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2011 Election

Why are we still up in arms over the long gun registry?

Get Out Yer Pitchforks n' Torches!

I’ll admit it – am I the only one baffled as to why the long gun registry has reared its ugly head in this campaign?

I was hard pressed to find reason as to why this was as divisive as it was when the country was swept up in the long gun registry vote last year, let alone why the Conservatives are harping on it now. And I remember the Conservatives fuming in the House of Commons when their private members bill to kill the registry was defeated: they would remember who supported it, they said, and it’s ghost would haunt it’s supporters the next time Canadians went to the polls.

Fast forward to 2011. In the first weeks of the campaign, Harper was out and about in rural ridings across the country telling voters to stick with the Conservatives who would try again to kill the much-hated long gun registry that asks little more than that those who purchase high powered hunting rifles be required to let the government know about them. It places no restrictions on the volume of long guns you can purchase, but states that if you are a person of interest to the authorities, that your gun purchases can be made known to the front line officers confronting men like James Roszko, the man who murdered four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, with his small arsenal of weapons back in 2005.

How is this unreasonable? How is this a violation of privacy laws in Canada, when the average hunter or sportsman in Canada has zero intention of using this weapon to commit a crime? It is one of those bills that should be opposed by those who have something to hide. Cars kill many Canadians each year – we have to register them. The government wants to know how many cars you own; and it is reasonable for the government to want some idea of how many deadly weapons Canadians are purchasing.

I’ll be blunt – the opposition to the long gun registry is different than opposition to many other policies – it strikes me more as ignorant Tea Partyism plain and simple. Rural, urban – east, west: I don’t care where you live, who you are, or whether you own a gun or not – if you oppose the long gun registry on privacy or anti-big government grounds, you are being ludicrous. It is this kind of knee-jerk anti-government garbage that has so polluted politics in the United States in recent years.

You give up certain privacies to belong to a society: privacy and rights tradeoffs in exchange for Peace, Order, and Good Government, for a Canadian example. And I’m sorry – this is something that gun owners will just have to live with. If we require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to have a license, why should we not require the deadly weapons they purchase to also be registered?

This all seems to obvious. And I am amazed that we are up in arms over a registry, and that 2010’s largest political scandal was the scrapping of a long form census.

Canada. Wow.

About awreeves

Editor-in-chief at Alternatives Journal. Author of 'Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian carp Crisis'.


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