The long gun registry is well on its way to the ash-heap and that’s a good thing, says Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney.
“This fulfills a long-time commitment to constituents,” said Lunney, who campaigned through five elections on a promise to end the registry.
He said the long gun registry was resented by hunters and outdoorsmen, all of whom already possess a license to own a firearm. he added that the registry was expensive and full of administrative errors, which created a nightmare for sportsmen and an unreliable data base for police.
“Opposition parties are demanding tougher laws for law-abiding farmers and duck hunters while opposing tougher penalties for violent criminals and rapists,” said Lunney.
Lunney’s elation at the pending demise of the long gun registry was shared by Leonard Fong, the past-president of the Parksville-Qualicum Fish and Game Club.
“It just has to go to the Senate and that’s top heavy with the right people, so I guess it’s going to be history,” Fong said. “I think that’s a good thing. We wasted a lot of money on something that really wasn’t necessary.”
The registry, he said, acted as a deterrent — not necessarily to gun crime, but to getting involved with guns at all.
“It made a lot of us people in my generation say to heck with this,” he said. “If I have to go through all this paperwork and trouble, I’m just going to quit shooting and hunting.”
Although the Parksville club is in no danger of folding due to lack of members, Fong said he hopes more people will either get back into shooting sports and hunting or try it out for the first time.
“I hope the hunters come back and people take up hunting again,” he said.
Current president Pam Bottomley agreed.
“It was an extra layer of wasteful bureaucracy,” she said. “People still have to get trained up and licensed in order to posses or acquire a firearm but the licensing is unchanged and the handgun registry remains and it is very tightly controlled – as it should be.”
Less enthusiastic was Rick Sullivan, the spokesperson for the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities.
“I don’t know what it’s going to mean, but I rely on the advice of people who do know,” he said. “The Police Chiefs of Canada Association said it was a very useful tool and they would regret to see it go.”
Sullivan said the government ignored that advice — and the wishes of the majority of Canadians when they opted to destroy the registry.
“When you get advice from an organization like the chiefs of police across this country and you ignore that as government, you are just blindly going ahead with your ideology or what your supporters say must be done,” he said. “I think they are pandering to a minority of people in this country against the advice of the police and it doesn’t make any sense to me.”
The bill is expected to pass quickly through the Senate and move to Royal Assent.