OTTAWA (February 16, 2012) – The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is outraged by the outcome of yesterday’s vote on Bill C-19 in the House of Commons, which seeks to weaken gun control in Canada by ending the long gun registry, deleting data on more than 7 million long guns across the country, and altering the licensing system by eliminating mandatory license checks. With a vote of 159 -130, the bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration, and one step closer to becoming law.
“Since the bill was introduced in the fall, CFUW has stood firmly against it”, said Brenda Wallace, CFUW National President. “We have close to 10,000 members across the country, many of which have been contacting their local MPs to voice their opposition to this legislation. Several of our Provincial Councils have also called on their Provincial Leaders to take similar actions as the Quebec government.”
Along with many other groups, CFUW members are very concerned about the impact of dismantling the registry on public safety, particularly for women and children. Back in the fall, CFUW submitted a brief to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) outlining the important role the registry plays in preventing gun violence by helping ensure that long guns are removed from the possession of dangerous individuals.
Health and safety experts have also provided evidence that stronger gun laws reduce gun-related death rates. For example, since controls on all firearms were introduced, there has been a 70 per cent decrease in the number of women murdered by firearms.
“Though we were not hopeful that the Harper Government would withdraw the legislation completely, we were very surprised that Conservative members of SECU would not allow any amendments whatsoever”, said Wallace. “We had hoped that they would at least pass amendments to reinstitute the requirement for merchants to keep records of sales and check the validity of licenses, as well as take out the provisions that call for the destruction of the existing data”.
Now the fate of the long gun registry is in the hands of the Senate.
“We are obviously disappointed that the bill has now passed through the House, but that does not mean we are giving up” said Wallace. “We will continue to keep up the pressure for responsible gun control that protects the safety of Canadians”.
CFUW is a non-partisan, equality-seeking, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women graduates and students in 112 Clubs across Canada.
The Right to Speak, The Responsibility to Act Le droit de parole – le devoir d’agir