Canada abolishes long gun registry

Yesterday the Canadian Senate voted 50-27 to abolish the long gun registry. Bill C-19 received unanimous support from Conservative Senators, and some support from Liberals. The bill had previously passed the House of Commons. It became the law of the land today, with the Royal Assent of Canada’s Governor-General.

The bill does not change Canada’s registration system for handguns, which has been in effect since the 1930s. Nor does it change the registration system for certain long guns which have been classified as “prohibited” or “restricted” weapons. Likewise unchanged is Canada’s complicated and burdensome system for licensing gun owners, which was created by a Liberal government in the 1990s.

The registration changes, however, are monumental. Registration records for seven million ordinary long guns are to be destroyed. The government of Quebec has announced that it while file suit to attempt to obtain custody of the 1.5 million registration records pertaining to citizens of Quebec.

Ever since the regime of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s, gun control in Canada has been primarily a culture war campaign against the “masculine” values of rural Canada, and as a means of demonstrating the dominance of Canada’s urban New Class.

To this day, the foremost public justification for all forms of gun control is Gamil Rodrigue Gharbi (who changed his name Marc Lépine). Gharbi/Lépine was the son of an alcoholic, wife-beating, child abuser who had immigrated to Canada from Algeria. In 1989, he murdered 14 women (13 by gunshot, one by stabbing), and wounded 8 women and 4 men in the engineering building of a school affiliated with the University of Montreal. An incompetent response by police dispatchers to the 911 calls gave Gharbi/Lépine the opportunity to murder at leisure.

In The Montreal Massacre (gynergy books, 1991), Quebec feminists describe their outrage, and demanded the rehabilitation of masculinity, whose (allegedly) misogynist pro-death culture is based on aggressive sports, violent entertainment, and the penetration of women during sexual intercourse.

Canada’s leading public proponent of gun control, Prof. Wendy Cukier, had previously proclaimed that in Canada, gun control is a one-way street; once restrictions are imposed, they are never lifted. This was never entirely accurate; popular demand forced the removal of some long gun restrictions that had been imposed during the World Wars. But the removal of a major peacetime anti-gun law truly does signal a new era in Canadian right to arms politics.

Efforts to repeal the long gun registry lasted 17 years, and they finally succeeded in part because the majority of Canadians have concluded that the registry was a colossal waste of money,  of no value in crime control, and a pointless invasion of privacy.

Globally speaking, the repeal of the registry is the most important gun policy event of the last year. As the United Nations works towards a final draft of an Arms Trade Treaty this year, the Canadian public’s rejection of registry adds to the challenges of the global gun control organizations which want the Treaty to include gun registration requirements.

An article in Forbes profiles Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz, whose tireless work was essential to the repeal.  Breitkreuz, incidentally, had started out as a supporter of registration, and changed his mind after studying the evidence about whether it would help reduce crime. Kudos also to the Canadian Sport Shooting Association, to Canada’s National Firearms Association, and especially to the late David Tomlinson, who passed away in 2007, and who for over three decades was the Founding Father and leader of Canada’s right to arms movement.

Canadian gun owners know that much more needs to be done to undo the damage caused the kulturkampf which Trudeau began, and which has burdened Canadians with laws that do nothing to enhance public safety, but whose purpose and effect is to harass and persecute law-abiding gun owners. Bill C-19 is a good first step, and a monumental one.