COLUMN: Good riddance to long-gun registry

I have an urge to go outside and fire a gun in the air. That would be ill-advised, of course

COLUMN: Good riddance to long-gun registry

I have an urge to go outside and fire a gun in the air.

That would be ill-advised, of course, since it would likely summon the local constabulary. And that would result in the arrest of me and my legally registered long gun – which ought not to be fired discriminately into the air for any occasion, including the celebration of the end of the requirement to legally register long guns (rifles and shotguns).

So, I’ll just have to content myself with the satisfaction that an ill-conceived, outrageously expensive, and largely useless law has been shot down, pardon the bad pun.

Wednesday, the federal Conservatives used their majority to scrap Bill C-68, or the Long-Gun Registry Act.

I can now go dig up all the guns I had wrapped in oily rags and buried in plastic pipes in the backyard to avoid registering them.

Hey, just kidding. However, I have known some people who talked about doing that. Folks like that scare me. They also wear T-shirts with slogans like “The only way you’ll get my gun is to pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

You see? The long-gun registry never did protect us from the whack-nuts.

And as for the sane, clearly thinking criminals, who could figure out that registering their guns was probably not advantageous to their nefarious pursuits, the registry was less than useless – it was laughable.

And that was why legal gun owners detested the program so much.

In order to purchase and/or possess a firearm in this country, one has to take a government-certified safety and handling course. Then one has to apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence. You’re checked for mental illness, previous murderous rampages, and the like, and if the system is working, the licence isn’t issued.

Then you’d have to buy your gun out of the trunk of some shady guy’s car in the bar parking lot.

Lot of good the gun registry did to prevent that…

If someone qualified for a licence, legally bought firearms, and years later heard voices telling him to go on a shooting spree, the gun registry was once again, impotent.

In fact, the Auditor General of Canada concluded that the system has been unable to demonstrate how Bill C-68 helped to reduce deaths, injuries and threats to the public safety from the criminal use of firearms.

So why did we blow in excess of $2 billion of taxpayers’ money on a program with such obvious shortcomings and dubious value?

Because it was largely a PC (politically correct) initiative launched by a Liberal goverment in a response to public fear of gun violence, especially following the 1989 massacre of largely female students at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

Sadly, since then, there have been other rampages by deranged gunmen, some using legally obtained firearms. The gun registry couldn’t prevent those tragedies.

Meanwhile, the far more common gun violence, often committed on public streets as we’ve witnessed here in Abbotsford, has been perpetrated by people who ignore all laws, including those governing guns.

One can only imagine how much less gun-related violence this country would have seen in the past 15 years if laws had been toughened to lock up the real gun-toting criminals for long sentences, and that $2 billion had been invested in law enforcement initiatives.

It’s all money up in smoke now (assuming the senate does its rubber-stamping).

After Tuesday’s vote, the Conservative MPs were apparently celebrating too, at a cocktail reception with pro-gun lobbyists.

That’s the political equivalent of shooting into the air.

Not exactly statesmanlike.

Geez, even I know that.