Ontario Police Chiefs Back Federal Firearms Registry as Vital Public Safety

Registry used thousands of times daily to prevent and solve crimes, keep citizens and police officers safe

WINDSOR, ON, April 28 /CNW/ - Ontario's Chiefs of Police and senior police leaders backed the federal Firearms registry today as a vital public safety tool used daily by police officers to keep Ontarians and police officers safe.

"Scrapping the federal Firearms Registry will put our officers at risk and undermine our ability to prevent and solve crimes," said Chief Daniel Parkinson (Cornwall Community Police Service), President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) following a meeting of Ontario's police leaders in Windsor, Ontario. "Our officers use the Registry because it is a vital tool in our efforts to prevent and solve crimes. Canadians need the facts about the Registry, not rhetoric. The bottom line is that the Firearms Registry helps us keep our communities safe."

The OACP Board of Directors passed a motion confirming support for the Firearms Registry at its meeting in Windsor and called on Canadian Parliamentarians to put public safety ahead of partisan politics and reject a Private Member's Bill which would effectively scrap the federal Firearms Registry.

Chief Parkinson stressed that Ontarians and Canadians need to know that police officers who put their lives on the line everyday to keep our communities safe are unified in supporting the Registry because:

    -   Police officers use the Registry to identify and remove firearms
        involved in dangerous situations
    -   The Registry is used by police during criminal investigations to help
        determine the origin of firearms used in crime and recovered from
    -   Police officers have access through the Registry to reliable
        information on who possesses firearms, the number of firearms, and
        the kind and calibre of firearms that could be encountered by police
        officers in dangerous situations
    -   The Registry is vital in ensuring our police officers are kept safe
        when encountering dangerous situations
    -   Accountability for the sale and disposition of firearms is enhanced
        with the Registry in place because it creates a trail that helps
        determine the origin of crime guns
    -   Police use the Registry to return recovered firearms to their
        rightful owners
    -   Having a Firearms Registration in place encourages responsible gun
        ownership and safe and responsible storage of firearms

"Police have no interest in criminalizing those who don't register long guns, but the licensing of firearm owners isn't sufficient," said Chief Robert Herman (Thunder Bay Police Service), the OACP's First Vice-President. "A license tells us a person can have a gun. The registry tells us what guns that person has. There is a huge difference - a difference that could put the lives of citizens and our officers in great danger."

Canadian law enforcement organizations query the federal Firearms Registry 11,500 times a day on average, more than 4,100,000 times a year. According to OACP President Daniel Parkinson, issues that originally plagued the Registry have largely been overcome since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took over the operation of the federal Firearms Registry.

"If Canadian Parliamentarians - especially those representing Ontarians - truly care about preventing and combating crime, then they will ensure that police continue to have access to this important public safety tool," said Chief Parkinson. "By making information sharing easy, the federal Firearms Registry helps promote consistent approaches to investigations and court proceedings. It is in everyone's interest to maintain this registry."

Members of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police serve their communities as the senior police leaders in municipal, regional, provincial, national, and First Nations police services across Ontario

SOURCE Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police

For further information: For further information: Joe Couto, Director of Government Relations and Communications, OACP, T. (416) 926-0424 ext. 22, C. (416) 575-1731, E. jcouto@oacp.ca, www.oacp.ca

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