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.