Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Adult conversation on the gun registry?

On the eve of the vote on second reading to end the long-gun registry that will be a free vote for Liberal and NDP MPs, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is sending signals he’ll propose policy that would seek to continue the registry while trying to address the concerns of rural Canadians, and indeed, rural Liberals:

Ignatieff said his caucus supports the "principle of gun control," and he personally believes it should include long guns. But he said the issue has divided urban and rural Canadians, and faces "resistance" in rural Canada.

He said his caucus is working on proposals to bridge that gap. In French, he suggested it could include "decriminalizing" the registration system for long guns.

It was a Liberal government that enacted the legal requirements to register firearms, including long-barrelled hunting rifles or shotguns, under the Criminal Code of Canada. The federal Conservatives have brought in successive "amnesties" since 2006 that were meant to encourage compliance by otherwise law-abiding and licensed long-gun owners.

"The fundamental issue is to make sure we get a system of gun control which works both for rural Canada and for urban Canada," Ignatieff said.

"We want to listen to victims groups, sports hunters, legitimate gun owners to find a way to rebuild legitimacy for the gun registry in rural Canada. That's not a thing you can do overnight."

Ignatieff said changes would start with a "simple principle: we are for a firearms registration system that includes all firearms, but there is a problem of resistance in rural areas. It could be possible to decriminalize but to maintain a firearms registration system for long guns."

Interesting. For those Liberals who have been saying it’s time for Ignatieff to have adult conversations with Canadians, here’s a litmus-test for ourselves: can we have an adult conversation on this issue within our own party?

For too long we’ve been playing politics on this issue too, pandering to our urban base while ignoring the rural perspective. Part of the problem has been we haven’t had rural voices at the policy-making table to add perspective. And part of the problem was the calculus was made better to secure the urban even if it means punting the rural.

Whatever happens with the private member’s bill, it appears we’re going to get a chance here within Liberal-land to try this one again, to try to find common policy ground on gun control that can address the concerns of both urban and rural Liberals. The question is, will it be actual debate? Online thus far, the tone has been largely support the registry no matter what or you’re a bad Liberal and a bad person. That reeks of the arrogance the Conservatives always accuse Liberals of having, and it’s insulting to the rural Liberals who have every right to their view.

This issue isn’t a make or break for rural Liberals by a long-shot, at least not for me. But it is symbolic. If you send the message that their views aren’t welcome, that there won’t be actual debate, that the urban way will always carry the day, then you’re just reaffirming the Conservative talking point about this being a Toronto party. Is that really what we want to do?

So can we put ideology aside to accept that each side has legitimate concerns, and try to find common ground? I hope so. Because if Liberals can’t even have adult conversations with ourselves, we’ll never be able to have them with Canadians.

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CanadianSense said...

We said, best of luck.

CfSR said...

It's not much of a conversation.

Either we register guns or we don't.

Either police have access to information they say the need or we don't.

Either we protect victims of domestic violence more thoroughly or we don't.

I'm not prepared to enter into a rural/urban debate over guns. It is a national imperative.

however, if rural Liberal MPs want a rural urban adult discussion, there are a couple of issues that may come up:

- a supply management system that disproportionately benefits large factory farms

- a wheat board that is a trade irritant with many partners

- taxpayer support for rural broadband

It's not a healthy discussion. Is the Liberal Party a national party? If it is it should act like one.

Which adult discussion should we have first?

IHateMikeDuffy said...

An "adult conversation", you're making a joke right? Just like the one that he had us Liberals begin on taxation, that his office ended 12 hours later.

Have another discussion about the Gun Registry doesn't seem like leadership to me. Why are we just supposed to give up on the registry that we brought in, just because Ignatieff makes some comments?

Gayle said...

OK Jeff.

I suggest the prudent move it to whip the vote and promise the rural MP's they will be able to campaign on a promise of an amended long gun registry designed to address the concerns of rural voters.

Once it is gone it is gone and no party is going to be able to campaign on bringing it back.

CanadianSense said...


unless rural voters follow your wishes you threaten their family farms, withold technology?

This is a narrow subject. Are rural Canadians NOT filling out forms, fees on an annual basis a threat to public safety?

Do you have any --->studies<--- how the bad policy stops domestic violence, violence?

Koby said...

Ignatieff thinks he is still living in the States and that he has to pander to the gun nuts. This issue as CFSR said is pretty cut and dry.

If Ignatieff thinks he can repeatedly poke what is left of the Liberal base in the eye, I wish him luck in the next election. I will not lift a finger to help him. Indeed, I might not even vote Liberal.

CfSR said...

CS - Experts say that it works in domestic violence contexts and the guns are disproportionately rifles and shotguns.

Do your own research.

And no, I'm asking whether the Liberal Party should make policy on a regional or a ntional basis. Those who would force a regional lens on the party may not like the outcome.

Ted Betts said...

CfSR: Obviously not interested in an adult conversation, and equally obviously not interested in readign at an adult level. Read the post again, bud.

I think all guns should be registered. Like cars, they are dangerous if not handled properly and frequently stolen and involved in crimes. The information attained from a registry is important for law enforcement.

But having a gun registry is different from criminalizing the gun registry.

If I don't register ownership of my car, I can't sell it, I can't drive it, I can't get insurance for it. But I won't be thrown in jail.

And if you listen to our fellow Canadians, that is the biggest issue for them.

ChrisInKW said...

This is good. The car analogy is fitting. I hope this works out. The other rural issues CfSR brought up are also important. Anyone who brings forward real discussion about these will have my vote.

bigcitylib said...

Takes two to have an adult conversation. Whats the odds the CPoC won't just demagogue a new an improved registry (that comes out of the committees, lets say), and the LPoC has to make the same choice a month or two down the road? Pretty high, I would say.

D said...

So, I'm all in favour of an adult conversation. Here's the problem: Ignatieff isn't actually proposing anything on his side of this conversation. Oh sure, he may one day. Just like as part of his adult conversation on balancing the budget. Just not now. We are working on it. One day it will come. For now, just trust me.

I'm a lifelong LIberal and if someone asked me today "what are you as a party willing to go to war over? What position is core to who you are as a party?" I honestly couldn't give them a straight up answer.

Minority language rights? No, every single Liberal MP supported the NDP resolution.

Gun control? Not after today. Maybe some day.

Please - tell me what issue we would go to battle over?

CanadianSense said...

Political Party Subsidy was the last issue that the CPC has NOT re-introduced. Everything else has been a hot knife through butter.

The Rat said...

An adult conversation would be nice. I would suggest a ground rule of any conversation be a guarantee in law that no existing firearm will ever be reclassified to a more restrictive status. Us gun owners are very concerned about registering our firearms, which we have purchased legally and at our expense, only to have some future government reclassify them, usually in some knee jerk-fashion, and then seize them without compensation. Well, compensation or not I say no future bans.

Hand gun owners were promised just that in 1934, and Alan Rock promised that, too, before he reclassifies over 50% of all hand guns to prohibited status. If you want a registry then there has to be some guarantee that registering them isn't that first step to confiscation. The experience of gun owners in Australia and the UK tend to make us neo-con rednecks a little nervous when gun control is discussed.

CanadianSense said...

Rat are you suggesting the Digital Camera swap is not enticing?

Sadly the Bill will be stalled in the Liberal Senate indefinately.

Jennifer Smith said...

I am a gun owner, and I am sick to death of these people speaking for me. I have no problem with the police knowing exactly how many and what kind of guns I have in my home - why the hell would I?

What really pisses me off about this controversy is that it all started over money. The original plan was to have most of the cost covered by registration fees - as I recall, it was somewhere around $100 a gun. But those with sizeable arsenals complained that this was going to cost them a fortune, so the fee was reduced, then reduced again, and finally eliminated altogether.

And suddenly the complaint is that it's costing the taxpayer a fortune.

Same with the amnesties. People kept putting off registering, so the government kept giving them amnesty after amnesty - and now they're complaining that the registry isn't effective because it isn't universally applied.

One more point: I have a sneaking suspicion that the people expressing concern that the government is going to make their particular species of firearm illegal are likely not talking about firearms appropriate for hunting.

The Rat said...

"One more point: I have a sneaking suspicion that the people expressing concern that the government is going to make their particular species of firearm illegal are likely not talking about firearms appropriate for hunting."

So what's your point? Are you implying that only those guns you approve of should be owned by Canadians? Are you, in fact, implying that as a Liberal you want to confiscate more guns? And let's be clear, hunting guns are exactly what was banned in our analogous commonwealth countries. Australia has banned all semi-auto guns, including shotguns, and all pump action shotguns. Those are the most common hunting guns in Canada.

Your position is exactly why I don't want to register my gun, because it's not about safety it's about future governments' ability to take away that which they decide they don't like. If you Liberals want me to register, the quid pro quo has to be a commitment not to ban or confiscate.

Barcs said...

Well Jennifer you are welcome to inventory the contents of your house and report them to the government the police and even put it in the paper if you want.

I am not interested in giving that level of information about myself away to anyone (least of all the government).

What was wrong with the old licensing system? A person takes the required courses applies and can buy guns. There was even some level of traceability since you had to give your license to the guy selling the gun.

Why the insane level of requirement? why the detail? For long guns that are involved in a couple % of gun crimes?? Knives are involved in more people than long guns. It is hard to conceal a 3ft stick while walking down the street,.. isn't it??

CfSR-"Do your own research."

what? I've read enough evidence to come to my conclusions. I am not interested in researching your position to argue against myself. Really, if you are unwilling to argue it, why should I take your position?

I am encouraged that Jeff is interested in becoming a national party again. Including people with diverse opinions again. I just don't hold out much hope for the leadership.

Jim said...

Well Jennifer Smith, being a gun owner doesn't qualify you to speak for me. I doesn't matter that some of my firearms are not suitable for hunting...some are very valuable collectors no, I don't want them reclassified out of my hands.

You my be a gun owner, but I am a firearms enthusiast, collector and amateur historian. It is simplistic "gun owners" like you that make me cringe. You have an old shotgun in the closet and you think that makes you an authority...well it doesn't so kindly shut up.

As for this bill being hopelessly stalled in the Senate...well think again...the Conservatives win control of the Senate Jan 2 2010.

Oh, and all of this CPC supporters firearms are also registered...just not for long by the looks of it.

Greg said...

Why the insane level of requirement? why the detail? For long guns that are involved in a couple % of gun crimes?

Actually according to Stats Can, 65% of homicides in rural areas are committed with long guns. No matter, our rural masters have spoken. Who are we to question them?

Robert said...

Gee Greg that is a funny Number you picked "65% of homicides in rural areas are committed with long guns".

How many gun homicides were there last year in all of Canada? According to stat can 200 altogether guess how many stabbings? 200 the same number. You think with out long guns that 65% number would just become stabbings? I think so. The long gun registry doesn't do a thing you can select the 25 long gun murders in rural Canada all you want and whine about it but your data is poor at best.

CanadianSense said...

What is the total number of that 65% link please!

How does an annual form, fee stop it again?

Please show me the link so I can read the reseach how filling out forms saves lives.

Jennifer Smith said...

Rat - "So what's your point? Are you implying that only those guns you approve of should be owned by Canadians?"

No - I'm implying that a lot of people who are stirring up fears of an attack on the 'rural way of life' are in fact urban gun enthusiasts who have no interest in any of the activities for which rural residents use their firearms.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a history buff too, and I'm sure target shooting with a handgun is a lot of fun if you like that sort of thing. But I'd hardly put those uses in the same category as a farmer defending his chickens from a fox, or a northerner trying to put some venison on the table. Their concerns concern me - the rest, not so much.

And Jim - I'm a hunter. Or I am when I can get away. My husband is off at deer camp as we speak. He supports the long-gun registry too.

Jennifer Smith said...

One more thought before I shut up: As a woman, I can think of any number of reasons why the gun registry might benefit me. For example, not that I would ever expect it to happen, but if my neighbours ever heard sounds of a domestic altercation coming from my house, it might be a good thing for the police to know that there were guns in the house. Or if by chance I should turn up dead in a ditch somewhere with a .303 round in me, it might be useful for them to know whether or not my husband had an old Lee Enfield in his collection.

It is absolutely true that criminals, for the most part, use handguns. The trouble is, most homicides are committed by spouses, relatives, and other people who would not be considered 'criminals' - right up until they shoot someone. This is especially true in rural areas and small towns - which is why the long gun registry would benefit them the most.

Neil said...

What a sorry attempt to save face on the part of Iggy. Look, the firearms registry as it relates to long guns is now officially political poison for any party in Ottawa. It's done. Move on.

Greg said...

Here is the link to the figure of 65%. If anyone is still interested.

CanadianSense said...

Thanks Greg,

I was interested how a stat was being exploited to suggest the Long Gun Registry makes sense.

The cherry picking of stats, detail and dates of the stats is a problem for most people who refuse to leave idealogy out of the debate.

Of the 658 homicides in Canada in 2005 with a known location, 427 were committed in large urban areas, 95 in small urban areas and 135 in rural areas.

Taking population into account, the homicide rate of 2.5 homicides per 100,000 people in rural areas was actually higher than the rate of 2.0 in large urban areas and the rate of 1.7 in small urban areas. This pattern has held constant over the past decade.

Barcs said...

Thanks greg :)

couple quick quotes from your stats can article:

"Handguns are the firearm of choice in big-city homicides"
- handguns which have been required to be registered for the last almost 75 years.

Here is one about Jennifer's fear of domestic violence (or neighbors domestic)

"Weapons more common in large urban areas in Quebec and Ontario" "about 1 in 6 violent incidents involved a weapon of some sort, most commonly a knife." (this amounts to 1 in 5 in urban areas, and 1 in 8 everywhere else... those dangerous rural

"The proportion of violent crimes involving a firearm was about two to three times higher in large urban areas." -ooooh that is a good one :)

"In 2005, just over one-third of all homicides in both large urban areas and rural areas were committed with a firearm," 1/3 (mostly handguns)? only 1/3? what about the other 2/3 without any help from a gun at all? You can't possibly tell me people are the factor not the weapon? can you??

"Among all urban and rural areas of the country, the highest overall crime rates were reported in the small urban areas of the four western provinces." "The highest homicide rates in the country were found in the rural areas of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta."

- ironic isn't it, that there is more guns, and more crime,.... but most of the crimes involving guns.... are in the large urban cities??

Barcs said...

Jennifer wouldn't licensing gun owners (like we used to) result in the same red flag that their might be guns in the house as this registry?

A hand gun license was still controlled differently, restricted guns are still restricted. So the police should still have a good idea of whether the home would have shotguns/semi auto .22, 30-6. or restricted weapons/hand guns.

"It is absolutely true that criminals, for the most part, use handguns."

no it is not... in domestic violence (as proved in gregs stat's can articles) the weapon of choice is a knife. In fact only 1 in 8 in rural areas involve a gun. And 1/3 of those are still handguns (3/4 of the 1 in 5 homicides in the city involving a gun also have nothing to do with the long gun registry)

Jason Hickman said...

For example, not that I would ever expect it to happen, but if my neighbours ever heard sounds of a domestic altercation coming from my house, it might be a good thing for the police to know that there were guns in the house. Or if by chance I should turn up dead in a ditch somewhere with a .303 round in me, it might be useful for them to know whether or not my husband had an old Lee Enfield in his collection.

I would hope that if - God forbid - the police were called regarding a domestic disturbance @ your house (or anyone's house), they'd arrive with the thought in mind that there could be weapons at the scene, regardless of what a registry does or does not say, or regardless if there is even any sort of registry at all.

Same goes for the dead body in a ditch argument (again, God forbid): one would hope that the police would do a thorough investigation of any potential suspects regardless of what a registry may or may not say.

Northern PoV said...

pandering to our urban base

Jeff: and you think we should take the rest of the post seriously when you insert a canard like that?

The Rat said...

You see Jeff, there is no appetite for a adult conversation. Paul Martin promised to ban all handguns and Dion wanted to ban "miltary assault weapons". Is it any wonder the average gun owner doesn't want to give what amounts to a shopping list to a government that could use it, and has used it in the past, to seize legally acquired property from Canadian citizens, and without compensation?

Jennifer Smith said...

Sorry, but the 'average Canadian' - even the average Canadian gun owner - doesn't have a burning desire to own weapons that are useless for anything except killing people. Stop trying to justify your gun fetish on the backs of farmers and hunters.

The Rat said...

Some educational material for those who don't know anything about guns from an American police officer. It basically describes the difference between semi-automatic and full-auto, and how the way a gun looks is not an indication of how dangerous it is.

youtube video

zeister said...

The Liberals promised the Firearms Act would lower the suicide stats, solve crimes, lower domestic violence and result in a safer society.

It failed on all fronts and the low moral level of the program's defense only drives home the point.

The Liberals prohibited 58% of handguns and 'military' looking weapons with the Firearms Act. (should ugly people be next?) Now they want the rest of the handguns and ALL semi-automatic firearms (probably including pump actions) and then Liberals wunder why they are not trusted on the issue? Liberals were arrogant in announcing the program and consistent in ignoring advice from the sporting community and the firearms industry. That same attitude and ignorance continues to this day. The program is seen by millions of Canadians as nothing more than an attempt at cultural cleansing.

The Liberal Party has lost all trust on the issue of gun control and have proven impotent in controlling drugs, gun smuggling and dealing with violent urban crime. We need solutions that seem beyond the Liberal pale.

zeister said...

Ah Jennifer,

You're flogging a dead horse trying to justify a gun registry, especially outside the large centres. It doesn't work and the proof is ample to those with an open mind. Also, bans don't work - prohibition, drugs, cigarettes and illegal guns.

Wishing it so does not make it so and that is the basic problem the Liberals have. They cashed in on the ignorant and fearful after the Montreal massacre. Truth is neither Montreal or Meyerthorpe could have been prevented with even a 100% complete and accurate registry. You have to face the truth and stop living on 'what ifs' that rarely become facts. Fact is a clear majority of Canadians want the long gun registry gone and that includes police at all levels and agencies!