Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Long guns aren’t handguns

This may surprise some of my Liberal friends but I don’t have a problem taking rifles and shotguns (the so-called long guns) out of the gun registry, although I do strongly support the gun registry as a concept and believe it should remain with handguns registered and restricted.

There’s really a cultural divide on this issue, and it falls along urban and rural lines. In the cities, concerned about crime committed with (mainly hand) guns, the impulse was to ban all guns. In reaction to Ecole Polytechnique it was a worthy impulse.


In developing the policy though, the Liberal Party’s predominately urban makeup prevented it from seeing the rural perspective. In rural areas long guns are a part of life for many, and I don’t mean in the cultural sense. I’ve never been a hunting fan but hey, knock yourselves out. Just don’t shoot me in the face. But they are a part of life in a more practical way, such as farmers and ranchers protecting their property/livestock from predatory animals.


Our gun registry didn’t make allowances for the legitimate needs of rural Canadians for long guns, because the rural voice wasn’t heard at the policy making table. As a former Western rural Liberal, I used to get a bellyful about gun control. The Reform Party exploited the issue well. It ignites strong passions in rural Canada.


Let me say that the mismanagement that occurred in the past is regrettable and wrong, that has amply been covered elsewhere so I won’t go over it again. But mismanagement aside, I think there would be a lot more support for the registry with long guns excluded.


Let me emphasize hand guns should and must remain registered. Here, The Right has no legitimate counterpoints in my view. The whole “criminals don’t follow the law” thing is a silly argument; you could say the same for any law. You don’t hunt deer with Berettas. And the self defence argument? I’m sorry, but the example in the U.S. shows more guns means more violence. And most shootings are accidental, with guns owned by a family member.


The registry must not be scrapped all together. The mismanagement is in the past; we can’t let the Conservatives use past mismanagement as cover to cancel a program they just fundamentally don’t agree with, but most Canadians do. A recent Ipsos poll showed that was the case across the country.

It’s paid for. It’s being used by police more than 5000 times a day. Let’s keep it. There is a lot of support for the concept of gun control in Canada. It is making a difference. Let’s recognize the legitimate concerns of rural Canadians by get the long guns out, and let police continue to have access to what they’ve found to be an effective law enforcement tool.

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4 comments:

Darrell said...

I come from a rural area as well, and know the passions this issue inflames. However, you have to remember that the registry is not a ban on long guns. You can have the gun if you get the license and register the weapon.

There is an argument that this puts a greater burden on rural individuals, since they are (generally) more likely to have long guns, but taking them out of the registry may not be the best policy solution for this concern.

bigcitylib said...

Rural long-gun owners are being asked to fill out some forms and maybe pay a few bucks. What's the big deal? I think this is alot of whining, frankly. They make it sound like they're being sent to the gulag.

s.b. said...

Check out Red Tory for all the benefits of the last ten years of gun registry at a cost of 94 million per year, less than half of what the Con's have been claiming.

Darrell said...

It's also worth noting that the rural urban divide can work both ways.

For instance. City residents pay much more for car insurance because traffic (and hence, risk) is greater.