Back in 2012, the Conservative Party of Canada, the National Firearms Association (NFA), and law-abiding gun owners across the country applauded the end of the long gun registry. The Liberals much-despised, left-handed attempt to criminalize gun owners was finally dead; victory was ours!
At that time, then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews declared, “It does nothing to help put an end to gun crimes, nor has it saved one Canadian life. It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”
Against the wishes of the Coalition for Gun Control, the province of Quebec, and many of Canada’s urban society, the Tories forged ahead anyway and lived up to their promise of dismantling the gun registry with the implementation of Bill C-19.
The registry for restricted and prohibited firearms would remain intact, same as the requirement to take a firearms safety course prior to being able to purchase any firearm for hunting or shooting use.
However, the new law put an end to the requirement for lawful gun owners to register their long guns, it relaxed the rules around selling and transferring guns, guaranteed all existing data for non-restricted firearms would be permanently deleted, and promised an end to the massive taxpayer burden that exceeded two billion dollars.
Many didn’t believe at the time that it was enough; the entire program needed to be dismantled, burned to the ground. But we still cheered and proclaimed a victory; after all, Toews was correct, the gun registry merely penalized lawful gun owners and cost taxpayers billions while doing nothing in the way of preventing crime. Even the most ardent gun control enthusiasts couldn’t prove that Canada’s gun control program prevented crime because those statistics do not exist; in fact, the opposite has been proven true over and over again.
But just how much is the current system costing Canadian taxpayers?
Much of the old C-68 is still in place and hasn’t been repealed as promised. And many believe that the system has taken a turn for the worse and has given the RCMP far too much power. The High River gun grab being the perfect example of that power.
And it hasn’t been without expense.
The RCMP recently released a “partial” gun control budget of $56,964,321 for 2013/14. According to the NFA, these costs do not include “Bill C-68 (1995) economic costs, enforcement costs, compliance costs or costs to all federal government departments, provincial governments, regional governments and municipal governments.”
So, it would be safe to say that the cost of the RCMP gun control program would be dramatically higher than $57 million a year. After all, it’s not cheap to knock down the doors of law-abiding gun owners, re-classify firearms on a whim, and monitor what legitimate gun owners are up to.
That’s correct, you are being watched!
The RCMP keep a special “Firearms Internet Investigation Support Unit” that, “In its primary role, the unit provides CFOs and investigating Firearms Officers with any information uncovered during an internet search of firearm licence applicants and licenced clients under continuous eligibility to support their regulatory/public safety investigations.”
The cost of this unit, comprised of one RCMP sergeant and six civilian employees, is a cool $1 million per year, all to monitor ordinary folks who happen to own or wish to purchase firearms. You and me. Statistically, one of the most law-abiding groups of Canadian society but a group that has the audacity to own firearms. Something RCMP bureaucrats find distasteful.
And, according to NFA president Sheldon Clare, the RCMP have in at least three instances, including High River, used data from the supposedly destroyed long-gun registry to seize firearms.
“To date the NFA has identified three instances where long-gun registry data was used or suspected of being used by police after Parliament passed this law ordering that long-gun information be destroyed...”
Stephen Harper, in January 2002 said, “C-68 has proven to be a bad law and has created a bureaucratic nightmare for both gun owners and the government. As Leader of the Official Opposition, I will use all the powers afforded to me as Leader and continue our party’s fight to repeal Bill C-68 and replace it with a firearms control system that is cost effective and respects the rights of Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.”
We’re still waiting. ■
For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.