Call it what you want, but the long-gun registry is a good idea

Talk about not sticking to your guns.

In the most recent federal election, the Liberals said they would take action to get handguns and assault weapons off the streets, but also specifically said they would not re-enact a national long-gun registry like the one the Conservatives abolished.

Lo and behold, Bill S-223, “An Act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential changes to other Acts”, just received first reading on April 12.

However, the bill was not put forward by the Liberal party, but by Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, who happens to be a member of the Liberal party.

I see what you guys did there.

The bill proposes creating a category for hunting rifles, and then another category for everything else, which would be called circumscribed firearms (another word for prohibited). It also proposes tightening the rules governing the transportation of firearms and would require owners to “inscribe” their firearms rather than register them (another name change).

Some wonder if the bill was put forth to test the public’s appetite for a new long-gun registry. It’s important to note that Hervieux-Payette is scheduled to retire from the senate on April 22, which likely means the bill will be quashed. Private member’s bills rarely become law, anyway.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to make his stance on the position clear, and I hope that he does soon. Because I believe the long-gun registry should be reinstated.

I never truly understood why registering one’s gun is seen as such a big deal. I’m not a hunter or a firearm enthusiast. But if you license your vehicle, why is it such a big deal to license your gun?

I suppose that for some the very idea of a national registry to track any kind of legally-owned item conjures up images of the big scary government overextending its prickly fingers into people’s homes and penalizing them for not abiding by the rules surrounding gun storage and the types of firearms allowed.

But the long-gun registry was not just about control, it was about safety. Case in point: On April 1, a house in Fort Saskatchewan was broken into. Eight firearms were stolen. Wouldn’t it make sense to give the police another tool to track those guns down and return them to their rightful owners?

In Canada, much like driving, owning a gun is a privilege, not a constitutional right. The Supreme Court of Canada made this explicitly clear in a 1993 ruling. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the government to maintain a database of privately-owned firearms.

Trudeau’s dad Pierre once said the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. We’ll see if his son agrees — that is, unless you keep your guns in your bedroom.

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