Letters to the Editor

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RE: GUNS, GUNS, GUNS (SEPT. 29, 2010 ISSUE)

Why are Manitoba Conservative MPs so proud of their political grandstanding over the gun registry? The prime minister, along with Ms. Hoeppner and Mr. Tweed, say they are concerned about making criminals of farmers and hunters. Are Ms Hoeppner and Mr. Tweed also concerned about making criminals of farmers and hunters who break the law by failing to register their marriages or cars? We require people to register things for a variety of reasons. Are they for or against laws? Conservative rhetoric over asking someone to register a gun — something manufactured to kill — while they sit silent about other required licenses, registrations, and permits strikes me as fundamentally dishonest.

For many years owning a gun in Canada, thankfully, has required law-abiding citizens including farmers and hunters, to get a Firearm Acquisition Certificate. In 1991, the Conservative government added to the responsibility of gun owners by requiring them to get safety-training certificates before they bought a gun. Do our MPs think this was intended to make criminals of gun owners who have hunted all their lives and know about safety? The fact is that all of this was mandatory long before Canadians were asked to register their long guns — as has been required for hand-gun owners for a very long time. It has also always required paperwork and the payment of a fee. The registry costs current gun owners $10, and for those wishing to also purchase normal long guns it will cost about $12-15 a year for the Possession and Acquisition License.

While I agree the cost of putting the registry together seems outrageous, about $1 billion, the fact is it costs only about $4 million a year to keep it current. It doesn’t make sense to scrap the registry and waste the money taxpayers already spent on creating it. A majority of Canadians support the registry and want the police to be able to continue to use this resource.
I find it strange that Ms. Hoeppner and Mr. Tweed have been silent on the money spent on a few days of G8 and G20 meetings in July 2010. Apparently they think voters won’t remember that they supported this $1.2 billion waste of taxpayer money for a bloated, pretentious and ultimately meaningless set of elite dinner parties. The money wasted on sunscreen, over-blown security and expensive meals in one month this summer would fund the gun registry for 250 years. We deserve better from our representatives.

Jerry Storie
Brandon, Manitoba