'I am encouraging all Canadians to contact their MPs and let them know that the long-gun registry should not be dismantled.' - James Clancy.
Ottawa (2 Dec. 2009) – December 6th, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the date when a deranged gunman entered L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, segregated the female students from the male students, and using a rifle massacred 14 innocent young women.
The event became known as the Montreal Massacre and has become symbolic in the fight to end violence against women.
Guns and domestic violence
One in three Canadian women killed by their husbands is shot; 88% of the firearms are rifles and shotguns. The use of guns often results in multiple victims, many times children. When a gun is involved in domestic violence, the chance of a woman’s death increases by 12 times compared to other forms of violence. As one woman victim stated, “You can run away from physical abuse, but you can’t run away from bullets.”
Women who live with a gun in their home are more likely to be shot and killed than those who do not live with guns. Even if the guns are not directly fired on women they are often used as a tool of intimidation in rape, or physical or psychological violence.
The Firearms Act
The Firearms Act requires a licence for possession and acquisition of a firearm, with screening and licence renewals every five years. It contains several measures which are targeted at keeping guns from those who are at risk to commit domestic violence including screening for suicide and domestic violence, background checks and notifying current and previous spouses (two years) of an individual’s intent to acquire a firearms licence.
Although spousal consent is not required to acquire a licence, if a spouse raises concerns a secondary review of the application must take place. Any report of domestic violence triggers an automatic review of an owner’s licence.
Canada is one of only four countries that have harmonized gun control and domestic violence laws in place. Enacted in 1995, the law has been working as the rate of firearm-related spousal homicides decreased by nearly 50% from 1997 to 2006.
The gun registry is consulted by police 10,000 times a day and helps in efforts to take preventive actions and enforcing prohibition orders.
Murders with rifles and shotguns have decreased dramatically from 107 in 1991 to 32 in 2008, in part because of the stronger controls on firearms. The murders of women have fallen from 85 in 1991 to 32 in 2005.
Bill C-391 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry) proposes to eliminate the registration of unrestricted rifles and shotguns as well as destroy all existing registration records – nearly eight million records in all.
The Conservatives argue that “… the long-gun registry is very efficient at harassing law-abiding farmers and outdoors enthusiasts, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars.” Yet in a 2006 study the auditor general found that eliminating the long-gun portion of the registry would only save taxpayers about $3 million a year.
“You have to license the pick-up truck that you use to go hunting, so why not the gun that you are using for hunting. If the long-gun registry saves one woman’s life, or one child’s life, or one police officer’s life is that not worth the time it takes to register your gun? Is it not worth the money to maintain the registry?” asks James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
“This year as we mark the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, I am encouraging all Canadians to contact their MPs and let them know that the long-gun registry should not be dismantled. Any measure that helps ensure the safety of Canadians must be preserved.”
The National Union has developed a petition that can be sent to your MP as well as the Prime Minister and the leaders of the opposition parties. NUPGE encourages everyone to send a strong message to their MP that the long-gun registry must be maintained. The petition can be accessed here or at the link below.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
Petition: Maintain the Long-Gun Registry