We reg­is­ter cars, why not guns?

The Compass - - OPINION - Sue Hickey, Grand Falls-Wind­sor Ad­ver­tiser

W ell, Bill C-391 didn’t get shot down, though it should have been. Out of the air in the House of Com­mons, just like the un­for­tu­nate vir­tual fowls in Su­per Mario Duck Hunt.

Sup­pos­edly, Amer­i­can vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sarah Palin was around that day in the House of Com­mons, when the pri­vate mem­bers’ bill, spon­sored by Tory MP Candice Hoepp­ner from Man­i­toba, passed Nov. 4. The bill in ques­tion? To kill the long-gun reg­istry. For peo­ple who know noth­ing about firearms ex­cept for those in TV and movie shootouts, long guns are what hun­ters use to go af­ter game.

Many hun­ters shoot game not just for sport, but for food. We all know how de­li­cious moose and cari­bou are; some­times we go duck hunt­ing; seal­ers use ri­fles – not clubs, PETA – to kill seals for food and pelts; oc­ca­sion­ally hun­ters even use guns to fend off coy­otes.

Firearms are also a valu­able tool in the arse­nal of abo­rig­i­nals who hunt game to feed fam­i­lies. And any­one who’s come across a po­lar bear knows how fe­ro­cious that huge an­i­mal can be.

There’s noth­ing wrong with hunt­ing. An­i­mals killed in the wild for eat­ing ex­pire quickly, and hun­ters gen­er­ally are hu­mane about dis­patch­ing their prey.

And isn’t it bet­ter for the crit­ter who roams freely in the wild than the mis­er­able An­gus bovine fac­tory farmed in Al­berta? Why do I need to reg­is­ter my ri­fle, asks the hunter?

But dan­gers from some an­i­mals and hunt­ing for food shouldn’t be the mo­ti­va­tion to sup­port a bill spon­sored by the Sarah Palin of Canada’s West.

The Lib­er­als brought in the orig­i­nal reg­istry in the wake of the Montreal Mas­sacre, where a gun­man gunned downed 13 women 20 years ago.

Po­lice as­so­ci­a­tions don’t like the move to scrap the reg­istry and Toronto Po­lice Chief Bill Blair claims it will make Canada less safe.

Po­lice of­fi­cers have ev­ery right to like a na­tional reg­istry. When they’re re­spond­ing to danger­ous sit­u­a­tions, they can find out if the per­sons in­volved have guns, and they have more of an idea of what they’re up against.

So­cial work­ers, ditto. In many com­mu­ni­ties, they some­times have to re­move chil­dren from homes be­cause of abuse or be­cause par­ents and guardians are in­volved with crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, and they may have firearms.

Women’s groups, whether they’re anti-vi­o­lence com­mit­tees, tran­si­tion house boards or other or­ga­ni­za­tions, gen­er­ally sup­port the gun reg­istry be­cause they fre­quently deal with clients who flee abu­sive sit­u­a­tions. Some of the clients have even been threat­ened with the part­ner’s firearms.

Polls show two-thirds of Cana­di­ans sup­port the reg­istry.

A waste of money? Set­ting the thing up cost a lot to do it, but since then, the reg­istry costs less than $9 mil­lion a year.

An at­tack on ru­ral lifestyles? Ru­ral peo­ple use ve­hi­cles, but those ma­chines have to be reg­is­tered. Why not firearms?

It’s not an at­tack on ru­ral lifestyles, but a tool against do­mes­tic homi­cides. When peo­ple are killed in those sit­u­a­tions, firearms are the pre­ferred tool one part­ner uses to dis­patch the other.

As for ‘the con­stituents want it’; sorry, but that doesn’t wash. We elected you guys and gals for your sup­posed com­mon sense be­cause some of your con­stituents don’t have any.

“ Your rep­re­sen­ta­tive owes you, not his in­dus­try only, but his judg­ment; and he be­trays in­stead of serv­ing you if he sac­ri­fices it to your opin­ion.” – 18th cen­tury Bri­tish states­man Ed­mund Burke.

There are times our politi­cians are al­lowed to think for them­selves, and times when their con­stituents should come sec­ond.

For peo­ple who know noth­ing about firearms ex­cept for those in TV and movie shootouts, long guns are what hun­ters use to go af­ter game.

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