The impending destruction of the long gun registry has been touted by conservatives (and most especially conserva-bot sockpuppets) as being primarily intended as a sop to the rural voters who are “disproportionately affected” by the long gun registry is another demonstrable falsehood. As it turns out, there are 287,000 long guns in the Greater Toronto Area whose registration information will be bonfired when the Conservatives’ plan is carried out.
Most of the “nonrestricted” firearms registered within the GTA are in the possession of individuals — 263,000 guns — while a smaller number (nearly 24,000) are held by businesses (not including police agencies) or museums.
There are tens of thousands of urbanites — more than 85,000 — legally licensed to possess a gun in Toronto, a number that may include some police officers who possess personal firearms.
Some more numbers via The Star:
Nearly a quarter of licensees do not report having guns in their possession.
But the same number — more than 21,000 — have registered more than five weapons. In fact, 848 licensees report more than 20 guns in their possession, while 823 keep more than 30 firearms in their collection.
Overall, Toronto’s gun licence-holders range in age. Most are between 30 and 70 years old.
A small number are under 30 (10,000). But some 300 individuals over 90 years old, and three over 100 years old, hold gun licences.
Rifles and shotguns are the firearms of choice.
Most of those who went through the training and screening to get a licence did so to possess rifles and shotguns.
More than 53,000 licences to possess “nonrestricted” firearms are issued in the Greater Toronto metropolitan area — a census area of more than 5 million people.
Beyond rifles and shotguns, nearly 32,000 licences to possess the more dangerous “restricted” and “prohibited” categories of weapons have been issued to Torontonians.
Indeed, a surprising number of restricted and prohibited guns are legally registered — nearly 90,000 in the GTA. Again, these are not policy agency weapons. Those are separately accounted for.
Between these numbers, showing that long guns are not a “rural thing”, and the facts we already know about numbers of long guns being used in crimes being stolen from legal owners, is it any wonder that the long gun registry was being queried by the RCMP so often?
I continue to maintain my stance that domestic murder is strongly correlated with ease of obtaining guns — if you only have to go to your gun cabinet, you’re far more sure to be able to murder your wife than if you have to actually chase her down and beat her or stab her to death. Of course, we’ll find out once long guns can be obtained and transferred without being actually tracked by the government. Once gun shops have only to show that they believe the person in question was licensed, without having to prove or verify that license, that’s just like opening the floodgates to more and more guns in the marketplace that can change hands with impunity.
Bonfiring this registry is patently ridiculous. But it’s totally in keeping with Harper’s greater policy of importing Republicanism into Canada. It’s not about the privacy or undue burden on rural voters, no matter how they spin it. We already know they don’t care about privacy, and this research by The Star shows quite clearly that they don’t specifically care about rural voters where the numbers are not significantly different in urban areas.
Registering your weaponry is not an undue burden, assuming that you are not some kind of crazy gun collector and thus a potential target for gun theft. Raising the bar to require a traceable chain of ownership for guns, and to prove that the person has a firearms license, so the next crazy like misogynist Marc Lepine has to work just that tiny bit harder before they can obtain a semi-automatic large-clip weapon and murder a whole lot of innocents, is well worth the chump change we throw at maintaining the current registry and worth the burden placed on people having to renew their registration every five years.
If this means a slightly undue burden on people who keep thirty-plus guns, too damn bad. Donate your collection to a museum or immobilize the guns if you can’t afford to keep them registered. And if you’re complaining that your thirty guns are an undue burden to keep under the current laws, honestly, take up stamp collecting instead. Nobody’s ever died from a stamp, so it’s grossly unlikely to ever be stolen to use in a crime.