Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Canada's Conservatives still set to kill long gun registry

But registering handguns is still a good idea????

Canada's new minister of public safety says the government has no plans to back off on its intention to scrap the controversial long gun registry. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his plan to kill the registry during the election campaign, and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day told CTV's Question Period the plan hasn't changed. "We're not backing away at all," Day said on Sunday. "We're moving ahead on this. It was an election promise. It's something we've been talking about for years."

The government recently formed a committee that includes Day, Justice Minister Vic Toews, and long-time registry critic Garry Breitkreuz, a Saskatchewan MP. The committee is charged with studying the issue and determining the best course of action for scrapping it. Day said the total registry costs could be approaching $2 billion, while the registry has not had a positive impact on gun crime. "It has not reduced gun crime," he said. "As a matter of fact, homicide rates in the last two years have gone up in Canada. And we have committed to scrapping it." .....

Day said all angles must be explored before the registry can be taken out of circulation. "We're in that process," he said. "It takes a while to sort through the regulatory stuff, what can be done through regulation, what has to be done through change of legislation. That would involve my colleague Vic Toews in terms of the justice ministry. There's a lot of mechanical things that have to be done."

He added that the government will battle gun crime by putting more police on the streets and creating crime prevention programs for at-risk youth and gang related activity. It will pay for these programs with the money saved by killing the registry. "We believe a lot of savings that will come from doing away with this ineffective registry will actually meet those goals," Day said. "We are not backing away." As for about 200 government employees in Miramichi, New Brunswick who work for the registry, Day said the government is committed to making sure they don't lose their jobs.

Although the government plans to scrap the registry, it has no plans to make it easier to legally own firearms. Day said the process to obtain a firearms license is difficult, and it will remain so. Day also said the handgun registry will remain in place.

More here.

Australia: Gun ownership explodes: "Gun ownership is on the rise in Queensland with evidence the tough restrictions introduced after the Port Arthur massacre nearly a decade ago are losing their effectiveness. Despite bans on certain types of weapons and a successful buyback and amnesty, police figures show there are more firearms in the community now than three years ago. Police Minister Judy Spence yesterday foreshadowed possible changes to the Weapons Act, to be reviewed this year, saying she was 'aware of some operational suggestions from police and these will be considered as part of this review.' Queensland police Weapons Licensing Branch manager, Inspector Mike Crowley, said gun ownership applications had increased 30 per cent since 2002. Up to 11,000 of last year's 26,000 applicants were first-timers. 'There has not been a decrease in the number of firearms, but an increase. It shows they do not really depreciate and are a resilient commodity,' Insp Crowley said."

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