Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

Proposed Bill C-19 Is Dangerous

I’m having a bit of a déjà vu moment.

Three years ago I moved to Texas. On my first day at community college, my first class was public speaking and my first assignment was to give a persuasive speech.

So, of course, being the young lefty Canadian in a class of much older, very Republican, very Baptist, very western Texans, I gave a speech called “Shoot Tequila, Not Guns.”

I swear I wasn’t just being a shit-disturber—Texan gun laws actually scared me. I was utterly gobsmacked by the backwardness of the idea that my relocation had stripped me of the privilege of ordering a gin and tonic before I turned 21 and at the same time equipped me with the newfound ability to purchase, use and not register a gun.

But now, three years later, the Harper government has decided to take a walk down the Texan trail—so despite being back in Montreal, I’m about to reiterate a very similar sentiment.

The Conservative government has recently proposed Bill C-19, which, if passed, will terminate Canadian gun owners and dealers’ current obligation to register their weapon on a nation-wide database accessible to police.

Not only that, the bill will also permit the government to immediately destroy current gun-registration data—which apparently, they plan on doing in a hurry.
The Conservatives argue the registry was a $2 billion waste of money—especially considering most gun crimes are not committed with rifles or shotguns, which the registry targets.

They further argue that of those firearms that were used to commit crimes, a significant majority was not registered to begin with. So, eliminating the possibility for them to be registered is the logical solution—duh.

The Gazette reported that 74 per cent of Quebecers and 60 per cent of Canadians are in favour of the registry.

According to Statistics Canada’s findings from 2006, firearms accounted for 31 per cent of all homicides in Canada, and 68 per cent of homicides in the US.

Oh, right, now I understand why we’re following the leaders on this one.

As of March 2007, nearly 2 million Canadians held valid firearms licenses for almost 7 million registered firearms, according to StatsCan. I can’t even fathom why our government seems to think that 7 million guns floating around should be treated as an “ignorance is bliss” type of scenario.

There is a small beacon of hope in that Jean Charest is opposing this bill. The Gazette reported if the bill were to become law, the premier would seek an injunction. For the first time, at least in print, I’d like to give the man some kudos.

The same Gazette article states the Quebec government hopes to maintain a gun registry, and is currently trying to get a copy of the database’s information from the Federal Government, before it’s too late.

But Charest, more than anyone, has reason to be concerned about gun laws—just look at Quebec’s history.

In 1989 Marc Lepine walked into École Polytechnique with a gun and shot and killed 14 female engineering students.

In 1992, Concordia professor Valery Fabrikant shot and killed four of his colleagues in the very building this article was written.

In 2006, Kimveer Gill shot and killed himself and 19-year-old Anastasia De Sousa at Dawson College.

Hopefully Quebec can use its past as incentive to lead the way in shutting down this bill—and incite other provinces to, at the very least, push for their own registries if the Conservatives manage to see this through.

I can honestly say I don’t know anyone that has ever been shot—not on purpose or intentionally, not in a mall, not in a grocery store, not in a school, in a war or on the street. I’d like to keep it that way—and I don’t think the Conservative Government’s decision to take away transparency surrounding guns is a step in the right direction.