The federal long gun registry is back in the news.
Québec has just won an injunction preventing the federal government from destroying the long gun registry, and has given Ottawa 30 days to comply by handing over the data collected on Québec gun owners. Those employed in law enforcement are happy no doubt. (CBC Story Here)
The Canadian association of chiefs of police had argued for maintaining the registry as it provides them with what they consider a very valuable tool. I find it hard to argue with our police on this point. When officers respond to a call for something like a domestic dispute, I'm sure they like to know ahead of time if there are firearms in the house.
Is it perfect? Of course not, but information can be a powerful tool. And if that information can be used to improve the safety of law enforcement personnel and the public, then I'm all for it.
One of the points against the registry has been the price tag, but I have trouble buying this argument. Reports say the cost is in the neighbourhood of $4 million per year. That's chump change compared to the billions Ottawa is commited to spending on new prisons, US style 'super jails' we're going to be building despite a rapidly declining crime rate.
Then there's the millions being spent to clean up immigration fraud. I realize that the immigrants being investigated represent less than one tenth of one percent of the total, but despite the cost I like the idea of Canadian citizenship not being for sale. If the money is there to fight immigration fraud and to build more prisons, certainly we can find a few million to help those employed in law enforcement.
And the Harper goverment won't be the ones paying for it anymore, it will be Québec taxpayers, and likely other provincial governments who are strong on law and order and in providing police with the tools they need.