The suggestion that the firearms registry reduces domestic violence has little, if any, basis in fact.
If anything, not only are firearms owners less likely to commit domestic violence, the firearms registry actually drains precious resources from the government’s coffers that could otherwise be used to prevent spousal violence.
Statistics Canada’s 2006 report on family violence shows only 40 of more than 38,000 incidents of domestic violence involved firearms. In other words, 99.92 per cent of spousal assaults didn’t involve guns.
In instances where spousal abuse involved physical violence, firearms were used only 40 times out of more than 17,000 assaults.
According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the total spending for shelters in 2006 totaled $317 million. In the same year the government spent $82 million on the firearms program.
The 2007 Commissioner of Firearms report states that 70 of the 1,758 firearms licence revocations during 2007 were the result of domestic violence. At the end of 2007 there were 1,877,880 individuals licenced to own firearms in Canada. This translates to a rate of 3.7 revocations per 100,000 gun owners.
The 2006 Census reports there were more than 31.6 million people in Canada, resulting in a rate of 120.2 incidents of domestic violence per 100,000 population and 53.7 violent assaults per 100,000 population.
In other words, firearms owners are between 14.5 and 32.5 times less likely to commit domestic violence.
Yet, responsible firearms owners continue to be demonized as “potential” abusers by registry supporters.
While we must be vocal in condemning all forms of domestic violence, spending a disproportionate amount of limited tax money to achieve a relatively meagre reduction in the rate of domestic violence seems counterintuitive.
Certainly, the bulk of victims of spousal abuse would benefit more from expanded shelter space and increased funding for existing programs than they do from government spending millions of dollars to maintain a list of firearms. More so as scrapping the registry will not do away with firearms licensing, the main tool police use to revoke firearms ownership.
Scrapping the registry won’t make women more likely to be abused.
If anything, it will free up tax dollars for programs that make a real difference in keeping Canadians safe.