Tony Bernardo -- Senate of Canada address -- 29 March 2012

Tony Bernardo, 2012-03-29

Good morning and thank you for your kind invitation to speak on behalf of our association members who enjoy responsible sport shooting, hunting, firearms collecting and related heritage pursuits.

This is the ninth time I have appeared before a Canadian parliamentary committee in an effort to explain why many elements of the Firearms Act are fictional attributes to public safety.

Many trees have been sacrificed to fill Hansard with the long-gun registry debate, which surely begs the question -- is there anything new to say?

Would it be news to suggest that the current laws in Canada presume guilt before innocence for all gun owners?

Is it news that some media outlets have been shamelessly complicit conduits for the outlandish scam perpetuated by anti-gun spin doctors?

It has taken 17 years to reverse the legislative mess that gave Canadians a gun registry that was no more than a desperate political pacifier.

Unfortunately, many Canadians took the bait and, in deference to them, they believed the police chiefs and politicians who assured them the gun registry was a public safety tool.

And now, 17 years later, we are still waiting for a single example of the gun registry saving anyone, anywhere, any time.

The pro-registry groups have never been able to oblige, because the registry was never designed as an instrument to protect the population from anything.

It was designed as an instrument to get John Q. Citizen off the couch and into the polls to vote.

The government of the day knew it was a sham.

And they knew their blessed registry was a high-priced house of cards waiting for a decent breeze.

Front-line police officers have already testified that believing registry data can place them in grave danger in the field.

Police chiefs enjoy the registry because it provides them with a list of addresses where gun are located so they can someday take them away.

The chiefs claim it isn't about confiscation, and with every denial, their collective nose grows longer.

We have seen too many doors kicked in and too many innocent gun owners charged with myriad alleged infractions, some of which don't even exist in current legislation.

Like the four year old child that drew a gun with crayons, over reaction is rampant.

Have some police forces been instructed to make sure that the punishment is the process?

And when charges will not stick, the Innocent must shell out thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees just to have the charges dropped.

The system was designed to frustrate gun owners into giving up and abandoning their beloved heritage sport.

Well, as the saying goes, that ain't happening.

I represent the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. The CSSA has members who enjoy a day at the range the same as some families enjoy trips to the arena, soccer pitch and swimming pool.

Some of our members have cultivated their shooting skills to the point they have captured gold for Canada at the Olympics. We are honoured to have one such champion here with us here today.

Shooting develops hand-eye coordination, patience, and the continuation of the Canadian quest for excellence.

If you doubt it, consider those who have trained themselves to squeeze the trigger between their heartbeats for ultimate accuracy.

Some people say, okay fine, have fun, but why should you care about taking five minutes to register your guns? What's the big deal?

Here's the big deal -- the gun registry is a shopping list for computer hackers.

It tells criminals where to find the guns of responsible firearms owners who have registered because they are lawful citizens.

Surprise, criminals don't register their guns.

Could the registry be hacked for ill-gotten gains? Apparently so. The RCMP admits that the registry has been compromised more than 300 times.

And now, more and more Canadians demand the registry be consigned to the trash heap of history.

Canada's media could have something to do with that through our newspapers, television, radio and online reports.

Members of the media who have taken the time actually to investigate the registry's efficiency tend to conclude the registry deserves to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, there are legions of so-called reporters and editors who have mounted concerted campaigns to preserve the registry in all its defective glory.

We have hit a sad, new age in Canadian journalism when certain myopic scribblers hide behind their fake non-partisanship.

In recent years, however, some of the country's foremost journalists are pointing out in detail how the registry has failed and how it can only continue to fail.

These are the writers and broadcasters who have simply identified and reported the facts.

But the beat goes on.

Lawful firearms owners appreciate your invitation to work together to attain legislative sanity without jeopardizing the safety of a single Canadian.

Thank you.

The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities