Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/9/2010 (3791 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The president of the Oak Bluff-based Winnipeg Trap and Skeet Club says the country’s long gun registry has had a devastating impact on the club’s membership.
Club president David Mosscrop said that the number of recreational gun enthusiasts who use the club has dropped dramatically since the registry was introduced by the then-Liberal government in 1995.
"I believe it has hurt the number of people participating in recreational shooting activities and I am really looking for the day that is abolished," he said.
In addition to being bad for business, Mosscrop said the registry has resulted in an increasingly large number of antique shotguns and rifles being destroyed.
"Because I like old guns, one of the things that was troubling to me (about the registry) is a lot of people just didn’t want to be bothered registering their guns so they turned them into the local police station," he said.
"There were a lot of beautiful old guns that simply do not exist anymore because they were turned into Toyotas or something."
Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner, the author of Bill C-391 that is looking to scrap the registry, said those kinds of complaints are far too common among her constituents.
"There is a gentleman in Treehern that works in the museum and he said to me that he is so sad because they have had to destroy a bunch of historic guns because of the registry," she said.
Hoeppner acknowledged that her bill has received some criticism, including from Toronto police chief Bill Blair, a staunch supporter of the registry.
She countered that Blair’s views are not representative of most police officers across the country.
"I never get police officers writing me to say ‘How dare you try to scrap the registry.’ I get the opposite," Hoeppner said.
"The letters I receive from officers are to thank me because they say they don’t believe in it and they don’t use it."
Hoeppner said her view is supported by a national survey conducted by Edmonton police officer Randy Kuntz. Of the 2,631 officers that responded to the survey, 2,410 said the registry isn’t a useful tool in the war on crime.
The Manitoba MP said one of her main issues with the registry is its cost. While the registry was initially supposed to cost $2 million, that number rose to close to $2 billion.
While the annual cost of the registry has since dropped to about $4 million, Hoeppner contends that it isn’t targeting the right people.
"Criminals don’t register or licence their guns and the majority of crime in Canada is committed with hand guns not long guns," she said.
"We are targeting the wrong people."
Mosscrop agrees and said sports shooters are being unfairly penalized.
"The general consensus among sporting shooters is that the kinds of guns we are using are not the kinds of guns to commit crimes," Mosscrop said. "No one is going to take a $17,000 Perazzi (shotgun) and hold up a 7-Eleven."
The official vote on Hoeppner’s bill will take place Sept. 22 in the House of Commons. Hoeppner said she expects a tough fight ahead before Bill C-391 is passed into law.