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September 1, 2010

RCMP Report vindicates Long Gun Registry

CANADA - Even advocates of scrapping the Long Gun Registry are rethinking your convictions now that the RCMP have released a report showing that the Long Gun Registry is a highly useful tool and is used 1,700 times per day by officers.

The report makes several very important points:

#1. The vast majority of firearm-related deaths in Canada are the result of rifles and shotguns — not handguns. Handguns do count for twice as many homicides as shotguns and rifles, but not all crimes are homicides. When you look at all gun-related deaths, homicides, accidents and suicides long guns count for two thirds of the total.

#2. Rural gun crime is a reality. Its not just big cities which encounter gun crime. Rifles and shotguns play a significant role in the "climate of control and intimidation” in rural society, especially amongst women surveyed who are often the victims.

#3. Gun control is working. In 1996, before gun reforms were instituted, 63 people were murdered with long guns in rural areas. By 2005 the number had dropped to 50. In 1996, 23 people killed their spouses (mostly women) with long guns. By 2007 that number had dropped to 8. The homicide rate has stayed relatively constant, but long gun deaths are down dramatically.

#4. Long gun registration and gun licenses are inseparable and necessary. The RCMP calls the registry “a critical component of the entire firearm program” which allows them to track legal sales of firearms. That way if they need to arrest someone with a warrant, they can check to see if they own any firearms before executing the warrant.

If anything the RCMP would like to see the registry become more robust. Police would also like to know where the weapons are kept and who has access to them. The worry is that people could steal unlocked guns and use them for crimes.

The minority Conservative government is trying to convince NDP members to vote in favour of scrapping the Long Gun Registry. They can't scrap the registry without support from another political party.

The Long Gun Registry costs less than $4 million per year to keep it going, but the RCMP and police chiefs from every Canadian jurisdiction credit it with saving hundreds of lives and helping to track down stolen guns and guns used in crimes.

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