A report titled Homicide in Canada, 2004 by Mia Dauvergne, the Homicide Survey’s manager, concludes:

Most firearms used to commit homicide are not registered

In 1997, the Homicide Survey began to collect supplemental information on firearm-related homicides including: firearm registration, ownership, possession of a valid firearms license by the accused, firearm status (lost, stolen or missing) and classification of the weapon (restricted/prohibited). It is important to note that a substantial portion of firearm-related information has been reported to the Homicide Survey as “unknown” by police either because the firearm was not recovered or because investigations were on-going. The following analysis refers only to homicides where firearm registration, ownership and licensing information were known.

The available data suggest that most firearms used to commit homicide were not registered and the accused persons were
not licensed firearm users. Studies in Australia and England and Wales have found similar results.  Between 1997 and 2004 in Canada, firearm-related information on registration status, licensing and ownership was reported as unknown by police among more than half of all homicides. Among those homicides where detailed firearm information was known, 84% were not registered and four out of every five (79%) accused persons did not possess a valid firearms license. Where ownership of the firearm could be determined by police, the accused owned the firearm in 61% of these homicides, compared to 7% that were owned by victims. For the remaining
homicides, someone other than the accused or the victim owned the firearm (31%).

The RCMP’s Firearms Program Evaluation doesn’t dare attempt to reconcile this either, only to bloat the fact that handgun use in crime was/is on the rise.

Longguns had been used in 72% of the firearm deaths in 2001. This decreased to 69% of deaths by 2004. Handguns by comparison were used in 25% of the deaths in 2001. This increased to 26% in 2004.

So we can get some data from these two sources for 2004 and have a good look at what the big fuss is all about here:

Stats Can says that in 2004 there were 622 murders in Canada. 28% (175) of those murders where committed with a firearm. In 2004, handguns where used in 65% (114) of those murders.   What’s the split on those 114 murders with handguns;  we know they are all restricted, so the Stats Can report can try help us with this gem “Among those homicides where detailed firearm information was known, 84% were not registered”.      Which means that 16% of them were registered, suggesting at the very most 19 murders committed by registered Restricted guns.  The real number is likely much smaller and may not consider the possibility that the same firearm was used in one or more murders.

This is hardly an epidemic of mass proportions;  aren’t unregulated knives much worse accounting for 33% of ALL murders in Canada.

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Comments
  1. Paul says:

    If Nevil Hunt can get his head out of his ass for a minute and base his article on facts over rhetoric, he might be able to convey a reasonable thought:

    http://news.sympatico.ca/oped/coffee-talk/do_canadas_current_gun_laws_violate_a_sense_of_natural_justice/67962b36

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