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OPINION: Crime that doesn’t exist

President of the P.E.I. Provincial Rifle Association Dave Hanson, from left, chats with Larry Sherren, Susan Mullen and Donna Myers following an information session on proposed changes to Canadian firearms regulations at Stratford Town Hall Tuesday.  ©THE GUARDIAN
President of the P.E.I. Provincial Rifle Association Dave Hanson, from left, chats with Larry Sherren, Susan Mullen and Donna Myers following an information session on proposed changes to Canadian firearms regulations at Stratford Town Hall. ©THE GUARDIAN - Mitch MacDonald

Wasting time in Parliament and taxpayers’ money to push forward a new gun registry

BY DAVE HANSON

GUEST OPINION

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made recent comments that gun homicides have increased by two-thirds since 2013 to justify proposed amendments to Bill C-71 affecting the Canadian Firearms Act. Some P.E.I. gun owners feel the proposed federal gun control measures unfairly target law-abiding firearms owners while doing little to curb gun violence.

RELATED: DAVE HANSON: Responsible use of firearms

Ralph Goodale - On the issue of violence in Canada involving firearms, while crime rates overall have been declining for several decades, it is undeniable that since 2013, gun crimes specifically have been bucking the trend.

Dave Hanson - While the former statement may be true, it should also be noted that 2013 recorded the lowest gun crime in the past 50 years. The whole truth of the matter is that the use of firearms in crime has been decreasing over the past 50 years. It can also be noted that there were millions less people and firearms in Canada back then as well, so the overall trend is definitely going the right way.

Ralph Goodale - Gun crime is not limited to gangs or big cities: it creates victims in all parts of Canada and in all walks of life. Between 2013 and 2016, firearms use offences in general increased by 30 per cent, gun homicides were up by two-thirds, the number of victims of intimate partner violence where a gun was present rose by one-third, and break-ins for the purpose of stealing a gun were up by 56 per cent. These figures come directly from Statistics Canada.

Dave Hanson - Again, the numbers are cherry-picked, however let’s look at some of the other numbers from Statistics Canada. Right now, in Canada, the licensed firearms owner is three time less likely to commit homicide than one without. Firearms owners are checked each and every day by CPIC to verify they have not been charged with criminal offences which would allow the police to confiscate their firearms. Mr. Goodale also appears to be blaming firearms owners for break-ins resulting in the theft of a firearm? Really? How about the $300-plus million that was promised to curb gang violence and crime in Canada in the last election? If even a 10th of that money went to law enforcement, it would provide police agencies with additional officers and other deterrents to drop those numbers significantly.

Ralph Goodale - Our goal is to reverse the recent upswing in gun violence - with the practical, common-sense approach in Bill C-71 which will improve public safety, support police investigations and treat law-abiding firearms owners and business in a fair and respectful manner. And one other point is absolutely clear - Bill C-71 does NOT propose or implement any form of a federal long-gun registry.

Dave Hanson - As proposed, Bill C-71 actually does create a type of registry. When applying for a transfer authorization, the seller will be required to give the names of buyer and seller, as well as the identifying information about the firearm. All of this information is compiled by the Canadian firearms program. Additionally, a business selling firearms and/or ammunition will have to keep their own records for 20 years of all associated sales and must make them available to the authorities.

Treating firearms owners in a fair and respectful manner? Perhaps dropping this bill would be a good start. Nearly all of the proposed changes within Bill C-71 were made by anti-gun lobbyists PolySouvient to MPs. CFAC Vice-Chair Nathalie Provost, who is a registered lobbyist and executive director of PolySouvient, submitted these recommendations to MP's on its behalf, after signing a conflict of interest agreement. Yet another sucker-punch to lawful firearms owners in an effort to push the mandate of PolySouvient at all costs.

Isn't it time for Mr. Goodale to stop wasting time in Parliament and taxpayers’ money to address crime that doesn't exist?

- Dave Hanson, President, P.E.I. Provincial Rifle Association

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