An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.

Sponsor

Candice Bergen  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

In committee (House), as of Nov. 4, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to repeal the requirement to obtain a registration certificate for firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • Sept. 22, 2010 Passed That the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry)), presented on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, be concurred in.
  • Nov. 4, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

September 22nd, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.
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Independent

André Arthur Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was not able to speak to Bill C-391 yesterday and although I wish I had more time, I will try to say everything I have to say in the next few seconds.

I have no reservations about voting to eliminate the long gun registry, and whether those who claim there is a consensus in Quebec like it or not, I will do so after having met with hundreds of people during the four days I spent at Expo Donnacona. Hundreds of people took the time to answer my question and told me the registry should be eliminated.

As members vote on this bill here today, I hope they will remember that the legislation was passed using political manipulation after the tragedy at the École Polytechnique.

Business of the House

March 3rd, 2010 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I would like to make a statement concerning private members' business. Standing Order 86.1 states that all items of private members' business originating in the House of Commons that have been listed on the order paper during the previous session shall be deemed to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation.

In practical terms, this means that notwithstanding prorogation, the list for the consideration of private members' business established at the beginning of the 40th Parliament shall continue for the duration of this Parliament.

All items will keep the same number as in the first and second sessions of the 40th Parliament. More specifically, all bills and motions standing on the list of items outside the order of precedence shall continue to stand. Bills that had met the notice requirement and were printed in the order paper, but had not yet been introduced, will be republished on the order paper under the heading “Introduction of Private Members' Bills”. Bills that had not yet been published on the order paper need to be re-certified by the office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel and be resubmitted for publication on the notice paper.

All items in the order of precedence are deemed to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation. Thus, they shall stand, if necessary, on the order paper in the same place or, as the case may be, referred to the appropriate committee or sent to the Senate.

At prorogation, there were 11 private members' bills originating in the House of Commons adopted at second reading and referred to the appropriate committee. Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 86.1: Bill C-290, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit for loss of retirement income), is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Bill C-304, An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Bill C-308, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system), is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Bill C-309, An Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Bill C-310, An Act to Provide Certain Rights to Air Passengers, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry), is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Bill C-393, An Act to amend the Patent Act (drugs for international humanitarian purposes) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Bill C-395, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (labour dispute), is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Bill C-464, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (justification for detention in custody), is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to Standing Order 97, committees will be required to report on these reinstated private members’ bills within 60 sitting days of this statement.

In addition, one private members’ bill originating in the House of Commons had been read the third time and passed. Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 86.1, the following bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years). Accordingly, a message will be sent to the Senate to inform it that this House has adopted this bill.

As they are no longer members of this House, all the items standing in the name of Ms. Dawn Black, Mr. Bill Casey and Mr. Paul Crête will be dropped from the order paper.

Consideration of Private Members’ Business will start on Friday, March 5, 2010.

To conclude, hon. members will find at their desks an explanatory note recapitulating these remarks. I trust that these measures will assist the House in understanding how private members' business will be conducted in the third session. In addition, the table can answer any questions members may have.

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

October 28th, 2009 / 3 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, my private member's bill, Bill C-391, which would end the long gun registry, will be before the House tonight for debate, and on November 4, members will vote on second reading. These are important steps in bringing an end to the wasteful and ineffective boondoggle of the long gun registry.

I hope that members of the opposition who say in their ridings that they are against the long gun registry will be part of this debate and on November 4 will stand up for their constituents.

I ask the Minister of Public Safety, why should opposition members be supporting Bill C-391?

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with private member's bill, Bill C-391.

I have always been very supportive of private members' bills. It is an important opportunity for individual members to express their views on issues that are very important to them and I respect them very much. We expect that they should provide clear, concise and correct information that is represented in a manner which is truthful and plain. The integrity of the bill is being scrutinized now, here at second reading, before it has a vote whether or not to go to the committee to have some witnesses.

Bill C-391 says it is an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act regarding the repeal of the long-gun registry. Bill C-391 does not repeal the long gun registry, period. If we turn to the summary of the bill, right in the published material itself, it says:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to repeal the requirement to obtain a registration certificate for firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms.

It means that the registry will have to continue. It means that there still will be a registry that has prohibited and restricted firearms.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6 p.m.
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Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, 90% were deliberately put in with errors and omissions. A substantial number of people had to be hired to individually contact all of those registrants to get the information correct. It took a lot of time.

In addition, based on the information that we have, the National Rifle Association from the United States was working to get people to flood the registry, to crash the system, so that it would not be operational.

There was also a significant misleading public relations campaign, which took substantial cost to respond to, so that Canadians had the correct information about what was happening and why. At the time it was being promoted that somehow we wanted to take people's guns away from them. This was a substantial problem and it took a lot of money to put in, but that was a one time cost.

What is the annual cost of administering the current firearms registry? The member did not say it in her speech because she did not want to take people's attention away from a bigger number.

According to the work done by the Auditor General and also by the RCMP, the annual cost of administering the firearms registry is $15 million. According to the RCMP, the annual savings by retaining the registry, but just for restricted and prohibited firearms, would be only $3 million. If this bill passes and gets to committee, it is important to determine that because it means this bill is only about $3 million a year. What can we get for $3 million? I will get to that.

Members may remember the riots in Los Angeles, which I must admit was a terrible situation. People were trashing their own neighbourhoods. When it was all over and their neighbourhoods were trashed, they said, “There, take that”. They were hurting themselves.

Why is it that we force a system to incur a $2 billion bill because people are opposed to it? Because that is the democratic process. There is not much we can do about it when people want to oppose something like a firearms registry.

The member suggested in her speech that the firearms registry does nothing to end gang violence, drug crime, gun crime, make the streets safer, protect communities, help our police officers or reduce domestic violence. The registry does because police officers on the front line have said many times that knowing where those guns are in a volatile situation helps out.

We cannot expect the $3 million in savings to somehow solve all the problems of the world.

In her speech the member referred to and attributed information to the Auditor General of Canada, and she referred to the 2002 report. The latest Auditor General's report was in 2006 and the Auditor General said that the registry was making significant progress.

I do not understand why all the relevant facts have not been put on the table. I do not understand why we deal with sloganeering and all kinds of misinformation.

I will be opposing Bill C-391 at second reading.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6 p.m.
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Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in today's debate on Bill C-391. I hope the members across the floor will respect the other members' right to speak in this House, since all members have the right to express themselves and their point of view regarding this fundamental and recurrent issue.

I would remind the House that Bill C-391 amends the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, and repeals the long gun registry. This issue has been debated many times in this Parliament. It comes up again and again. In fact, it has been a recurrent issue since 2006, ever since the Conservative party decided to make it an election issue, among other things.

I would like to refresh the memories of members and give a little background. Why did Canada adopt this firearms legislation in the first place? Why did we adopt legislation to control firearms as far back as 1995? As the House will recall, Montreal suffered a terrible tragedy in 1989. An armed man entered a university in Montreal, the École Polytechnique de Montréal, and opened fire on students, professors and support staff. We have seen this tragedy repeated not only here, but in Colombine, in other places around the world, and across the United States.

In 1989, therefore, basic measures needed to be taken to control these widely circulated weapons. As a result, in 1995, we passed the Firearms Act. It was passed, but the Conservative government bring this debate back to the House over and over again. It is before us again today thanks to a private member's bill, Bill C-391. The House will also recall that in 2006, the government introduced Bill C-21, which also aimed to repeal the gun registry, which is essential, we insist, to ensuring social harmony in Quebec and in Canada.

This bill, which the government tried to convince the opposition was necessary, caused an outcry among the opposition. Thus, in 2006, Bill C-21 died on the order paper.

Why should we keep the system already in place? First, because we in Quebec do not subscribe to the Conservatives' ideological approach, at one time largely inspired by our neighbours to the south, which aims to increase the number of people in prison and to invest very little in prevention.

When we look at the numbers and compare the homicide rate in Quebec and Canada to the homicide rate in United States, we see that in the United States it is three and a half times higher than in Canada and five times higher than in Quebec.

This approach to filling our prisons cannot be justified. I say that in relation to the homicide rate in Canada. Let us look at some of the numbers and at the report commissioned by the Department of Justice on domestic homicide involving firearms.

In 1992, a study revealed that 85% of homicides were committed with a non-restricted rifle or shotgun. That Department of Justice study showed that in 85% of the cases, domestic crimes were committed with a non-restricted rifle or shotgun. Other figures show that in 1997, in the 51 domestic firearm homicides, rifles and shotguns, including sawed-off rifles and shotguns, were used in 76% of the cases.

As you can see, a large majority of homicides in Canada were committed with non-restricted rifles or shotguns. That is the first thing that should make us realize that the gun control registry is essential. On this side of the House, we have received support from a number of organizations that have told us they hope the gun registry will be maintained. Among them are police officers, to whom the Conservatives often turn for support for their justice bills and initiatives.

The second aspect to be considered is that this registry is also supported by organizations that work with people who have attempted to commit suicide. These organizations want to keep the registry simply because the statistics speak for themselves. In 1997, a report commissioned by the federal government indicated that, in 1995, 74% of guns recovered from the five locations after a suicide or attempted suicide were non-restricted rifles and shotguns.

Once again, rifles and firearms were used in 85% of domestic homicide cases and in 74% of suicides.

Therefore, it is vital that we maintain gun control and this registry. Of course some will try to propagate myths. They will tell us to look at how the registry has been managed and the dramatic costs of this registry in the past. It is true that administrative errors were made. However, I would like to remind you that the Auditor General of Canada, Ms. Fraser, indicated in 2002 that, even though there had been some problems with controlling costs, the firearms program cost $73.7 million per year and the specific cost of registering firearms was 14.6%. Thus, we have clearly managed to control the cost of this program.

We must reread history. We must remember that here, in Canada, we have had major tragedies. I will not talk about the Dawson tragedy but of the events at École Polytechnique de Montréal. All Quebec organizations agree that the gun registry must be maintained. We must have more effective gun control. Women, police, victims, those working to prevent suicide are all asking that it be maintained as well.

We will definitely be opposing this bill.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to speak on behalf of the constituents of the great Kenora riding, particularly with respect to Bill C-391.

Outside of the serious impact of the global recession and the work that we needed to do, I do not think there is a single bigger issue than dismantling the long gun registry. I have heard it at the doorsteps of thousands of constituents throughout my riding as I have canvassed and campaigned. I am here today to take my 10 minutes to speak on behalf of the majority of constituents in my riding who want to see the long gun registry dismantled.

I applaud my colleague, and neighbour, so to speak, out there in Ontario for the work that she has done and the work of a couple of key MPs in this regard.

Today I want to talk about the whole idea of gun-related crime. This is something that this government has taken very seriously. Our government has been committed to making our streets and communities safer for all Canadians since we were first elected in 2006. In fact, since we have taken office, we have followed up on a real commitment to reduce gun-related crimes with concrete and tangible initiatives to get tough with criminals.

Our government has stood up for average Canadians time and time again in the face of never-ending opposition to our tough on crime legislative agenda by the obstructionist Liberal-dominated Senate. Despite the opposition in the Senate, this government introduced and passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act. It contains tough measures to battle gun-related crime.

There are now mandatory prison sentences for criminals who commit crimes with guns, tougher bail rules to make it easier to keep people accused of serious gun crimes off our streets, and provisions that make it easier to keep the country's most dangerous, violent repeat offenders behind bars where they belong.

Our government is committed to continuing this work to get tough on crime. We have before this House many other pieces of legislation to keep law-abiding Canadians safe from those who choose not to live within the bounds of the law in our civil society. One of them is a bill that would change the so-called faint hope clause which gives some people convicted of serious crimes a chance at early parole. If passed, that legislation would close the revolving door that allows convicted criminals back out on our streets after serving as little as a Liberal one-sixth, as we call it over here.

We will continue bringing legislation forward that focuses on the protection of honest, hard-working Canadians. As our Prime Minister has stated, our government's approach to criminal justice is fundamentally different from our predecessor's. We believe that the central purpose of the criminal justice system is not the welfare of the criminal; it is the protection of law-abiding citizens and their families.

Canadians across this country hear media reports on a crime that is committed with guns on an almost daily basis. This concerns not just Canadians who live in large urban centres. We do, from time to time, see gun violence in smaller towns and cities as well. The fact is that almost all of these acts of violence were committed with handguns.

Our government has always contended that the long gun registry could be misused and that information contained in it could be compromised to the detriment of law-abiding gun owners across this country. As the member for Timmins—James Bay has said:

I would say that the people in my riding are very responsible gun owners. They have had a lot of resentment about how the registry was implemented, and a lot of that resentment has been well founded.

The constituents of the great Kenora riding share those concerns.

We saw the extent to which the long gun registry could be misused a couple of weeks ago when it was widely reported that the information contained in the registry was handed over to a private polling company. Constituents in my riding were called without any consultation or any regard to the privacy concerns or interests of the information contained in the registry records.

I can think of no greater example to point to for the justification of abolishing the unfair, burdensome, unnecessary and costly long gun registry.

That is really what the bill before us today is all about. It is about making sure that we continue to preserve and enhance those measures which do work to reduce crime and protect Canadians. It is also about making sure that we do not unnecessarily penalize hard-working, honest, law-abiding citizens with rules that have little effect on crime prevention or reducing gun crime.

What, then, does Bill C-391 do? Let me be clear, first and foremost, that the legislation before us today removes the need to register non-restricted firearms, such as rifles and shotguns that are not otherwise prohibited.

Today, such non-restricted firearms are primarily used by our first nations communities, in my riding of more than 320,000 sparkling square kilometres of great hunting terrain, for tradition and recreation; by some farmers, not so many in my riding; by sports hunters and people who enjoy rifling, such as myself; by folks who want to protect their livestock or hunt wild game. They are rarely used to commit crimes. We know that is the case, thanks to a recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice which noted that most of the guns that are used to commit crimes in Canada are handguns smuggled in from the United States.

That said, Bill C-391 does not do away with the need to properly license non-restricted firearm owners, nor does it do away with the need for the owners of other types of weapons to obtain a registration certificate as well as a licence.

Registration of restricted and prohibited firearms, including all hand guns and automatic firearms, would continue to be maintained by the RCMP's Canadian firearms programs.

I can assure my colleagues and all Canadians that farmers, duck hunters, target shooters and other law-abiding citizens, under Bill C-391, will still need to go through a licensing procedure. To obtain a licence, they must be able to pass the required Canadian firearms safety course. It is a rigorous course. I have taken it. It is an important reminder to me of the concerns we have to have for the safe handling and storage of firearms.

They will also need to pass a background check, performed by the chief firearms officer or representatives who employ law enforcement systems and resources to ensure that the individuals in question have not committed serious criminal offences in the recent past, are not under a court-sanctioned prohibition order for firearms, and do not pose a threat to public safety.

Bill C-391 retains licensing requirements for all gun owners while doing away with the need for honest and law-abiding citizens to undergo the burden of registering their non-restricted rifles or shotguns, a burden which has no impact on reducing gun crimes in Canada.

Over the last three years the Government of Canada has passed legislation to tackle violent crime and violent gun crime, as I alluded to earlier, by introducing mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes, as well as reverse bail provisions for serious offences. These changes were long overdue.

We have provided more money to the provinces and territories so that they could hire additional police officers. The government has committed to helping the RCMP recruit and train more personnel. Our government has taken action to help young people make smart choices and avoid becoming involved in gang activities through programs funded through the National Crime Prevention Centre.

We need to ensure that we have a system to screen prospective gun owners that is effective and efficient. That is why this government has invested $7 million annually to strengthen the front-end screening of first-time firearm licence applicants, with a view to keeping firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them.

We have to ensure that we have a mechanism in place to keep firearms out of the hands of those who threaten our community, our safety and our lives.

As I wind up this speech, I just want to urge all hon. members to review the real facts, to listen to Canadians from the great Kenora riding and many other ridings that are large in size and have predominantly remote and isolated rural communities, and to respect our way of life. I urge them to support the vast majority of people who believe that the long gun registry unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens who live in our ridings.

Therefore, I am confident that members will approach today's debate with an open mind and, when the time comes, will vote accordingly.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be able to take part in this debate and to explain my views regarding gun control in Canada, the firearm registry in particular and the whole issue of Bill C-391, which was presented by the member for Portage—Lisgar.

First, I do have some experience with firearms. I did 10 weeks of basic military training as part of a summer job back in the early 1970s. I handled the semi-automatic rifle, a rocket launcher and handguns. I did it with the Black Watch reserves on Bleury Street in Montreal and I have maintained a wonderful relationship with the Black Watch ever since. Here is to the Black Watch. One of the aspects of the training was being able to strip weapons down and reassemble them in complete darkness. In fact, in that particular group, I was the one student employee who was able to do it the fastest.

I also spent summers on my grandmother's farm in Manitoba and had the opportunity to go with her when she went to hunt and shoot down some of the pesky animals, the critters, that were eating her chicken coop.

I also took part in the parliamentary program with our military forces and spent a week on one of our frigates, the HMCS Winnipeg. I had a wonderful time with the defence critic for the Bloc Québécois. There, we participated in their firearms practice several times. We had a great time there as well.

So I am familiar with firearms. Perhaps I am not as familiar as someone who is an ongoing hunter or belongs to a sporting or rifle club, but I do have familiarity. I have to say that I am a strong proponent of strong, effective gun control in general.

Second, I am also a strong proponent of the firearms registry. I am not alone in that. The Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are also strong proponents of both effective gun control and the firearm registry.

I would like to give some other facts. We have heard some facts or alleged facts from some of the members opposite, so I would like to provide some of the other available facts. In 2008, police services queried the firearm registry 9,400 times per day on average. That is over 3.4 million times per year. This included over two million checks of individuals, 900,000 address checks and 74,000 checks of serial numbers on firearms. I am not the one giving that information. That is from the firearms registry. That is from the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

On April 7, 2009, the Canadian Police Association sent a letter to our public safety critic and others. The association made that statement. I just quoted those numbers from the Canadian Police Association. If the members from the Conservative Party who are heckling me are saying that I am wrong, then they are also saying that the Canadian Police Association is wrong when it actually put those figures in its letters.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the April 7 letter, the Canadian Police Association talks about the importance of the program and why registration is such a key component. Let me just quote some of the reasons that the Canadian Police Association gives for supporting gun control and specifically the firearms registry:

Licensing firearms owners and registering firearms are important in reducing the misuse and illegal trade in firearms for a number of reasons.

1. Rigorously screening and licensing firearm owners reduces the risk for those who pose a threat to themselves or others. Already there is evidence that the system has been effective in preventing people who should not have guns from gaining access to guns.

2. Licensing of firearm owners also discourages casual gun ownership. Owning a firearm is a big responsibility and licensing is a reasonable requirement. While not penalizing responsible firearm owners, licensing and registration encourage people to get rid of unwanted, unused and unnecessary firearms.

3. Registration increases accountability of firearms owners by linking the firearm to the owner. This encourages owners to abide by safe storage laws, and compels owners to report firearm thefts where storage may have been a contributing factor. Safe storage of firearms.

4. Registrations provides valuable ownership information to law enforcement in the enforcement of firearm prohibition orders and in support of police investigations. Already we have seen a number of concrete examples of police investigations which have been aided by access to the information contained in the registry.

The Canadian Police Association gives 10 reasons for supporting the firearms registry. I will not go through them all, but I would be more than happy to table a copy of the letter if the members in the House would agree to that.

I would also like to quote from an email that I received on October 28, 2009 from a constituent of mine, Ms. Rosemary C. Reilly. Ms. Reilly is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University, and she also resides in my riding. In her email she states:

Dear Ms. Jennings:

I am growing increasingly concerned about the private members bill C-391. This bill, named an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, seeks to dismantle Canada's gun control laws. As my MP I urge you to vote against it.

I say to Rosemary that she can rest assured I will be voting against Bill C-391. She goes on to state:

The story around the gun registry often ignores the role long guns play in domestic violence. Rifles and shotguns are the firearms most often used to kill women and children in domestic violence. 88 percent of Canadian women killed with guns are killed with a shotgun or a rifle, the very guns that supporters of Bill C-391 say are not the cause of gun violence. 50 percent of family homicides end in the suicide of the murderer, indicating that the key to protecting women and children is thorough screening in licensing and licence renewal for gun owners.

Rosemary Reilly goes on to state in her email:

Our gun laws have been recognized worldwide as an effective tool for reducing gun violence targeting women. The number of women murdered with firearms fell from 85 in 1991 to 32 in 2005. In contrast murders of women without firearms declined only slightly during the same period of time.

Information about the guns that individuals owns is essential to Canada's police agencies...

Then she goes on to quote the same statistics that are quoted in the Canadian Police Association's April 7 letter. I assure Rosemary Reilly I will be voting against Bill C-391.

I believe there should continue to be a firearms registry and I also believe that long guns should be part of that firearms registry.

People in my riding have not been immune to gun violence. People in my riding, in my city and my province have also been victims of long gun violence, not just handgun but long gun violence, and I believe that the firearms registry should continue.

I call on the Conservative government, if it truly believes the firearms registry should be dismantled, to bring its own government legislation forth and not to go behind and use a member of its caucus to bring forth that legislation in its stead. It should have the courage of its conviction and should bring forth government legislation abolishing the firearms registry, in particular for long guns.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand today to speak to Bill C-391.

Fourteen years ago the biggest boondoggle, I believe, in the history of Canada started. Thanks to the 14 or 15 years of work by the member for Yorkton—Melville and with the culmination with Bill C-391 brought forward by the member for Portage—Lisgar, we finally will correct something that has been an anvil around the necks of the taxpayers of the country for 14 to 15 years.

The member across the way and some of her colleagues always embellish figures. If they would even talk about something close, we might slightly believe them, but the figures are so far out that it is just beyond imagination. There is absolutely no evidence that the firearms registration has played any role in the reduction of crime.

Domestic firearm deaths were declining at the same rate prior to the implementation of the Firearms Act in 2001, as after, not only in Canada but in the United States as well. What may have been a factor was the vastly increased screening provided by the licensing system. Although that is still unproven, the licensing system has had a significant impact in denying legal firearms to those who should not have them.

While each incident of domestic homicide is very tragic, spousal homicide with a long gun, thankfully, remains a very rare crime in Canada. We will as a government, however, continue our efforts to ensure the increased safety of all Canadians.

That is why Bill C-391 does not change anything in the licensing system. Licensing of the individual is the key to identifying potential threats and taking appropriate action. We have already made considerable effort to significantly expand the screening process for new licences and those changes are in place and working effectively.

The registration of the individual firearm has never been a significant factor in the prevention of violent acts, domestic or otherwise. A good example of that is Canada has had one of the toughest handgun laws in the world since the mid-1930s and it does not eliminate crime or even reduce it to a fair extent.

However, this has nothing to do with that. We have no intention of taking away the handgun registry. Instead, we should take the money out of this wasteful long gun registry and put it toward trying to stop the smuggling of illegal guns coming in from the U.S. and other countries around the world. That is where we need to put our resources.

Another thing the opposition always likes to touch on are all the hits on the gun registry on a daily basis. The RCMP claims there have been 10,288 hits per day in 2009, but only 20 of them deal with registration inquiries of all types, non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. That comes out of the Canada Firearms Centre. All other information inquiries will still be available to police as they are from the licensing database. As well, only the non-restricted registration inquiries will be absent. Handguns and prohibited firearms will still be available.

I have a brother-in-law who has served on the police force in Toronto for quite a few years and is now with the Kitchener-Waterloo force. I have not asked only him this question but many police officers because a lot of them are friends of mine. If they were to get a complaint on a domestic incident, they checked the registry and found there were no guns in that house, would they be expected to leave their guns in the car expecting there to be no guns in the house? Of course they would not. They have to treat every instance as if there could be. The gun registry does absolutely nothing.

Whenever police officers access a Canadian Police Information Centre for whatever reason, such as for a simple address check, an automatic hit is generated even though we all know the information has nothing to do with it. Those members are fudging the numbers and doing it deliberately. I am sure they do not honestly believe it.

The Toronto Police Service, which I mentioned, has 5,000 officers. The Vancouver police force has 1,400 officers. Ottawa, where we all work out of on a fairly regular basis, has 1,050 officers. The B.C. RCMP has more than 5,000 officers. Not counting all the other police forces in between, when we add them all up, we can just imagine how those members come up with this number. However, the bottom line is only 20 out of all those hits actually mean anything.

Additionally, every legal purchase of a firearm generates three administrative hits to the registry, for the buyer, for the seller and for the firearm itself. These changes to the computer records are conducted by police agencies and are counted in the totals. Given the seven million firearms registered in the system, legal transfers and computer-generated inquiries account for the majority of hits. Clearly, a hit on the registry does denote actual investigative use. It is pretty clear to me.

Our government has consistently made the safety of Canadians a higher priority than any government in history. Elimination of the registration requirement for non-restricted firearms, and that is the key, while retaining strength in the licensing system, will have no negative impact on public safety.

Over the years that I have had the pleasure of working out of the House, I have done a number of polls in my riding, through my householders, comments that feed back and whatnot. Consistently, those surveys have come in between 84% and 95% in favour of getting rid of the gun registry. The most recent one done in my riding by a radio station last spring, May or June, came back at 92%. It remains very strong. That is not going to change.

However, the one thing I think I put a lot of weight on is what police officers and police chiefs say, and I have talked to a lot of them. A local police chief in my riding, from the biggest urban centre there, said to me “Get rid of the gun registry. It's an anvil around our necks”, meaning his force. I have never yet met a police officer in my riding who will tell me that the gun registry helps him in his job.

I had something sent to me. This is from an RCMP corporal who requested to remain anonymous for fear that his statements might affect his job. I can understand that and I will honour that. However, he offered this assessment:

I certainly do not understand how the CAPC can claim that the registry is a useful tool. I think their doing so is more a statement of how long it has been since any of them has been in touch with front-line policing. I have never once in my career found the registry to be in solving a single crime, and can say without a doubt that I have never witnessed the long-gun registry prevent a crime.

I have another comment from a Mr. Robert H.D. Head, assistant commissioner now retired, of the RCMP. He states:

As a life member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, I have watched with interest their endorsement of the long-gun firearms registry since it was first introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-68. At that time, it was reported that Bill C-68 was wholeheartedly endorsed by the CACP. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Those are his words. He goes on to say:

Although the Chiefs did have majority support, it was far from “wholehearted”. At that time and apparently continuing to this day, their endorsement seems more political than practical. Members of Parliament from all political parties have an opportunity to right a wrong and support Bill C-391. Let us all hope that they have the intestinal fortitude to act accordingly.

I certainly will be supporting the bill. It is time to quit the charade and quit wasting Canadian tax dollars. Let us take this money we will save, and put it in to stopping the smuggling of guns and whatnot, especially in our large urban centres. I realize there is a problem with illegal handguns there. Let us do that. At least we will get some benefit out of our dollars.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

October 28th, 2009 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, as we come to the close of the second hour of debate at second reading stage of this bill, I would like to read into the record some of the feedback that I have received. I have received numerous emails, letters and phone calls. Although hunters, farmers and sports shooters have contacted me, the majority of the correspondence has been from front line police officers who are concerned. It is important that as we look at ending the long gun registry we look at what police officers are saying.

Chief of police Rick Hiebert in Winkler said:

As the Chief of the Winkler Police Service I would like to offer my support for Bill C-391. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police does not speak for all active police chiefs when supporting the long-gun registry. I personally believe it is time to put an end to the long-gun registry and use that money to focus on criminals and illegal gun activity.

I want to read one more email I received today from a high-ranking police officer from Toronto, who asked to remain anonymous. He said, “I'm a firearms owner and believer in firearms accountability. I do not believe that the registry has made my job easier or safer. Further to that, it has not made public safety better and it has created a false sense of security. I'm in support for a change to this legislation for the better”.

As legislators, as individuals who represent the great country of Canada, we have an obligation when we see a bill that has not worked to address it honestly and change it. That is why I have introduced Bill C-391.

We do have a problem with gun crime in Canada. I agree with the concern shown by members of Parliament who represent large cities and urban centres that we have a problem with gun crime. However, the long gun registry has done nothing to help reduce crime in cities.

Many of the concerns that have been brought forward are addressed under the licensing process, and it is important that Canadians understand this important part of our gun control. It truly is gun control; it is the licensing process.

Individuals who have a record of violent crimes, criminal behaviour, domestic violence are denied a licence, and that needs to continue. However, the long gun registry has done nothing to actually end gun crime in Canada. If it did, I believe individual police officers would come forward. They would be calling me or writing me and telling me to continue with the long gun registry because they need it. That is not what I am hearing.

As we look back over the last 10 years of this boondoggle, of the waste of money that has gone into this long gun registry, let us look at it honestly and look at the facts.

The long gun registry has done nothing to reduce crime. The long gun registry creates a false sense of security. It actually creates a shopping list for gangsters and individuals who want to break into that long gun registry, and it has been breached over 300 times, and target long gun owners to try to steal their firearms. The registry is actually a hindrance to fighting crime in Canada.

This is important legislation. We are being watched as members of Parliament on what we do to fight crime in Canada. We need to focus on criminals and criminal activity.

I ask for the support of those members in the House who have said in their ridings that they will not support the long gun registry. I ask them to be here on November 4 and support this bill, which would end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

September 28th, 2009 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

moved that Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the House on my private members' bill, Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry).

Bill C-391 is a clear and straightforward bill that would bring an end to the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry. My bill would bring an end to an era of targeting law-abiding citizens who legally own firearms in Canada, and I believe it would help us to refocus much-needed resources, energy and effort onto tackling crime in Canada.

I know full well that gun-crime prevention is an important issue to all members in this House and to all Canadians. We should never forget the tragedies that have resulted from the commission of gun crimes in Canada, and the pain and the heartache felt by victims of gun crime and their families. Victims are so often forgotten, and none of us in this House would want to do anything that would compromise the safety or the security of Canadians or create even more victims of gun violence.

As a mother and a member of Parliament who represents thousands of families in my riding, I believe that ending gang violence, drug crime and domestic violence in order to see our communities be safer and whole should be a priority. It is something I do not take lightly. That is why if I believed that the long gun registry would help reduce crime or make our streets even a little bit safer, I would be the first one to stand up and support it.

Sadly, the long gun registry is doing nothing to end gun crime. It is doing nothing to protect our communities, and it is doing nothing to help police officers do their job. That is why I cannot support it, and I believe the long gun registry must end. That is why I have introduced Bill C-391.

There are numerous reasons why the long-gun registry needs to end and why members from both sides of this House need to represent their constituents' wishes as well as make use of their own good judgment as members of Parliament to help us end the long gun registry once and for all.

We know that criminals do not register firearms. They do not obey laws. In fact criminals scoff at our laws and at the police officers who enforce them. We know criminals are not registering their firearms before they use them, and to suggest that they do is not only ridiculous but it is reckless and dangerous.

We see proof of this day after day. We see front-line police officers fighting gun crime on the streets, while the criminals they are up against are using handguns, not registered long guns. In some jurisdictions handguns are used in 97% of the crimes, and the majority of those handguns are smuggled across the border into Canada illegally.

In fact 93% of gun crimes in the last eight years have been committed with illegal guns and unregistered guns. That is a staggering statistic and one that flies in the face of any argument supporting the long-gun registry. That is also why so many front-line police officers support ending the long gun registry. They recognize that this registry goes after the wrong group of people.

Police officers would rather see time, money and resources going into apprehending criminals who smuggle handguns and the individuals who use them for committing crimes rather than being spent on registering firearms legally owned and operated by law-abiding citizens.

I want to acknowledge and thank the Saskatoon Police Association and the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers for having the courage and the leadership, for speaking out in support of Bill C-391, and for supporting ending the long-gun registry.

The support of front-line police officers across this country is vital, not only to ending the long-gun registry but also to refocusing our attention on criminals and criminal behaviour. Their support is very important because front-line police officers are not sitting behind a desk trying to score political points or gain favour. They are on the streets dealing with dangerous criminals every hour of every day, and we need to listen to what they are saying about tackling crime in Canada.

When the long gun registry was introduced 14 years ago, Canadians were told the cost would be in the range of $1 million. We now know that the cost has ballooned to almost $2 billion, and we can be certain that costs will continue to grow. As the Auditor General said in 2006, it is impossible to tell where the ceiling of those costs will be because so many of them are hidden.

We can only imagine the ways that $2 billion could have helped to fight crime in Canada and could have helped those who are at risk for getting involved in criminal activity. We can only imagine how many officers could have been trained, equipped and on our streets right now. We can only imagine how many programs could have been developed and how much support could have been provided to both families and kids who are looking to belong and instead find themselves involved in drugs and gangs. We can only imagine how many better uses could have been made of $2 billion, which instead has gone into this useless and dysfunctional registry.

However, there is another cost borne by law-abiding citizens in this country. That cost is not only in dollars and cents but is the high cost borne by farmers, hunters, sport shooters and other firearms owners in being called criminals if they do not comply with this nonsensical regulatory regime. Not only that, but they are treated as suspect, as second-class citizens, their only crime being that they legally own and operate a firearm.

Just last week we heard that the personal and private information of firearms owners across Canada, which came from the registry, was passed on to a polling company without the permission of those individuals and without the authorization of the minister.

This is absolutely wrong and a complete misuse of the national registry information. The release of this private information has undermined and compromised the safety of these law-abiding gun owners, and I believe that it compromises the safety of all Canadians.

Many opponents of the long gun registry have expressed deep concern over the years about information like this getting into the wrong hands and the registry becoming a shopping list for thieves and gangsters instead of a tool to protect Canadians. This recent breach of privacy shows why these fears exist and why they are very real. It is yet another compelling reason to end the long gun registry.

What did Canadians get? What benefit are they receiving from the long gun registry? Nothing, absolutely nothing. We know that Canadians have put their trust in this government in large part because of our commitment to actually get tough on crime and to make our streets and communities safer. We have been doing that, and we continue to do so with legislation that gives police and judges real tools to apprehend criminals and keep them off of our streets.

Tackling the illegal use of firearms is an important mandate of our government's public safety agenda. We recently introduced longer mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes and tough new rules on bail for serious weapon-related crimes. Our government has also put more police on the street to fight crimes.

That is why instead of defending the ineffective long-gun registry, the opposition needs to stop stalling and hindering these important pieces of legislation, which our government has introduced, so that we can pass them and see them become law.

I am proud of what this government is doing, and I know the residents of the riding which I am so honoured to represent, the riding of Portage—Lisgar, support our stand and our action on crime. They want to see us continue as do the vast majority of Canadians. We can no longer settle for the false sense of security that the expensive long-gun registry gives.

As a member of Parliament I will never take lightly our responsibility as the governing body of Canada to approach the problem of gun crime. I believe we need to do so with intelligence, sophistication and the best technology, but we also need to do so with a healthy dose of common sense.

In order to do that, we need to look past that initial assumption that all problems can be solved with more of the same thing: another registry, another bureaucracy and another bundle of red tape, because as we have seen to this point, it is not working.

The Auditor General in her 2002 report condemned the long-gun registry as being inefficient and wasteful and as containing data that is unreliable. The Auditor General also stated that there is no evidence that the registry helps reduce crime.

In 2003 only twice was a registered long gun used in a homicide. From 1997 to 2004 there were nine times in total. In each one of these cases the registry did nothing to stop the crime. Obviously we would like to see that statistic at zero for any homicide, whether the gun used was registered or not.

However, these statistics prove what law enforcement is telling us, what the Auditor General has told us, and what Canadians know to be true. The long gun registry is a waste, it benefits no one, and it needs to end.

My legislation would repeal the requirements for individuals and businesses to register non-restricted long guns. What my bill does not do is change the licence requirements and the process for any individual who wants to own a firearm. Anyone wishing to own a firearm, including long guns, will still be required to complete a full safety course. Individuals will still be required to have a full police background check and any individual with a history of violence, mental illness, domestic violence or any kind of criminal or risky behaviour will be denied a licence and will not be allowed to own a firearm. This is a significant point for Canadians to know. My bill only ends the long gun registry. It will not end the licensing process.

Licensing is very important to Canadians because it provides the necessary steps to ensure that firearms do not get into the hands of the individuals who should never have them and of course, police officers will have immediate access to all of this information so they will be able to tell who has a licence to own a firearm and where they live. Furthermore, a registry will stay in place for prohibited and restricted firearms such as handguns.

I have received thousands of signatures from Canadians across the country. I have received letters, phone calls and emails. I believe many members of Parliament from both sides of the House have also been receiving the same communication proving it is the will of the people to get rid of the long gun registry. It is time that we listened to Canadians.

I want to thank my colleagues from across the floor from Thunder Bay—Superior North and from Thunder Bay—Rainy River for all of their support and their courage in regard to Bill C-391. I also want to thank the member for Yorkton—Melville for his assistance and his hard work on this issue in the past.

Many opposition members have stated publicly they could support legislation that is limited to ending the long gun registry. That is exactly what Bill C-391 does. It ends the long gun registry, nothing more and nothing less. I challenge each one of these opposition members of Parliament to stand up for what their constituents want and what they believe is in the best interests of Canadians, and support this bill.

I also want to challenge and encourage the leader of the Liberal Party and the leader of the NDP to allow their members to vote freely on the bill. We are all being watched and we will all be judged on how we handle the issue of the long gun registry, an issue that affects Canadians from every region of this country. I am asking for the support of all members of Parliament to pass Bill C-391 and to work together to eliminate the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. Let us take this opportunity to refocus on tackling real crime in Canada. We need to do this to improve the lives, the safety and the well-being of Canadians for the benefit of all Canadians.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

September 28th, 2009 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise today to support private member's Bill C-391, which is groundbreaking legislation to finally bring a conclusion to the wasteful long gun registry.

At the outset, I want to thank Dennis Young, who is now retired but who worked endless hours, days, weeks and years on this file. He sorted through over 550 access to information requests to expose the firearms registry fiasco. That is a lot of work over the 15 years that we have been battling that absurd legislation.

I also want to thank the member for Portage—Lisgar for her work on this file and assisting by bringing forward this private member's bill. She has done a lot of work. It is a huge learning curve to find out all about this firearms registry file. I also thank my staff, Brant and Sandy and all the others who have worked on this issue.

I am standing today filled with hope because so many Canadians are finally demanding a swift finale to a bureaucratic nightmare that has run more than 500 times over budget without saving a single life. That is the bottom line. There has never been a government program that has so spun out of control as this one and continues to waste taxpayers' dollars.

The gun registry is the epitome of political pretense. It pretends to protect us by reducing crime, but in fact, it does just the opposite. Ten years ago we had a government that introduced specious and hollow legislation designed to dupe the Canadian public into believing they would be safer if gun owners were forced to lay a piece of paper beside their long guns. Laying a piece of paper beside their long guns was portrayed as gun control and that it would save lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was empty paternalism in the raw then and it continues to be so now.

It was a government that tried to tell people, “We know what is best for all of us, and just bow down and do what we tell you. It flies in the face of common sense, but do it anyway”. That is what we heard from that government. Unfortunately, the propaganda blitz took hold and many people believed that the gun registry somehow protected their best interests. They concluded that the gun registry would separate criminals from the guns they used to rob, kill and intimidate.

That government did not stop to think that criminals do not register their guns and even if they did register them, as the head of Hells Angels did, it had absolutely no influence on their evil deeds. That government did not stop to think that Canadian hunters, sport shooters and farmers would suddenly be turned into criminals themselves if they did not register their guns, which flies in the face of many of the arguments that are heard from the NDP, Bloc and Liberals in regard to why people should register their guns.

While the gun registry was supposed to target the criminal use of long guns, it actually targeted responsible gun owners who were doing nothing wrong in the first place. It is truly repugnant that the disingenuous Liberal government of the day tried to dupe Canadians into thinking that the registry would reduce crime. The Liberal government was dishonest, pretending to take care of us when the opposite was true. It was there to try to win votes, and it did not matter if it would save lives or not.

This ploy, this deception continues to this day. The gun registry is still portrayed as gun control, which it is not. Latter day registry proponents continue the subterfuge by pretending that the registry is working. They have to cook statistics to prove their point. We have heard many of them today, statistics quoted endlessly, totally irrelevant to the argument. Sometimes the licensing addresses the issues they were trying to portray the gun registry as addressing.

It is not enough that it has cost Canadians billions of dollars which should have been spent to put more police and technology on our streets for the past decade, but what is particularly galling is the fact that the gun registry is actually placing Canadians in harm's way. It is doing the polar opposite of what it pretends to do.

Recent evidence shows that the list of gun owners, their guns, their addresses and phone numbers were placed into the hands of a major Canadian polling company for what is called a customer satisfaction survey. What a joke. The whereabouts of gun owners and their firearms has been made public, which is surely one of the most serious breaches of national security in the history of Canada.

Can anyone imagine the horror of gun owners who have been identified by the Canada Firearms Centre to EKOS Research Associates? I can assure the CFC that the gun owners being called by EKOS are neither satisfied nor are they customers. Calling gun owners customers in the RCMP files is absurd in the extreme. They risk criminal charges if they are not in that file. Are the criminals in our prisons customers as well? This is a misuse of the term.

Members of Parliament have been receiving emails, letters and faxes from licensed gun owners who want something done immediately about the security leak.

Until recently, most Canadians believed that the gun registry was merely a lame and wasteful appendage of the federal government. Now it has evolved into an agency that has leaked encrypted personal information that should never have seen the light of day. This is a sad day for Canada and it is potentially a dangerous day for every Canadian whose name appears in the gun registry.

It is even possible that a crime has been committed by making public this secret government information. Surely this breach of trust, this breach of security, this breach of common sense will be the final nail in the registry's coffin.

I also want to remind people who have not been following this file closely that this is not the first breach of security. Back in 2004, I exposed one of the most serious risks gun owners face when they register their firearms,. I received this information through Access to Information. I received confirmation from the RCMP that there were hundreds of confirmed breaches. I have the list here and members can go to my website. According to the RCMP's own files, there are hundreds of confirmed breaches. That means that the information on the registry was given to those people not authorized to receive it.

I want to give the House an example of why this is very serious. In Edmonton, right after someone registered his valuable firearms, his home was broken into. The thieves did not take all the valuable things that thieves would normally take. They went through that house until they found the very securely locked up firearms and took them. How did they know where those firearms were?

Those breaches of security are serious because it gives criminals a shopping list. They know where to find the tools of the trade. That is one of the main reasons the registry should not exist. That information is falling into the wrong hands. I could go into this a lot more.

There were many instances where the RCMP actually laid charges because of the breaches of information. There were many cases where we do not know where that information went, which criminal group, organization or person received that information.

This inane registry has been kept alive by former governments to deceive the people of Canada, and Bill C-391 is a timely and accurate tool to shut it down.

Many members of the opposition parties still claim to the long disproved notion that Canadian police run thousands of gun registry checks every day. Our party and the firearms experts have explained time and again that every non-gun related check of the Canadian Police Information Centre, CPIC, pings the registry and increases the count clock.

The anti-gun lobby chooses not to hear us even though most would admit nearly all of those so-called registry checks occur when police officers run simple licence plate numbers for minor driving infractions.

It is one thing to support one's personal lead but it is another to intentionally mislead the Canadian public into thinking the gun registry is somehow a valuable tool.

I have many quotations here that I will not be able to read but I would refer members to my website. There are over 30 pages of comments from police officers who say that we should get rid of the gun registry because it is putting their officers in harm's way and that it is hurting them. Police officers in my riding specifically instruct those people under them not to consult the registry.

I wish I had a lot more time to go through this. One can imagine, after 15 years dealing with this file, how much I have accumulated to show this is a complete waste of money. I would like to refer people to my website because it contains a history of what this fiasco has done to our country.

We need to get rid of the registry now. I wish I had more time to explain why.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

September 28th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, if there ever was living proof that the long gun registry must expire, we have it now. Once again, the registry has placed firearms owners in harm's way. The breach of national security perpetrated by the RCMP-affiliated Canadian Firearms Centre abuses a private database that should never have existed in the first place.

The CFC gave the public polling firm EKOS Research this top secret list of firearms owners on a silver platter for a so-called customer satisfaction survey. The names and addresses of Canadian hunters, sport shooters and farmers have been leaked, and they could be targeted by criminals as a result.

Fortunately, private member's Bill C-391 to scrap the long gun registry received second reading in the House today. Surely in light of this unforgiveable security breach there can be no one left who can honestly justify retaining the registry for even one more day.

Also, according to the RCMP's own files, there have been hundreds of confirmed breaches of the firearms registry. The registry has become a shopping list for criminals. Does that explain why gun owners have been the target of robberies after they were forced to register? The gun registry is not gun control, it is the opposite.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

May 15th, 2009 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry).

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to table my private member's bill. I would like to thank the member of Parliament for Yorkton—Melville for his seconding my bill and also for his tireless work on this issue.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry comes to an end. The registry has cost Canadians so much and has given them virtually nothing in return. Not only has the cost been in real taxpayer dollars, but the tax has also been borne by law-abiding Canadian hunters, farmers and sport shooters who have been treated like criminals under the terms of this 10 year old registry.

It is time to focus on those individuals, the real criminals, who use firearms for all the wrong reasons. I believe many of my colleagues on both sides of the House and their constituents would agree that it is time to end the long-gun registry. I want to work with my fellow MPs to see this bill passed so that we can all have the satisfaction of knowing we have worked in the best interest of those people who have elected us, and indeed, of all Canadians. I believe with this bill that outcome can be achieved.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)