Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Gun Registry and Progressive Bloggers

Oh no.What bad timing for the Reform Cons. It's gun hate day in Amerika.

Just 24 hours after their disgusting little gun love day in Canada.

And can you believe those scummy Cons? They hid this report until after the vote was over. Even though it it involves the safety of police officers. Those dastardly crime police busters.

And can you believe that so many progressives MPs folded like cheap suits or cowards?

By caving in on a Reform Party style free vote...instead of acting like members of a party with PRINCIPLES. What will the next "free vote" be on I wonder... ABORTION?

But what I also found disheartening was the number of progressive bloggers celebrating the death of the Gun Registry. Including some of the best, most decent and progressive ones.

I'm not going to single anybody out, or deal with their arguments. I dealt with most of them last night.

But I would ask ALL of those progressive bloggers why NONE of them bothered to mention that filling out a form could save the life of a police officer?

Does the kinder gentler Canada we are trying to build really include a society full of unlicensed guns? What does progressive really mean? Because I'm confused eh?

And how, since some of them are such strong feminists, could they all have forgotten to mention the women of the Montreal Massacre?

Not just the ones who died or were injured, but all the others who fought the powerful gun lobby for years to bring in the gun registry, and make sure the victims didn't die in vain.

People like Suzanne LaPlante-Edward who believes a gun registry might have saved her daughter. (PDF)

We victims of gun violence want more than tears, white ribbons, and kind words. We want action. The semi-automatic Ruger Mini 14 used at the Polytechnique in Montreal is still sold as an unrestricted hunting rifle. With C-391 we will no longer know who owns these guns or the 7 million other rifles and shotguns in Canada. In most cities there will be more information about who has cats and dogs than who owns firearms.

Doesn't her opinion count? Or the opinions of so many other victims of gun violence. Isn't it worth more than the yapping of gun owners too lazy to fill out some forms...or the teabagger screeching of the Con's rabid Reform base?

You know a month today we will mark the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. And I can't think of a better way for some progressives to prepare, than reading up on that terrible day.Studying the history of the heroic feminist struggle that followed.

Fighting to FIX the gun registry ...if it needs fixing...rather than letting these ReformCons and their stooges DESTROY it.

Or as I said yesterday, just watching this movie...

Because we need to decide what sort of a gentler, kinder, more civilized society we want to build.

And we really need to REMEMBER...


Anonymous said...

Thank you MS, well said.

And could we have Peter van Loan and Mike Puffy have a cheeseburger eating contest?

Simon said...

hi anonymous...thank you...I feel very strongly about this story.
In fact, despite all the disappointments I've had to live with recently, I can't remember a story that bothers me so much.
As for the Tubby Van Loan and Mike Puffy cheeseburger eating contest...I have to admit that I did think of doing a post on that one.
I was terribly tempted, and I had just the right illustration...something monstrously hoggy :)
But in the end this gun horror story, and the way it was received by some progressive bloggers, bugged me so much I just had to write this one...

Ian said...

So MPs vote with their conscience and their constituents and they're sell-outs? I hope you cheer next time the Liberals put out a dumb policy (like opposing the passing of Bill C-311 and enacting climate change regulations) and the members line up rank and file like drones.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you did. Sometimes hive mind happens on PB's.

Oemissions said...

Boy oh boy!
Man o'man!
Did we ever need this post.

Simon said...

hi Ian... they may be representing the views of their constituents, but I don't believe they voted with their conscience. They were just too scared to vote against it.
But whatever...I think MPs have every right to take local positions but I believe the gun registry is a national issue that affects all of us. And the views of the party should prevail.
In fact there are many learned people out there who hold the view that free votes shouldn't be allowed.Because while you vote for a local representative, you are also voting for the principles of the party. And if those principles are all over the place the result can only be disenfranchisement and/or mass confusion.
But look I'll just settle for one question. Why wouldn't any Canadian fill out some annoying as that may be...if that could save the life of a police officer?
If some citizens in this country don't respect the views of people who put their lives on the line every day, then I don't respect their views either.
It may be complicated for some people, but for me it's really simple...

Jennifer Smith said...

I'm not nearly as upset with the MPs who caved as I am with the Conservatives who have been peddling this bullshit about it being an urban/rural issue to their rural constituents. Of course most of the loudest opponents of the gun registry have never shot a deer or lived on a farm in their lives - they just like playing with their toys and blasting away at the firing range.

A large part of the problem is that gun owners in Canada have been slowly indoctrinated by American gun culture, which tends to view firearms as a Gift of God to the Sons of Liberty, instead of what they have traditionally been here: a tool, nothing more.

The other problem is that most Progressives don't own guns themselves. I can't tell you how many people on both sides I have had to correct this week on what exactly is involved in registering a firearm - like the fact that the fees were done away with long ago, or that the 'intrusive questions' complained about are actually on the PAL form, not the gun registration.

As a hunter, gun owner and Progressive, I'm pretty much an endangered species. I've tried to bridge that mythical urban/rural divide but have only ended up getting slammed from both sides. It's a shame, really, because rural Canadians - especially women - are the ones who are most likely to be killed by an otherwise upright citizen with a long gun.

Simon said...

hi anonymous...well hive mind can develop anywhere in the office in the bar.
I'm just surprised and disappointed that the feminist history of struggle to get a gun registry approved was being ignored by so many.
When it's such an awesome story of courage after grief, and perserverance in the face of enormous odd. i.e. the influence of the big bucks gun lobby here and in the United States.
These women are heroes to me and I can't stand to see their voices drowned out by the hysteria of the uncaring mob....

Mark from Slap said...

Well put, Simon!

If the gun registry was mismanaged, then let's address the mismanagement, but scrapping it altogether is freakin' insanity! With extra craziness.

Robert McClelland said...

So MPs vote with their conscience and their constituents and they're sell-outs?

If MPs voted with their conscience and their constituents then why didn't a single Conservative MP in an urban riding vote against it.

Dr.Dawg said...

I guess I'm one of those "other" progressives.

You know, if the long-gun registry actually worked, I think my objections to it would largely disappear. I'm not a gun-nut, I don't own a gun, and I'm not planning to obtain one. Ever.

But I think we need to separate in our minds the problem and the solution. As a hard-bitten old trade unionist, I like real solutions to problems. The long gun registry has not been shown to prevent a single long gun crime, which in any case are a very small proportion of gun crimes overall.

As the table over at my place indicates, long gun homicide has been in steady decline since the 1970s. The curve didn't get any steeper with the creation of the registry.

And it is fair, even if overstated, to note the rural-city divide here. In the cities, unfortunately, the gun of choice is the pistol.

The long gun registry cost a fortune. Its effectiveness in crime prevention has never been demonstrated. But it was very effective in gathering licensing fees.

I know that Van Loan's heavy-handedness on the recent report on the registry is enough to arouse suspicion in our minds. But that report merely indicates that a lot of hits were registered at the site. It tells us nothing whatsoever about prevention.

Some point to the Dawson shooting as proof that the registry was effective--the police were able to recover more guns from Gill's home. But the lesson to be drawn here is the very opposite: obviously registration did not prevent the Dawson shootings.

And I'll go further, with this question: has Marc Lepine registered his Ruger Mini 14, would that have saved a single one of his victims?

Robert McClelland said...

You know, if the long-gun registry actually worked...

It does work. It keeps the gun lobby fixated on it and away from working to overturn other gun control measures.

The long gun registry has not been shown to prevent a single long gun crime...

How does one measure a crime that was not committed?

Dr.Dawg said...

Robert, with respect, that reminds me of a very old joke:

A man walks into a psychiatrist's office, and he just won't stop snapping his fingers. Finally, the shrink couldn't stand it any more. "Why are you doing that all the time?" he asked.

"Why, to keep the elephants away," responded his patient.

"But there aren't any elephants within a hundred miles of here," protested the shrink.

"Works pretty well then, eh?" his patient responded.

Robert McClelland said...

Except in this case, the elephants are right outside the door waiting to get in. The gun lobby and their conservative allies won't stop with just the registry, Dawg.

Simon said...

hi Oemissions...I'm glad you like the post. I don't know what else I could have said really.I'm just disappointed more people didn't write about this outrageous surrender to the gun nut lobby. They should all be ashamed of themselves....

Simon said...

hi Oemissions...I'm glad you like the post. I don't know what else I could have said really.I'm just disappointed more people didn't write about this outrageous surrender to the gun nut lobby. They should all be ashamed of themselves....

Simon said...

hi Jennifer...yes you're right about the Americanization of this debate. The pro-gun people in this country seem to think we have a constitutional right to own weapons when of course we don't.
So the Canadian way of emphasizing the good of the collective over the good of the individual gets swept aside in a torrent of teabagging nonsense.
I'm sure that a good old Canadian compromise could be worked out to make it easier for people...particularly in rural areas to register their gun...but the gun nutz aren't interested. It's my way or the doorway.
And women, as you point out, continue to be the victims...

Simon said...

hi Mark...thanks...I'm just grateful I was raised in Quebec where civilized values rule. And encouraging unrestricted gun ownership is not a societal value.
As I have mentioned before it should be possible to reach a Canadian compromise, but these gun nuts aren't interested.
So the battle will continue, because the thought of abandoning twenty years of feminist struggle is out of the question...

Simon said...

hi Robert...

If MPs voted with their conscience and their constituents then why didn't a single Conservative MP in an urban riding vote against it.

Very good point.If the Bloc can act like a really progressive party so can the others...

Simon said...

hi Dr you know I have enormous respect for you, but I believe that you are completely wrong on this issue.
And it's not just the statistics like this one:

Long guns are the most common type of firearm used in spousal homicide, according to the RCMP. With restrictions in place against them, the number of women murdered with firearms dropped by 62 per cent between 1991 and 2004.

But the whole idea of creating a society with fewer guns not more of them. To me that's a progressive vision. I know that's what the feminists who fought the gun registry for years had in mind, so it hurts me to see so many people supporting this Reform party bill.

I would be prepared to discuss a compromise, maybe even make it much easier to register a gun if you live in a rural area, and much more difficult if you live in an urban one. But the Reform types have turned this issue into some kind of holy grail so I doubt that will happen. And in that case I will continue to oppose them with all my might.

Maybe it's a young thing or a Quebec thing but I don't want to live in a society full of guns, and anything that can discourage their use is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

So I'm afraid on this issue we are going to have to agree to disagree,because I'm as stubborn as you are... :)


Simon said...

hi CfSR...thanks... I appreciate that, just like I appreciate your progressive views on this issue and others...

'berto said...

Sorry, Simon, but I'm with Dr. Dawg on this one.

Robert McClelland responded to Dr. Dawg with, "How does one measure a crime that was not committed?"

Well, by a cop telling us how checking the registry helped him prevent a crime, for one. As an acquaintance of mine said, "What's still missing from the long gun registry discourse is an established success story. We hear that 'police check the registry 50 times a day'. Well, I check my e-mail 100 times a day. So? Tell me about the time they checked the registry and it saved a life. Why is there no such story?" Egggg-ZACKLY. Although I would specify, "Tell me about the time they checked the registry for a LONG gun and it saved a life." You can be sure if there WERE such stories, we'd be hearing 'em by now.

And as for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, I take what they say with a HUGE grain of salt, especially since CBC Vancouver recently had a report detailing how many on-the-street cops disagreed with the position of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and said that the registry was ineffective and immaterial -- meaning that they didn't rely on it for their safety, and that it wouldn't insure their safety even if they did. Which dovetails with this item in Dr. Dawg's post on this subject -- -- Illegal smuggling by organized crime is by far the principal source of firearms on our streets. Indeed, the Vancouver police report that 97 percent of firearms seized in 2003 were illegal guns smuggled in from the United States, usually by organized crime (Vancouver Police, Strategic Plan 2004-08). In short, the cops-on-the-street seem to be well aware that the major threat to them is smuggled handguns, not long guns.

Also, keep in mind that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police also maintains that marijuana is a deadly threat, but that Tasers are a harmless and necessary tool. They have also, in the past, come out in favour of a universal DNA database. I believe they would even advocate for a full-on police state, if they thought they could sell it. In short, I trust my local cops a LOT more than I trust the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police -- and I'm pretty suspicious of some of my local cops, when it comes to that.

And as for this perceived urban/rural divide, I grew up on a farm, where a .22 was seen as nothing more than a tool, for varmint control. I currently live in the mountains, where there are bears, cougars and such, and a more powerful weapon than a .22 is sometimes called for to deal with predators (and although I personally have never felt threatened, I know lots of cases of people who were, by bears trying to get right into their house, etc.) Hence, to me, it is still a *tool* (and yes, I am an animal lover and NON-hunter.)

Now, if you want to argue that some of the types of long guns currently allowed should be re-classified as restricted weapons, then sure, let's talk. But pissing away billions on registering .22s and such when the largest single factor in gun crime is illegal handguns smuggled over the border -- something that STILL has not been adequately addressed? Well, I'd say you're barking up the wrong tree, my friend.

Simon said...

hi ' don't have to apologize...I respect your views just like I do Dr Dawg's. I just don't agree with them.
I hear what you're saying, if I lived where you do I'd have a gun too. I'm aware of the reality of rural life.
But here's the're making a mistake if you think you can quantify everything.
How can you quantify answering a domestic abuse call, and knocking on the door, and not knowing whether the guy has a powerful hunting rifle. And whether a bullet could come right through the door and blow your head off.
Or picture this scene. You're attending to a hysterical weeping woman, and the husband you told to go put on his pants comes out of the bedroom a minute later with a shotgun, screaming he's going to kill himself.
While pointing the gun at the two paramedics who just walked in on this scene. A gun you didn't know he had. Because if you did know he had one you would have done things just a little differently. Those kind of incidents don't make it into the news, but they are reality for thousands of police officers. So when those who put their lives on the line, ask that they be allowed to use the registry to make their their eyes...just a little bit safer. Or even just to give them a teeny bit more peace of mind. And some Canadians say no way Jose, filling out forms is a DRAG, don't expect me to have any sympathy.
Because when you're a citizen you do what you can for the common good.
Having said that I'm all in favour of fixing the registry so that it's
simpler and less complicated. And I think resources should be diverted if necessary to favour people who live in rural Canada, because they need guns. Make it much much easier to go through the process than it is in urban areas, where we don't need or want them. At least I certainly don't.
And since about 70 percent of Canadians support the registry our views need to be respected as well. Right?
What we need is a COMPROMISE, but of course this issue has been conflated into a case of the poor country people being screwed again by the city slickers, and the influence of the American gun lobby has turned inconvenience into some kind of sacred cause.
And why? So Stephen Harper can create yet another wedge issue to divide another group of Canadians against themselves, and profit from it vote wise. While sowing the seeds of this country's destruction.
Trust me 'berto this is not the hill to die on. It's just a symptom of a much larger problem...

Oemissions said...

I listened to the Rex Murphy Sunday X country checkup today
Best comment came from an 85 year elderly woman: "It doesn't have to be complicated: when you get a gun just go down to your local office and
sign a paper that you have it",she said.

So many callers talked about the millions of dollars to register.
Bureaucracy can be expensive, but people go to the post office, even in rural areas atleast once a week, farmers go in to town to bank, buy crop insurance, etc.
Someone in Sask. who worked with Roy Romanow, talked about the First Nations, in the northern areas, how difficult registry can be.First Nations people probably go to post offices, right?
A simple method, using existing structures could easily be found.
It sounds as tho' the governmental
bureaucracy system is what is expensive and a huge barrier.
Other callers accused Chretien for bringing it in in the first place to prove that the Libs weren't too right wing.
Here we go again. Is this for safety or for votes?
Does everything have to be viewed as left, right, centre?
Geez Louise.
I grew up in rural Sask.
As kids we always knew about the gun closet that our dad kept under lock and key.The one thing,other than his cars and trucks(and farm machinery) that he seemed to really value.
We never saw them as weapons. We just knew he took them with him when he went hunting.The ducks, venison, partridge and antelope were part of our sustenance.
And one time he had to shoot our dog because Mutt ate something with rat poisoning in it from somebody's dump.He told us in tears that he had to point the gun,out there in the field, three times before he shot.
My dad was a pretty good trapshooter too.He taught my mom how to shoot and in the fall they went together to bring back meat.
I lived in Montreal in my 20s and early 30s down on the old main.
I never encountered gun shots.
There was a knife incident once.
In Texas, this week, they say Hasan fired about a hundred shots
This gun thing is weird. The power aspect.
I remember Bonnie Klein's NFB film, This is Not a Love Story and the pistol/female oral parts
photos she added.Horrible stuff. But its in our world.
I never watch those detective, crime story things on TV or films about that stuff cause I don't w
ant to see all the violence. I get enough just watching documentaries on war or stuff on the news.
Yeah, there are some intelligent bloggers who are ok with what happened in the House this week but I say "Simon, keep posting those photos"!
Best wishes, OEM.

'berto said...


Did you miss the part where I referred to Vancouver city cops who called the registry ineffective and immaterial -- meaning that they didn't rely on it for their safety, and that it wouldn't insure their safety even if they did...?

Because in the cases you hypothesize, no cop worth his salt would assume there was no gun in the house just because one didn't show with a check on a registry -- that's a fast recipe to wind up dead. For instance, even *with* the registry in place, what's to say the guy in question doesn't have an illegal gun? That's exactly why on-the-ground cops DON'T rely on the registry.

And, respectfully, Harper -- as scummy as he is -- did not create this situation (although he definitely HAS exploited it). The situation came about because of the Montreal L'ecole shootings, the "Just Desserts" shootings, and the Jean Creba shooting got a bunch of urbanites up in arms (if you'll excuse the metaphor), and who then marched out and *demanded* legislation to "address the crisis"... whereupon crappy legislation was hurriedly passed that made no allowances for the concerns of farmers and rural folks who live in "wild" areas from BC to the North.

Most of us westerners and northerners are not out to "repeal gun laws" and are not against strict controls on handguns -- which are by far the most responsible for gun crime. We are just reacting to shitty legislation on LONG guns that was imposed upon us by people who didn't know/didn't care about the realities of life that WE face outside a handful of large cities.

Jennifer Smith said...

Oemissions - You can actually register a firearm by phone. It really isn't all that difficult.

I don't get the whole gun thing either, and I own two. They just aren't that important to me on an emotional level - they're just tools. Maybe it's because I'm a girl :)

Anonymous said...

yes.. luv this text :)