TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Following today's ruling by Superior
Court of Justice of Ontario Judge D. M. Brown that failed to grant an
emergency injunction to prevent the federal government from going
forward with its plans for the imminent destruction of the registry
data, the Coalition for Gun Control reacted:
"This decision is a setback but we will continue to fight for sensible
controls on rifles and shotguns. Information about who owns what guns
is essential to reducing the diversion of guns to illegal markets and
the registry data has been shown to be useful in solving crimes.
Destroying the data that has already been collected on 7.1 million guns
makes no sense whatsoever, and is simply punitive. Quebec stood up to
the gun lobby and, as a result, is still able to trace firearms.
Outside of Quebec, rifles and shotguns are now completely untraceable.
These guns are those most often used in domestic violence and when
police officers are shot on duty. They also account for a significant
proportion of the firearms recovered in crime. Police associations have
testified that the data on firearms is part of the evidentiary trail in
many cases and losing it will add significant costs to their
investigations. We are very grateful to the Barbra Schlifer
Commemorative Clinic and the City of Toronto for taking on this fight
when the Province of Ontario refused to act," said Wendy Cukier, President.
The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic that serves abused women filed
a challenge based on the violation of the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms' provisions of life, liberty and security for women and on the
violation of women's equality rights. They requested an injunction to
prevent the deletion of the data while the case is in trial. The City
of Toronto, Canada's largest urban centre, has intervened in support of
the request and the City of Mississauga has also offered its backing
through a unanimous motion.
This decision is made more difficult to accept as the ruling
specifically mentioned Ontario's inaction (162). If the province had
stepped up to defend its data and the public safety of Ontarians, the
outcome today would be different. While the Province of Ontario claims
it supported the registration of firearms, it has refused to take
action to challenge the federal government's law or to preserve
Ontario's registry data, leaving it to a small women's clinic with
limited resources to take on the fight. Ontario public safety experts,
victims of gun violence and municipalities have called for the data to
be saved in the interest of public safety. There are 2.1 million
non-restricted firearms registered to Ontarians. In response to an
intervention by the Government of Quebec, the Quebec Superior Court
granted the province the rights to its data on September 10.
Last spring, the federal government swiftly passed legislation ending
the registration of rifles and shotguns — allowing a licensed
individual to buy as many guns as they want, without any record being
kept or a requirement to verify the validity of a licence before a
sale. The law applies to all non-restricted rifles and shotguns,
including powerful semi-automatics such as the Ruger Mini-14 used in
the Montreal Massacre. In spite of pleas by police, the law calls for
the destruction of all existing records on the ownership of 7.1 million
rifles and shotguns. This eliminates the possibility that stolen guns
or guns recovered in crime be traced back to their owners and
undermines Canada's ability to combat the illegal gun trade.
The government further weakened controls by quietly passing regulations
in July forbidding provinces from requiring gun dealers to maintain
records of their sales of rifles and shotguns, undoing a measure in
place since 1977. Canada is no longer in compliance with international
agreements targeting the illegal trade in firearms. These measures have
no rationale other than responding to a gun lobby advocating for a
US-style "right" to own guns and keep it a secret, with few controls or
responsibilities. The gun lobby has made it clear that these changes
are only a first step.
The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the Montreal
Massacre, is an alliance of more than 300 organizations including the
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Association of Chiefs
of Police, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Ontario Public Health
Association, Toronto Public Health, YWCA Toronto, METRAC, YWCA of
Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, municipalities, and numerous other
organizations and community groups across the country as well as
victims of gun violence.
SOURCE: COALITION FOR GUN CONTROL
For further information:
Coalition for Gun Control: 416.604.0209, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.guncontrol.ca