Federal Government's Gun Registry Bill C-19 Seriously Jeopardizes Public Safety

Warn Victims Groups and Public Safety Experts

TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Victims of gun violence and public safety experts gathered today at a women's shelter in Toronto to warn the federal government and the public that Bill C-19 to end the long gun registry will seriously jeopardize public safety. Despite efforts by the opposition to introduce amendments to minimize the negative impact on public safety caused by government Bill C-19, the Conservative-dominated Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) is ignoring the pleas of police, victims groups and public safety experts, and recommending that the House of Commons proceed with the Bill unchanged. The third reading vote to send the proposed legislation on to the Senate could be scheduled within days.

Unlike previous iterations, C-19 goes far beyond simply ending the registration of non-restricted rifles and shotguns, including the powerful semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 used in the Montreal massacre on December 6, 1989.  It removes critical measures that have been in place since 1977 regarding the sale or transfer of firearms, which will enable individuals to acquire an unlimited number of rifles or shotguns without someone having to verify they have valid firearms licences.  It also entails the immediate destruction of all the data on over seven million existing registered long guns and will no longer require gun dealers to report or record who they are selling new ones to, which will severely cripple the police's ability to trace guns recovered in crime.

Quotes:

Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, YWCA Canada: MPs are playing dangerous politics with women's lives. YWCA Canada and the YWCA Yellowknife told the Standing Committee last week that there is unanimous support for the long-gun registry among service providers working in violence against women. Rifles and shotguns remain the most prevalent types of firearms in Canada by far, and as such, are the firearms most often used in domestic violence to threaten and intimidate women and children. The 1998 coroner's inquest into the killing of Arlene May, who was shot and killed in Collingwood by her former partner with a rifle, found that a major flaw in the previous system was that licenses were not checked for validity at gun stores. Our shelter workers, including those working in our rural shelters, tell us that verifying the validity of licences and registering all firearms helps police enforce prohibition orders and remove guns from dangerous people, thereby enhancing the safety of women and children living with violence.

Dr Katherine Austin Leonard, MD, FRCP(C), FAAP Representative of the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health, Paediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist: The Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health strongly believe that the passage of Bill C-19 and the dismantling of the long gun registry would be a national tragedy that would undo years of progress in reducing mortality from firearms. Particularly important to paediatricians: adolescent firearm suicides have declined and the rate of intimate partner homicides is the lowest it has been in 40 years.  As physicians, we recognize that preventive and public health measures are as important, and more cost-effective than medical treatments. The long-gun registry is a preventive measure that protects some of society's most vulnerable citizens: our youth.

Karen Vanscoy, a psychiatric nurse whose 14 year old daughter Jasmine was shot and killed by an acquaintance in St. Catharines using a stolen gun: Nurses are on the front line of dealing with gun violence in all its forms. I deal on a regular basis with people who are suicidal and I understand the importance of having controls in place to reduce suicide. The proposed weakening to the licencing scheme will make it easier for suicidal people to acquire firearms. It is incomprehensible that the same MPs who voted for the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention on October 4, will allow this measure to pass. It's clear that the opponents of the law will never be satisfied until gun control is dismantled. We need political leaders who are prepared to tackle the myths head on and state the simple facts: gun control works. It is a good investment and it reduces the chances dangerous people will get guns by holding gun owners accountable.

Michael Bryant, lawyer and former Attorney General of Ontario: The Harper Government bill goes way, way beyond the gun registry.  Incredibly, it destroys evidence that could be used in a criminal proceeding, and, according to Canada's Privacy Commissioner, violates a host of other laws and regulations.

Elaine Lumley, Mother of Aidan: Last Sunday marked the 6th anniversary of my son Aidan's tragic death. The government's proposals are not addressing the concerns of victims of violence who want to make it harder, not easier, for dangerous people to get access to guns. Even the government-appointed Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has made its position clear, stating that we must do all we can to prevent further tragedies from happening and that is including supporting the tools we have to help keep communities safe, like the long-gun registry. Politicians must put the priority on public safety when they cast their upcoming vote.

Sarah Blackstock, Director of Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto: Weakening gun control will undermine women's safety. The Province of Quebec has been vocal about its opposition to the Bill and is working hard to stop the Bill. If the Bill does pass, Quebec has vowed to fight the destruction of any of the data and even to create its own registry if necessary. In contrast, Ontario has made little effort to stand up for women or for public safety.  Although the Bill will force Ontario to destroy records on the 2.1 million guns in this province, the government of Ontario has failed to act with the boldness and decisiveness that Ontarians deserve.

The long-gun registry:

  • Helps ensure that gun owners are accountable for their firearms. If gun owners are licenced but there is no record of the guns they own, they can give or sell guns to unlicenced owners without consequences.
  • Assists police investigations. When police recover a gun at the scene of a crime, they can trace it to its rightful owner. For example, two men were identified and convicted as accessories to the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, in part because a registered gun was left at the scene of the crime.
  • Allows police to differentiate between legal and illegal firearms. Without information about who owns firearms legally and the specific types of firearms they own, police cannot charge individuals with illegal possession.
  • Allows police to trace firearms easily, thus facilitating further investigations into illicit trafficking.
  • Reduces the chances that legal guns will be diverted into illegal markets.
  • Is an essential tool used by police when taking preventive action, and enforcing prohibition orders. It is used to ensure that all firearms are removed from an individual's possession when the situation warrants it, such as in crisis situations, or after a person has been charged with a crime.

The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the 1989 Montreal Massacre, is an alliance of more than 300 organizations including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the YWCA of Canada, the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Canadian Auto Workers, the Canadian Labour Congress, and numerous other organizations and community groups across the country. The alumni and families of the victims of the Montreal Massacre along with other victims of gun violence also played a pivotal role.

SOURCE COALITION FOR GUN CONTROL

For further information:

Coalition for Gun Control: 416-604-0209, coalitionforguncontrol@gmail.com
A copy of the Coalition for Gun Control's brief on C-19 is available at www.guncontrol.ca

Profil de l'entreprise

COALITION FOR GUN CONTROL

Renseignements sur cet organisme


FORFAITS PERSONNALISÉS

Jetez un coup d’œil sur nos forfaits personnalisés ou créez le vôtre selon vos besoins de communication particuliers.

Commencez dès aujourd'hui .

ADHÉSION À CNW

Remplissez un formulaire d'adhésion à CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1-877-269-7890.

RENSEIGNEZ-VOUS SUR LES SERVICES DE CNW

Demandez plus d'informations sur les produits et services de CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1‑877-269-7890.