Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

April 23, 2010 10:52 ET

Liberal leader perpetuates myths of long gun registry

Forced Caucus solidarity on private members bill undermines Parliamentary integrity

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, Sports Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ON, OFAH MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - April 23, 2010) - The announcement earlier this week by federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff of a 'new' approach on firearms demonstrated the ongoing inability of the Liberal Party of Canada to either understand or acknowledge the profound failure of the long gun registry, and the public support for its demise.

"Repeated public opinion polls have clearly shown that the public do not support the system. Mr. Ignatieff's woeful attempt to tinker with the long gun registry and sell his proposed changes as a panacea that will fix all of the problems that plague the badly flawed long gun registry is an affront to Canadians, and in particular to trained, licensed, law abiding farmers, hunters and recreational shooters. It's a case of way too little, way too late," said Greg Farrant, O.F.A.H. Manager of Government Relations and Communications. "By insisting that his caucus vote against Bill C-391 on Third Reading, he is highlighting the division that exists within caucus. By denying Liberal members a free vote on a private members' bill, he is forcing MPs who supported the bill on Second Reading to betray their conscience and abandon their constituents."

The suggestion that streamlining the registration system, waiving fees and treating a first time failure to register as a non-criminal 'ticketing' offence will solve the problem is not only insincere, but naïve. The proposal to make first time persons charged with possession of an unregistered firearm simply a summary non-criminal offence is neither new nor earth shattering. Section 112 of the Firearms Act already makes it a summary offence to possess an unregistered firearm. The offender is issued an appearance notice for a 'regulatory' offence, much the same as failing to wear/have a lifejacket when in a boat.

Equally misleading is the assertion that in 2009 the long gun registry was consulted by police 11,000 times per day. Based on the RCMP's own figures, in 2003 the registry specific inquiries represented 8.2 percent of the total queries to the Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO). By 2008, the number of inquiries specific to registered firearms represented only 2.4 percent of the approximately 3.5 million inquiries into the database. Using 'hits' as the defining statistic is misleading since the registry is consulted each time an officer does a background check for non-firearms occurrences.

"Persistent support for the badly flawed long gun registry is the hallmark of the Liberal party, which ignores the findings of the Auditor General of Canada, who noted in her 2002 report to Parliament that the government at the time could not demonstrate that the system they created helped to prevent crime and save lives," said Farrant. "The registry has been subject to horrific cost overruns, personal privacy has been threatened by repeated breaches of the CPIC system, and cost/benefit analyses have been hidden from the public. Instead of denying the obvious, Mr. Ignatieff continues to defend the indefensible and force members of his caucus to fall in line."

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. Visit www.ofah.org for more information.

IN: ENVIRONMENT, POLITICS, SPORTS

Contact Information

  • Greg Farrant, Manager, Government Relations and Communications, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 236
    Secondary Phone: 705-875-0274
    E-mail: greg_farrant@ofah.org