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.