Canada's Supposedly Dead Gun Registry Still In Use

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

They say that the internet is forever. Apparently, so is a gun registry.

You see, in Canada, they had a long gun registry. It was a complete disaster and eventually, lawmakers up that way voted to kill it. It was a major win for gun rights in Canada.

Unfortunately, it seems the gun registry isn’t as dead as many might like to think.

A year after Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his sweeping ban on firearms, shocking new revelations have emerged concerning the repudiated long gun registry and the federal police agency responsible for implementing and enforcing Canada’s gun laws.

According to reports by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) and news media, there is good reason to believe that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has retained the long gun registry records.

The long gun registry, set up by the Liberal government in 1995, was an utter, complete and horribly expensive catastrophe. It was finally abolished by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government through the enactment of Bill C-19, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, which came into force on April 5, 2012.

Concern over the surreptitious and illegal retention of the records persisted. In 2017, after the Liberal government introduced C-52 (a bill to authorize the Commissioner of Firearms to provide the Quebec government with copies of all records of non-restricted firearms that were in the Canadian Firearms Registry as of April 3, 2015), the obvious question was asked: Hadn’t these records ceased to exist as of 2015?

These concerns resurfaced more forcefully this month, after journalist Brian Lilley described new evidence that the long gun registry records are being used by the RCMP and are made available to other law enforcement agencies. If this is correct, not only did officials in the highest echelons of the RCMP mislead Parliament and all Canadians, but these records are being kept and used in violation of a clear federal law.

Did anyone really think that information wouldn’t be retained?

Of course, with each passing year, that information becomes less and less relevant. After all, people sell their guns. The guns get destroyed. They get stolen. People pass away. All those things contribute to making the records less than useful.

However, the fact that the RCMP is still using them at all is troubling, especially since it seems they don’t really care if people know they still have the records.

And this is one of the reasons why I vehemently oppose any effort at registration here in the United States. I may support law enforcement, but I also recognize that police are people and that people will sometimes cross the line. They can’t do that with firearms data if there’s no data for them to access.

“Oh, but it would be different here,” some might say, but it won’t be. Let’s not forget how Honolulu used registration data, cross-referenced with medical marijuana cards, to demand they turn in their firearms. Do you really think that a department that would do that wouldn’t hold onto data, regardless of what the law actually said?

Hell, Canadians are supposedly more polite and law-abiding than we rowdy Americans. If they’ll hold onto it, anyone would.

So yeah, I’m not going to be a fan of registering much of anything.