A Canadian Federal Parliament legislation in 1995 called for the registration of all firearms, including shotguns, rifles, and automatic weapons The introduction of this compulsory registration imposed payments of registrations fees on Canadians. This gun control legislation has however not reduced the incidence of crime and is therefore a waste of Canadian tax payers’ money. since criminals do not register their guns, it seems the government is just collecting money without much being achieved.
The cost of gun control has continued to soar. In 1995, the estimates for the cost of the Canadian Firearms Program was $119 million, while actual registration fees would bring in $117 million, leaving the total cost of $2 million to be borne by the tax payers. 2 An audit by the Auditor General of Canada in 2002 further showed that the Department of Justice estimated the cost of the gun registry program would rise significantly by 2004-2005, costing more than $1 billion while gun registration fees amounted to about $140 million in fees, 2 though no significant benefit of the gun control program is recognized.
According to John Lott and Eli Lehrer since the start of the new gun control program, crime rate in Canada has increased.3 The Canadian government also recently admitted it could not identify a single violent crime that had been solved through the process.3 Canadian Alliance Party critic Gary Breitkreuz says the current firearms law should emphasize on harsher punishment for those who use weapons in the commission of a crime.2 Bob Runciman called for the program to be put on hold while describing it as a waste of taxpayers’ money.2 The Justice Department’s statistics that claim Firearms Act and gun registrations are on the increase are irrelevant, since criminals don’t sign up for licenses.
From statistics compiled from the registration program it is clear that even though rural Canada has by far the majority of firearms, it still recorded the least amount of criminal use of firearms compared to the cities that have fewest registered firearms but far more crime4. This goes to show that there is no relationship between availability of firearms and crime rate. Government’s own statistics show that no lives have been saved through gun registration. therefore any fines on legitimate firearm owners who object to the inconvenience of registration would be immoral and unjustifiable.
With the obvious limitations and failure of this current legislation, gun control was a major issue of debate for candidates and political parties during the last elections campaign and they proffered some new options, for example all four major parties endorsed longer mandatory minimum sentences for gun offenses and tougher border controls.4 Critics of gun control further argued that the $1-billion squandered on the registry could have put 10,000 more policemen and women on duty.5 They also suggested tightening of the country’s immigration and refugee screening laws in order to filter out potential criminals and counter the spill-over effects from the United States and other countries especially in the light of 9/11and 7/7 terrorism attacks.
In the last ten years the net cost of the gun registry has increased by more than 500 times the original estimated cost. This current system incorrectly correlates legitimate users as the ‘offenders’ by fining them. This correlation is unfair. With the visible failure of the gun registry system, new ideas raised, which includes more police enforcements, actively dealing with spill-over problems, etc. should be considered. To prove it is an effective and ‘just’ government, the Canadian government should be more determined in finding and introducing better options of dealing with the growing crime rate.
FRANCIS, D. Gun registry just a fourth-rate policy: Liberals spend $1B to avoid being
politically incorrect. 19 Dec 2002. 25 Mar 2006.
“Gun Control in Canada” About: Canada Online. 25 Mar 2003. 25 Mar 2006,
2: 25 EST LOTT Jr., JR & Lehrer, E. More Gun Control Isn’t the Answer. 17 Jun 2004.
25 Mar 2006, 11:47 EST. <. http://www.americandaily.com/article/1340>. MUNROE, S. The Issue – Canadian Gun Registry. 3 March 2003. 25 Mar 2006,
1: 04 EST http://canadaonline.about.com/library/issues/bligunreg.htm
Struck, D. Gun-control debate gets louder in Canada. 20 Jan 2006. 25 Mar 2006.