Firearms Registry: A poisoned placebo.

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Firearms News
Tags: ,

In the wake of the October 22nd shooting in Ottawa, the internets have been a-buzz with chatter surrounding the Long-gun Registry and whether the data it contained would have been of any assistance in preventing the senseless actions of the day.

Yes.  The LGR (Long-gun Registry) was abolished in the parts of Canada that respect Federal Law back in November 2011. The Restricted and Prohibited firearms registry still exists and is busier than ever as evidenced by excessive wait times and turn-around on documents. The bill C-19 re-wrote parts of the FA (Firearms Act) to reflect this and other required changes to keep the act cohesive. The data contained within the LGR contained a link between a Firearms Licence,one or many Registration Certificates issued on a 1:1 basis to each registered firearm.

  • Each long-gun has a serial number (most do, some don’t)
  • Each long-gun is issued a certificate
  • Each long-gun is assigned to a licence
  • A licence is held by an authorized/trained person

Without rehashing the entirety of FA (Firearms Act), there are 3 classifications of firearms in Canada.

  1. Non-Restricted.  Most rifles and shotguns
  2. Restricted: Most handguns and other rifles and shotguns deemed restricted (Registered)
  3. Prohibited: Automatic firearms, some compact pistols and pistols of certain calibers. (Registered)

The LGR was focused on the registration of Non-Restricted firearms, which weren’t tracked and distributed widely among the citizenry from coast-to-coast under the previous FAC system.

In a perfect world of citizen compliance to government command, everyone would have obtained a licence, registered or surrendered their guns and complied with transfer protocols when buying, selling or trading firearms.   Lost and stolen firearms are to be reported and these missing guns would be flagged to CPIC (a national crime information network) .  Infracting Licence holders are severely punished with a variety of charges and their firearms confiscated until their innocence is proven.

Everything is great. We know where all the guns are and that only authorized persons can access and use them.  Licence holders are terrified and keeping their heads down. Furthermore, in this fictional orgasm of government control, Quebec has even more draconian measures in place requiring ATTs (authorization to transport) on all firearms, allowing only rifles and shotguns to be carried in specified areas, as indicated on the ATT.  Magazine limits are capped at 3 rounds on everything.  Semi-automatics are banned, or adapted with a bolt-hold device that requires a separate action to chamber the next round.

The events of October 22nd never occurred as the individual had taken the training, passed, and applied for a firearms licence, but upon checking his references, it was discovered that he had a criminal history and was disqualified from owning firearms as part of a previous sentence.  He was not issued a PAL.

He was unable to acquire the lever-action rifle for use that day.

There is no utopia.  October 22nd would have happened with or without the registry, here’s why, and it’ll be a shocker to some readers:

Criminals do not comply with the law.

They don’t register their guns.  They don’t care about magazine capacity limits.  They don’t care about carrying laws.  They don’t care if the guns are stolen.  They don’t care if they sell or give a gun to someone who doesn’t have a valid licence.  I can keep going, but suffice to say, murder is illegal, and some people still do it.

How did the shooter get the gun?   He probably didn’t have a PAL, the RCMP will certainly confirm this, if it’s fact. He probably didn’t buy the rifle at LeBaron. If the firearm was ever in the now-defunct registry, it would show the certificate and to which licence it was attached. With or without the registry, indeed, the firearms current location is now known.  They’d be able to go back and determine where it came from, but unfortunately, this knowledge does not recall the expended bullets  and their ensuing consequences.

The means by which he came into possession of the firearm is a whole other mystery fraught with speculation.  Was it stolen?  Was it illegally sold to him?  Was it imported illegally?  The fact he opted to attack Parliament with a 100 year-old (model) lever-action rifle suggests that he didn’t have much choice and went with the best available option at the time.

The internet buzzes with: “We register our cars?  That works, why can’t it work for guns?”

Right, because criminals don’t change VIN numbers, steal licence plates or run chop-shops either.  Vehicle registration only goes so far; vehicles enter and leave jurisdictions, get de-registered for legitimate reasons, and is just as daunting to keep correct as vehicles out-number firearms and wear out much sooner with varying fates.  Vehicle registration is mostly for revenue generation anyways, mitigating fraud and theft are secondary features.

All laws assume compliance and infractions, when charged and prosecuted are sentenced on a sliding scale of severity, which aspires to deter infractions in the first place.

In a recorded event put on by OFAH, Ontario’s CFO, Chris Wyatt relays a situation where a Restricted licence holder was buying multiples of the same model of handgun for delivery to a gang.  He was caught, but if these transfers don’t trigger flags within the registration system, guns can be getting into the wrong hands.  These are cases of legal guns, becoming illegal.  A tightly managed registry still leaks and is fraught with bureaucracy to those familiar with restricted transfers and transport permits.

Illegal guns pour in from the US;  news reports the occasional bust or worthy haul, and like drugs, they’ll just find a way to get them in country because people are demanding them and are willing to pay top dollar. We continue to spend millions to nanny licence holders, manage registries, issue transport permits all while illegal guns keep finding their way in;  the priorities seem all wrong.

We’ve let it happen.  The law abiding citizen can’t compete, the field is slanted. We don’t even give bullets to the soliders guarding our National monuments!  We don’t trust our soldiers with bullets for their C7s on Elgin street?  How does no-one recognize a rifle shot and step-up their levels of alertness?  They don’t even know what it sounds like.

Everyone obeys the law right?

The firearm has been demonized, made an instrument of terror and right hand of the “terrorist” (Islam or otherwise, this guy was off his rocker and un-well IMO). Watching video of my fellow countryman scatter on the front-lawn of our Nations Capital, unable to defend themselves at the sight of a rifle sickens me to my core.

You cannot register the intent of a man’s soul, it’s up to the rest of us to be just, measured, responsible while looking out for each other, and valuing life despite our differences.

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