MPs shoot holes in bill to dump gun registry

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OTTAWA -- Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner faced stiff criticism of her bill to scrap the national gun registry Monday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/09/2009 (4819 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner faced stiff criticism of her bill to scrap the national gun registry Monday.

MPs from all three opposition parties decried Hoeppner’s bill as being politically motivated and based on faulty logic and misleading statistics.

She said the gun registry — in place since 1996 — makes legal gun owners second-class citizens who are assumed to be suspects when a crime is committed.

Tory Candice Hoeppner�s bill to scrap the long gun registry faces rough ride.

Hoeppner said she is committed to combating gun crime but said the gun registry is not the way to do it because people who commit crimes don’t register their weapons.

Hoeppner said 93 per cent of gun crimes in the last years were committed with illegal or unregistered guns.

“That is a staggering statistic and one that flies in the face of any argument supporting the long gun registry,” she said.

Hoeppner said that’s also why many front-line police officers support scrapping the gun registry.

She has the support of the Saskatoon Police Association and the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers.

Both the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association have spoken up against Hoeppner’s bill and in favour of the gun registry but Hoeppner said that’s just proof the leaders of those groups are out of touch with their members.

She said if the leaders surveyed their members they’d discover most front-line officers aren’t in favour of the gun registry.

NDP justice critic Joe Comartin said that in a 2004 survey by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, front-line officers said if the cost of the registry could be controlled, they’d be in favour of it.

He said the costs were out of line initially but since 2005 the registry’s cost is about $3 million a year.

Comartin said scrapping the registry would save a minimal amount.

“We need a long gun registry to ensure we don’t have a proliferation of guns back into the hands of people who are careless with them,” he said.

Liberal Mark Holland said the registry does not prevent Canadians from owning an unrestricted gun.

He accused Hoeppner and the Conservatives of using the issue to create political noise and make gun ownership a wedge issue.

Holland said 13 of the 15 police officers shot dead in the line of duty in the last 10 years were killed with rifles or shotguns.

He noted the arrests of the men responsible for the deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., in 2005 was advanced by the discovery of a registered rifle.

Hoeppner’s bill must be debated further before it will be voted on.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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