Guns and nutters
That's because the head of the RCMP firearms program Marty Cheliak was inexplicably dumped, the nation's police chiefs had a convention where they unanimously endorsed the registry, emergency room doctors have spoken out and political types finally noticed that the pro-gun government has been suppressing yet another positive report on the registry.
Meanwhile, pressure's on NDP leader Jack Layton to whip his caucus members' votes or otherwise the bill may pass when Parliament resumes next month.
I have lots more to say on all of these matters but I'm holding my fire for a few more days as I am working on a major piece for the weekend paper.
That said, I did want to bring this story to your attention. It's about why Sault Ste. Marie's police chief Bob Davies supports the long gun registry. I added the boldface.
City police officers checked the registry 2,853 times in 2009.
Those inquiries included responding to a 911 call about a suicidal man. By checking the registry, police learned he owned eight weapons. They were removed to protect the man from harm.
When police executed a search warrant at an apartment, they found stolen property including two weapons. Because they were registered, the long guns were returned to their rightful owner who lost them during a break-in.
"Without the registry, we would have no way of knowing whether or not they were stolen," said Davies.
"Without the registry we'd have no proof, and no authority, to seize the firearms from that residence."
Most often, the registry is used when domestic assaults go to court. If an accused appears likely to reoffend, police will request the Crown attorney ask for weapons to be surrendered while the person is on bail.
"They won't volunteer that information," said Davies.
"Without the registry we wouldn't know if they had firearms."
Now let's consider those last few lines, shall we?
It's true that domestic homicides have been declining for years, even before the gun registry came into effect in the mid-90s. That's mostly to do with how women have gained greater independence, gaining the resources to get out of a bad situation. Also, the legal system has recognized the problem and deals better with it. There are more shelters. There's greater awareness.
It's also true -- and this will surprise many Canadians -- that you're more likely to be murdered in the country than in the city. And, if you're a woman, the risk is even greater in rural areas.
More guns plus more isolation equals more bang bang.
Now, given that more people in the country have long guns -- and more of them too -- than people do in the city, the long-gun registry appears to be saving women's lives out in the hinterland.
According to the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality,
In 2008, in Ontario the RCMP’s Annual Report on the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC) stated there were 165 women and children were killed in domestic violence. The figure increases to 230 when you add male victims of domestic violence – the majority of which were suicides by the domestic violence perpetrator.
A woman is 12 times more likely to be murdered if a gun is in the house.
Not that the HarperCons seem to care about women's lives, unless they are female fetuses.
Just saying, you know?
Image: By Botero, of course.
Ooopsy Date: Almost forgot this bang-on op-ed by The Montreal Gazette's Peter Wheeland!