Just because my car is registered, does that mean I will never be in a car accident? Does that make me a good driver? In both cases, the answer to the question is no.
Having my car registered does not mean I’m a safe driver nor does it keep me safe from other drivers on the road. Hopefully, when I learned to drive, wrote my driver’s test and with my driving experience, I now have the skills to be a good and safe driver.
If I have abused the privilege of being able to drive, my licence will be revoked. There are people driving without current registration or insurance on their vehicles.
Is that a fault of the vehicle registration system? Not at all. Again, the vehicle registration system is a database of vehicles legally licensed to be driven in the Yukon. Having this registry does not guarantee my safety on the roads and highways in Yukon.
Just because we currently have a registry of long guns in Canada does not make anyone more or less safe. Instead, it’s important to examine the process leading up to registering a firearm. Before you can legally purchase any firearm in Canada, you need to get a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL).
In order to get your PAL you need to complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and pass the exam, and you must apply for your PAL (which will take a minimum of 45 days to process).
Your PAL application requires your current partner to sign off on it (one would assume that if your current partner had concerns for their personal safety, they would not consent to your application to obtain a PAL), as well as two references whom you have known for at least three years.
Once you have completed the paperwork and enclosed your fee, your application is sent to the processing centre. Your paperwork will be reviewed and sent back to the Chief Firearms Officer for Yukon who will then ensure that a complete background check is done.
Once the background check has been completed and only after the applicant has been deemed to be properly trained and not a risk to society, is the PAL granted. When the applicant has successfully received their PAL they can then purchase a firearm and ammunition for said firearm.
Without a PAL, you cannot legally purchase a firearm or ammunition in Canada. The “safety net” that many people feel is in the Long Gun Registry is actually in the PAL system.
If you are a threat to society, the PAL application system is where this should be determined, not with the registry. There are no background checks done to purchase or register a firearm once you have received your PAL.
Once you purchase your long gun, and if you register it, it would then be in the database. The long-gun registry does not keep you safe nor would it prevent an individual from using their firearm against themselves or someone else.
The safeguard to our society is in the Possession and Acquisition Licence system. This is the point that gets lost with many of those who are in favour of keeping the Long Gun Registry, as they believe that they would be safer with this list of legally acquired firearms, just as with my vehicle being registered. That does not mean that there will no longer be any car accidents or that only those legally licensed to drive a vehicle will do so.
The tax dollars spent annually on the long-gun registry could be used in many other programs which could make Canadians safer, be it more police officers actually working on the streets or increasing the funds for mental health programs to help those who might be thinking about drastic measures before it is too late.
Let’s make sure that we have an informed discussion on this topic and that we “keep it or scrap it” for the right reasons, not because people “think” that they will be safer because somewhere there is a database of long guns which have been legally purchased and registered.
Many of the firearms involved in criminal activities are handguns, which have been illegally acquired and were likely smuggled into Canada. The requirement to register handguns has been in effect since 1934 in Canada.
Criminals will find a way to obtain firearms and they will never register them. The four police officers who gave their lives in Mayerthorpe in 2005 were shot by a person who was prohibited from legally possessing firearms but who still managed to get access to a firearm. The long-gun registry did nothing to protect the lives of the four Mounties or their families who have now lost their sons/fathers/husbands.
National Councillor Ã Yukon