Since dropping the registration of sporting longarms, Canada has not seen an increase in gun crime, if Ottawa's figures are anything to go by.

Canada: no registry, no problems

Canada scrapped national registration of longarms just over a year ago and shooting incidents have not increased, according to statistics from the City of Ottawa.

“The anti-gun advocacy groups have gone silent in the wake of their predictions that Canadian blood would run in the streets if the registry was scrapped,” the Canadian Sporting Sports Association said in a statement.

“While it would be hubris to suggest the shooting rate is dropping because of the registry’s demise, we still have every reason to drive home the fact that the registry and public safety have nothing in common.”

From 1 January to 30 April, the city recorded just two shootings, compared with 11 in the same period the year before. Police said half of 2012’s 32 shootings were gang related, and according to a CBC report, they attributed the drop in shootings to a number of factors including increased police funding and resources.

Police have been focussing on gangs and drugs, plus the illegal importation of firearms from the US, and they told CBC that building “better rapport with the community” had also helped them crack gang crime.

Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak said Canada’s experience was a lesson for Australia.

“In NSW alone, registration of hunting and sporting firearms is a direct cost to the community of around $20 million a year and takes up a huge number of un-costed police hours, and as Canada demonstrates, it has been wasted on a pointless system,” Mr Borsak said.

“Our police could have achieved so much more against criminals if that huge sum was put into fighting crime instead of administering law-abiding people.

“It is time Australia revisited its firearm registration regime, dropped the anti-gun sentiment and looked at the facts,” he said.

The province of Quebec intends to introduce its own registry in place of the defunct national one, and Wendy Cukier, president of Canada’s Coalition for Gun Control, praised the provincial government for “stepping in to protect its citizens where the federal government is failing”.

“Already, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has noted 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,” she said.

This comment prompted a response from the CSSA: “If the Toronto police are concerned with decreased gun seizures while Ottawa police are pleased with decreased shootings, it appears that Toronto Chief Bill Blair should spend a few weeks bunking in Ottawa to see how good policing works.

“As long as we’re talking about the Province of Quebec’s insatiable need to register the guns that belong to sport shooters, we’re tempted to ask why it has yet to deliver on its ‘promise’. Where is the second reading of that provincial legislation that looks like it was written by a first-year law student on a cocktail napkin?

“Is Premier Pauline Marois having second thoughts about second reading, perhaps?”




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.