Bill C-19 respecting firearms - Québec's public health directors favour the maintenance of the Canadian Firearms Registry

JOLIETTE, QC, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Québec's public health directors today reitereted their stance against Bill C-19 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act - Ending the Long-gun Registry Act).

Québec's public health directors believe that the existing Firearms Act (C-68), adopted in 1995, is an effective measure and an essential means of preventing suicides, homicides or accidental deaths and that it is crucial to keep intact the firearms registry.

According to Dr. Jean-Pierre Trépanier, director of public health for the Lanaudière region and the spokesman for Québec's public health directors, "the directors' stance hinges on three key factors:

  • the existing Firearms Act (C-68) is an effective measure;
  • the coming into force of the Act is linked to a reduction of 300 gun deaths per year;
  • firearms are dangerous for everyone."

The existing Firearms Act (C-68) is an effective measure

The adoption of Bill C-19 would lead to the dismantling of an effective system that saves lives and prevents serious injuries. "While the implementation of the Firearms Act (C-68) engendered considerable costs, the amortization of these amounts over a long period will make it possible to maximize the funds invested. The dismantling of the firearms registry, proposed by Bill C-19, would mean the irreversible loss of the funds that the Canadian government has invested in addition to the money saved through the hundreds of lives saved, around 400 million dollars per year" Dr. Trépanier emphasized.

300 deaths avoided per year

The licence to possess non-restricted firearms and the obligation to register each of the weapons owned are two indissociable measures that link each weapon to its owner. They are aimed both at making firearms owners aware of their responsibilities and facilitating the work of the police. As Dr. Trépanier noted, "in 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the indissociable nature of these two measures, the licence and registration, as an essential condition for ensuring public safety."

Moreover, between 1998 and 2004, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec estimates that the coming into force of the Firearms Act (C-68) was linked to a reduction of roughly an average of 250 suicides and 50 homicides, per year, equivalent to nearly one death a day.

Firearms are dangerous for everyone

The issue surrounding Bill C-19 goes beyond the problem of crime. Most firearm-related deaths in Canada are caused by rifles or shotguns, which are non-restricted firearms within the meaning of the Act. Over 75% of firearm-related deaths are suicides that mostly involve non-restricted firearms and occur in the victims' homes.

The members of a household in which a firearm is present are roughly five times more at risk of suicide and nearly three times more at risk of homicide than in a home without a firearm. In most cases, the victims do not have a criminal record and the acts in question are often committed by individuals grappling with family problems, conjugal violence or mental health problems.

"The presence of a firearm in a home poses more of a threat of injury than it constitutes a means of protecting the members of the family," Dr. Trépanier said.

SOURCE QUÉBEC'S PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTORS

For further information:

Source:  Québec's public health directors

Information: Pascale Lamy
Information Officer
Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Lanaudière
450-759-1157, ext. 4437
pascale_lamy@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

 

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QUÉBEC'S PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTORS

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