TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Documents obtained by the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC) confirm that ending the long-gun registry which allowed police to track rifles and shotguns will save only $2 million a year.
The documents, obtained through Access to Information (ATI), show that there will be no savings to taxpayers at all. Any savings will be reassigned to compensate for the weaknesses the loss of the registry created. According to the RCMP, some of the areas this money would go included:
- "Enhanced screening... for new and renewing licence clients in order to reduce (mitigate) the risk due to lack of Program contact" during gun sales.
- "Provide assistance to the enforcement community on firearms tracing since NO records on non-restricted firearms will be retained in Canada."
- "Provide support to the Chief Firearms Offices in facilitating business inspections since no records will be maintained by the business community for non-restricted firearms."
Not only will no money be saved, but Canadians taxpayers can expect the immense costs of gun violence to increase.
- Criminal justice system costs will go up. Recently, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair reported that last year alone, gun seizures were down by nearly 40% in his force, in part because information his officers relied on is no longer available. In spite of pleas by police, records on the ownership of 5.6 million rifles and shotguns (outside Quebec) were destroyed, making it impossible for stolen guns or guns recovered in crime to be traced back to their owners. The documents obtained by CGC show the RCMP foresaw "negative consequences to investigations." A Police Executive Research Forum's report comparing Toronto to five other American cities estimated the full costs associated with one murder incident at $5 million.
- Illegal Trafficking will increase. An internal federal memo previously released through ATI warned the government that abolishing the long-gun registry could fuel illegal firearms trafficking across the Canadian border. The registry ensured gun owners and dealers were accountable for their guns. Without records of who owns rifles and shotguns or any records of long gun sales, the potential for legal guns to be diverted to illegal markets increases.
- Gun deaths may increase. The Institut national de santé publique du Québec has associated the licensing of all gun owners and registration of all firearms with 250 fewer suicides and 50 fewer homicides annually in Canada. The 2006 Small Arms Survey singled out the Firearms Act for its significant impact on reducing gun death and injury, estimating the decrease in gun injuries and deaths since 1995 as saving up to $1.4 billion a year.
"The ATI documents confirm what we have said all along. Because guns are registered one time only, most of the money had been spent and little would be saved by abolishing the registry. Already we are seeing the negative impact on policing and public safety. The two million dollars they will "save" are trivial in comparison to the costs of gun violence to Canadian communities and families," said Wendy Cukier, President.
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 YWCA of Canada, the Canadian Federation of University Women, 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
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