What Police Have Said About The Gun Registry
By Garry Breitkreuz, MP
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STAFF SGT. MIKE CALLAGHAN, OTTAWA POLICE SERVICES
Ottawa police are again collecting unwanted firearms and ammunition from residents who want to dispose of them safely. The Gun Amnesty initiative kicks off on Monday and runs until April 25. Police said turning over the unregistered firearms reduces the risk that they might be stolen and used for criminal purposes. "We come across firearms on a weekly basis that are unregistered. I think this is a proactive approach to dispose of those unwanted firearms," said Staff Sgt. Mike Callaghan of the guns and gang unit.
SOURCE: Ottawa Sun, "Police set sights on next gun amnesty program," Page 4, April 4, 2008.
SASKATCHEWAN RCMP OFFICER (Name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz, MP)
I am a peace officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and am currently posted to the xxxxxxxxxx Detachment. One of my current responsibilities is to train new cadets that have recently graduated from Depot Division by furthering their "hands on" training in the field. I am very concerned about this new Bill regarding firearms registration. I am concerned that if it is not passed in the House that more Mounties may face the same fate as the two young men did within this last month. This firearms registration must be abolished once and for all! I find that I have to deprogram every cadet that I train when it comes to CFRO checks and their reliability in regards to officer safety.
One dark evening, myself and a newly graduated cadet had to visit a residence of someone suspected of a violent crime. The cadet told me, rather proudly, that they had conducted a CFRO check on the house and that it showed that there were no firearms present, so we would not have to worry. I scolded his ignorance and naivety. I told him to stop and think about that for a moment. I said, "Do you honestly think that someone who is already living a criminal lifestyle and is in possession of firearms has any intention of registering them?" I told him to never place any faith in the registry and most of all, never trust that notion that just because nothing is registered to an individual then an officer's safety is insured. Conversely also, do not ever believe that just because someone has a firearm registered that they will never use it in the commission of an offence! It does not matter if a gun is registered, if someone is bent on crime they will use a registered or non-registered gun. If no gun is available, they will use something else.
In my evaluation, the registry only causes more criminal code infractions (before the amnesty) as police query law abiding citizens' guns to see if they are registered only to find out that they may not be - in spite of the claims that the owner did in fact attempt to register them; or the information on the registration certificate is incorrect, etc. making the gun owner appear negligent.
The gun registry places police officers' lives at risk. The gun registry offers a false sense of security. The gun registry is making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. The gun registry is eating up resources that the RCMP and every other municipal or first nation force desperately need. The gun registry consumes valuable time for the average police officer on the street who has real crime to fight. Saying that the guns are the problem in this society is like saying pens are the cause of spelling errors, or that cars are the cause of drunk driving, or like saying fast food restaurants are the cause of obesity.
When will common sense prevail? People need to be held accountable for their actions - whether with firearms, alcohol, vehicles, etc. That is what the Conservatives did with the Liberals when in opposition and then on a larger scale once elected.
The gun registry brings justice into disrepute. It is an absolute waste of taxpayers money. The registry does nothing to fight the crime issues in this country. Please do everything possible to make sure that this Bill passes.
SOURCE: Personal E-Mail to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated November 17, 2007.
CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT AL KOENIG:
The aim by the province to curb gang violence by tabling an amnesty on guns is hardly bulletproof, says a city police official. Calgary Police Association president Al Koenig is skeptical of the Alberta government's plan to have people willingly hand over unregistered guns. "To presume that gangsters will hand over their guns, somebody is living in wonderland," Koenig said. "Gang-bangers' guns are already illegal, and they're already committing so many crimes that carrying an unregistered firearm is the least of their worries." Koenig said under a gun amnesty, a proposal to be introduced tomorrow, Albertans may turn in guns they have at home they don't want, but the ones carried by gang members should be the targets. "The only way to get a gun away from a gang member is when a police officer takes it away from them," Koenig said. Koenig pointed to the federal government initiative calling for increased jailtime for gun crimes as stronger arsenal in the fight against gang violence.
SOURCE: CALGARY SUN, GUN AMNESTY PROPOSAL BORN 'IN WONDERLAND', Page 7, September 25, 2006.
RETIRED TORONTO POLICE SGT MICHAEL MAYS
Re: Canada's gun laws must be tougher Editorial, Sept. 18. Though the chiefs of police may endorse it, as a working police officer in Toronto for 33 years, I found the long gun registry terribly flawed and a waste of time, energy and money. It needs to be dismantled, not strengthened. For the last six years, I worked the streets of the Jane-Finch area, so I've attended my share of weapons calls. Not once did I ever seek or rely on information from the gun registry. It was irrelevant. Your statement that it is used 5,000 times a day by police is misleading. A check of the registry is done automatically every time an officer is dispatched to an address, wanted or not. From its inception, I was advised not to depend on it to make decisions. It is outdated, inaccurate and completely unreliable. To make a decision at a call based on registry information would be foolish at best and deadly at worst. Gun free zones would ensure only criminals have guns and central repositories would only ensure a greater haul when they are broken into. Perhaps, if there are more officers walking the streets or the courts were not so backlogged that plea bargaining has become a necessity, gun crime might be detected early and punished appropriately. The $2 billion from the gun registry would have gone a long way in making that happen.
SOURCE: Toronto Star Letter, "A flawed waste of time and money", Page A25, September 21, 2006
SERGEANT BOB COTTINGHAM - LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA
Not once, however, during my career do I recall using the gun registry to solve a major crime. Simply put, the vast majority of criminals use firearms which don't come close to being included in this bureaucratic jumble of information. Letter-writer Wendy Cukier may also be disappointed to know that I observed that most front-line officers have little faith in the gun registry, and see it as another bloated and failed attempt by the former government to appease its constituents.
SOURCE: National Post, "Former cop says drop the gun registry", Page A17, July 27, 2006
CPL. MARTIN GAUDET
In dangerous situations, city police preferred to rely on their own information rather than call the registry office in Miramichi. Cpl. Martin Gaudet said officers responding to a potentially dangerous situation always assume there's a firearm involved. "We don't check with the registry during a gun-related incident," he said.
SOURCE: Fredericton Daily Gleaner, "N.B. gun owners hope registry will be closed", Page A1, May 17, 2006
CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
Bolstering the Tories' argument is the Calgary Police Association, the union representing the city's police officers, which insists proposed mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes -- and not the gun registry -- will curb firearms offences. "Wiping the slate clean and not making responsible gun owners into criminals is a good start," said association president Al Koenig.
SOURCE: Calgary Herald, "Alberta hails registry demise", Page A1, May 17, 2006
A.B.J. (BEN) BEATTY: 23-YEAR VETERAN OF THE ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
In June of 2006 I will be commencing my 24th year as a member of the Ontario Provincial Police. For 18 of those years I have been assigned the rank of Detective, specifically assigned to major criminal investigations. I must point out that in all my experience as a police officer I have only investigated one homicide were a firearm was the weapon used in the slaying. In contrast, the majority of murders that I have been involved in as an investigator, a knives were preferred and two separate occasions a hammer was the weapon of choice. I have however been involved in the investigation of countless offences such as robbery, where handguns were the weapon of choice and I must point out Sir, that the firearms registry did not assist in solving one, nor obviously in deterring one. The reasons that the firearms registry is so highly ineffectual are, I believe obvious, but basically it affects the wrong people, law abiding citizens and not criminals. [READ MORE] http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/2006_new/54.htm
SOURCE: Letter to all MPs dated April 5, 2006
LEN GRINNELL, RETIRED RCMP STAFF-SARGEANT
As you have already responded to the position of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in this regard, I offer my wholehearted agreement. As a retired member of the RCMP, who supervised police officers in Canada's largest Detachments, I have grave concerns about the reliance on the registry for data which could result in death or injury of a police officer. Accepting the premise that criminals will not register guns, one has to wonder how that would affect approaching a residence or premises that had been checked with the registry and found "no firearms present"? In the case of a "hit" that indicates the residence in question is owned by a lawful firearms owner, what approach would the police take. My experience has told me that the greatest hazard to police officers is complacence and I found it prudent to continually remind my staff of that fact. Relying on a flawed system for officer safety will eventually lead to a tragedy. It is unfortunate that the CACP did not take the time to consider the consequences of their position and the safety of the men and women they represent.
SOURCE: E-Mail to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated February 1, 2006
GILBERT YARD, RETIRED RCMP SUPERINTENDENT
I am appalled at just how much has been spent to date on the firearms registration process. But perhaps even more disturbing is the misplaced focus on legal firearms. Like many reasonable Canadians, I support programs that address the structural and social situations that give rise to crime. Our first objective should be to promote law-abiding, non-destructive behaviour in as many members of society as possible. There comes a point, however, where punishment and protection of the public must be the focus. In these cases, illegal acts and violent behaviour should be treated with appropriate penalties. From reading my views on gun control and firearms legislation, I suspect that many might feel that I am a "gun nut" with pro-American feelings regarding gun possession. This is just not so. Growing up, my family had limited contact with firearms but we were raised to believe that a gun was a serious tool to be used in appropriate circumstances only. I can understand people who emotionally react to guns as all bad but I am convinced that such emotion can mask the true problem of illegal gun possession and/or usage. During my 37 years of policing I carried a handgun as a tool of my profession. I was also exposed to a wide cross-section of collectors and target shooters who used, stored and transported their weapons in a legal and responsible manner. They are not the problem. The misdirection of time, effort and funding is unforgivable. I believe that Canadians are much too astute to believe that either Bill C-68 or the proposed handgun legislation is anything other than a waste of time, effort and money. Wasting public funds that could really make a difference in acute justice issues, in my view, borders on criminal activity.
SOURCE: THE NORTH SHORE NEWS, "Gun legislation an election issue" published January 11, 2006
ERIC W. FERGUSON, Retired Chief of Police and RCMP Officer
I was 75 years of age on Dec. 31, 2005. Part of my life's story was serving 24 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and four years as Police Chief for the City of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. For the past six or seven years I have stood by and watched the Liberal Government of Canada mishandle gun control and in the process not save one life, but encouraging criminals to commit more offences and yes, help to turn good honest Canadians into criminals. Now Prime Minister your plan to banish all handguns is real "dumb." Sir, have you not figured out yet, that criminals do not register their guns, not now or in the future? Your political plan will not save one life!
SOURCE: Moncton Times and Transcript Letter: "Prime Minister had his chance and failed", Page D8, January 4, 2006
DENIS COTE, PRESIDENT OF THE QUEBEC MUNICIPAL POLICE FEDERATION
A female police officer, gunned down with a weapon powerful enough to kill an elephant while answering a noise complaint, had previously helped arrest her alleged killer for harassing another policewoman. FranAois Pepin was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the death of Const. Valerie Gignac and possessing a firearm. Pepin was also charged with breaking a 1999 probation condition by having a gun outside hunting season. Laval police, reeling from Wednesday's death of their colleague, were blunt in their assessment that the justice system let them down. "How come if you have a ban, you're not allowed to possess a firearm for 10 years, how come you can allow it for the hunting season?" asked Denis Cote, president of the Quebec municipal police federation. "If you're a threat for everybody, make sure you're a threat for all 12 months in a year."
SOURCE: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, "Officer killed with rifle that could fell an elephant" Page A5, December 16, 2005
LEO TONEGUZZI, RETIRED CHIEF OF POLICE
WHEN WILL politicians quit abusing law-abiding members of our society for personal gain? Guns do not kill people. People kill people. Whether it is a gun, knife, baseball bat or other weapon it is merely the means to gain the end result. Mr. Martin, your government promised that the foolhardy gun registration laws you initiated would end the high amount of violence throughout Canada. That plan failed and now to get votes in the greater G.T.A. area you propose an entire ban on all handguns. Did the government ever take a good look at why the violence is occurring? What has the justice system done for us? (Add up the number of years spent in jail by these offenders in the past 10 years for the serious crimes they committed.) Have you tracked the parole boards' decisions? (How many re-offenders have committed serious crimes while on parole?) Who are committing these violent crimes? Is there a common link to drugs? Why can criminals readily obtain hand guns brought in from the U.S.A.? Who are the persons committing all these violent crimes in Toronto? Is there a common link to any specific people and has anyone tried to improve society of these persons, or addressed their problems? Finally, how many of these crimes have been committed by persons who legally own registered handguns? NONE!
SOURCE: Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Letter: "Rob Liberals of 3 area seats over latest foolhardy gun ban" December 17, 2005
SASKATCHEWAN RCMP OFFICER
"I met with an RCMP officer this week who was told by his superiors to stop sending requests to the gun registry before attending domestic disputes because he 'was putting his life in danger'. The RCMP officer was told the usual 'no guns' response to his query 'creates a false sense of security'. The young officer was also told that if he ever criticized the gun registry publicly his career would be over," reported Breitkreuz.
SOURCE: MP Garry Breitkreuz's News Release dated December 15, 2005 - Name withheld at the officer's request
AL KOENIG, PRESIDENT OF THE CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION
But the move may not have the desired effect of cutting down crime because criminals will still be armed, said Al Koenig, president of the Calgary Police Association, the union representing about 1,500 local police officers. "Banning handguns simply doesn't work. You want minimum sentencing for possession of handguns or using them in the commission of an offence." "That is a very simple solution to a very complex problem," Mr. Koenig said. "The ironic thing is after spending $2-billion-plus trying to register them, the best the government can come up with is to outright ban them -- it doesn't solve the problem," he said.
SOURCE: National Post: "Liberals to ban handguns" Page A1/Front December 8, 2005
JOHN GAYDER, SERVING POLICE OFFICER IN ONTARIO – LETTER TO PUBLISHER OF BLUELINE MAGAZINE
Not only has the gun registry diverted billions of dollars from the blue front lines, it has also sowed the seeds of ill will amongst a growing portion of otherwise law abiding gun owners. This group was previously steadfast supporters of the law enforcement community. Many of them now increasingly view us as the enemy or as buffoons. The registry is great at telling me what LAW ABIDING people duly registered their guns. These were never the people I needed to worry about. I don't trust the registry because it will never be able to tell me what I need to know about the riskier anti social [expletive deleted] I may potentially be pulling over at 3am. Criminals and kooks DON'T REGISTER their guns. Every just thinking person abhors gun deaths, but the registry is a costly and misleading flop. There were several technical reasons that guaranteed it would be a flop from the get go. The worst part is that the "gun lobby" warned us about them from the start. They were right and the Chiefs of police were wrong. Believe it.
SOURCE: Letter to the Publisher of Blueline Magazine, November 25, 2005
MURRAY GRISMER, SERVING POLICE OFFICER IN SASKATCHEWAN– LETTER TO PUBLISHER OF BLUELINE MAGAZINE
The strongest lobby against the Firearm Registry is "Truth"; which the public, police and media are slowly come to grips with. They realize they have been sold a dead horse that no matter how much life you try to blow into it, or how much money they spend on Band-Aids or proposed miracle cures, will never ride. The value of the Registry when responding to a domestic dispute is again another red herring thrown out by the Proponents as justification for the obscene expenditure of money. As a police officer with 19 years experience, the last thing I am willing to stake my life on is the information contained in the Firearm Registry. Not only is the information unverified and inaccurate, it has little to do with where a firearm is possibly stored or located. Of greater value is the licensing of owners for this at the very least is an indicator of who may potentially have a firearm in their possession; and yet I would still be a fool to risk my life on negative hit to a query of this information. As a police officer who represented the Saskatchewan Association of Police Officers in opposition to the Firearm Registry, I have spoken with police from across Canada who see little or no value in the Registry. Many have gone so far as to question the rational or motive of the Canadian Professional Police association's continued endorsement of it. I have to agree with you when you question, "How can it ever work?" I don't believe it can; it hasn't in any other jurisdiction where tried. It is time to bury that dead horse; start allocating the resources to Canada's Police and Justice Systems so that we all can feel safer in our homes and at our professions.
SOURCE: Letter to the Publisher of Blueline Magazine, November 22, 2005
RCMP OFFICER IN SASKATCHEWAN
I am an R.C.M.P. member who complied with the registration process for long guns in the last online registration push. Last month I traded the firearm I registered online at wholesale sports in Saskatoon. When they went to process my registration for the new firearm they were told that the one I traded in was never registered. Another waste of taxpayers' money. As a police officer that just confirmed my faith in the current gun registry system and that the current government is doing nothing to protect our members and the general public.
SOURCE: E-Mail dated September 8, 2005 – Name withheld at the RCMP Officer's request
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF BILL BLAIR
Almost a quarter of people cops apprehend with guns are already prohibited from carrying firearms as a result of a previous conviction, Blair said. "It's quite apparent that for those individuals those prohibitions have very little effect," Blair said
Source: Toronto Sun Column: CHIEF'S TOUGH TALK NEEDS TOUGH ACTION, August 5, 2005, Page 7
FIREARMS COMMISSIONER BILL BAKER
On the change of address, if someone is prohibited from having a firearm in the country they are no longer effectively covered by the Firearms Act.
Source: Testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Public Safety, November 24, 2004
CORPORAL WAYNE OAKES, AN RCMP SPOKESMAN...
...said investigators still do not know whether the rapid-fire rifle was registered. And even if they did, he said he is not sure whether that information would be publicly released. "I know some people want to take a jab at the gun registry," he said yesterday. "But from our perspective, it would have made no difference if it was registered or not."
Source: The National Post – Massacre prompts ire for 'futile' gun registry – March 7, 2005, Page A1/Front
17-YEAR VETERAN OF THE YORK REGIONAL POLICE FORCE
The streets of Toronto are still a mess with people being shot and killed every week with, you guessed it, unregistered guns. The gun registry has failed to address the real problem in this country which is all the gun violence occurring on the streets of the big cities. As far as domestic homicides go, please do not tell me that if the long gun was registered, that this fact would of saved the spouse's life. You know as well as I know that the registry does not save lives. In summary, taking guns away from people that should not have them will save lives. This is done through more police officers on the street enforcing existing laws and orders.
Source: Letter to Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan dated February 15, 2005. Officer's name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz, MP.
RCMP COMMISIONER GIULIANO ZACCARDELLI
There was no way to predict the shooting deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., but the force's commissioner revealed yesterday that investigators went so far as to interrogate a fellow police officer who grew up with the killer before launching the fatal raid. Police were well-versed in the police-hater James Roszko's criminal past and Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli said more questions surround Canada's criminal justice system than the force's handling of the incident. "Questions have begun about how an individual like James Roszko has been dealt with by the criminal justice system, even by law enforcement," Commissioner Zaccardelli said. "Once again the issues of civil liberties, jurisprudence and human rights and mental health are all parts of the mix. "An ordinary and manageable police investigation took a random and unexpected turn to the unmanageable and tragic." Commissioner Zaccardelli added: "There is no possible way to plan for, or manage, the insane behaviours of an individual who has crossed the line from criminal to stalker, from suspect to enemy."
Source: The Ottawa Citizen – No way to predict 'insane' acts, RCMP boss says – March 23, 2005, Page A3
LEN MILLER RETIRED DETECTIVE, VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
I would invite letter writer Ron Charach (Forgotten Guns -- May 9) to do the following: Take a .38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver, load it, cock it and place it on the kitchen table. Now take a pit bull and sit it beside the table. Then open your back door and wait to see which one will kill.
Source: The Globe and Mail – Letter to the Editor: Dogs kill, not guns – May 11, 2005, Page A18.
RETIRED SGT. RANDY NELSON
Kerry, You are kidding right? Your article was biased, journalistic clap-trap, and you know it! 3.6 million Police inquires...really? Too bad Garry Breitkreuz can't get at that information, nor can the AG. You know as well as I do that 3.6 million queries is a trumped up number and nobody in the CFR knows where those numbers come from or if they're valid. Your "subject expert" is a shill for the registry. Gee, Kerry, did you think that Rick Buckley was going to bad mouth the registry? Where do you think his paycheck comes from? NWEST is the enforcement (what a joke) arm of the registry. But then again you knew that. If you endorse the registry, then go on the record and say so. But quit your deceit, because we are getting killed out here by ill informed, truth twisting, pundits such as yourself. Let me quote your other "expert" source for the "backing" you claim. Carver: "It's an investigative aid for front-line policing that police members use to find out if there are firearms in the house." Did any of our four young Mounties use the registry to "find out if there are firearms in the house?" God help you and any other supporter if they did. Roszko was a zero in the system -- prohibited from owning firearms. There should not have been so much as a cap-gun on this monster's property. What a Liberal minded, utopianist debacle! Your parting shot regarding the "million dollar" question is easily answered Kerry. Firstly you error, it's a two-billion dollar question, and the answer is -- yes. More Officers will die amid an ocean of faulty and incomplete firearms data. More civilians will die as a result of misplaced priorities. A disgusted reader...
Source: Open Letter to Kerry Diotte, Edmonton Sun, Re. Cops back gun registry – March 16, 2005
WINNIPEG POLICE SGT. PAUL BROWN
Cops are discovering a wide variety of weapons, from high-quality handguns to sawed-off shotguns and "the odd machine-gun," said Brown, who is a member of the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team. Most of them aren't registered, he added.
Source: The Winnipeg Sun – GUNS-TO GO FOR, CRIMINALS USE 'EM AND LOSE 'EM – December 16, 2004, page 4.
FORMER RCMP COMMISSIONER NORMAN INKSTER
But would the registry have prevented the senseless murders of those women in Montreal? No, just as it's not enough to stop most gun crime today. That's because criminals who use guns do not register their guns first. Anecdotal evidence suggests that between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of gun crimes in Canada involve guns that were smuggled in from the United States. The rest were probably once in the hands of law-abiding Canadians but, through loss or theft, ended up in the hands of criminals. Either way, the registry does little or nothing to help police link actual crimes to actual guns.
Source: National Post - Faster than a speeding bullet – December 14, 2004, page A25.
POLICE CHIEF LARRY HAY
Let's not forget the aboriginal men and women who police on reserves in this country ,with next to nothing for resources and often work alone due to ridiculous working conditions and under-staffing levels not tolerated anywhere else in the country. For the majority the gun registry was just a slap in the face on two fronts. It has not improved their ability to combat violent crime one iota, and secondly it has disregarded and infringed upon the law-abiding aboriginal hunter by turning them into criminals by refusing to have another law imposed upon them that ignores their way of life and just doesn't make sense. For a fraction on what has been wasted on the registry Canada could have gone along way to making the aboriginal policing profession a viable career option for aboriginal youth. Keep up the good work!
Police Chief Larry Hay
National Secretary-First Nations Chiefs of Police
Tyendinaga Police Service - Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
Source: E-Mail to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated November 29, 2004
RETIRED O.P.P. SUPERINTENDENT RON COLLINS
I am a retired 33 year veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police. I spent 20 years as a front line officer in rural Ontario and another 8 years as a senior crime investigator in the Headquarters Anti-Rackets and Criminal Investigation Branches before assuming a non-operational position. I retired with the rank of Superintendent and was for several years a member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. I also have 3 children and a son-in-law currently serving with the Ontario Provincial Police.
I am frustrated and bewildered as to how the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police can in clear conscience give public support to the federal firearms registry. A police officer investigating a crime, domestic or complaint of any kind should not give any credence to a registry file that indicates possession or non possession of firearms. Any assumptions based on that information could be seriously flawed and to rely on such information would be foolhardy and dangerous. This of course is compounded given the sorry state the registry files are in. Much more reliable information is, in all likelihood, available from the complainant, spouse, relatives or neighbours at no cost. And if no such information is available then proceeding with the necessary precautions and safeguards is prudent and much safer for the police and the public.
The other aspect of the registry which overwhelms me of course is the time, effort and money that has been wasted and continues to be. All of this just to regulate law abiding people. And it doesn't even do that because it has been so badly bungled. My goodness, if all this time, effort and money was redirected towards the criminal use of firearms and supporting law enforcement it could make a real difference to Canadians.
I'm sure a person of your stature and qualities can see the logic in this and I as a police officer and Canadian citizen sincerely ask you to abandon the registry now and redirect the resources where they will do some good.
Source: Personal letter to the Prime Minister dated February 3, 2004
RCMP CONSTABLE WILLIAM RUDOLPH
Members of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association met in the woods at Island East River for the Gordon Hitchen Memorial Skeet Shooting Competition. None of the guns used in the competition was registered. "We want the police to come out here and charge us," said Ed Hudson, a Saskatchewan member taking part in the competition. The local on-duty RCMP officer declared the skeet shoot a "non-event." In a radio message relayed to reporters by an off-duty officer catching up with paperwork at the Stellarton detachment, Const. William Rudolph intimated that police had more important things to do than get involved in a protest.
Source: The Calgary Herald – Unregistered shooters take aim at gun law – October 17, 2004, Page A5.
CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
And for many, the $1-billion price tag over the past decade still rankles. "One billion dollars would put thousands of police officers on the streets," says Sergeant Al Koenig, head of the Calgary Police Association. "You could buy 50 helicopters and give them to police services." Koenig intends to bring a motion to the floor of the CPPA conference calling for a formal withdrawal of any support for the firearms registry, and for the government to address training, licensing and sentencing issues.
Source: Toronto Star – Debate over gun control rages on – August 21, 2004, National Report Page H01.
NEW BRUNSWICK POLICE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
"Crimes are still being committed with guns that are likely registered," Const. Secord said. "We want to know how they're going to fix that." Constable Dean Secord is President of the 415-member New Brunswick Police Association and a 16-year veteran with the Saint John Police Force
Source: The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, Minister to address nation's police; Gun registry among topics to be discussed – August 18, 2004, Page A4.
CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
"The amount of money that's gone into the registry could have put 5,000 officers on the street across Canada," said Al Koenig, president of the Calgary Police Association, which represents 1,400 rank-and-file officers. For rank-and-file officers such as Koenig, the gun registry has "negligible value" as a crime-fighting tool, because criminals don't register their guns. He notes that in Calgary, investigators have raided marijuana grow-ops and found shotguns inside. The registry, however, did nothing to warn police that a firearm was in the house.
Source: Calgary Herald – Is weapons registry worth its $1B price tag?: Police questioning system's value – June 2, 2004, page A4.
CALGARY POLICE CHIEF
While some police unions oppose the registry, the nation's police chiefs have historically backed it -- though Toronto Chief Julian Fantino recently broke ranks and questioned the registry's value amid an ever-rising tide of shootings in that city. Calgary's police chief won't go as far as Fantino, but said he has concerns with the system and the cost overruns. "Our investigators are encountering situations where registration information isn't accurate," Chief Jack Beaton said recently. "It has to be cost-efficient, or else in our opinion, the money could be better spent."
Source: Calgary Herald – Is weapons registry worth its $1B price tag?: Police questioning system's value – June 2, 2004, page A4.
HOMICIDE DETECTIVE STEVE ROBERTS
"Gun control is a joke," says Montreal homicide detective Steve Roberts. "Bad guys don't register their guns, only people like you and me register their weapons. It would have been a lot cheaper if the government changed the Criminal Code and started treating armed criminals like they do in England", says Roberts. "Robbery in England is one thing but armed robbery is something else. That's worth an easy 10 years jail time."
Source: Blue Line Magazine - Montreal gangs 'locked and loaded' by Albert Sevigny - May 2004, page 33.
MONTREAL POLICE COMMANDER SYLVAIN LEMAY
Montreal Police say that common street criminals are often well armed with cheap weapons. SPVM (Service de la Police de la Ville de Montreal) Commander Sylvain Lemay says that his men, unless they know otherwise, now treat every suspect as if they are armed and dangerous. Lemay, who commands the SPVM's street gang division in the city's southern sector says easy access to weapons has 'raised the bar' of ordinary street crime. "Guns are cheap," says one plainclothes investigator, "and you never know who has one."
Source: Blue Line Magazine - Montreal gangs 'locked and loaded' by Albert Sevigny - May 2004, page 33.
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
Asked about the bamboozle of the federal gun-registry system, a billion-dollar fiasco, Fantino — who does not support the registry, unlike most police chiefs in Canada — noted that the system has not helped Toronto police solve a single homicide. "We have spent an extraordinary amount of money in this one area, but we haven't given the same attention with regards to gun crime in our society."
Source: Quote from The Toronto Star – "A shot fired across the bow of a smug Toronto"– Column by Rosie Dimanno – Page A02, March 10, 2004
RETIRED ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER ROBERT H. HEAD
As a retired police officer (with 38 years of service) and a life member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, I can honestly say the gun registry is the greatest waste of law enforcement funds that has ever been inflicted on the Canadian taxpayer. We need our money spent on programs that will enhance law enforcement, namely more police officers, more criminal intelligence gathering targeted at criminal organizations and more vigilance at our borders to stop illegal immigrants and trade in weapons. Our political masters just don't get it. They continue to believe violent deaths can be eliminated through a gun registry. Nothing is further from the truth.
Source: Quote from The Vancouver Province – "PM should swallow pride, end registry"– February 20, 2004
CST. MURRAY GRISMER, SASKATOON POLICE SERVICE
The never ending saga of how the Liberals have lied to Canadian Taxpayers and Canadian Police has yet reached again another plateau of arrogance and deception. Yes that's right; investigative reporting now uncovers a price tag at 2 Billion Dollars as opposed the 1 Billion Dollars the auditor General's staff were able to track for the Firearm Registry. To put that in terms we can all understand that is a cost overrun of 1000% over the 2 Million Dollar original Liberal price tag. The gross mismanagement and deception is of such a magnitude that the only term truly applicable is Criminal. The fact that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and the Canadian Police Association (now CPPA) have been willing co-conspirators and supporters of this egregious fraud is truly a slight, a black mark to the good character of every officer in Canada. Given the financial scandal just uncovered to the tune of 250 million dollars in the Quebec Sponsorship Affair, of which the RCMP were involved to the sum of 5 million dollars, this gives cause for all to question; when will this all stop? Who in Ottawa does not have their hand in the public purse engaging in conduct that by definition would be nothing short of theft of fraud? We have a great many social issues being starved for money, health care, child poverty, domestic violence programs, the homeless, etc. Our military has been stripped of the tools and funding to adequately fulfill their mandate, forced to use antiquated aircraft and vehicles, supplied with clothing that is inappropriate for their roll in combat operations. Our borders are an open door to drugs, contraband and terrorists. Our streets and schools are plagued with drugs, prostitution and violence escalating at levels that defy reason, explanation or attempts to stem the tide. When will the needs of everyday Canadians be placed ahead of the greed and avarice of politicians and bureaucrats?
Source: Quote from Murray Grismer's e-mail to "Undisclosed Recipients" – February 14, 2004
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
"In the most immediate sense, what we need to do is put these criminals out of commission and we can't do it ourselves," he said, reiterating his calls for harsher sentences. "We need a criminal justice system that works more efficiently and effectively to deter people intent on engaging on a life of crime. "In today's reality, in the minds of far too many criminals, gangsters and that, crime pays," added Fantino. "Going to court every couple of days is the price of doing business. Legal aid is provided, they get bail forever, (and) sentences are discounted like bargain-basement kinds of sales." The most recent slayings brought the number of murders in Toronto to nine so far this year, compared with three at the same time last year.
Source: Quote from The Hamilton Spectator – "Violence shooting down T.O.'s reputation as safe city"– February 24, 2004
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
"I feel that sometimes it's just like digging a hole in the Sahara desert. It keeps filling in. There's no end of guns, no end of gunmen out there. There's no end of drugs and there's no end of violence. Something else has to happen."
Source: Quote from The Toronto Star – "Fantino throws a change-up"– February 13, 2004
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
Since the Guns and Gangs Task Force began conducting compliance checks on residents freed on bail after being charged in a gun-related crime, "almost 50% were breaching their conditions," he said. During such "house calls" over the last four months, 119 of the 239 accused criminals checked were re-arrested for failing to live up to pre-trial release orders. "What does that tell you? They are not intimidated or deterred by the consequences of their actions," Fantino said.
Toronto Police statistics show that "84% of the people we arrest for gun-related offences are all career criminals," he said. Toronto cops last year also responded to a total of 3,285 "gun calls" placed by residents who reported seeing someone with a firearm, hearing gunshots or someone indicating they had a gun. In 2002, there were 2,998 gun calls.
Fantino said he got a "good reception" in recent conversations with federal and provincial lawmakers. In addition to pressing for anyone arrested on a gun-related crime to be denied bail, Fantino wants mandatory 10-year prison terms for convicted gunmen instead of "graduated scales." Denying bail would avoid "the revolving door" that leaves witnesses in fear after thugs are quickly freed, Fantino said. "Let's put the fear back into criminals and not into citizens, as the gunmen have been doing," he said.
Source: Quote from The Toronto Sun – "IT'S US VS. GUNS FANTINO REVEALS PLANS FOR COMMUNITY SUMMIT" – January 28, 2004
PRESIDENT OF THE CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION
Prime minister Paul Martin is re-thinking another one of the legacies of the Chretien era. Martin says his government will review the federal gun registry. The registry has already cost one billion dollars and the Liberals want to find out if the money could be more effective in other areas, such as border security. The head of the Calgary Police Association says the money could be better spent hiring more police officers or cracking down on the criminals. "A lot of our members on the street say they don't really care if the gun that's firing at them is registered or unregistered," said Al Koenig. "The fact is, the gun exists and the person that pulled the trigger should be paying a far greater price than what they are receiving right now."
Source: Quote from CTV NEWS – "Gun registry under fire from prime minister" - CFCN.ca – Posted at 6:07 PM Wednesday, January 7
Loren Schinkel of the Winnipeg Police Association
Loren Schinkel of the Winnipeg Police Association says the registry has done little to curb crime. The registry has rung up roughly a billion dollars in expenses since it was first announced in the mid-1990s. Schinkel compares that dollar amount to Winnipeg's annual police budget, which is less than $150 million. "If you put it into that context, you could certainly understand what that money could do for the citizens of any major centre." Premier Gary Doer wants the whole gun registry shot down. "This is a boondoggle," he says. "It's too much for very few results. We can use this money for health care and more security at the border.
Source: Quote from CBC Winnipeg - Doer: gun registry 'boondoggle'' - Web Posted | Jan 8 2004 09:19 AM CST
PRESIDENT OF THE CALGARY POLICE ASSOCIATION
Al Koenig, president of the Calgary Police Association, said the vast amount of money spent on the firearms program could have been much better put to use for front-line police officers in Canada. He said the program has had no effect on crime or acted in any way as a deterrent. "Our position on this is very firm," said Koenig. "We do not support it, and we will be fighting against it. "The police and the public are still at risk. . . . Despite the money spent, it should be scrapped."
Source: Quote from The Calgary Herald – "Police union blasts gun registry" – January 5, 2004
CANADIAN CRIME VICTIM FOUNDATION
Joe Wamback, of the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation, backed claims by Police Chief Julian Fantino that too often police arrest career criminals only to find them back on the streets. "It seems judges are in competition to give the lightest sentence. There is no consequence for violent crime, so there is no justice," Wamback said. "Justice statistics from 65 countries show Canada is No. 1 when it comes to giving the shortest sentences to criminals." In November, Fantino asked Ottawa to review the justice system but says he has had no reply. Police need more help to keep thugs behind bars and off the streets, Fantino said after the recent rash of gang shootings.
Source: Quote from The Toronto Sun – "City urged to back cops advocate say Fantino's right" December 29, 2003
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
The homicide rate in Toronto crept to its highest level in a decade after a bloody holiday weekend in which two young people were shot dead and police found a body they suspect is that of a missing teenager. This comes as Police Chief Julian Fantino called on the federal government to review the criminal justice system. Chief Fantino told reporters that the vast majority of gun crimes in the city involve people with criminal records, and that there are at least 73 street gangs operating in Toronto. On Saturday, two men died in separate gun-related incidents and another 18-year-old is recovering in hospital. So far, there have been 64 homicides in Toronto, compared with 60 last year and 61 in 2001.
Source: Quote from The Globe and Mail – "Bloody weekend brings year's homicide toll to 64" – December 29, 2003
HOMICIDE STAFF-INSPECTOR GARY ELLIS
This weekend, however, the violence became particularly vicious. There were three murders, 28 robberies and five home invasions, including one where a baby had a gun pointed at her head. Homicide Staff-Inspector Gary Ellis said public safety is being threatened by weak youth crime laws, soft prison terms, ineffectual firearms laws and a proposal to decriminalize dope.
Source: Quote from The Toronto Sun - 'WAKEUP CALL' COPS ASK PUBLIC TO COME FORWARD AFTER WEEKEND OF GANG VIOLENCE - November 4, 2003.
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
"And while he acknowledged crime stats have been drifting lower for several years now, Fantino said gun crime is a problem that just won't go away. Just under 50%, or 17 of the 40 murders so far this year, have involved guns, and guns are involved in fully half of all armed robberies. Cops have seized more than 1,500 guns in 2003, averaging 42 a week. The federal gun registry, criticized for costing too much, has been of precious little help, he said. Fantino repeated his wish for mandatory 10-year sentences for gun-related crimes, tougher and more consistent bail and release conditions and an agreement with hospitals for automatic reporting of gunshot injuries."
Source: Quote from TORONTO SUN - "GUNS TARGET OF TASK FORCE MORE OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO MOST-WANTED LIST"- September 27, 2003
TORONTO POLICE SERGEANT JOE GATAVECKAS
The existence of gun rentals in Toronto is not a new phenomenon, according to police, but one that signals an increasing gang presence on city streets. "I don't think it's something new; it's something that's resurging," said Sergeant Joe Gataveckas. "Wherever there's gangs, there's guns." In some cases, police have arrested suspects after a shooting and discovered they rented the weapon only an hour earlier. But while charges for possession or distribution of illegal firearms carry heavy penalties, Sgt. Gataveckas is not confident they quell the demand for rented weapons. "They don't care what laws they're breaking, they just want to go out and shoot somebody," he said.
Source: Quote from the National Post – "Police link gun rentals to growth of gangs" – August 25, 2003
CST. MURRAY GRISMER, SASKATOON POLICE SERVICE
Well it has happened; the law enforcement officer has now became the criminal. Through no fault, negligence, fraud, theft or deceit on my part, I have joined the ranks of Canada's "Criminal Element". Many of which I am proud to stand beside. How could this happen many may ask? The truth is both complex and simple. As of July 1, 2003, I did not have registration certificates for all or any of my firearms.
Well now there it is, many would say I must have neglected to send in the registrations, therefore I was negligent. Not so! In December 2002, I like many Canadians sent in registration information for my firearms to the Canadian Firearm Center. To ensure the speedy and guaranteed receipt of my information I sent the documents by Canada Post Registered mail. To further guarantee the delivery I paid an extra premium to have it return registered so that I would have a copy of the signature of receipt, which I got. I have documented proof that the CFC received my registration docuements.
Well now, many would say then I must have been deceitful, again Not so ! I sent them the information that they stated was mandatory along with my PAL number and the registration numbers for any restricted or prohibited firearms that I have. It was all there.
Well now, many will question how did this happen?, for the CFC and the Minister of Justice stated that I must and would have my registrations by June 30, 2003. After that date I would then be facing Criminal Charges and Prosecution.
Well June 30, 2003, has came and gone and I have checked my mail box faithfully but to date I have "NO" Registration Certificates for any of my firearms.
There you have it I have been made a CRIMINAL, not through my negligence but through the negligence and lack of due diligence on the part of the CFC, RCMP and the Federal Department of Justice.
If I were a person who believes in criminal conspiracies, I would believe that as I have long been an outspoken opponent of the Firearms Registry on behalf of Police Officers, that the Government, CFGC and the CFC are attempting to vilify me by making me a criminal. But that wouldn't happen in Canada would it ..... would it?
I have told other police officers that I do not have registration certificates for my firearms. Now here comes the strange part, they don't care. Not because I am a fellow officer, but because they recognize the clear and blatant fact the Firearm Registry is now and always will be a "FAILURE" of gigantic proportion. None, and I repeat none, have any confidence in the system or the information it contains. None of the many fine police officers I know or have represented are willing to place their credibility on the line, based on a registry so inherently fraught with errors both in data captured and information lost or deleted.
When you and the Canadian public hear David Griffin, Executive Director of the Canadian Police Association extolling the virtues of the Firearm Registry and how Canada's police support it, you must realize this undisputable fact, they have never, not once ever, polled the rank and file police officers of Canada's Police Forces, that they claim to represent on the issue.
Further the CPA can never be accused of original thought on the issue of for they merely regurgitate the information provided to them by the CFC and the Justice Ministers department, while readily discounting or attempting to discredit empirical information, studies and polls to the contrary. Thus you have heard accusations that the CPA is nothing more than a "shill" for the Federal Justice Minister. I leave it to you and the Canadian Taxpayers, who have to foot the Billion Dollar bill for this fiasco to be the Judges. I am however confident that both of you have the intellect and intelligence to see the truth.
I find it rather interesting that the newly struck Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of the CFC has not only the CPA, but also a representative of the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association. This last group is some what of a paradox given the fact that many First Nations Groups across Canada are challenging the registration of firearms as a violation of Treaty and Constitutional rights. Thus it would appear that the First Nations Chiefs of Police support legislation that may in fact violate the rights of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples. If I were cynical, I would say this of the Advisory Committee, that you only get what you pay for.
Well now, I guess that I am now left to await Wayne Easter's goons to come and get me, for I am a criminal, albeit in good company. Never once in any forum have I ever advocated criminal action or civil disobedience, yet here I am one of Canada's new breed of criminal, a Firearms Owner.
Maybe Wayne Easter can get David Griffin to come and arrest me, if he can find his way out of Ottawa, remember what real police work is all about and summon up enough courage to try.
Source: Quote from Murray Grismer's e-mail to Justice Minister Martin Cauchon and Solicitor General Wayne Easter dated July 4, 2003
CONSTABLE GORD NASH, NIAGARA REGIONAL POLICE
Constable Gord Nash, The NRP's use-of-force analyst, said the types of firearms police have been finding are no longer just the standard shotguns or rifles. In St.Catharines in 2002, police recovered an Uzi, Cobray Mac 10 Machine pistol- similar to a submachine gun- and three 9mm Intratecs machine pistols. "They aren't your traditional weapons you came across in the past, but you're coming across them now," Nash said. "While police don't know why there has been such an increase, Nichols said the proliferation of firearms is a concern to services throughout Ontario. "While the debate seems to revolve around registered firearms, we continue to deal with unregistered and smuggled firearms."
Source: Quote from The St. Catharines Standard – "Police finding more weapons" – February 4, 2003
DALE BURN, CALGARY POLICE SERVICE
"If people want guns, they're always going to be able to get the guns and, unfortunately, those people are the ones that get the guns for the wrong reasons. Not a lot we can do about it, do the best we can, but I think it all boils down to stiffer penalties, get the people off the street, the guns go with them," said Dale Burn, Calgary Police Service."
Source: Quote from CFCNplus.ca – "Gun debate heats up in Calgary" – Tuesday, February 18, 2003
PRESIDENT OF THE 66-MEMBER ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE, CHIEF TOM KAYE
Ontario's police chiefs have branded Ottawa's controversial gun registry program an "unenforceable" mess and are warning that they will not charge people under the law until problems are resolved. "It puts us in a position where the law is unenforceable, so we're advising our officers to use discretion and not issue offence notices until this mess is sorted out," said Owen Sound police Chief Tom Kaye yesterday. Kaye is president of the 66-member Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. "It wouldn't be right to charge someone when we wouldn't have a reasonable chance of getting a conviction," Kaye said. At a meeting in Halton Hills this week, the executive of the chiefs' association voted to send a letter suggesting the federal government put the registry on hold until the problems are resolved. "When the registry was first proposed, the government came to us looking for support; if we are going to maintain that level of support, we want some answers about what's going on," Kaye said.
Source: Quote from The Toronto Star – "Chiefs balk on gun registry; Fix it, then we'll enforce it, say Ontario police," Page A07, January 25, 2003
BLUE LINE MAGAZINE COLUMNIST, ROBERT STEVENS
The artful and creative use of statistics is employed all the time in order to bolster weak arguments. The most recent, and significant example that comes to mind are Canadian long gun statistics. Dubious methodology was used to obfuscate the fact that a miniscule amount of violent crime could be attributed to rifles and shotguns – and even that tiny number was diminishing when compared with the ubiquitous hand gun which, we note, has been subject to firearms registration for 68 long years. All this to support the draconian, intrusive, costly (and next to useless) Government Long Gun Registry. Need one observe that the nearly billion dollar Long Gun Registry has, to date, not spared one homicide victim shot dead by illicit hand guns this year? How many added police patrols would a billion bucks have bought? Eight times more money has been spent on regulating duck hunters than on counterterrorism yet it's reported time and again that terrorist cells exist in Canada. Lesson: Duck hunters are safer to regulate than armed killers and terrorists.
Source: Quote from Blue Line Magazine – "The toss of a coin" – The Back of the Book column by Robert Stevens, Page 38 - January 2003.
PRESIDENT OF THE VANCOUVER POLICE UNION, TOM STAMATAKIS
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver Police Union, told me: "I can't say if the registry has been helpful or not. It has been such a long, drawn-out process of getting the firearms registered. And there have been problems with compliance." Stamatakis says police would get "more bang for our money by investing in staffing, equipment, ways of dealing with horrendous drug issues and marijuana grow ops and availability of court time. I see lots of other areas that could use the resources being committed to this firearms registry."
Source: Quote from The St. Catherines Standard – Column by Barbara Yaffe, "Liberals defy calls to end gun registry: Eight provinces and three territories want program to be halted," Page A7, January 14, 2003
PRESIDENT, WINNIPEG POLICE ASSOCIATION, LORNE SCHINKEL
Loren Schinkel, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, says his 1,500-member group opposed the firearms registry from day one. Most problem guns, says Schinkel, are smuggled across the border -- semi-automatics and submachine guns. Their owners don't register them, for sure. In Winnipeg, among those registering were owners of a soldering gun and a paint-removal heat gun. Schinkel says when he thinks of cutbacks in RCMP labs, in police staffing and at the Canadian Police College, the "black hole" gun registry frustrates him. "Let's get a grip here and get the right priorities back into the system."
Source: Quote from The St. Catherines Standard – Column by Barbara Yaffe, "Liberals defy calls to end gun registry: Eight provinces and three territories want program to be halted," Page A7, January 14, 2003
CAMROSE POLICE CHIEF, MARSHALL CHALMERS
Camrose police chief Marshall Chalmers is still struggling to understand the logic and costs behind the new federal firearms act. "That's something we're struggling with as chiefs across the province. I don't see (the need), given its massive costs." Chalmers said that prior to its implementation "the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police were assured that the program's cost wouldn't top $800 million and it is now nearly a billion and the deadlines keep changing. It's nearly impossible to enforce." In Chalmers' estimation the money "would have been better spent working to bring criminals to justice and by funding joint force operations that police forces deal with daily and by providing the resources we need to deal with organized crime and criminals." Gun registration is not new. In fact, "we've been registering handguns since 1933...Clearly, it's not working."
Source: Quote from The Camrose Canadian – February 2, 2003.
REGINA POLICE CHIEF, CAL JOHNSON
What was once a solid blue line of police support for the federal gun registry is developing cracks. The latest comes from Regina's police chief. Cal Johnston says he supports the concept of a national firearms licensing and registration scheme. However, he is not impressed with Ottawa's efforts so far. "I do not think we -- 'we' being government -- have done a good job of implementing the whole program." With the registry costs hovering around one billion dollars -- and counting – Johnston wonders if the system will ever produce the desired results.
Source: Quote from CBC SASKATCHEWAN – MORNING NEWS - John Weidlich, CBC News, Regina. January 31, 2003
REGINA POLICE SGT. RICK BOURASSA
Police in Regina say they haven't yet had a lot of use for the new gun registry. The Canadian Police Association claims the controversial database provides useful information in less than one second. However, Regina officials can not confirm that figure. Sgt. Rick Bourassa says officers in his city do not use the data-base very often. And he would not demonstrate if the computer actually does respond to information requests in less than one second. "We cannot provide first-hand experience to validate that. We simply can't. It would be an improper use of that system, for us to do that. It's a system that we have access to, but we do not control. So, we're allowed access for legitimate policing purposes, but not for demonstration purposes." Bourassa says it is up to individual police officers to decide if they want to use the firearms data-base, before responding to a call.
Source: Quote from CBC SASKATCHEWAN – MORNING NEWS - John Weidlich, CBC News, Regina. January 22, 2003
KINGSTON POLICE CHIEF BILL CLOSS
Kingston's police chief has added his voice to those with reservations about the federal gun registry. "There's a benefit if every single gun in Canada is registered," Closs said. "But the flaw in the whole thing is that criminals aren't going to register theirs. I see some value in it, but the value I see, the amount of benefit, does not justify the amount of money spent on it." "Holistically, it started out as a good idea," Closs said. "But I'd never argue that our streets are any safer because of federal gun legislation."
Source: Quote from The Kingston Whig-Standard, Page 1/Front, January 20, 2003
LONDON POLICE CHIEF BRIAN COLLINS
While we don't always see eye-to-eye with London Police Chief Brian Collins, we were impressed with his reaction to the bungled federal long-gun registry in a meeting with The Free Press editorial board this week. He lamented that in letting the cost of the registry skyrocket from an initial $2 million estimate to $1 billion, Ottawa had brought "the administration of justice into disrepute . . . It's such a disaster. They've made a mockery of it."
Source: Quote from The London Free Press, Editorial: GOOD AIM, CHIEF, Page A8 – January 15, 2003
SOUTH GREY BRUCE POLICE CHIEF DENNIS W. PLAYER
"The feds are spending (at least) a billion dollars to bring law-abiding citizens, not the criminals, under compliance, Player said in reference to the tough new federal gun control legislation, Bill C-68. "The cost of the registry is abhorrent. But there are added costs of courts, clerks, and if people are sent to jail that will be another expense … it just continues – no one's addressing it," he said. The priorities established in the gun control legislation are backwards, Player said. "There's little resolution provided by the government to address the criminal element – the criminals with guns," he said. Player said Bill C-68 cannot stop criminals from using firearms. "Those inclined to use guns will find a way to get to them," he said. "It's pure speculation if this legislation will reduce those numbers. Until there is evidence, Player said he will remain in doubt that criminal element of our society is being addressed by Bill C-68. "I'm a black-and-white-figures-type of guy – show me the money and I'll believe it." Another issue surrounding the program is enforcement, Player said. "How do I enforce this? The truth is – I do not know. Do I start indiscriminately, asking for their guns or do we base it on information we receive (about illegal ownership)?" Player said. The bottom line is, the chief said, very little thought went into drafting Bill C-68. "I do not like guns, I gotta tell ya. But I just see too many problems with issues surrounding the legislation, especially with enforcement."
Source: Quote from Hanover Post, "Gun registry troubles chief" – January 8, 2003
RETIRED RCMP OFFICER JACQUES DRISDELLE
I am a retired RCMP officer with 29 years of service … serving in Ontario, NWT, Yukon and BC with 21 postings. I haven't been retired long enough not to keep in touch with several friends in the force. I always like to ask them what they think of the new gun laws. They tell me what I also know, that the gun registry does very little or nothing in reducing violent crime. The smart officers do not rely on the gun registry database when responding to a complaint, whether domestic or other. If they rely on the information they receive, they know they will place themselves in harms way, because the information available is not reliable and never will be. The great majority of street policeman know that the firearms registry is a complete waste of money and poorly thought out. A person illegally and criminally using a firearm is the problem, not the firearm. Bill C-68 is attempting to deal with firearms related crime by addressing firearms and not the real problem, "people" or better yet, "criminals." Bill C-68 is but one step towards complete confiscation of all firearms and contrary to the "do-gooders", nothing about reducing crime. You or I and millions of others who own firearms are not "criminals" and would and will never use them for a criminal purpose. Unfortunately this law has everything to do with anti-firearms and the advocates behind the law than reality. It's sad when anti-gun advocates can rule other innocent people's lives.
Source: Quote from an e-mail posted on the Canadian Firearms Digest – January 29, 2003.
BORDEN-CARLTON POLICE CHIEF JAMIE FOX
"Meanwhile, Borden-Carlton Police Chief Jamie Fox, in a statement issued to Island media outlets this morning, called the registry a massive waste of tax dollars that could have been spent on health care and other pressing social needs.
Source: Quote from The PEI Journal-Pioneer, January 6, 2003
RETIRED RCMP COMMISSIONER L.H. NICHOLSON
"Back in the mid-1970s, when gun owners were fighting the sillier aspects of then justice minister Ron Basford's gun control legislation, one of the principle speakers for common sense was the late Colonel Len Nicholson. Nicholson was the commissioner of the RCMP in the 1930s and at that time an advocate of registration of handguns. In the '70s, Nicholson spent much of his own time, money and effort traveling the country speaking out against registration of sporting arms. "Had I known in 1934 what I know today," he said, "I would have had nothing to do with it. Mere registration has never solved a crime and only harasses the legitimate gun owner." Nicholson warned gun clubs never to accept registration of their sporting rifles. "It is simply the thin edge of the wedge towards confiscation, and serves no legitimate useful purpose," he said.
Source: Quote from Outdoor Canada "REGISTER YOUR PROTEST – If Ottawa registers our sporting guns we may very well end up losing them" – March 1994 Issue, Page 10.
TORONTO POLICE CHIEF JULIAN FANTINO
"We have an ongoing gun crisis including firearms-related homicides lately in Toronto, and a law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of them," said Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino. "None of the guns we know to have been used were registered, although we believe that more than half of them were smuggled into Canada from the United States. The firearms registry is long on philosophy and short on practical results considering the money could be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public safety initiatives."
Source: Quote from a News Release by Ontario Minister of Public Safety and Security, Bob Runciman, "Eves government urges Ottawa to suspend gun registry" January 3, 2003.
POLICE CHIEF RICK HIEBERT
What was wrong with the firearms laws in place before Allan Rock's "new ideas"? I am a police chief in rural Manitoba and, contrary to what many politicians claim, not nearly all police officers or chiefs are in favour of gun registry. The general public is constantly being fed lines to suggest that if our present gun laws did not exist, we would have nothing to regulate firearms and firearms users. Lloyd Axworthy states in the Free Press, Dec. 19, that the spending problems are being used to push the trashing of the entire gun-control system. He also suggests a study into "how to best secure an effective way of protecting citizens against the scourge of unrestrained access to and use of firearms." Let's set the record straight! Prior to the new laws, all firearms users already were properly screened and licensed. Safe storage and transportation laws existed. All handguns and automatic long guns (restricted and prohibited) already had been registered for decades. Only sporting firearms were not registered. For this we are paying over $1 billion? If someone was cleared to own guns, what does it matter how many sporting guns he/she owns? They were deemed to be safe citizens. A police officer responding to a call can never count on a computer record as to what John Doe has or does not have at his disposal. Even if John Doe is entered as having a firearms licence, that does not mean caution can be put aside. The excellent system we already had was running smoothly AND was paid for. How many other ways could this money have been spent wisely? RICK HIEBERT, Winkler
Source: Quote from The Winnipeg Free Press "Police chief critical of new gun-control system" Letters to the Editor, Page A11 – January 6, 2003
SGT. PETER KAWALILAK, PRESIDENT OF THE ALBERTA FEDERATION OF POLICE OFFICERS
Cops won't hesitate to enforce Canada's new gun registration laws - but they'll need a clear picture of who's breaking them, says the Alberta Federation of Police Associations. "It's a bad law, I'll say that right now," said federation president Sgt. Peter Kawalilak.
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun "ASSOCIATION HEAD SAYS GUN REGISTRATION RULES NEED CLARIFICATION" Page 12, January 6, 2003.
SGT. PETER RATCLIFF, PRESIDENT OF THE EDMONTON POLICE ASSOCIATION
The EPS will investigate unregistered firearms as part of any case in which they've been used, spokesman Wes Bellmore said. "As far as going door to door and looking in closets? No," he said. "I don't think any police force has the manpower to do it." A federal demand for a crackdown on unregistered guns would generate a lot more work for understaffed police forces, says a cop association spokesman. "We have bigger issues in Edmonton than people having unregistered firearms. Far bigger issues to deal with. And we don't take our marching orders from the feds," said Sgt. Peter Ratcliff, president of the Edmonton Police Association.
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun "GUN LAW PRESSURE RESISTED - COPS WON'T TARGET REGISTRY SCOFFLAWS" Page 5 – December 10, 2002.
POLICE ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO
Bruce Miller a spokesman for the Police Association of Ontario, said Wednesday it is "far too early" to say if the registry has prevented homicides or other firearms-related deaths, as has been claimed by politicians who created the program. "The amount of money that has been spent on this registry would be better invested in front-line policing," Miller said.
Source: Quote from The Ottawa Citizen "Registry too costly, Ontario police say: There are better ways to 'save lives' – Page A6 - December 5, 2002.
ONTARIO PUBLIC SAFETY MINISTER, ROBERT RUNCIMAN
Bob Runciman, the Ontario Minister of Public Safety and Security, said yesterday Mr. Rock should step down for his role in the fiasco. "I think Allan Rock should resign. I really do," said Mr. Runciman, who said he warned the federal government years ago during Senate hearings that the registry "was not going to have any impact in terms of public safety [or] getting guns out of the hands of criminals and was going to cost well over $1-billion." "It's all proven true. [Mr.] Rock adamantly pushed ahead with this against many in his own caucus, against most of the law-abiding citizens in this country -- in rural parts of the country, for sure," he said. "I think he has an obligation to resign."
Source: Quote from The National Post "Liberals drop bid for gun money: Government cancels vote; Rock spreads blame widely – Page A1 - December 6, 2002.
ONTARIO PUBLIC SAFETY MINISTER, ROBERT RUNCIMAN
Then, real and effective monies could have been directed where they are more needed. You have to like what Ontario Public Safety Minister Robert Runciman had to say on the matter: "They've got a billion bucks to go after the farm widow who has a shotgun in the attic, but these are the real problems on the streets we're facing in our major cities in Canada."
Source: Quote from The Globe and Mail "Shot through with waste. The millions spent registering hunting rifles could have been used to cleanse cities of handguns" Page A5 - December 5, 2002.
PRESIDENT OF THE EDMONTON POLICE ASSOCIATION, SGT. PETER RATCLIFF
With just five weeks to go before gun owners have to register their weapons, the Edmonton Police Association has its doubts the Canadian Firearms Centre will ever work. "In theory it's a great idea," said Sgt. Peter Ratcliff, president of the Edmonton Police Association. "In reality, it's fraught with problems. It's taken too long, it's cost too much money, it's full of errors."
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun "FIREARMS CENTRE WON'T WORK: CITY COP" Page 24 – November 26, 2002.
M. Harwood of Cowley, Alberta
Re: My e-mail to Garry of Aug 23 about C-68. "You asked me for a quote which you may post. You may use the following: I am a retired police officer who served actively on the street for all of my career and in the process received several promotions. In regard to Bill C-68, I am appalled to learn the amount the government has spent on this legislation to date. Of the material contained in C-68, I support safe storage of firearms. I support careful screening, training and licencing of people who wish to own firearms, but once they have been screened, whether they want own one firearm or a dozen makes no difference-they have already been deemed fit to own firearms. To carry it to the next level ie: registration is both redundant and a total waste of public funds. I do not support the contention that registering all firearms will make it any safer for police officers attending a complaint. If firearms owners are licenced, and a police officer has to attend a call at such an address, whether the person owns one firearm or several makes no difference. Further, if they have gone to the trouble of obtaining a firearms licence they are not likely to jeopardize their firearms ownership with inappropriate behavior. The more important safety issue from a police officer safety standpoint comes from attending calls at addresses where there is no licenced firearms owner. At these addresses, the officer has no idea at all whether there are firearms present or not. Quite simply, no criminal would bother attempting to obtain a firearms licence to have a firearm for criminal purposes, yet these are the very people who are more likely to use a firearm against a police officer. Neither licencing nor registration will prevent criminals from obtaining firearms if they want one bad enough. In summary, licencing makes sense. Registration does not. Far better to have invested all the money wasted on registration to enhance police resources and bolster already stretched police budgets than to waste it on the redundancy of registering firearms to an already known person."
Source: E- Mail transmission from M. Harwood of Cowley, Alberta dated September 12, 2002.
RCMP Cst. Steve Poirier
"There are approx 49,000 registered firearms in B.C. belonging to people who have not applied for the new firearms licence. I inform police of this statistic however also advise no police force has the manpower to deal with it." RCMP Cst. Steve Poirier, Course Coordinator of the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre – April 16, 2002.
Source: From a copy of an e-mail provided by the RCMP in response to an Access to Information Act request [RCMP File: 02ATIP-14326] dated July 8, 2002.
Robert Frolic, National Weapons Enforcement Support Team
"The gun law system has created a (black) market out there simply because there are so many gun rules in this country," he says. "The profit margin is tremendous. You can have all the laws in the world and all the enforcement people behind every bush," he says. "You will never stop these people."
Source: Robert Frolic, National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) as quoted in The Hamilton Spectator, June 6, 2002.
President of the Winnipeg Police Association, Loren Schinkel
[Note: Homicide investigator and President of the Winnipeg Police Association, Loren Schinkel] Schinkel also opposes Bill C-68 which calls for compulsory registration of all guns. "Did it do Const. (Mike) Templeton any good?" asked Schinkel in reference to the shooting of the RCMP officer 10 days ago as he approached a stolen car. Schinkel's argument that the justice system is wishy-washy was driven home Friday when two men were sentenced to six and three years respectively for a pair of convenience store armed robberies last December. During both robberies, store clerks – working near-minimum wage – were forced, at the point of a 9-mm Beretta handgun – to lie on the floor. These sentences fly in the face of a 1995 Criminal Code amendment which calls for a minimum three-year sentence consecutive to any other for using a firearm in the commission of a crime. In this case, the men should have received six years each, plus time for the robberies.
Source: Quote from The Winnipeg Sun, March 3, 2002.
Ted Doncaster, President of the New Brunswick Police Association
The database is supposed to allow police officers the ability to check, when responding to a call, if there are guns in a household. That way an officer will know if there is the potential for grave danger when they answer a call. But some front-line officers argue they would be idiots to rely on a registry that nobody can guarantee is complete, and that officers who don't realize that all calls must be treated with the utmost caution are playing with their very lives." At first glance it was an excellent, excellent selling feature," says Sackville police officer Ted Doncaster. "A lot of time has passed since then," he adds, chuckling at the irony of a safety feature that police can rely on only at their own peril. "I will say the words. I think we were sucked in."
Source: Quote from The Moncton Times and Transcript – February 25, 2002. Ted Doncaster is also President of the New Brunswick Police Association.
Const. Tim Shields, Surrey RCMP
According to Surrey RCMP Const. Tim Shields, only a select few will be affected, and the legislation will not prevent the good percentage of the total number of homicides in Surrey which are firearms-related from taking place. "If people do own the kinds of guns they're talking about getting registered, they're probably firearms enthusiasts and they own the guns legally," said Shields. "We're not seeing those guns used in crime. As a generalization, a good number of firearms we see used in crimes are usually illegally owned."
Source: Quote from The Now Newspaper, Surrey, BC – January 5, 2002.
Al Bohachyk, head of the Alberta Federation of Police Associations
Al Bohachyk, head of the Alberta Federation of Police Associations, lobbied against CPA endorsement. He said he doesn't know why delegates voted to maintain support. "The issue is as divisive among police as it ever was," he said. "I'm confused as anyone. I think some delegates were concerned about public perception of an about-face." Bohachyk suggested some delegates were worried they might lose some lobbying clout with the federal Liberals if they embarrassed the government over the gun law.
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun – March 22, 2001.
Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk, president of the Edmonton Police Association
Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk, president of the Edmonton Police Association, said privatization of the registry is a serious concern because the dangers that criminals could run registry agencies. "When you move the control of such delicate information out of the hands of a public entity into the hands of a private entity, you are no longer able to guarantee the security of that information," Bohachyk said. He remains concerned about the registry even with the latest changes. He wants the Canadian Police Association to withdraw its support of the current gun legislation. In his view, it puts legitimate gun owners through needless hoops while doing little to block "the bad guys."
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Journal – March 14, 2001.
Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk, Alberta Federation of Police Associations
"The changes they're talking about might smooth out the registration program. But they won't address our concerns about the accuracy of the registration information," said EPS Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk, head of the Alberta Federation of Police Associations. "There's very little confidence among police of the accuracy of the information. And when we're using the gun information on an investigation, we have to be 99% sure it's correct. Changes to the act might help the feds build their monument to public safety. But if we can't trust the information, it's a hollow act."
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun – March 14, 2001.
Syd Brown, President, The Police Retirees of Ontario Inc
"I am a retired Police Officer. This Law will do nothing whatsoever to prevent or stop the illegal sale, purchase and/or the use of guns for criminal activity in Canada!" I sincerely appreciate all of your efforts in bringing to the Public the true facts of the Gun Law, its costs and all of the problems associated with implementing all of the provisions and Regulations of this Law which will not end the weekly and sometimes daily shooting incidents which occur in Canada's major cities."
Source: Quote by Mr. Syd Brown, President of The Police Retirees of Ontario Inc in a fax transmission to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated March 14, 2001.
Grant Obst, President, Canadian Police Association
"It bothers me that the public would not support me in my line of duty. We've never been at odds with the public before. This issue has done this."
Source: Quote by Grant Obst, President of the Canadian Police Association - Western Canadian Firearms Summit in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – March 10, 2001
Grant Obst, President, Canadian Police Association
Canadian Police Association president Const. Grant Obst said yesterday a lot of Canadian cops who believe in the "concept" of a gun registry have profound doubts that the one being run by CFC [Canadian Firearms Centre] will ever offer police the information they need to fight crime. "They're not happy with the information-gathering," he said. "They're asking themselves, will the information be accurate."
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun - February 7, 2001.
Sergeant with the Toronto Police Service
"I have been on your mailing list for the last couple of years, your letters have always kept me up to date and informed on the great C68 LIE. As a working police officer for the past 28 years, I know of nothing in C68 that will prevent any criminal misuse of firearms."
Source: Excerpt from an undated letter from a Sergeant with the Toronto Police Service. Name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz, MP.
Edmonton Police Association President Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk
Edmonton Police Association President Staff Sgt. Al Bohachyk said police confidence in the gun law has been slipping since it was passed, and beforehand. "Before we ever had tangible examples of system failures, police were suspicious about the accuracy of the system's information gathering," he said.
Source: Quote from The Edmonton Sun - February 7, 2001.
Veteran police officer
"I recently received correspondence from you outlining the CPA Executive Board's decision to continue to support the gun registry. As a member of the CPA and a front line police officer for 27 years, I was very disappointed to hear that the CPA Executive had decided to continue their support for this program. I believe that their decision was made for purely political reasons, and was not made in consultation with its members nor is this decision supported by the majority of members of the CPA. The gun registry is a complete waste of money that will do nothing to make our streets safer- indeed I believe it will have the opposite effect. The $500 million dollars already spent on this program would have been better spent on paying for more police officers to patrol our streets, more custom guards to protect our borders, better resources, or more money spent on substance abuse centres, all things that would actually have made our communities safer. Instead the government has chosen to spend one half billion dollars (and counting) to address a problem that does not exist - the wide spread abuse of firearms by law abiding citizens. Another concern I have with the approach of the federal government in this matter is one you alluded to in you correspondence- the rift it creates between the police and the citizens of this country. C-68 has alienated a large segment of the population who until this point in time have been strong supporters of the police. A civilian gun owner that I know personally has told me he used to look at his local police as friends and partners - but no more - he now views them with suspicion and distrust. This sentiment is by no means an isolated feeling among gun owners who I meet day to day, both on and off duty. It is a very real and unfortunate consequence of passing an unpopular law that is not supported by a large portion of the population. Thank you for your past correspondence and keep up your excellent fight against C-68 - hopefully a time will come when C-68 will be replaced with a cost effective law that will target criminals instead of the law abiding."
Source: Copy of an e-mail received at the office of Garry Breitkreuz, MP and is reproduced with the consent of the author. This veteran police officer's name and e-mail address have been withheld at his request – May 28, 2001
G. MICHAEL BICKERTON, Firearms Examiner, RCMP Staff Sgt. (Ret.)
I am a retired police officer and am writing to show my disapproval of the impending additions to the firearm legislation. I feel few are as informed on the subject as myself, due to my personal experience involving firearms. I spent 30 years working across Canada; seven years as a field investigator and 23 years as a firearms examiner. While I am a strong supporter of gun control, registration of all firearms makes no sense, especially no financial sense. The chiefs of police feel this is a great tool for police. Are they speaking based on fact or political motivation? There is some merit to them saying "knowledge that an individual has a firearm is added safety to the investigating officer. I ask, what trained police officer would walk into a situation free of fear that a firearm does not exist just because the computer tells him so? Now that all firearms owners are registered by the requirement of having a firearms possession permit, their perceived problem is alleviated. Knowledge that a firearm permit holder lives in a residence is a good indication a firearm may be present. The investigator doesn't care if it's a .38 or a .45, he simply needs to know if a gun is present. Thus, I see no justification for registration.
Source: Quote from G. MICHAEL BICKERTON, Firearms Examiner, RCMP Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Parleeville - Letter of the Day, The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, April 30, 2001
Al Bohachyk, president of the Alberta Police Association
Al Bohachyk, president of the Alberta Police Association, went to Ottawa late last month to try to convince members of the Canadian Police Association to withdraw their support for the controversial gun legislation. Bohachyk's motion was supported by police associations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but ultimately went down to defeat. He said the Canadian association's decision to support the gun registration legislation will likely be final. "It's just very disappointing,'' said Bohachyk, a staff sergeant with the Edmonton police. "I would suggest it's a completely done deal there. I cannot foresee expending any more energy bringing it back to the Canadian Police Association.'' Bohachyk supports the licensing and training of gun owners. However, he doesn't agree with forcing gun owners to register their firearms. The motion before the CPA asked members to withdraw support for the registration phase of gun control. Bohachyk said there's no proof gun registration will increase safety for either the public or police officers.
Source: Quote from an article in The Calgary Herald – April 7, 2001.
Sgt. R. Gagnon, Surete du Quebec
"It is people like you that will certainly be in a position to stop Bill C-68 for the benefit of all of us in the future."
Source: Quote from Sgt. R. Gagnon of the Surete du Quebec to a Montreal firearms owner on March 29, 2001 and as documented in a personal letter to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated March 30, 2001.
Robert Stevens, Blue Line
Long guns are poorly adapted for criminal purposes and unlikely to be in the hands of criminals. On the contrary, long-gun owners always have been a cautious, law-abiding, well-disciplined group who understood the importance of strict adherence to the rules of safe handling, use and storage of their rifles and shotguns. Before the demand to register all long guns, there already existed strict federal laws governing the use, handling, moving and storage of rifles, shotguns and ammunition. While unregistered handguns and dangerous, restricted weapons play a devastating part in violent crime, long guns have had a minuscule and diminishing role in crime in Canada. Violent crime which specifically involves long guns, never perceived as a large problem, has dropped 30 per cent in the last 25 years. So, exactly what is the problem, and what is the purpose of the new and punitive federal gun registry being forced on long-gun-owning Canadians now?
The federal Justice Department's PR offensive on gun control has been, in a word, offensive. Heavily manipulated RCMP crime figures were fed to the justice minister and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to ensure their compliance and support of the government's showpiece gun-control legislation and its gratuitous and punitive regulatory demands on all long-gun owners.
Senseless street shootings in big cities grab headlines and enlarge support for gun control. But these violent incidents mostly involve handguns and prohibited weapons already heavily regulated, but readily available on the illicit gun market. No amount of regulatory control will stop the random shootings with a Saturday-night special purchased on the street for a few hundred bucks. To stop those incidents, we need more police, more patrols, more arrests, more charges and much more meaningful sentencing in the courts. Instead, we have pointless, costly government harassment of long-gun owners, who wouldn't recognize a Saturday night special from an adjustable wrench. We don't need more bean-counting police officers and thousands of bureaucrats expensively, needlessly and rudely intruding into the lives of millions of law-abiding citizens who live in rural regions and the hinterlands. But, alas, it is much safer to play at fighting crime, while real crime thrives.
Source: Quote from a column titled: "Gun registration is not the answer for Canada" that appeared in The Montreal Gazette on February 21, 2001 by Robert Stevens - a contributor to Blue Line, Canada's national law enforcement Magazine, where this article first appeared.
Wes Bellmore, Edmonton Police Service
Wes Bellmore, a spokesman for the Edmonton Police Service, said more than 100 firearms were turned in and many police officers were confused about the legislation and their roles in its enforcement. Mr. Bellmore said members of his police force were displeased that the role of interpreting the rules of Bill C-68, the Firearms Act, fell to them. "In general, police would hope that any law they have to enforce would be easily understood by both the police and the public," he said. "I don't think I need to say that [Bill C-68] does not meet that requirement."
Source: Quote from the National Post – January 1, 2001.
Editorial, The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
"The question is now being raised as to how the gun law will be enforced. Police departments across Canada are reported to have placed little or no priority on enforcement. At least one New Brunswick police department has also said publicly it doesn't know how the law will be enforced or who will be responsible for it. For its part, the firearms centre says it will provide police with information on whether a particular person owns a firearm. How this process will work is apparently not known or has not been well communicated. Enforcement is an important factor in the new gun legislation, and Ottawa has an obligation to clear up any confusion that exists and share its plans with police and the public. There is a genuine need for all of us to know what will happen next. How should Ottawa enforce its new gun control regulations?"
Source: Quote from an Editorial printed in The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal – January 3, 2001.
Retired Metro Toronto police officer
"I'm a recently retired police officer. I was on the Metro Toronto Police Dept for 30 years. I've seen it all out on the streets of Toronto, and any person who thinks that this gun control the Liberals are working on is going to work is an idiot...and idiot is the only true description. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that all the years of handgun registration in this country wasn't worth the effort in the least. I'm all for gun control that would show some indication of success, but this is foolish. How many officers could be hired to combat crime using the gun control budget?"
Source: Quote from an e-mail message received by Garry Breitkreuz, MP on October 1, 2000 – Name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz, MP.
"I spent 25 years as policeman and agree wholeheartedly that gun registration does nothing whatsoever to help fight crime. For example if someone steals my gun and kills someone and leaves the gun at the scene, al it tells the police is that it is my gun. I wrote my MP about this issue and one of his defences was that it tells the police when they answer a call that the person has a gun. That is nonsense because a policeman always answers a call expecting the worst. If you know before hand that a person has gun, are you going to go in shooting and then ask questions. Not likely. I also agree with you that the Canadian Police Association got itself in a jam by supporting the gun registry."
Source: Quote from a handwritten letter sent to Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated October 16, 2000. Name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz, MP.
Toronto Police chairman Norm Gardner
Toronto and other major police forces nationwide are losing valuable front-line officers to Ottawa's new gun registry, say Canadian police and union executives. Toronto Police chairman Norm Gardner said six officers from his force have been assigned full-time to conduct police background checks for the registry. "We are being affected," Gardner said. "The registry is taking away some of our manpower." He said the officers will have to conduct about 250,000 checks this year. The checks are required before a person is granted a permit to own a firearm. Toronto Police are required to conduct checks on potential gun owners in the GRA. "These officers could be doing other jobs," Gardner said. He said Ottawa has dished out $350,000 to the force to pay for the six officers, but the sum is not enough."
Source: Quote from an article in The Toronto Sun – July 3, 2000.
Art King, Canadian First Nations Police Association
"I believe that for the program to work in First Nations Territories it must be presented to them by people they trust, in a language they understand. And in keeping with their culture the Elders in each area must be consulted and their cooperation obtained. If this is not done many firearms will remain unregistered. Once this Bill becomes law, there will be another problem. Most of our police services do not have the human resources that will be needed to ensure enforcement. As an example, in Northern Ontario, in the area policed by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service there are 15 First Nations Territories policed by two officers. One officer polices eight other areas. First Nations Police Services must be provided with the personnel necessary to enforce the legislation. If this is not done, the legislation is doomed to fail."
Source: Quote from a column by Art King of the Canadian First Nations Police Association that appeared in the Issue 51 of The Canadian Police Association EXPRESS - Fall 2000.
Truro police officer Elwyn Archibald
Registering his handguns is old hat for the retired Truro police officer [Elwyn Archibald] but it's never taken this long before. Archibald said he has no problem with needing a permit to own a gun but the registration of rifles, shotguns and some air rifles "is a waste of money. It is not going to help solve any crimes. An ownership permit that requires training in handling guns makes sense to Archibald as long as the element of safety is emphasized. However, registering 'long guns' won't help because "criminals don't bother registering their guns." "They've been registering handguns for 65 years in this country and it hasn't helped a bit. The underground market is open to criminals to get guns from." Under the registration system, "criminals can get guns but law-abiding citizens can't." Archibald also noted, over and above that cost to taxpayers, a large number of police officers across the country are being taken away from their regular duties to work on the registration program.
Source: Quote from the Truro Daily News – September 26, 2000.
Calgary Police Association president Al Koenig
"Rank and file police officers in Calgary and Edmonton will withdraw their backing of Ottawa's gun control registry today -- a move they hope will spark opposition to the controversial law from departments across Canada. Alberta is putting a resolution forward that is to withdraw support for Bill C-68," said Calgary Police Association president Al Koenig. "The Alberta federation feels that the gun legislation promises made by the federal government have not been kept." The provincial association will vote against the controversial registration at the Canadian Police Association's annual meeting being held in Halifax until Saturday. "When we find that nothing is being done as far as protecting citizens and protecting officers then the focus of this legislation is going the wrong way," he said. "The focus should be for stricter penalties for criminals, not targeted against average Canadians without criminal records, that will become criminals if they don't register their weapons by January 1, 2003."
Source: Quote from an article in The Calgary Herald – September 1, 2000
Boyd Campbell, president of the Manitoba Police Association
In the wake of dwindling police support for Canada's contentious gun registration law, rank-and-file Manitoba cops hope Ottawa will take their concerns more seriously. "I hope they see this as a wake-up call. We feel that in the past, they haven't been very genuine in their support of policing both municipally and federally," said Boyd Campbell, president of the Manitoba Police Association. Officially, the Canadian Police Association backs Ottawa's gun registry, but members were asked at the Halifax convention Friday whether they wanted to debate continuing to support it. Slightly more than 50% voted to hold off debating the hot issue until next March.
Source: Quote from an article in The Winnipeg Sun – September 3, 2000
Acting Edmonton Police Chief Bob Wasylyshen
Acting Edmonton Police Chief Bob Wasylyshen said registration won't enhance the safety of the public or police. "There may be an impression on the part of some of the public that the registration of firearms is going to create a higher level of public safety and I think that can be very misleading," Wasylyshen said in Edmonton. "Do you think a criminal who is in possession of firearms for criminal purposes has registered his or her firearm? I doubt it. Canada's police officers supported the registry initially because former justice minister Allan Rock assured it would not divert police resources, he said. Wasylyshen said it's impossible to investigate firearms act complaints without using street cops.
Source: Quote from an article in The Edmonton Journal – September 2, 2000
Grant Obst, President of the Canadian Police Association
"While we have always been strong supporters of gun control, the system's viability in terms of accuracy, capacity, timeliness and cost have been issues with our membership."
Source: Quote by Grant Obst, President of the Canadian Police Association from a CPA news release dated September 2, 2000.
Range master Doug Johnson, Winnipeg Police, retired
Range master Doug Johnson, a retired Winnipeg cop, left no doubt where he stood on the contentious [gun registry] issue. "Theoretically it's a good idea. Practically it doesn't work," said Johnson, who racked up 27 years fighting crime before leaving the service. "What happens is you get law-abiding citizens going out and registering their firearms; then you have the lawless getting their hands on these registered weapons by any means. In the end the legislation just discourages hunting and target practice and doesn't really act as any kind of a deterrent to the crime it is meant to prevent," he said yesterday at the Winnipeg police gun range
Source: Quote from an article in The Winnipeg Sun – September 4, 2000
New Brunswick Police Association president Ted Doncaster
The New Brunswick Police Association numbers 430 showed it was split on the gun control issue during one poll conducted last year. The support for a national program has been dwindling ever since, he said [New Brunswick Police Association president Ted Doncaster]. Those millions of dollars could have been spent on crime prevention, in the fight against organized crime or to improve existing police information services important to front line police officers, Doncaster said. The federal government argument that registering gun owners and guns will cut down on crimes involving firearms is not convincing and little more than a marketing ploy to sell the idea, he suggested. Polls take over the past months show the majority of Canadians support gun legislation. But Doncaster wonders how many people really understand the full impact of the current law.
Source: Quote from an article in The Moncton Times and Transcript – August 28, 2000
William Watts, President, Ontario Senior Officers' Police Association
"Whichever side you choose, there is little doubt that the legislation is deeply, and possibly, fatally flawed. It is from this perspective that we write. There was ample time to research and prepare appropriately for a feasible and workable act – this was not done, in our view. It is our view that the legislation was unnecessarily rushed into being because of intense lobbying by pressure groups. This lobbying has produced bitterness, acrimony and almost always divisive bickering amongst our citizens and an act which, to be kind, is ineffective. As much as the new Firearms Act has been touted to be an important step in curtailing death and injuries occasioned by firearms, it has created a bureaucratic quagmire and its deterrent effect is questionable, at best. To think criminals will be affected by this legislation is asinine, yet law-abiding citizens are, and will be, affected. The Criminal Code states that Ignorance of the Law is no excuse. A glance at Bill C-68 is all that is required to realize that a law degree is required to understand and use it. The Act provides daily challenges to administrators with its uncertain, ambiguous phrases."
Source: Quote by William Watts, President, Ontario Senior Officers' Police Association from a letter to The Honorable Lawrence MacAuley, Solicitor General of Canada dated Friday, 21 January 2000.
RCMP Supt. J.P. Curly
The "SURVEY" conducted by "K" Division DSRR resulted in the following responses:
- 399 VOTED NO, AGAINST CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF BILL C-68
- 69 VOTED YES, IN FAVOUR OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF BILL C-68
Facsimile Message Transmittal Signed by RCMP Supt. J.P. Curly dated 95-08-28
Source: RCMP Response to an Access to Information Act request by Garry Breitkreuz, MP dated November 16, 1999 – RCMP File: 99ATIP-5437
Last weekend, after more than eight years as police chief in London and York Region, Julian Fantino, now Toronto chief, arrived at another bloody early-morning scene. "What we're seeing now is a flurry of gunplay, much of it very indiscriminate in the public domain, really open warfare if you will," Fantino said yesterday. Although the chief believes gun violence has become worse over the last decade, he's convinced the root causes – drugs, turf wars and revenge are the same. And he wonders why. "Looking back at all the time, energy and resources – and all the rhetoric that one has heard for so many years. – the question I'm asking is, why are we still left with the same problems?" Fantino said.
soSource: Quote from an article in The Toronto Star – April 25, 2000urce
Grant Obst, President of the Canadian Police Association
The move, proposed by the CPA's Saskatchewan wing, would end the association's long-standing support of the controversial national firearms registry – an endorsement federal politicians have repeatedly cited when extolling the registry's virtues to the public. "This debate has continued to rage within the police association," said Grant Obst, president of the national body, and a constable with the Saskatoon Police Service. "And the main reason we're going to revisit the whole issue is cost. The cost of the registration system seems to have gone far beyond what was originally estimated." Fully 76% of the CPA members in Saskatchewan said in a recent survey they were opposed to the registry. "We believe the money the government is spending on this thing has gone through the roof," said Bernie Eiswirth, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers. "And we believe the registry is a flop. We don't believe the Canadian Police Association should be supporting something that's costing this much, when there's so many things it could be spent on to help officers on the street."
Source: Quote from an article in The National Post – June 21, 2001.
Several Police Officers
The Federal Gun Registry should be scrapped and the money used for a data bank to collect DNA from criminals, the president of the Police Association of Ontario said yesterday. "I don't think the Canadian Police Association should have ever supporting this in the first place – I think we made a big mistake," said Bill Baxter, a sergeant with the Atikokan town police. "This has prove to be nothing but a farce and we should divorce ourselves from it as quickly as we can." He said he will recommend his 13,000-member police association to withdraw its backing of the registry at a meeting Aug. 17. The 7,000-member Toronto Police Association will vote on the issue in September, president Craig Bromell said. "We have talked about it and our advice is we are going along with Baxter," Bromell said. "It's a complete joke – they are wasting funds and not solving anything." Baxter, a gun owner himself, said he has opposed the gun registry since it was introduced in 1994 by then-justice minister Allan Rock. "Anybody who is selling this under the guise a gun registry will reduce crime is living in la-la land," said Baxter.
Source: Quote from an article in The Toronto Sun – June 23, 1999.
Calgary Sgt. Jon Netelenbos
Worried about soaring costs, the Canadian Police Association will debate at its annual meeting in August whether to withdraw the support it committed in 1994 to former justice minister Allan Rock. In return, Rock vowed to keep implementation costs to a five-year maximum of $85 million and promised national police services would never be financially handcuffed by gun-control funding. "There were some extremely naïve politicians in terms of cost projections," Calgary Sgt. Jon Netelenbos said Tuesday. "It's an administrative nightmare to say the least. The only thing to remedy that is to hire more people and upgrade the system, which would cause even more escalating costs."
Source: Quote from an article in The Edmonton Journal – June 23, 1999.
Bernie Eiswirth, President, Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers
Bernie Eiswirth, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, concludes, "the registry is a flop. We don't believe the CPA should be supporting something that's costing this much, when there's so many things it could be spent on to help officers on the street."
Source: Quote from an Editorial in The Windsor Star – June 22, 1999.
The Vancouver Sun
The federal government's new gun registry program likely will collapse under the weight of its own shortcomings, Alberta Justice Minister David Hancock said Wednesday. He was commenting on the Canadian Police Association's proposal to reconsider its approval of the mandatory system. "More recently, some of our people are starting to look at the cost of the registration system and they're asking whether or not that is in fact occurring at the detriment of other police programs," said David Griffin of the police association. But the provincial government continues to believe the time and effort and resources being spent setting up the gun registry could be better spent in other areas. "Albertans are very concerned about safe communities," Hancock said. "We've taken the position the gun law itself doesn't really add a whole lot in the process and the costs, the resources that are being put into it, could be better devoted elsewhere. I think that as we progress we'll see that that's in fact what the case is."
Source: Quote from an article in The Vancouver Sun – June 24, 1999
Justice Minister Anne McLellan
"Certainly I acknowledge the challenge of ensuring the Canadian Police Association has the facts," [Justice Minister] McLellan said. "There are those who, for whatever purposes, choose to present numbers (on the registry's cost) to the public that are completely erroneous. My obligation is to make sure they know that this is changing the lives of policemen in the cruiser on the street."
Source: Quote from an article in The Edmonton Sun – June 26, 1999.
Various Police Associations
Members of Manitoba's police unions are reconsidering their support of Canada's controversial gun control registry, claiming its high costs have put other policing initiatives on hold. "The cost overruns have been tremendous, considering the government's lack of support on other issues," said Carl Shier, president of the Winnipeg Police Association. The WPA, along with the Manitoba Police Association which represents police in Brandon and other rural municipalities, plan to voice their concerns Aug. 25 at the annual meeting of the Canadian Police Association. Last week, the president of the Ontario Police Association called the gun registry a "farce" and said his union erred by initially supporting it when it began last December. "We should divorce ourselves from it as quickly as we can," said Bill Baxter. Manitoba Justice Minister Vic Toews has also refused to support the initiative, joining his provincial counterparts in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the two territories.
Source: Quote from an article in The Winnipeg Free Press – June 28, 1999
Jack Tinsley, Peace Officer, Manitoba
For any prudent individual – especially a police officer with any kind of street experience – to exclaim that when all guns are registered, our crime rate will decline is the worst kind of nonsense. This frantic drive to register every gun in the country is just a Band-Aid solution for a much bigger problem … I.e. we are not effectively dealing with violent criminals. We need to re-think this … and simplify our intentions and the process. It is not necessary to spend millions of dollars in taxpayers' money when there's no proof that this grand scheme has a chance of succeeding. It is Prohibition again … a nearly unenforceable law … opposed by many of the citizens it is designed to protect. Police officers are tired of recycling the same old violent criminals through the legal system. And if there was a deterrent factor built into our court dispositions for gun-toting offenders, the rest will fall into place. The police cannot protect us at all times … and it is impossible to protect ourselves with a firearm locked in a steel cabinet with a trigger-lock on it and ammunition locked in a separate room. In these times of home invasions wherein residents are terrorized and brutalized for hours because they couldn't call 911 … what is right? Criminal control perhaps … not gun control.
Source: Quote from a column titled: "Registration doomed to fail," by Jack Tinsley, a Manitoba peace officer published in The Winnipeg Free Press – July 25, 1999.
RCMP Constable, Alberta
I just had a chance to read your newsletter ["Five Reasons Why Police Oppose Registration"]. Thank heavens someone in Ottawa is actually representing their community. I eat sleep and breath the rural community I live in and you would be hard pressed to get support for this initiative here. I find your thoughts right on target completely. The loss of finances is one thing but the criminalization of good honest people is simply deplorable. This country has plenty of gun laws without this mess. I wish luck in crushing this stupid Bill.
Source: Quote from an RCMP fax message to Garry Breitkreuz, MP from an RCMP Constable in an Alberta detachment dated July 23, 1999 – Name withheld by Garry Breitkreuz.
Brian J. Ford, Chief, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
Re Reform MP Gary Breitkreuz's Opinion page article, Why police want to scrap the gun registry (July 8). Reform MPs do not speak for the police in this country. While the Reform party has, from the outset, attempted to undermine the law in every conceivable way, the fact remains that support for the national gun registry is widespread among both police chiefs and the rank and file.
Source: Quote from a Letter to the Editor of The Toronto Star by Brian J. Ford, Chief, Ottawa-Carlton Regional Police, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police dated July 26, 1999 and titled: "Police chiefs won't play politics with gun registry."
Constable John A. Gayder, St. Catharines, Ontario
While reading former police Chief David Cassells' letter in support of the Firearms Act, I am disturbed by the ease with which he feels he can speak for street-level officers. Examine your own profession; do you really think the boss speaks for the workers? Especially on something so contentious as gun control? In most cases, the average chief has not been "on the street" for many years. Instead they have been ensconced in the world of politics and administration. Just a few years ago, street cops and the public were told what they really needed was "community-based policing". This despite the fact that most beat cops had never stopped trying to get close to the people they protect. Space does not permit me to fully show the many ways The Firearms Act drives a wedge between the police and the public.
As a currently serving police officer, I am unimpressed by the Firearms Act. It is intrusive and insulting to the many law abiding, gun owning citizens I know, yet does very little to deter violent criminals. The ballooning cost being spent on it could be better utilized on hiring more officers, building more prisons, and buying better equipment. Let's get back to basics. Please no more dreamy boardroom solutions. John A. Gayder - St.Catharines, Ontario
Source: Letter to the Editor printed in The Regina Leader-Post – July 27, 1999.
Constable John A. Gayder, St. Catharines, Ontario
Disentangling the police from the firearms control debate is not easy. But when asked to endorse one proposed law or another, let us simply remind folks that what we really want are stronger sentences for the criminals that we arrest, and more jails to house them. The Firearms Act is a costly, unenforceable mess, which is likely to be a dangerous failure. The desire to reduce gun violence is a noble and worthy goal, but the government's current method of attempting to do so at the expense of law abiding gun owners is wrong, ineffective, and will cause far more safety problems than it cures. By continuing down this path, we will surely end up "shooting ourselves in the foot."
Source: Quote from an article titled: "Is Modern Gun Control Hazardous to Police?" by Constable John A. Gayder – St. Catharines, Ontario as published in the Liberty Free Press, December 20, 1999.
Winnipeg Police Chief Jack Ewatski
"I, too, am concerned over the cost effectiveness of certain aspects of the bill and I intend to seek clarification relative to costs that have been discussed in the media." Winnipeg Police Chief Jack Ewatski said Tuesday in an e-mail to Larry Neufeld, Manitoba director of the National Firearms Association. "I do not believe in 'blind support' of anything and it is imperative I receive accurate information and then base my opinions on that alone."
Source: Quote from a front-page article in The Edmonton Journal – August 6, 1999.
Const. Murray Grismer, Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers
The complaint that money spent on the gun registry could be spent on more effective crime-fighting programs is unfounded, [CPA President, Grant] Obst says, because it's a user-paid system. The association will examine the legislation at its annual general meeting in Regina August 25-27, but the association's position so far is one of support for the legislation and the registry. But the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers hopes to change that during the meeting with a motion for the Canadian association to rescind its support, says federation firearms spokesman Const. Murray Grismer. "We believe the act right now is far too cumbersome. It's a system that basically is top-heavy insomuch as it requires people to jump through hoops every five years (to renew gun owner licences)," says Grismer. Gun owners should need a licence to own firearms, but it should be a lifelong licence, subject to review if information is brought forward the person may not be a safe gun owner, he says. Police need to know who owns firearms and who doesn't, not how many and what kind of guns are in the house. "Most people can only shoot one gun at a time. It does me no huge value to know if there's one gun or 30 guns," Grismer argues. The benefits from the new legislation aren't worth the costs, he says, adding he is skeptical about the government's cost estimates. "The government is hiding much of the costs in cabinet secrecy." But the government is too far along to back down now says Grismer. "they have to change the whole legislation and they're unwilling to bring it back before the Canadian people because it would be an admission that it was badly flawed in the first place. If the police of Canada withdraw their support from the firearms registry, it's dead," says Grismer.
Source: Quote from a front-page article in The Regina Leader-Post – August 16, 1999.
Kenneth D.N. Boal, New Liskeard Police Services Board
New Liskeard Police Services Board passed the following resolution on August 4, 1999: "That the report "Five Reasons Why Police Opposed Gun Registration" by Garry Breitkreuz, MP Yorkton-Melville, dated June 28, 1999, be received and the NLPSB agrees with the opposition to the gun control legislation and supports his position." A copy of Garry Breitkreuz's reported dated June 28, 1999 is attached. Yours very truly, Kenneth D.N. Boal, Secretary
Source: Quote from a letter to Justice Minister Anne McLellan dated August 4, 1999.
Bill Baxter, Craig Bromell
Some Canadian police associations have started to voice concerns over the federal gun registry and suggested they may stop supporting the initiative. "I don't think the Canadian Police Association should have ever supported this in the first place – I think we made a big mistake," Bill Baxter, the president of the Police Association of Ontario, was quoted as saying in June. "this has proven to be nothing but a farce and we should divorce ourselves from it as quickly as we can. Baxter said the money for the registry should be spent on other programs such as keeping track of offenders' DNA. He said he will recommend that the 13,000-member PAP withdraw its support of the registry at a meeting on Aug. 17.
The Toronto Police Association, which has 7,000 members, will be the third union to reconsider its support for the registry. President Craig Bromell said his association will decide if they want to continue to back the registry during a September meeting. "It's a complete joke," Bromell was quoted as saying. "They are wasting funds and not solving anything."
Source: Quote from an article in the August/September 1999 issue of Blue Line Magazine.
Retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner, Robert H.D. Head
Although the RCMP management indicated support for Bill C-68, it is fairly obvious that the government ensured that the Force must toe the line. Many will recall that during the 1995 deliberations and study of the Bill, the RCMP provided some 1993 figures regarding firearms offences that indicated 73 offences involved firearms. At the same time, Justice indicated a figure of 623. Eventually, the Force's figures were adjusted upward to comply with those more politically acceptable because the RCMP said a misunderstanding occurred over the word "involved." The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police were reported as endorsing the Bill, but I know that there was a wide split in their ranks during deliberations – the western Chiefs opposed it but they were outnumbered by the eastern Chiefs and thus, the Bill was endorsed. At any rate, I was in attendance when the Chiefs Association went before the Parliamentary Committee; they said that the Chiefs were in unanimous support. Being a Life Member of this Association, I know this to be false. In the same vein, the Canadian Police Association indicated their initial support for the Bill; at the time of this writing, that support seems to be softening considerably. All in all, the police community is seeing the Bill for what it is – a diversion of funds from crime fighting to "warm and fuzzy feel good" political window dressing that was manufactured for the benefit of government politicians bent on appeasing citizens in large urban centers – mostly in central Canada. At any rate, the RCMP members on the street are being thrust into an enforcement role for which the majority feel uncomfortable. They are well aware that some of the contract governments are challenging the law and it bothers members to know that organizations like the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and the Saskatchewan Recreational Firearms Community have both adopted a 1999 resolution seeking replacement of the RCMP with a provincial force. All of this because of Bill C-68!
Source: Quote from a paper titled: "Politicization of the RCMP" by Retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner, Robert H.D. Head – November 15, 1999
Cst. Murray Grismer, Saskatoon Police Service
The Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers entered the debate on C-68 early in '95. We polled the Federation membership for its opinion. As a result of this polling it was found the membership, supported tougher sentences for the criminal use and possession of a firearm. The Federation chose to reject support of C-68, primarily the registration and licencing sections as they posed a substantial waste of scarce resources both in manpower and finances, with no measurable effect on the criminal element. Saskatchewan police officers do not feel threatened or intimidated by responsible law abiding citizens owning any type of firearm be it rifle, shotgun, handgun, or military rifle; engaging in any activity that does not threaten or affect the peace, order and safety of our society. We are deeply concerned over the direction our Government is taking and the effect a poorly conceived and thought out piece of legislation is going to have on a way of life we in Canada have lived with and enjoyed most, if not all of our lives.
Source: Quote from a speech by Cst. Murray Grismer, Saskatoon Police Service on behalf of the Saskatoon Federation of Police Officers at the FED-UP II Rally on Parliament Hill on September 22, 1998.
Dennis R. Young, former RCMP
As a former member of the RCMP I know that once Bill C-68 becomes law some police officers will think of us - not as co-operative allies to help them in their fight against crime - but as easy targets for a firearms offence – just because we own a gun. When you see the police officer coming up the driveway, you'll be wondering, "Is he after a real criminal or is he after me and my guns?" The Minister of Justice has said we have nothing to fear as long as we comply with all the gun control laws. But how can we comply with laws that are so badly drafted even judges can't understand them, and laws that are continually misinterpreted by government bureaucrats and the police on a daily basis? Even if we do comply, we have heard of Crown prosecutors who think that every time a firearm is stolen from the home of a law-abiding gun owner that the police should also lay an improper storage charge against the homeowner. We are easy targets for the police - burglars are not. Take it from me, some police officers will use the new powers the government has given them in Bill C-68 to make a career for themselves, by charging as many gun owners as possible for technical mistakes under Bill C-68 and Bill C-17. These are "made in Ottawa crimes" – not real crimes. But for the police bureaucrat looking for a promotion, they're all criminal offences. Of course, real criminals support Bill C-68 because they think it's better to have the government wasting police time and our tax dollars chasing honest gun owners and not them! For 35 years I have been a hunter, now I'm a "suspect" – and so are each of you. Thank you for this award. The way things are headed; I will cherish it long after my last gun has been confiscated. Unless, unless we Repeal Bill C-68!
Source: Quote from a speech by Dennis R. Young at the FED-UP II Rally on Parliament Hill on September 22, 1998.
Robert H. Head, retired assistant commissioner, RCMP
As a 38-year veteran of the police service and a life member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, who happens to be very concerned with gun registration law, I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Ottawa anti-legislation rally of Sept. 22. I am not a hunter and I do not belong to any political party, so I trust my comments were received at face value. Very simply, I explained that while the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association may have endorsed this legislation, their endorsement was not supported by rank and file members (nor by many chiefs and senior officers). I presented survey statistics to back my argument. I mentioned that police on the street are not so naïve as to believe the argument that by registering firearms to owners at specific addresses, they would know whether guns existed in residences where complaints were being answered. Many in the police service believe that this legislation will put them in a "regulatory" (and confrontational) position and alienate them further from the very people they are sworn to serve and protect. In my own case, I never once came across a legally possessed handgun or restricted weapon used in an offence. The millions of dollars being committed to registration of rifles and shotguns could be much better spent by increasing police budgets to put more and better equipped personnel on the street, thus making our communities a safer place to live.
Source: Quote by Robert H. Head, retired assistant commissioner of the RCMP that appeared in a column in The Calgary Herald – October 27, 1998.
Lethbridge City Police Veterans Association
As you know from our previous letters to you we are very much against Allan Rock's controversial dictatorial flawed gun bill C-68. Please keep up the good work.
Source: Quote from a letter received by Garry Breitkreuz, MP from the Lethbridge City Police Veterans Association dated January 9, 1997.
Scott Newark, 1995 Canadian Police Association Yearbook
We have allowed the gutting of some of our law enforcement agencies to the point that it's not just unsafe for police officers to try and do their job, it's unsafe for us all. Make no mistake, when there are not enough police to do their jobs properly and safely, each of us it at risk. This is the next great battle about to be fought in the restoration of public safety as a characteristic in Canadian society. In Metro Toronto, Canada's crime capital, which is short 700 officers from full strength, billboards now appear portraying a hood with a gun sneering at his victim with the words, "Go Ahead, call the cops. There's more of us than them." Readers are invited to call local Metro council to comment. It's a tough message and it's all the more effective because of its truth. Is your police service adequate to what you think is appropriate? On a given night in Ottawa, as few as 19 officers patrol the whole city. In St. Catharines, Ont., at times, there is only one officer available. Places in rural Ontario or on the prairies have been consigned to having what amounts to part-time policing as police numbers have not kept up with demand for them.
Source: Quote from a Column titled: "What the future holds" by Scott Newark published in the 1995 Canadian Police Association Yearbook.
Grant Obst, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers
The Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers does not feel Bill C-68 focuses on the real problem. The real problem is criminals, not further restrictions on law abiding citizens. Saskatchewans' municipal police officers see very little need for further gun restrictions. We are of the opinion that C-68 does little to prevent crime, or assist in the apprehension of criminals. When a Saskatchewan police officer thinks of a gun, he/she usually thinks of hunting – not homicide. Saskatchewan police officers, like other Saskatchewan residents do not have faith in Bill C-68. We know it is not enforceable, and furthermore will have a great deal of trouble adhering to a law those we serve do not approve of. Saskatchewan police officers are not interested in the creation of more paper trails which do little to protect our loved ones. We are not interested in arresting, or incarcerating, otherwise law abiding people for failing to comply with unnecessary paper trails. We want governments at all levels to concentrate on lawmaking which reduces risk on our streets. Laws that identify criminals for what they are and keeps them out of our communities. Laws that identify repeat and habitual criminals and treat them accordingly. Laws that have teeth in them. Laws that police officers in this province can enforce effectively, with the true belief that they are having an impact on the criminal element we continually battle. Bill C-68 has impact and focus. Its impact and focus is on the law abiding firearm owner. This is not where Saskatchewan police officers feel the impact and focus need to be. Impact and focus must be on the criminal. We trust you will deliver this message to Mr. Rock on our behalf. Sincerely, Grant Obst – President.
Source: Quotes taken from a letter by Grant Obst, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers to the Hon. Robert Mitchell, QC – Minister of Justice for Saskatchewan dated April 28th, 1995.
Allan Bohachyk, Police Officer, Edmonton
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Allan Bohachyk, I am 40 years old, and live near Edmonton, Alberta. I am a Police Officer with the City of Edmonton, employed there for over 18 years. During my police career, I have been posted to the Tactical Team (emergency response unit) twice for a total of seven years. Among other assignments, I have worked five years on the 'street', half as a Patrol Constable and half as a Patrol Sergeant. I firmly believe in gun control. I do not believe that mandatory firearm registration will be an effective tool for saving lives or reducing crime. A substantial number of Police Officers in Canada, - not a majority, but as many as 300 to 400, as well as thousands across the country – clearly agree. Because firearms are so transient, information on guns registered to the address may be superfluous and additionally, may lead to complacency. Repeated exercises of high-risk attention to such addresses would soon deplete Police concentration. Arguably, in a small percentage of cases, mandatory firearms registration might provide some valuable information about the occupants. In my view though, the cost to develop those bits of information will be far outweighed by the loss of confidence in the Parliament (forcing passage of a law opposed by so many), Justice System (obliged to enforce such law, and substantial financial obligations to Police Services across Canada (extra manpower required). Are we attempting to solve one problem with a much bigger one? It is my view that there is no need for police or Government to know how many firearms, or what kind of firearms, (within the parameters of present restrictions), a 'licenced' individual may possess. Anyone who can pass the strict qualifications for the 'licence', and who goes through the effort, will not likely take a chance on loosing the privilege of gun ownership.
Source: Quotes from a Justice Committee Submission titled: "Firearms Control for Canada: An Option to Consider" by A.N. Bohachyk, Edmonton, Alberta dated May 10, 1995.
Greg McCullagh, Saskatchewan Chiefs of Police Association
Saskatchewan police chiefs have split ranks with their colleagues from other provinces over Ottawa's proposal for mandatory gun registration. Federal Justice Minister Allan Rock has the support of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs for his contentious gun-control legislation, Bill C-68. But Greg McCullagh, chief of the force in Prince Albert, said yesterday, he and all 18 other chiefs in Saskatchewan are opposed to a planned gun registry. "We just can't find any evidence…(that registering guns), especially in our rural areas, (is) going to really remove the guns from the criminals," said McCullagh, head of the Saskatchewan Chiefs of Police Association. "Ten years down the road, we believe that it will not prove effective."
Source: Quote from an article in The Montreal Gazette – August 25, 1995.
Ontario Solicitor General, Bob Runciman
"In national terms, 85 million dollars would put another 1,000 customs agents on the border; 500 million dollars would put an extra 5,900 police officers on the street. The federal alternative is to use the money to register every shotgun and bolt-action .22 in Canada. No great brilliance is required to figure out which would have a greater impact on crime."
Source: Quote by Ontario Solicitor General, Bob Runciman from the minutes of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs – September 21, 1995
RCMP "F" Division newsletter "Newsbreak - July 1995 issue
"The results of our straw pole [sic] survey have been received and the final outcome of our question: ARE YOU IN FAVOUR OF REGISTRATION OF ALL FIREARMS AS PROPOSED BY BILL C-68 is as follows: YES - 26 NO - 265. Most of the comments accompanying the survey indicated that they felt the legislation would be unenforceable, too expensive and labour intensive. The results of this survey were given to the Solicitor General of Canada, Mr. Herb Grey[sic], at our recent CO/DSRR Conference. For your information, Sask. and Alta. were the only two RCMP divisions that conducted this type of survey."
Source: RCMP "F" Division newsletter "Newsbreak - July 1995 issue. "F" Division Staff Relations representatives completed the survey during the month of March 1995. "Newsbreak" is distributed to all detachments throughout the Province of Saskatchewan.
Ontario Provincial Police Association President, Brian Adkins
On October 19th, 1995, 51 delegates representing 4,600 OPP officers gave near unanimous support for this resolution: "That the Ontario Provincial Police Association not support Bill C-68 in its current form."
Source: Personal communication with OPPA President, Brian Adkins.
Fall 1995 issue of the CPA Express
The bill [Bill C-68] passed the House with less than predicted turmoil and is now before the Senate. The CPA was able to secure its major desired amendment so that future regulatory non-compliance can be under the Firearms Act and not the Criminal Code. The enforcement objections put forward were not acted on and the Justice Department candidly admitted that this was because our proposals would result in more gun-toting criminals going to jail more often and for longer periods of time which would cost too much money. Sort of the point we thought.
Source: Quote from an article in the Fall 1995 issue of the CPA Express – Issue 33 published by the Canadian Police Association.
January 1995 issue of BLUE LINE
Although Blue Line solidly supports gun registration we do not delude ourselves into believing it will really change anything in any major way. The suggested gun control legislation appears to be a knee-jerk reaction by a government trying to play catch-up over night. Many people have invested a great deal of time and money in a legitimate hobby of using guns safely and responsibly. They appear to be the people who must pay the greatest price for this legislation. The sad part of the legislation is the reasons espoused for bringing it in. The Solicitor General advised the House that every six days a person is killed by a firearm in Canada at the hands of a spouse. This sounds like a terrible figure until you tell it another way. That is 60 cases a year. Are we really focusing on good crime control legislation based on solid figures? At what peril are we if the other millions of crimes are placed at a lower priority that these 60 cases. A sobering thought indeed!
Source: Quote from an article that appeared in the January 1995 issue of BLUE LINE – Canada's National Law Enforcement Magazine.
QUOTES ON GUN CONTROL FROM COL. L.H. NICHOLSON, COMMISSIONER OF THE RCMP (Retired)
Thursday, June 2, 1977 – Ottawa, Ontario
On Thursday, June 2, 1977 Colonel L.H. Nicholson, Retired Commissioner of the RCMP, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs in his capacity as Chairman, Firearms Legislation Committee, Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) representing 320,000 members and supporters across Canada. The Standing Committee was hearing witnesses with respect to gun control provisions included in Bill C-51, Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1977. The following quotes were taken from the Official House of Commons Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, Issue 18, Second Session of Parliament, Thirtieth Parliament, 1976-77, Mr. Mark MacQuigan, Chairman, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
COL. L.H. NICHOLSON QUOTES
Page 18:12: "I do not think that crime is going to be stopped by tackling firearms. I have said repeatedly, Mr. Chairman, that all we can do is hope to tighten a little here and a little there. Criminals have guns. Criminals have handguns; despite pretty severe restrictions that have been imposed for years, and they still have handguns."
Page 18:18: "I personally dislike seeing the protection of property taken out of a qualification because I sincerely believe there are times when possession of a firearm, having a firearm nearby could prevent a very serious crime. It has been based on the fact that if you are a good citizen, even with the recent amendments, and you want to have a handgun in your home or in your place of business, you may do so. It does not suggest that everyone should do it. I may say that when I was an active policeman and people came to me and asked about this, I have asked them, do you know how to handle a handgun, in the first place? If you do not know how to handle a handgun, you better use a baseball bat and if your are going to use a firearm, you would be a lot better off with a shotgun."
Page 18:22: "I do not see any trouble in dealing with a man who embarks on crime. If he does so and is brought to court, the he is subject, if the crime is serious, to a mandatory order of prohibition. If the crime is less serious it is brought to the attention of the court and the court has the discretion as to whether or not they should issue a certificate. As to the other type of behaviour, whether it is a mental breakdown or whatever…we think the community and family involved, when they see a person breaking down mentally and becoming a danger, should at once take steps to put him under an order of prohibition. A criminal is going to be caught by the court action, but I would suggest that the person who has a mental breakdown of some kind, or who becomes a violent and dangerous alcoholic, requires family and community understanding and cooperation, and full police follow-up action. That is my view and I have urged it. With that sort of view, I think most of these risks will be identified and taken care of."
Page 18:29: "Of course, our first proposal did not visualize a FAC certificate at all. Our first proposal, which we brought forward to the government for consideration, was based on the plan that there would have to be qualifications before a person could buy a firearm. But the qualification would be a hunting licence or membership in a club, or authorized marksmen's club, and one or two other things."
Page 18:32: Responding to a MP's question about "major weaknesses in the bill" Col. Nicholson said: "Most objectionable indeed. I have a note here. Moving the restricted classification firearm to the prohibited classification by Order in Council."
Page 18:34: "Well, as a generality, if I may express it this way, the concern in our ranks is not always so much with individual items [in the legislation]: looking at one, perhaps we would not worry too much about it; but when we see several and we look at them all together, then there is a feeling, pretty general, that the government and Parliament are gradually going to keep on tightening a little more and a little more and a little more on firearms, and this is the thing that really causes disturbance and irritation in the ranks of gun owners. If we know that this bill was going to go through and the door was going to be closed, that this is where we stop, there would be a great deal of satisfaction. But there is a tremendous amount of worry."
"Taking property out, that life and property. If that stood alone, perhaps we would not have raised the question, but we see that in relation to and in combination with several others – this continual sort of a-little-here and a-little-there, and an indication that perhaps ownership of a gun is a bad thing, whether you are a good citizen or not."
Page 18:35: "Let us not fool ourselves, if I may put it that way, crime is not going to be stopped by gun laws, not by gun laws."
BACKGROUND: LEONARD HANSON NICHOLSON, MBE, LL.D. (HON.)
- Constable: RCMP - 1923-1926
- Constable, Sergeant, Inspector: New Brunswick Provincial Police – 1928-1930
- Inspector, Superintendent: Nova Scotia Police – 1930-1932
- Inspector, Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner – 1932-1951
- Commissioner of the RCMP - May 1, 1951 to March 31, 1959.
From 1941 to 1946 served in various Provost Staff appointments with different Canadian Army field formations in Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and Northwest Europe. Upon his return from Europe in 1945, he was appointed Provost Marshall with the rank of Colonel until his release from the army.
- Member of the Order of the British Empire
- Officer, Order of Canada
- Member, Northwest Territories Council: 1951-60
- Chief, Protection and Investigation Service, Bank of Nova Scotia: 1961-65
- Director, Canadian Corps of Commissionaires: 1963-73
- Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation: 1974-78
- "Outdoors Man of the Year" 1976
- Bailiff Grand Cross, Order of St. John
- Chancellor, Priory of Canada, Order of St. John: 1969-1972
- Chief Commissioner, St. John Ambulance Brigade: 1960-1965
- International Commissioner, Boy Scouts of Canada: 1960-1965
- Canadian Rifle Team, Bisley: 1954
- President, Dominion of Canada Rifle Association
- Honorary Chief, Blackfoot Confederacy