Thursday, May 18, 2006

Check yer Weapons at the Bar

The Canadian gun registry, a source of no small employment to the gars canadiens, is in the news again. It looks like the Tories are back-tracking on theit promise to get rid of the billion-dollar boondoggle.

Why? It's because the association of Police Chiefs think it a valuable tool in their on-going battle against crime. Apparently they've been using it - 5 million plus times last year. Now this is a big step for our brothers-in-blue, because, when the registry was first proposed, they were agin' it. Even the then-proposed 20 million was more wisely spent filling ammunition boots to patrol our towns n' cities. Iteresting how politics will change your viewpoint. How many ammunition boots could have been filled with a billion plus dollars? Moot point, it's now a useful, if somewhat expensive, police tool.

I'm thinking 5 million hits last year. That's 20 percent of us. How many of us own guns? I'm thinking the police call up the registry every time they make a house call. That means, they're sitting out front in a cruiser waiting for the gun registry to tell them if there are hunting or collectible guns in the house. The other kinds of guns don't get registered. Now you can't tell me that a cop, knowing you've got a bird gun in the house isn't a lot more nervous than he might otherwise have been. I think it only serves to make police more paranoid than many already are. Besides you could be getting strangled while they wait for that report.

Another wrinkle, some duty cop, who didn't want to be identified, was pointing out that the registry now necessitates a lot of paperwork to PROVE that somebody DIDN'T have a license when the cops find somebody with an unregistered gun. Back in the old days, YOU had to produce a license or your guns were confiscated and you got charged. Now the cops have to prove you don't have a license to produce - do you get to keep the guns until things get sorted out?

Years ago a buddy gave me an old single-shot Cooey .22. When the gun registry law came into place, I had to go through the process of registering it, or I was looking at up to 5 years in the hooskow. It still doesn't work any differnt than it did before, except that hiding the bolt and ammunition in places I thought the kids wouldn't find them doesn't work any more. Trigger lock and locked ammunition cabinet are saving me from careless storage of a fiream charges should the local enforcement fellows ever visit about my caterwauling pussy.

A buddy had an old Martini-Henry - wired together and rusted unserviceable that he got as a gift off an Anishnabek acquaintence long ago. He still hasn't registered the sucker. If he ever gets caught with it, he's looking at a fine, or making some cop a good collector's item. He can't pass it on to his kids, legally, and no longer has it hanging over the family room doorway.

The registry is one dumbass piece of legislation - it has stopped not one shooting, protected no one, interfered with no criminal and cost the people of Canada far too much in cash for useless effort. I have a lovely plastic ID card listing my 'weapon' - it cost me nothing - a sop to the sportsman. Now they want $60.00 - any takers? Nope. And they figure there are another half million unregistered long-guns out there. Fat chance these will be registered.

The recent auditor's report points up weaknesses in the Registry. No one has ever investigated whether the registry is secure, or whether it is even fulfilling its function, whatever that is. A spate of break-ins targetting gun collectors with pistols had Toronto police wondering if some criminal elements didn't have access to registry information. These weren't ordinary hit and runs, but work over, in one case three, days to cut into secure safe-like gun storage containers with burning tools. Needless to say some of the collector's guns later showed up in relation to crimes.

There are a group of Canadians who think if we didn't have guns they wouldn't be stolen. That's simplistic, like saying if you didn't own anything it wouldn't get stolen. It ignores the fact that thieves steal anything, if a gun helps, they'll use one, or steal one.

Another group equate guns with murder - particular Marc Lepine and the Montreal massacre. But killers use anything to kill. Murder is a state of mind and heart. If there is no weapon to use, then the hands will suffice. Guns are designed for just one purpose, but they are a product of human igenuity and they have been used to help make the world as it is to-day. Some are truly works of the ironmonger's and woodworkers' art. They give pleasure to those who appreciate them and actually provide nourishment for those with the time and inclination to pursue wild game. They are, and always have been, regulated to greater or less extents. As part of Canadian tradition they should be permitted.

Eliminate the gun registry.

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