1989: The Montreal Massacre

I wanted to have this handy for a post I plan on writing about the Conservatives’ elimination of the long gun registry. Can you guess my angle?

1989: The Montreal Massacre

13 thoughts on “1989: The Montreal Massacre

  1. 1

    I am of two minds in eliminating the long gun registry. The first mind is the one that has seen the effects of it in rural Nova Scotia. My cherished Grade 12 English teacher being forced to immobilize (aka, ruin) his collection of antique and collectors firearms in order to comply with the law. The skyrocketing costs of the registry to legal firearms owners, let alone the taxpayers.

    The other part of me looks at the statistics behind such things, and the fact that the damage is done already. Canadians have changed their lives to accommodate the registry, the startup costs have been paid, and the collectors already punished. Conservatives are quick to point to the fact that illegal firearms are the majority of gun crime, but ignore that such isn’t the point of the registry. The point is to ensure people are being responsible with their weapons, and to alert authorities when they could be going into a danger zone.

    I am, however, skeptical of linking the Polytechnique massacre to gun control – while the registry did come from that event, so did a lot of other gun restriction laws. And as I understand, those laws aren’t in danger, just the registry. Marc Lépine owning a legal gun in today’s world wouldn’t have made him any less ill, violent, or dangerous. However, the other laws that the Conservatives aren’t going after may have stopped him from buying a gun in the first place at a legal hunting store.

  2. 3

    I am at a loss as to how the Long Gun Registry has saved a single life. As far as I can tell, all it’s done is blown billions of dollars that would have been better served trying to stop youth gangs – who don’t use registered firearms in the first place.

  3. 5


    I am willing to bet that youth gangs rarely use long arms as well. Chances are they use pistols.


    I think there is some (ok alot) of skepticism regarding how the long gun registry would have prevented a legally owned long gun from killing those women at Polytechnique.

  4. 6

    To be clear, the 1995 Firearms Act is a very, very good thing. That act has assuredly saved lives. But the long gun registry seems very cost-inefficient. As lordshipmayhem suggests, that is money that could have been put to better use helping kids on the streets not be on the streets.

  5. cmv

    As VeritasKnight points out above, most of the out-of-control costs were in start-up. The cost of running the registry had gone down significantly.
    I’ve never understood some of the objections to the registry. How did the requirement to register all of your guns lead to the requirement that they be immobilised? Also, how does the registry criminalise “otherwise law-abiding country folk”; register your guns and you are not acting in a criminal fashion. You have to register your cars, too!

    @Jason – I’m also not sure how the long-gun registry would have helped stop the Montreal Massacre, either. I’ll be interested to read your take on it when your done.

  6. 8

    To be fair, to hear my old teacher tell the story, he left out what sort of permit he had before the new laws came into effect. I suspect that he wasn’t properly able to maintain the collection he had under the new restrictions – aka, he wasn’t legally allowed to own automatics under the previous restrictions, and he decided to immobilize the bulk of his collection rather than risk being in trouble. I do remember the pained look in his face. Perhaps there was a legal way around that, but I don’t know if it was affordable. Regardless.

    A lot of the gun owners I know turned in a lot of their weapons at the time of the registry – many because they had older, unserviceable weapons. But others because they felt that they had to do so, for certain reasons. Perhaps it wasn’t properly communicated.

    Still, the hundreds of millions – or was it billions – that was spent probably would have saved more lives on social programs. Many more lives. I’m just not sure how the registry saves lives today, given that the registry was one of just many changes that have occurred around gun ownership in Canada.

  7. 11

    Allan: yes. https://the-orbit.net/lousycanuck/2011/11/04/ending-the-canadian-long-gun-registry-means-more-domestic-murder/

    Marc Lepine used a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic .223 calibre rifle, which he obtained and owned legally. Only once the long gun registry came into effect could such weapons be tracked, and with the destruction of the long gun registry, you can now transfer this gun to anyone you please without any sort of tracking in place, the way the government tracks transfers of hand guns.

  8. 13

    Yes, that’s the one, CBC’s archival copy is definitely good to have in case Youtube ever stops working for whatever reason. I opted for the Youtube video originally because someone told me the CBC link was region-locked and they couldn’t see it.

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