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A rifle owner takes aim at a hunting camp near Ottawa on Sept. 15, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A rifle owner takes aim at a hunting camp near Ottawa on Sept. 15, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Criminals don't use long guns, Tories say in scrapping registry Add to ...

Stephen Harper, who’s spent more than half a generation fighting the long-gun registry, is using his recently earned majority powers to scrap the database reviled by Conservative Party supporters.

Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner, the face of Conservative opposition to the registry, celebrated the tabling of bill C-19 to kill the registry in Commons Tuesday with a news conference at an Ottawa-area farm.

She said the $2-billion spent on setting up and maintaining a long-gun registry was a waste of money, saying that most gun crimes are not committed with rifles or shotguns.

“That is money that should have been used to crack down on real crime and real criminals, not law-abiding farmers and hunters,” Ms. Hoeppner, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, said.

The government cited a recent Statistics Canada report that said of 253 firearms used to commit murder between 2005 and 2009, nearly 70 per cent had never been registered.

Ms. Hoeppner said the long-gun registry failed to work because it’s “not the weapon of choice for criminals in Canada.”

“The majority of homicides committed in Canada, for example, do not involve long-guns at all; statistics have shown that long-guns – in other words rifles and shotguns – are not the problem,” she said.

The same Statscan report said that of 179 homicides using firearms in 2009, 24 per cent were committed using long guns: rifles and shotguns.

Part of the problem for the registry in recent years is that the Harper government removed the threat of prosecution for those who failed to register their guns.

The gun registry has been operating since 2001 and firearms owners have been required to register since January, 2003. When Mr. Harper’s Conservatives took office in 2006, though, they declared an amnesty for all rifle and shotgun owners facing prosecution for failing to register their firearms.

Ms. Hoeppner said the bill introduced will still require owners of restricted weapons – or firearms that have been prohibited – to register their guns.

She said the legislation will also destroy the nearly seven million records created by the registry on long-gun owners.

Canadians who want to buy guns in this country will still be required to have their criminal record checked and pass a firearms safety course before obtaining a license for the weapon.

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