The bill to kill the gun registry cleared Parliament on Wednesday, with a vote of 159 to 130.
Yukon MP Ryan Leef began the day’s debate by cheering the registry’s imminent demise.
“I am pleased to tell Yukon citizens, trappers, hunters, athletes, sport shooters, collectors and First Nations, who rely on long guns to protect their heritage, culture and traditional way of life, that the long-gun registry, as promised by our government, is finally coming to its rightful end,” he said.
Leef reckoned the registry has now cost more than $2 billion -“an absolutely grotesque and astounding waste of money.”
Bill C-19 still needs to clear the Senate, where it’s to be carried by the Yukon’s Daniel Lang.
But, if all goes smoothly, the bill should receive royal assent and become law by April, said Leef in an interview.
Gun owners will still need to possess a valid firearms licence. That requires passing a police background check and a safety course.
Handguns will continue to have to be registered.
But owners of long guns won’t have to take the additional step of registering their firearms. Leef has described the gun registry as a wasteful assault on hunters and farmers.
In Parliament, he also poo-pooed the notion that it helps police. The database is “wrought with errors,” making it unreliable, he said. It costs money that could be better spent fighting crime.
“It keeps police behind desks. It keeps police buried in data so that they are not on our streets to prevent crimes. The $2 billion wasted could have been $2 billion spent on a partner that every officer would love to have. Now, that would have been $2 billion well spent.”
Supporters of the registry include Barbara McInerney, executive director of Kaushee’s Place.
In a release, she lamented the registry’s loss, saying it helped police officers prevent domestic violence.
Leef counters there’s little empirical evidence to support that view.
“All reasonable people agree that individuals must be licensed to possess firearms, and we are not changing that,” he told Parliament. “What we are doing is simply taking steps to eliminate a needlessly bureaucratic process that has done nothing to protect the public safety.
“Anyone who believes that putting a piece of paper next to a firearm makes it safer is not being honest with themselves. Let us be clear: Firearms in the wrong hands are dangerous. That is why we are ensuring appropriate licensing still takes place.”
In an interview, he added he had a common cause with McInerney. “We need to keep women safe from domestic violence – not just gun violence, but any violence,” said Leef.
“We need to ensure we put our efforts into the right strategy, one that makes people safe, not just feel safe.”
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