Thank you for your invitation. I am proud to be here.
Prior to the implementation of the long-gun registry, I had a meeting with then Liberal justice minister Allan Rock at the Edmonton Police Service Southeast Division station. There were approximately 20 police officers there. I managed to ask Minister Allan Rock at the time if the gun registry would save any lives. That was my primary concern. He would not commit to saying this registry would save one life. Sixteen years later, I see why.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has said that police officers support the registry. I am one who does not. I conducted a self-funded survey of 2,631 heroes of law enforcement across this country. They were all identified by their police-issued e-mail. They were all serving police officers. Of the 2,631 who responded to me between March 2009 and June 2010, 2,410 were in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry. In April 2011, the Edmonton Police Association surveyed its members: 81% voted to scrap the long-gun registry.
The registry is just a list of people based solely on their private property. Some may see it as a list of potential offenders based on the possession of their personal private property that's in the database. This would be no different from registering every male in Canada, along with a DNA sample, as a potential sex offender. It would be no different from registering every woman who ever suffered from postpartum depression as a potential child killer or from tagging as a potential pedophile any member of the clergy, or any soccer, hockey, or football coach, or any Scout leader or teacher--and you could class all members of the military as potential homicidal serial sex offenders.
Now that I've offended about 99% of Canada by suggesting such a registry, think about the firearms registry. It was implemented and enforced against the same type of people, based solely on their private property.
A firearm is a firearm. It only becomes a weapon when it is used against another person. This watch in my hands, at a certain time, could be a weapon. I guarantee that. Ask 100 people what this is and they will tell me that's it's a wristwatch. A firearm is no different.
People kill people. It's a fact. The ways and means are limited only by their imagination.
I have two dogs in this hunt: I'm also a victim. In my personal life, I have 15 friends, teammates, classmates, and co-workers who have committed suicide with a firearm. I also have three friends who were murdered with a firearm.
If anyone is keeping score, that's more people than Dawson College and École Polytechnique combined. I am still sitting here in front of this committee telling you that I do not support a firearms registry. I tell you that it does not save lives. That is the premise behind the chiefs of police...they say it's for public safety; I am telling you it is not.
We spent $2 billion and millions and millions more every year on the registry. We got nothing. But what I've never heard is that there was also over $2 billion collected. If it was spent, somebody collected it, and I suggest that those are the only people in this country who are going to miss the long-gun registry.
I realize that I have a lot of time left. I do not need it.