Canada Guns
December 27, 2002 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Jan 1 - 100% Canadian Gun Registration. I'm surprised that the London gun crime epidemic, after they outlawed guns, hasn't slowed down gun control elsewhere. I know it's a contentious issue, so I'll just try to keep the question focused: will gun registration work in Canada?
posted by kablam (29 comments total)
"will gun registration work in Canada?"

I guess that depends on what it's expected to accomplish.
posted by LowDog at 6:55 PM on December 27, 2002

I'm sorry, but I can't see the link between gun registration and the "gun crime epidemic" you mention in London. The article itself makes a clear link between gun crime, and the importation of cocaine from Jamaica and the illegal importation of guns from eastern europe. The ban on handgun ownership is only mentioned in the final paragraph, in reference to the Dunblaine massacre. Seems a funny article to link to in order to somehow demonstrate that a ban on hand gun ownership in Britain has resulted in "gun crime epidemic".
posted by Jimbob at 7:42 PM on December 27, 2002

See also this article from Reason magazine on violent crime in Britain.
posted by abischof at 7:57 PM on December 27, 2002

The goal is public safety. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Canadian Government's official intentions is at that link.
posted by xiffix at 8:04 PM on December 27, 2002

on this subject... im wondering if anyone can provide statistics on the amount (number of) of crimes (injury, assault, death, robbery, etc. etc. etc..) that were prevented by/through the possesion of handguns vs. the number of crimes, murders, suicides etc. that were handgun (legal or otherwise) related in the year 2002 in the USA?
posted by specialk420 at 8:33 PM on December 27, 2002

I imagine such a statistic would be difficult to find, specialk420, although it would certainly be interesting. It would be difficult to determine because gun-advocates would make a big point of the deterrant factor; the belief that crime is less likely to occur in their town because so many residents own guns. Such a causative effect would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove, in the same way that it is difficult honestly to establish that banning handguns in Britain has resulted in an increase in gun crime.
posted by Jimbob at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2002

id like to see actual documented reports/police reports - i.e. intruder entered home - was confronted by homeowner with handgun and (shot, ran away etc.. etc....) or.... assailant attempted to assault woman x - she pulled handgun and successfully chased assailer off.... without having gun turned on herself - the number must exist..... i'll even take the NRAs number - documented cases.
posted by specialk420 at 9:25 PM on December 27, 2002

I know it's a contentious issue, so I'll just try to keep the question focused: will gun registration work in Canada?

you call that a focused question? i don't even grant your premise.
posted by kjh at 9:39 PM on December 27, 2002

It will not work. At least 25% of the population has yet to acknowledge the issues and warnings they've been sent and the deadline is Tuesday night. Infact, the government announced today they were going to allow owners to fax, email or call in "intents to register". Not to mention the program was supposed to cost somewhere in the mid- millions to initiate, it is now topped the billion dollar mark.
posted by robotrock at 9:49 PM on December 27, 2002

I'm not sure what I think about gun registration in Canada, but I do know one positive effect it's having: driving up the cost of illegal firearms.

Illegal guns are less likely to be used in the commission of crimes in Canada simply because they cost so much.

Talking with my Mountie friend, she points out that you can get an illegal gun in L.A. for $20-30. In Canada, the same gun will cost $2000-$3000. Supply and demand, I guess.
posted by MiG at 11:29 PM on December 27, 2002

I agree that the article about gun grime in London has nothing to with gun control. The poster insinuates that the gun control CAUSES gun crime. What disingenous rubbish. The gun crime discussed in the article caused by the rise of illegal drugs and arms from other less controlled countries only underscores the need to control weapons in ALL countries. Legalizing drugs would also help to diminish violent crime.

The gun advocates alternative, to arm the population, would turn London into the Balkans. The illegal guns need to be controlled by the police, not by untrained armed citizens.
posted by sic at 4:50 AM on December 28, 2002

That Reason article is quite the piece of shoe-horning. And it's shit at doing that as well: I agree with asic's description that it's 'disingenuous rubbish'.

This sea change in English crime followed a sea change in government policies.

Using percentage-based statistics in discussing British gun crime is the classic mark of someone trying to force home an ideological point. That's because percentage increases applied to very low base levels create scarily high figures. (If gun crime goes up from 1 shooting to 2 shootings, it is of course a 100% increase.)

But yes, until Jamaican yardies and gun smugglers from Turkey and the Balkans set up shop in Vancouver and Toronto, I suspect the particular problems of London will not teach the Canadians too much. So, non sequitur, innit?

(And now I'm just intrigued by MiG's comment teaching me that there are female Mounties. Which I suppose should have been obvious, but it's not something you'd ever appreciate until you've seen one.)
posted by riviera at 5:18 AM on December 28, 2002

All of those who saw Bowling for Columbine know that Canadians own more guns, yet have less gun crime.

Think about it logically for a moment.

If guns are totally outlawed (as in the UK), this means a criminal can make two assumptions. 1) Mr. Normal will NOT have a gun. 2) Mr. Normal will probably shit his pants on seeing a gun. Therefore, if Mr. Criminal has a gun, he can rob any Mr. Normal or Joe Public with ease.

If guns are totally legalised, Mr. Criminal must now assume many people will have them, which adds an element of risk to his crimes. Petty thieves will probably give up in such an environment, whereas the major thieves will don larger guns and attack bigger targets.

Gun crime will, of course, be higher in a place where guns are legalised, mainly through accidents and crimes of passion. But it's possible those places will also be safer overall. Where would you rather live? "I've got no way to defend myself"-land, or "I'm a bad ass mofo"-land?
posted by wackybrit at 5:29 AM on December 28, 2002

I think most people in Canada killed by guns are more likely to be killed by someone they know, same may go for the US.

Random gun killings are just not the norm here. SO why register? Well if you are more likely to be killed by your spouse or child, do you want a gun in the house?
posted by CrazyJub at 5:51 AM on December 28, 2002

Think about it logically for a moment.
Wackybrit, everyonne already knows the "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" schtick. It's on the back of every bumper in the rural South and Southwest. What you describe is a grassroots version of the Cold War, Ive got a gun in my pocket, you've got a gun in your pocket, so I'll just keep my hands to myself and you motherfuckers better not mess with me.

Guess what, it doesn't work. The gun just waits there, ready, ready all the time. So easy to shoot my problems. About 30,000 people per year find out in the U.S., lots of gangbangers, but lots of wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, children and grandparents with drunk husbands, raging ex-husbands. The Cold War analogy doesn't work without the safeguards, the two simultaneous keys and the coded triggers. 100 million fingers on the button? More than 70% of women killed by guns in the U.S. are killed by someone they know, not some burglar that her brave John Fuckin' Wayne husband is having a gun battle with.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:13 AM on December 28, 2002

Can you tell I'm upset? We had a gunman hold hostages in a bank here in Kyoto yesterday. Happens here too. I've looked at the business end of a gun, back home, held by a sneering guy who could make me fear for my life for something so cheap as a $50 handgun.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:20 AM on December 28, 2002

Gun control won't work. Lobotomizing violent criminals is the answer.
posted by alumshubby at 6:30 AM on December 28, 2002

Wackybrit, what about "Mr Normal probably has a gun so I'd better shoot first before he shoots me".
posted by fullerine at 7:46 AM on December 28, 2002

I've looked at the business end of a gun, back home, held by a sneering guy who could make me fear for my life for something so cheap as a $50 handgun.

Gun-control won't necessarily take that gun out of the criminal's hand. It will just ensure that you won't have one in your own.

It seems that gun-control will help reduce crimes of passion/convienience and accidents. I guess it's up to society to decide if that gain is worth the loss of self-protection.
posted by jsonic at 8:36 AM on December 28, 2002

Hasn't gun control already worked?

I remember when Janet Reno was pushing for tougher gun control in the US, she quoted a stat that said from 1990-1998, several thousand people were killed by guns in Chicago. (I think it was 5,000, but don't quote me on that). In the same time span, Toronto, a city of similar size and demographics, had only 200 (or something in that range).
posted by cyberbry at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2002

Gun registration will serve only to make sure law abiding citizens that carry guns are known to the government.

Gun control will serve to make it more difficult for criminals to have access to weapons. Not impossible, but it means a criminal will really have to want an illegal gun to have it.

Gun registration is to gun control as a criminal record is to a warrant for your arrest.
posted by shepd at 10:51 AM on December 28, 2002

If guns are totally legalized, Mr. Criminal must now assume many people will have them, which adds an element of risk to his crimes.

Which, if I were such a criminal, I would use as an excuse to kill anyone I encountered on the scene as a threat. If I'm going to break into a house to steal stuff and I think that I might get shot doing it, then I'm going to shoot them first. Just to be sure.

Not that I am saying that gun control laws don't work to some extent. For example, were military-grade weapons like M-16s and Claymores common, affordable, and legal to own by the civilian population, I'm sure that people like those kids from Columbine would have killed a lot more people when they made their misguided attack.

Still, no system is perfect, and humans will always figure out a way around any one that is put into place.

As with many things, the best answer will probably lay somewhere in the middle of the two extremes (total abolition vs. total freedom).
posted by moonbiter at 12:08 PM on December 28, 2002

Doh. What fullerine said.
posted by moonbiter at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2002

Perhaps we should make people who do bodybuilding or martial arts register as well, since their skills could allow them to kill someone more easily than someone without them :-)
posted by wackybrit at 2:21 PM on December 28, 2002

I must admit I don't understand the big uproar about registering guns. A friend of mine has a few shotguns; he saw the booth at the mall and registered them. 10 minutes and 20 bucks later, he was done. ($20 Canadian is about $12 US, less than 2 packs of smokes in New York.)

Apart from the massive waste of government money - somewhat of a tradition here in Canada, and, I am led to believe, for our friends to the south as well - what's the big deal? No one's taking the guns away.

Please understand that I don't really have a dog in this race. While I don't own guns now, I likely will soon enough.
posted by alex_reno at 5:14 PM on December 28, 2002

I can't help but wonder if all those Albanians of a few years back could have been pushed around so easily if they had been armed... or what about the millions (yes, millions) of folks in the Ukraine back in the 30's that Stalin starved to death - one of just many holocausts...
posted by LowDog at 6:50 AM on December 29, 2002

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for programs such as the 100% gun registration. Yet, statistically, in a country that already has an incredibly low amount of gun related violence (in proportion to the amount of guns vs. population), it is hard to see at the present moment what spending billions of dollars on such a program will accomplish. Would that money have been more effective if spent elsewhere? Education and treatment for the root causes of violence?

In addition, I somehow fail to to bite at the well trotted out conclusion that more gun control (ie. passing of stricter firearm possession laws) will reduce the amount of gun related violence. My first knee-jerk reaction is to point out that a stricter enforcement of existing laws would be much more effective vs. creating new laws (though you don't get the trophy campaign boost), however after viewing 'Bowling for Columbine', I wonder if some of the root causes may rest elsewhere - Moore's media created 'society of fear' theory is very interesting for example.
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:53 AM on December 29, 2002

Will gun registration work?

Let's see... the *real* intention of gun registration is to raise more money for the government without actually raising taxes. The criminals certainly aren't going to register their guns, that's a given. And the Canadian government has no fear of popular rebellion - we're a pretty docile crowd. So this was an easy way for the government to get $10 a pop from gun owners. The average Canadian recognizes this as a tax and nothing more. It's tradition here.

Of course, in true government fashion, they continued another cherished tradition and totally squandered all the money. So far, it's actually cost the government about $2mil to set up and run this registration.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:52 AM on December 30, 2002

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