A Criminal Perspective on the Long-Gun Registry

September 30, 2010

BY LES MACPHERSON, THE STARPHOENIX, SEPTEMBER 21, 2010

There is no point at this late stage rehashing the debate over the long-gun registry. Except for a few dithering New Democrats, the positions are clearly defined. We have heard from the politicians. We have heard from farmers and duck hunters and from law enforcement authorities. We have heard from the Starbucks crowd and the gopher derby crowd. They all are saying pretty much exactly what they said 15 years ago when the registry was created.

The only group we have not heard from, oddly enough, is the one group the registry is meant to control, namely criminals. The whole idea was to reduce violent crime, although the registry probably has done more to reduce hunting. Since it came into effect, the sale of hunting licences in Saskatchewan, for example, has dropped by about 25 per cent, while violent crime has declined not at all. If hunters were a species, they would qualify as endangered. Meanwhile, the criminal species is flourishing.

This might explain why we’ve heard no complaints from the criminal element about the long-gun registry. It doesn’t seem to bother them. Or if it does bother them, they’re not making a big deal of it. We can’t be sure what they think because no one has asked.

For the criminal perspective on the registry, I tracked down Larry Lowlife, a serial violent offender who is between convictions and briefly out of jail. Here is the transcript of our interview:

SP: Before we talk about the long-gun registry, can you establish your credentials as a violent career criminal?

LL: Sure. (Produces a sawed-off shotgun from under his coat.) Stick ’em up

SP: (Nervous laugh) I’m convinced. Do you mind if I ask if your firearm is registered?

LL: Not to me, but it probably was registered by the previous owner. I stole it during a residential break-in.

SP: You stole it? Was the gun not secured under lock and key, as required by law?

LL: Sure, it was in a locked cabinet. The house was locked, too. Anything worth stealing is locked up. That’s one of the first things we learn in crime school.

SP: I notice you have sawed off the barrel. Did you know that’s illegal?

LL: That’s why it was under my coat.

SP: Have you been following the national debate over the long-gun registry?

LL: Not really. It has nothing to do with me.

SP: But you could be convicted for having an unregistered firearm.

LL: Not if I agree to plead out on the armed robberies.

SP: What armed robberies?

LL: The ones where I use this gun.

SP: Are you saying the registry does not deter crime?

LL: I think I answered that earlier when I said, ‘Stick ’em up.’

SP: Were you aware that the registry has cost taxpayers more than $2 billion?

LL: Two billion dollars? And they call me a criminal?

SP: So you think that’s too expensive?

LL: Not at all. I wish it cost more.

SP: More?

LL: Well, we criminals don’t pay taxes anyway, so the registry costs me, personally, nothing. I’m just glad that $2 billion isn’t available to hire more cops to arrest guys like me.

SP: But a lot of police support the registry. They supposedly access it thousands of times every day.

LL: Good for them. When they come to arrest me, they’ll check the registry and think I’m unarmed.

SP: Has the registry made it more difficult to obtain a gun for criminal purposes?

LL: Finding an illegal gun is easy. The tricky part is getting rid of it later.

SP: What message do you have for MPs who will vote this week to save or dismantle the long-gun registry?

LL: I’d tell them to put up their hands and give me their wallets and jewelry.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read more:  http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/criminal+perspective+long+registry/3554252/story.html#ixzz10AY48Yze

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Letter to the NB CFO

August 10, 2009

Attn: Ron Clark, NB Chief Firearms Officer

Dear sir,

I am writing to express my concern over the apparent policy of your office to refuse to issue Authorization to Carry permits to private individuals for the protection of life. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal and there is a permit for carrying a concealed firearm in Canada for the protection of life. The government has simply decided not to issue them.

Why is it that the government has seen fit to provide us with equipment to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property against such threats as fires, vehicle crashes, sporting related injuries and many other accidents that may happen at anytime during our lives, yet withholds from us the ability to prepare ourselves from the most heinous of events – a criminal attack?

Every Canadian – strike that; every person – on this planet has the right to life. Even the UN cannot rescind this right of the people. And by-and-large, the government has seen fit to educate us and prepare us to meet the challenges of living in an imperfect world. We are offered the ability to acquire such equipment as fire extinguishers, 72-hour emergency kits, helmets, etc. Vehicles are mandatorily equipped with seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones… and while we retain the right to defend ourselves against attack by whatever means we have at our disposal, we are not allowed to prepare for such an event. Instead, we are told to rely on the police to protect us.

With that logic in mind, why are we allowed to obtain and use fire-extinguishers? We have a fire department to protect us, right? And why can a person buy kits for, and be trained in, first-aid? We have ambulances, paramedics and doctors to care for us, right?

The answer of course is because these professionals take time to respond to emergency calls. They cannot be everywhere at once and so we must rely on ourselves to protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones until the professionals arrive.

So why can’t we carry a gun to protect our lives? Is it better that my wife is raped and beaten by a man twice her size because she is not afforded the ability to carry a weapon that would take the advantage of his size and strength away from him? Is it better that my teenage nephew is beaten to death in his own home, by a gang of thugs who simply don’t like him, because his father cannot arm himself for such an event? How about a young university student walking back to her residence in a dark alley? Is it better that she dies too?

I know that these events don’t happen very often in this relatively safe country that we live in, but they do happen. Guns, in the hands of decent citizens, save innocent lives; they don’t take them. Criminals will always have guns, they will always kill, they will always rape and they will always endanger the lives of those around them, no matter what laws are passed. So why not give the opportunity to the general public to protect itself against these criminals?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say on this matter.


Authorization to Transport

July 24, 2009

An ATT (Authorization to Transport) is a page printed off at a Provincial CFO (Chief Firearms Office) and mailed to any owner of a Restricted or Prohibited firearm that requests one.  Its purpose is to grant permission to the owner to transport his or her firearms to the range.  The thing is, the only place you’re allowed to shoot Restricted or Prohibited firearms is at a range.  Why do we need a piece of paper allowing us to do the only thing that we’re allowed to do with these particular firearms?

The gun control advocates would have you believe that your streets are safer because of these pieces of paper.  They claim that they (the ATTs) prevent firearm owners from taking their Restricted or Prohibited firearms anywhere else other than the range.  This is absolutely true… if you’re a law abiding citizen.

Criminals, on the other hand, generally are not considered law abiding citizens.  They do not buy their Restricted or Prohibited firearms from a licenced dealer, but rather the trunk of a car in some dark alley.  They do not register their firearms and they certainly do not apply for ATTs to transport them to and from the range.

So what exactly are these ATTs doing to help protect the public?  That’s right, you guessed it, nothing.  It is nothing more than a wasteful display of bureaucracy in an attempt to make the government appear to be serving some useful purpose in the protection of its citizens.

A Private Member’s Bill was recently introduced in Ottawa called C301.  It was a revision to the Firearms Law to repeal the wasteful Long Gun Registry and do away with the useless ATTs; as well as a few other things.  It was shot down primarily because the Government still foolishly believes that ATTs still serve some useful purpose.

I’m sorry, but issuing a piece of paper that allows a legal firearms owner to do the only thing he or she was allowed to do in the first place, is not a useful purpose.