Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Gun registry helps, RCMP officer tells MPs
OTTAWA -- It's a misconception that only unregistered guns are used in violent crimes, the RCMP officer in charge of the nation's gun registry said Tuesday.
RCMP Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak, director general of the Canadian Firearms Program, said many of the guns recovered by police at crime scenes are traced to an owner through the gun registry databank.
"No legislation or regulation will ever prevent all crimes," Cheliak told a parliamentary committee hearing on a bill to eliminate the long gun registry. "However, the Canadian Firearms Program does serve a very real purpose and contributes to police officer safety and the safety of all Canadians."
In 2009, of the more than 4,000 guns police traced to an owner, 1,600 were registered, non-restricted long guns, Cheliak said. Those are the guns which would no longer need to be registered were C-391 to pass.
The hearing was the first of several scheduled for the bill which is sponsored by Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner. Like the debate on guns to this point, much of the meeting was laden with emotion and confrontation and got off to a rough start.
In the end, Hoeppner had 10 minutes to present her case followed by 16 minutes of questioning from committee members, instead of the 30 minutes to present she thought she was allotted last week and the hour she said is normally given to MPs presenting private members' bills at committee. That had Hoeppner and her caucus mate, Manitoba MP Shelly Glover, crying sexism.
"I would suggest that if the tables were turned and if a Liberal, Bloc or NDP woman had introduced a private members' bill that had garnered the attention of the nation as this one has done, and she was silenced by Conservatives the way I have been silenced by the opposition, the outcry would be deafening," said Hoeppner.
In her 10 minutes, Hoeppner told the committee she doesn't own guns but grew up in a "peaceful home where there were long guns present" and she was raised to respect and not fear guns.