Despite Risks to Public Safety, Harper Wants Majority so that Conservatives Can Dismantle Gun Registry



    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - In a closed meeting, held last week in Sault
Ste. Marie, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a group of Conservative
supporters that he needs a majority mandate so the Conservatives can proceed
with their plan to dismantle gun control. Police, women's groups and public
safety experts across the country support the control of all firearms in order
to reduce the risk of dangerous people having access to guns. They have
explicitly opposed Harper's plans to dismantle the registration of rifles and
shotguns because without information about who owns guns and the guns they
own, there is no effective way to prevent dangerous people from getting
firearms.
    Statistics show that, in Canada, rifles and shotguns are the guns most
often used in teen suicide, domestic homicide and murders of police. Legal
guns are often misused by their owners or diverted to illegal markets.
Although handguns figure prominently in urban crime, rifles and shotguns
account for more than one third of guns recovered in large cities and
outnumber handguns 2 to 1 in smaller communities like York Region in Ontario
and Surrey, BC. With stronger controls on rifles and shotguns homicides,
suicides and robberies have declined substantially. Although significant money
was spent setting up the system to license gun owners and register firearms,
RCMP estimate that dismantling the registry would save only $3 million a year.
    Coalition for Gun Control President Wendy Cukier said, "the Conservatives
are bent on dismantling the registry - they have three different bills that
are before Parliament, they have renewed the amnesty for failing to register
and the Prime Minister has been working closely with gun lobby groups to
mobilize supporters. While a vocal minority opposes the law, the fact remains,
that the registry has been working to make Canada safer. Police use it
thousands of times each day and gun deaths in Canada have declined
dramatically. Harper is trying to appeal to his base in rural Canada, while
presenting a kinder, gentler face to urban votes, women and Quebec. But the
message is clear, with a Conservative majority we will lose the gains we have
made since the Montreal massacre twenty years ago."





For further information:

For further information: Wendy Cukier, President, Coalition for Gun
Control, (416) 766-4804, www.guncontrol.ca

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Coalition for Gun Control

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