The Debate Over the Long Gun Registry Continues at Committee

On November 15th and 17th, CFUW staff attended hearings of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) to listen to witnesses for the study of Bill C-19 Ending the Long Gun Registry.

On Tuesday Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence lawyer, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Murray Grismer, a Sergeant from Saskatchewan, all spoke in favour of the Bill, citing the criminalization of long gun owners, the registries inability to prevent crime and errors and inaccuracies of data as reasons for abolishing the registry.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) was the lone witness speaking against the Bill and reminding the Committee members of the public safety implications – including women and children’s safety and the rights of first responders to a safe workplace.

On Thursday, there were a number of witnesses speaking in support of the Bill while Dr. Wendy Cukier of the Coalition on Gun Control, students from Dawson College and Quebec public security officials spoke against its abolition. Quebec Public Security Minister Robert Dutil asked the government to keep the registry and simply decriminalize non-compliance. At the very least, he argued, the government should remove the clause that calls for the destruction of data because Quebec would like to use it to set up its own registry. “If the unrestricted long-gun registry saves just one life, we are morally justified to continue our efforts to maintain it,” he said.

CFUW has also submitted a brief to SECU to highlight the gendered impacts of Bill C-19 and hopes to be called as a witness in the coming weeks. In the meantime we will support our fellow allies in promoting gun control, such as the CLC, in any way we can, including writing to all the Conservatives members of the committee that continue to deny the public safety issues at stake, and attending committee meetings to bear witness to the debate.

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