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CBC News - Canada - Ottawa giving up millions in gun registry fees

Ottawa giving up millions in gun registry fees

Last Updated: Monday, October 5, 2009 | 10:49 PM ET
Alison Crawford, CBC News

The Conservative government is relinquishing millions of dollars in gun registry and licensing fees at a time of record federal budget deficits.

Documents obtained by CBC News under access to information show the federal government's decision to waive fees for people licensing their firearms will cost more than $15 million this year alone. Should the fee waiver be extended for another three years, internal forecasts predict an additional $60 million in "projected lost revenue."

The Conservatives started granting amnesty to gun owners in 2006 — neither forcing new owners to register rifles and other long guns, nor collecting fees from those who already had. It also waived fees for licence renewals. The amnesty has been extended twice more since then.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan didn't dispute the amounts cited in the documents, but he insisted no money is being lost.

"Federal budgets have committed funding to offset the cost of this waiver to the RCMP," he said in a statement emailed to the CBC.

The statement also said that statistics compiled by the Canadian Firearms Centre, "indicate that compliance with the requirement for Canadians to register as a firearms owner has increased throughout the extended waiver period."

A spokesperson for Van Loan, responding to requests for more detailed information, said that between 2006 and 2008, the renewal rate of possession-only licences increased to 65 per cent from 50 per cent.

Those numbers, however, appear to be at odds with statistics produced by public servants at the Department of Public Safety, which show a downward trend in licence renewals.

In February 2008, Lyndon Murdock, the director of firearms and operational policing policy at Public Safety, emailed his director general Mark Potter. The message said, "Data does not tell compelling story re: effectiveness of measures vis-a-vis promotion of compliance."

The department refused CBC's requests to speak with Murdock.

That's not the only discrepancy.

Scott McDougall, the director of strategic policy and planning at the Canadian Firearms Centre, also wrote an internal memo in February 2008 stating that 95,000 people had not renewed their firearms licences but still appeared to have guns in their possession.

Lot of confusion

Last week when CBC asked for more up-to-date information, the RCMP reported that 138,000 have let their possession-only licences expire. Of those, 70,000 are people who moved and never provided the centre with a new address. The Mounties say 1.9 million Canadians own guns.

Toronto Police chief Bill Blair said that among gun owners, there is "a great deal of confusion about a number of amnesties that have been announced by the federal government."

Blair, who also heads up the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, pointed to Project Safe City in Toronto, where officers physically show up to check in on known gun owners.

"We have been going to people's homes where we know that they were previously in possession of firearms that were registered that they failed to re-register and we're finding not only those weapons but additional weapons that people have acquired as well and failed to register," Blair said. "And so I think the amnesties have even caused some confusion among gun owners."

The Liberal Party's public safety critic Mark Holland agreed.

"If people are told that there is no consequence for not licensing their weapon, it's no surprise that they don't. And these facts bear that out. When they're told that there's no impact for them to ignore it, then they're going to ignore it."

As for the fee waivers, Blair said the lost revenue "just adds to the burden that Canadians are going to have to pay eventually to get this caught up when we restore the requirement that these weapons get properly registered. And we're very hopeful that that will take place."

Very nice solution

The University of Lethbridge political science professor Peter McCormick said that's unlikely to happen any time soon. By extending the amnesty year after year, he said, the Conservatives are deftly handling a hot-button issue.

McCormick said the strategy allows the government to pacify rural and western voters who oppose the registry as well as urban Canadians who support it.

"Elegant is too nice a word, but this is actually for the government a very nice solution," he said.

"You can keep saying to the westerners, we're amnestying, we're doing what we can. And everyone goes off saying, yeah, yeah and they're nodding their heads and they're happy. Not a bad package for the government."

The balancing act may cost millions, but the political payback is worth it, McCormick added.

"Amnestying fees is not the same thing as abolishing the registry. It's hard for the Opposition to get traction on it. And sure, it costs, what, $10, $15 million dollars a year in forgone revenue for the government, but we're talking $50 billion deficits these days. What's $15 million among friends? For the government, I think it's quite a bargain."
 

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Good on 'em.

It's time governments with no idea of Canada's long gun culture left hunters and farmers/ranchers shooting varmints or targets alone. :clap:

Now, if they could nail down gangs with handguns instead, there would be some positive results. But they can't. Illegal handgun smuggling from the US will never be stopped as long as America continues to sell guns to the public. And count on it, they will.
 

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Good on 'em.

It's time governments with no idea of Canada's long gun culture left hunters and farmers/ranchers shooting varmints or targets alone. :clap:

Now, if they could nail down gangs with handguns instead, there would be some positive results. But they can't. Illegal handgun smuggling from the US will never be stopped as long as America continues to sell guns to the public. And count on it, they will.
+1

It's time that the Government does something right and stop making criminals out of law abiding citizens. Perhaps they can make up the shortfall through the confiscation and auction of those assets that criminals and their families possess - like take away all of Conrad Black's houses as a part of his punishment for ripping off his employees and stealing pension funds for years on end...
 

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The Conservatives started granting amnesty to gun owners in 2006 — neither forcing new owners to register rifles and other long guns, nor collecting fees from those who already had. It also waived fees for licence renewals. The amnesty has been extended twice more since then.
Article is full of crap!

ALL NEW PURCHASES HAVE TO BE REGISTERED!!

My new rifle, purchased in May of this year, HAD to be registered. As far as renewal of licenses is concerned, my license is good for 10 frigging years 2001-2011 that's when the legislation came into effect (2001) and I payed my [email protected]#$% fees too. Those people that registered from day one, wont have to renew until 2011.

Oh, and it's not the license fees that are waived, it's the registration fees for existing firearms held by those that have not registered.

Get it now, CBC, you dumb asses?
 

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Good on 'em.

It's time governments with no idea of Canada's long gun culture left hunters and farmers/ranchers shooting varmints or targets alone. :clap:
I don't see an issue with paying a modest license fee to buy a gun. Guns are at least as dangerous as getting married, and I had to pay a license fee for that ... :)
 

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Indigent Academic
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Good on 'em.

It's time governments with no idea of Canada's long gun culture left hunters and farmers/ranchers shooting varmints or targets alone. :clap:

Now, if they could nail down gangs with handguns instead, there would be some positive results. But they can't. Illegal handgun smuggling from the US will never be stopped as long as America continues to sell guns to the public. And count on it, they will.
+1

I don't see an issue with paying a modest license fee to buy a gun. Guns are at least as dangerous as getting married, and I had to pay a license fee for that ... :)
Backyard pools kill more people than guns every year!
 

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+1

Perhaps they can make up the shortfall through the confiscation and auction of those assets that criminals and their families possess - like take away all of Conrad Black's houses as a part of his punishment for ripping off his employees and stealing pension funds for years on end...
First, I'm opposed to guns, but I understand the need for them in rural areas. It's the hand guns that are problem .... so if you can't stop the guns at least license the bullets.

Evan, I think you have it in for Conrad, maybe you should read the case law in his recent trial ... it may curb your enthusiasm.
 

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+1 to sinc, EP, rgray. I had thought it was a Alberta or prairie thing. Nice to see similar lines of thought from out east.
 

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First, I'm opposed to guns, but I understand the need for them in rural areas. It's the hand guns that are problem .... so if you can't stop the guns at least license the bullets.
First of all - we have always had a requirement to register guns, at least as far back as a century ago, as evidenced by the license that I have that was the registration for my great-grandfather's gun in 1911.

Half of the problem isn't with the registration or licensing of guns - but the Gun Registry Program, which wasted billions of dollars on crappy, Windoze based software, and the establishment of a giant and expensive bureaucracy to peddle it. It is the billions in wasted dollars, flushed down the toilet on now useless and almost impossible to maintain ancient Windoze systems, with constant requests to feed more cash into the beast because the whole infrastructure needs to be completely scrapped and repurchased every three years.

The other half of the problem is that the Gun Registry does nothing to curb crime. Criminals don't register their guns, nor are they likely to wield a musket in a bank robbery situation (muskets are actually entirely legal to cart around, as they are exempt from the registry!) Criminals do not obey the law, that is why they are criminals. Thus, the Gun Registry imposes massive fees and inconvenience upon those who are legitimate users of guns for legal purposes - while doing absolutely nothing to curb crime. Not to mention the fact that guns already had to be registered anyways, so the Gun Registry accomplishes nothing because we already had the requirement to register guns and have gun licenses, as well as the fact that none of this does anything to curb crime.

It is nothing more than big brotherism cum political graft and corruption...

Evan, I think you have it in for Conrad, maybe you should read the case law in his recent trial ... it may curb your enthusiasm.
I could care less about his recent show trial. The fact stands that Conrad stole the hard earned cash from the pension plans of his employees - and deserves the death penalty for it, like all of the other corrupt scum that rapes employees of what is theirs.

All his show trial demonstrated is that one can steal more cash with a briefcase than by any other means. If things were proportional, and a criminal that robs a bank at gunpoint gets 2 years - then Conrad should be serving 2 years for every person he has chiselled and ripped off over the years - so he should be out in a few hundred thousand years, with good behaviour.
 

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+1 to sinc, EP, rgray. I had thought it was a Alberta or prairie thing. Nice to see similar lines of thought from out east.
I don't think it matters where one lives, it's all about logic. Since we have had the gun registry, gun crimes have gone up, and there are still 940 organized crime gangs on the loose. The gun registry does nothing to prevent or encourage crime, only when we decide it is time that we establish a justice system and actually dole out punishments, will things change for the better.
 

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I don't think it matters where one lives, it's all about logic. Since we have had the gun registry, gun crimes have gone up, and there are still 940 organized crime gangs on the loose. The gun registry does nothing to prevent or encourage crime, only when we decide it is time that we establish a justice system and actually dole out punishments, will things change for the better.
If it is all about logic, why the resistance? Plus, you have to admit AB does have its share of gun enthusiasts. See many of those bumber stickers in Ontario with: "No gun control, no Kyoto, and no wheat board"?
 

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If it is all about logic, why the resistance?
I do not know why the politicians resist logic, I guess it's in their blood. No one is saying that we should have unbrided gun use. The fact is that we already had requirements to register guns and have licenses for their legal use, as it has been established for over 100 years. What people are against is the big brotherism of a wasteful Gun Registry, with massive cost overruns, and fat profits being funneled into the pockets of political hacks, consultants, and the corrupt companies that sold the government overpriced but inferior equipment.

Plus, you have to admit AB does have its share of gun enthusiasts. See many of those bumber stickers in Ontario with: "No gun control, no Kyoto, and no wheat board"?
I think people in Ontario are reasonable and have no problems with gun controls. What they don't want is the Government to spend $2 Billion every year in some farce of a program which accomplishes nothing, while watching criminals continue to reap large profits from their crimes and the very weak and inept justice system. Instead, we have a turd of a system that has zero benefits, that costs huge wads of money (more than twice that of the annual budget for the City of Hamilton), provides zero accomplishments, does nothing to curb crime, and simply allows politicians to point at an "accomplishment" while letting them off the hook for allowing crime to spiral out of control, and to dole out virtually no punishment for the few criminals that are actually caught.

Kyoto was the biggest waste of time, effort and money ever put forth; with the exception of the even bigger waste that Copenhagen is racking up. What we need is to take massive steps of curbing energy use, of reducing waste, and eliminating pollution and toxin - rather than talk about dumb Carbon Markets and the stupid goals of spewing out pollution as if there is no tomorrow. Both efforts fail large because they do nothing to reduce pollution, and accomplish nothing but be a sop to the Global Warming - Pump Waste Into The Ground crowd.

I can see us not having much problems with the Wheat Board, seeing that most of the fields around these parts are populated with Corn, Hay, Soy, and other non-wheat products. But I certainly understand the ax that farmers have to grind, since they end up making pennies and struggle to keep their farms going, while fat cats like Galen Weston feast on the vast profits all coated in gold plated caviar derived from that product. Not to mention the overpriced people at the Wheat Board, who are probably raking in at least a hundred and a half large per year, while shedding not one drop of sweat in doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Victim’s mother angry after shooting - Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca

The mother of an ATV driver who was shot early Sunday says the man accused of firing on her son should never have had his weapons returned to him.

Rhonda Dixon is the mother of Jeremy Shand, 28, who was peppered with No. 4 birdshot while he and a friend drove all-terrain vehicles near a Carleton Village, Shelburne County, home.

Ms. Dixon said her son is lucky to be alive and she is alarmed at how a man who once had his guns taken away from him could get them back and open fire.

"He had 43 holes in his back," she said Tuesday, referring to her son. "It looks like chicken pox . . . scabbing over."

Michael Goulden, 49, was charged with assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, careless use of a firearm and pointing a firearm after someone opened fire on Mr. Shand and his friend.

Ms. Dixon said she is outraged about what happened and is blaming the Canadian Firearms Centre for returning guns to Mr. Goulden after they were confiscated for improper use.
 

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^^^
Chalk up another victory for the effectiveness of the Gun Registry... beejacon
 

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They will spend a few tens of millions to have a high priced committee look into it for a few years. After that, nothing resolved, nothing changed, just make the system more complicated with more redtape to confuse the law abiding folks.
You would be lucky if such a commission only cost a few tens of millions. These days, a low end commission will spend $50 Million for something penny ante, while a real commission will be between $100-200 Million. In the end, no matter how much is paid out, it is all shredded when the recommendations fall on deaf ears, and the Government goes on to cause some other fiascos elsewhere...
 

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Seems to me that a simple method of "gun control" would be this: misuse your guns, lose your guns. Either for a long period, or permanently, depending on the transgression.
That is one major cornerstone that has been entirely absent from the political discussion of the Gun Registry. The politicians seem to think that gun crimes will cease once licensing and registration is brought in. The other sad thing is that we already had the mandatory registry of guns in this country, for at least a century - so this was nothing more than a phoney scheme that was created to liberate money from the taxpayers, money that went into the pockets of "contractors" and "consultants", including that dude Chretien chummed around with that was part of the Gambino crime syndicate...
 
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