Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gun Registry Findings

The results from the Harris Decima poll, on the gun registry, reveal slightly surprising results. A large percentage of Liberals favor abolition, the supposed urban/rural divide isn't as pronounced as people assumed, and a wide majority don't think it helped to reduce crime.

Decima finds a slight plurality favor abolishing the registry- 46% of people thought it was a good idea, while 41% didn't. Only one region, by a healthy margin, supports keeping the registry, Quebec. Everywhere else, a majority want it gone, even in Ontario it's 42% for, 40% against. When you break it down by party affiliation, not surprisingly 64% of Conservatives support killing it, only 27% don't. In a testament to the divide within the NDP, 44% want to keep it, 42% don't. Maybe most striking, 39% of Liberal voters want it abolished, although 48% want to keep it. The latter finding suggests that the registry isn't the great legacy that people assume, a sizeable portion don't see the merit.

This whole debate has centered around this rural/urban divide. While Decima does find a difference, it's not the wide chasm previously thought:
A majority of those in rural Canada (52%) believe abolishing the registry is a good idea, while 36% think it is a bad idea. Among urban Canadians, this split was 42%-44%.

Not exactly overwhelming support from urban Canadians, revealed as something of a myth. I found the above somewhat surprising, given that opposition MP votes suggested a great polarization.

In terms of the registry's usefulness, it's hard to argue that Canadians think it's made a difference:
3 in 10 Canadians believe that the long gun registry has helped reduce
gun crime in Canada. Overall, 31% were of this view, while a majority
(56%) believed the long gun registry had not helped reduce gun crime in Canada.

Quebec again the lone exception, but this fact when incorporated, means English Canada has a very firm opinion. Even amongst Liberal voters, a statistical split on the question of the registry reducing crime.

When you consider the almost baseless hysteria about violent crime in this country, a dynamic the government has used to full political advantage, these results stand out. You would think that we would see more of a kneejerk reaction in favor of this registry, because it speaks to the issue of gun crime. That sentiment doesn't translate, despite this supposed inherent "boost", the registry just isn't terribly popular.

The Bloc will try and use this issue, although that has been put into question, given what just happened this week. Apart from that, it may be that the registry goes out with a wimper, as opposed to a...

26 comments:

Northern PoV said...

slightly surprising results

ya cooked up specially just for you

Koby said...

I am little surprised at the spilt too. However, the overall results do not surprise me at all. Gun control is one of many issues the Liberals do not bother to talk about -- at least not anymore. As with talk of Senate Reform, the Liberals let Conservatives dominate the airways. On the rare occasion that they have talked about it, they mentioned police support and that is about it. Never, have I heard a Liberal MP talk about suicide and domestic violence -- the two things that they should be talking about in this context.

Steve V said...

North

I have NO idea what you mean.

Koby said...

In opposition the Reform party stood up for what they believed. The Liberals, meanwhile, do not stand for anything. Without much money in the bank they are having a hard time polling for an opinion.

Steve V said...

Koby

I don't think that's the problem. Look at the last election expenditure, we spent nothing, but still spent exponentially more than others on polling. As a matter of fact, it's only the Liberals that seem to have a high profile party pollster. I never hear this position mentioned, except when Liberals gather.

As for these results, it might explain why Liberals didn't fight harder on the issue. There's a conflict within our own base, nevermind swing voters.

Koby said...

It was joke, but yes I too have noticed it that too.

Anyway, my point is that the Liberals are seeding way to much ground to the Conservatives. The Liberals need to get ahead of the curve. I am tired of the way things are now. Namely, the Conservatives shape issues and the Liberals react to them.

Now part of the problem is the media. Going back some years, the Conservatives have had legions of toadies to help them shape an issue both in the print media and radio. The Liberals have not a one. Still there is no excuse for the Liberals not having talked about suicides, which outnumber homicides by a 6 to one ratio, and about domestic violence.

Gayle said...

What this poll tells me is the NRA are winning their propoganda war.

Do you think if more Canadians understood the value of the registry in solving crime (rather than decreasing it, which I think was never going to be the result) the poll numbers might differ?

NRA types use the fact there is no correlation between the registry and reduced gun crime to argue it is not working. They get away with it because the proponents have allowed them to define the issue.

The reason the police want to keep the registry is obvious - it helps them solve crimes.

I feel strongly about this issue partly because I have personally experienced how the registry can be used to identify and arrest criminals.

We do not say we should not have a DNA databank because it does not reduce crime (and it doesn't).

CK said...

What I fear is in repealing the Long Gun Registry, we are on our way to a society much like the US: No gun control at all!

The usual BS arguement is that it makes the law abiding citizens pay, well, since when has a law abiding citizen not snapped and joined the dark side?

Koby said...

"NRA types use the fact there is no correlation between the registry and reduced gun crime to argue it is not working."

But there is a clear correlation. The number of gun rates was declining already, but it clearly quickened it after the GR was put in place. To wit:


The suicide rate in Canada peaked at 15.2 in 1978, dipped below 12 for the first time in 32 years in 2000 and reached a post 1970 low of 11.3 in 2004.

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/mh-sm/pdf/suicid_e.pdf

http://www.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/rs/rep/2006/rr06-2/rr06-2.pdf

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/perhlth66a.htm?sdi=suicide

The average suicide rate per year between 1970 and 1976 was 13.35, between 1977 and 1983 it was 14.5, between 1984 and 1990 it was 13.1, between 1991 and 1997 it was 13 and between 1998 to 2004 it was 12.

The number of suicides by firearm in Canada dropped from a high of 1287 in 1978 to a low of 568 in 2004. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/84F0209XIE/2004000/t001_en.htm There was an average of 1033 fire arm suicides per year between 1970 and 1976, 1197 between 1977 and 1983, 1084 between 1984 and 1990, 970 between 1991 and 1997 and 682 between 1998 and 2004.

The number of accidental shooting deaths in Canada stood at 143 in 1971 and has generally declined since then; a low of 20 was reached in 2000. There was an average of 117 accidental shooting deaths per year between 1970 and 1976, 70 between 1977 and 1983, 62.3 between 1984 and 1990, 50.1 between 1991 and 1997 and 28.1 between 1998 and 2004. http://www.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/rs/rep/2006/rr06-2/rr06-2.pdf

The rate of homicide in Canada peaked in 1975 at 3.03 per 100,000 and has dropped since then, reaching lower peaks in 1985 (2.72 per 100,000) and 1991 (2.69 per 100,000) while declining to 1.73 per 100,000 in 2003. The average murder rate between 1970 and 1976 was 2.52, between 1977 and 1983 it was 2.67, between 1984 and 1990 it was 2.41, between 1991 and 1997 it was 2.23 and between 1998 and 2004 it was 1.82. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/85-002-XIE/85-002-XIE2006006.pdf The number of homicides as a percentage of the number attempted homicides has increased. http://www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca/NR/rdonlyres/4B12A796-B0C9-436C-9F64-840D3EBEE09F/0/CrimeStatisticsinCanada2004.pdf In other words, the attempted homicide rate has fallen even further than the homicide rate.

Scott Tribe said...

This is one poll Steve... I'd love to see more polling thien this 1 pollster to say that's a uniform opinion. But even if it's accurate, we shouldn't be ceding the ground to the Conservatives either - we should be reminding people why it was enacted in the first place. We should be reminding people that the initial cost overruns are gone and the registry would be paying for itself. We need to be pulling those family members of L'Ecole Polytechnique and Dawnson College and the police chiefs.

In otherwords, rather then throw up our hands and say "oh well".. we should be fighting to sway public opinion back to our side (if it needs to come back to our side. I find it remarkable that there would be such a big swing from 2006 when 2/3 of Canadians polled said we needed tighter gun control, not looser).

RuralSandi said...

Nanos and EKOS - have similar results. Nanos was on CTV....they must have made him an offer he couldn't refuse so he left CPAC.

Marpman said...

Unfortunately Scott the current government campaigned against the registry so, regardless of the statistics and wishes of the police force; they will remove it.
Gun ownership is not a right in this country, it is a priviledge and oft abused. This was an attempt at reigning this in...but I (for one) believe we need stricter laws on gun control and ownership.
But, its a rally-cry issue.

Frunger said...

I could have this wrong, but don't you still need a license to own a gun? Hasn't this always been the case, and isn't this still going to be the case after the registry is dead?

The only thing being stopped is the requirement to register each individual long gun and shotgun in your possession.

Hasn't the point always been to make sure that the people owning weapons are of sound mind and quality? If the police can check if an individual has a gun licence, they would assume their are weapons inside. I fail to see the added value in knowing that he has 3 rifles and 2 shotguns in there. One man is not significantly more dangerous with 5 rifles than with 1. He couldn't even carry them all.

Gayle said...

"Hasn't the point always been to make sure that the people owning weapons are of sound mind and quality? If the police can check if an individual has a gun licence, they would assume their are weapons inside. I fail to see the added value in knowing that he has 3 rifles and 2 shotguns in there."

Unless, of course, that person ceases to be of sound mind, and the police have to seize his weapons. Would be helpful to know how many of them they need to seize, don't you think?

Did that guy who took a bunch of WCB staff hostage a month ago have a licence to carry his firearm?

Steve V said...

Scott

What you might not be recognizing here is the "we" isn't uniform. There is a divided NDP on the issue, and I would describe Lib support as less than stellar. Maybe "we" are ceding this ground, because frankly we don't have the stomach for the debate, there's an internal conflict. I think we saw this dynamic online, amongst "progressives", so I take that as another anecedotal piece, pretty much in line with this poll.

marie said...

Gun ownership is not a right in this country, it is a privilege and oft abused. This was an attempt at reigning this in...but I (for one) believe we need stricter laws on gun control and ownership.
I totally agree Marpman. I couldn't have said it any better than you have. BTW, polls mean dick all. How they are phrased says it all. Were those polled told that it would not cost anything to register their guns anymore? Probably not as pollsters seem to phrase their questions to suit the answers they are looking for. Does it hurt anyone to register their forearms? With the gangs we seem to have around now a days and the guns smuggled into Canada on a daily basis, I would think that a few minutes taken to register your guns would be minute to having illegal guns in this country. I know the excuse we tend to use like these guys don't register to begin with but IMO, that's not a valid reason to abolish the gun registry.

Steve V said...

marie

I must say, I grow tired of poll bashing just because it doesn't fit with a PERSONAL bias. Just because you feel a certain way, doesn't mean Canadians do, so rather than trash a pretty fair pollster (HD is one of the better, IMHO), why not just try and understand why we've lost the PR battle on this issue.

I assume you feel the same way about all those polls that want us out of Afghanistan, favor reducing greenhouse gases, etc. Useless too? Exactly.

Polls are the only way to gauge public opinion. So long as people view them with a critical eye, look at the phrasing, whatnot, and a measure of replication, it's a great tool to get a feel.

Jim said...

Liberals who choose the registry as their hill to fight on will only be slayed.

Support is too weak across the board. The registry will surely die...remember, the CPC controls the Senate Jan 2 2010.

I know some of you feel very strongly about this and I can respect that, but it is a lost cause.

Mark my words, you can make all the noise you want about this, but your party will not support you (Libs and NDP as well).

It is my belief that Iggy would like nothing better than for the registry to die, thus taking another Lib vs rural issue off the table. Besides, like was stated, it isn't just rural...I am an urban firearms owner.

Bill C68 turned me against the Libs a long time ago.

There are millions of lawful Canadian firearms owners...that is a lot of voters. Instead of vilifying and treating them with contempt and suspicion, perhaps some votes could be regained by showing some respect to them.

Owning firearms is a huge responsibility and by and large, we are the most law abiding segment of society.

It would be nice to be treated as such for a change.

Steve V said...

"Owning firearms is a huge responsibility and by and large, we are the most law abiding segment of society"

Sounds like a monolithic cult, the way you speak. Owning a gun doesn't make you a segment of society. It's just a gun, not a testament to your "being".

lance said...

marie, firearms are not 'oft abused'. Get your head out of Jane and Finch.

You said, "With the gangs we seem to have around now a days and the guns smuggled into Canada on a daily basis, I would think that a few minutes taken to register your guns would be minute to having illegal guns in this country."

You equate registered firearms with smuggled firearms. That's more than a little disingenuous. The fire-arms being smuggled are a different product than what Bill C-391 is talking about. Either you know that and are being purposefully obtuse or you don't in which you really should read something about it.

Please explain how lawfully buying and registering some semi-automatic rifles with barrels over 18.5" and a max 5 round magazine, single action rifles, or shotguns with barrels not less than 18.5" will reduce the illegally smuggled gun problem when the majority of those are handguns and machine pistols?

steve, gun owners are a "segment of society" with regards to politics. C-68 created them and they are quite likely to be one issue voters.

Jim said...

lance said...
steve, gun owners are a "segment of society" with regards to politics. C-68 created them and they are quite likely to be one issue voters.

Indeed. And none that I know vote Liberal.

Steve V said...

Yes, but you clearly don't get out much, so...

Jim said...

What would lead you to say such a thing?

You know nothing about me. I get out lots, in fact I interact with the public throughout my entire workday.

Perhaps it is you who needs to get out more.

Koby said...

Myth 1: Law abiding firearms dealers do not commit crimes.

Of course, they do. The risk of homicide is three times higher in homes with firearms and the risk of suicide greater and needless to say accidental shooting is higher too. 88% of women killed with gun were killed with a shotgun or rifle. The decline in number of females being murdered in this country over the course of the last 20 years is do almost solely to the drop in the number of females being shot. Little wonder than that while the vast majority of gun owners want the registry gone, 77% of those living with a gun owner want it kept.

Myth 2: The gun registry does nothing to prevent smuggling.

The ability of legitimate dealers to divert guns to the black market is curtailed by the paper trail associated with the registry

Jim said...

Koby said...
" 77% of those living with a gun owner want it kept."

Please validate that statistic.

Koby said...

"Myth 2: The gun registry does nothing to prevent smuggling.

The ability of legitimate dealers to divert guns to the black market is curtailed by the paper trail associated with the registry"

You obviously know nothing about how the firearms retail industry works. Or how future transactions relating to long guns will be handled, so this comment is spurious.

Gayle said...

The funny thing is that no one who supports banning the registry has ever been able to cite a reason for that other than it is not fair to make them fill out paper work, and the expense.

Well we have seen from the RCMP report VanLoan tried to hide that the costs are going down and the process streamlined.

The funniest thing is when people refer to "law-abiding" gun owners. I am sure many of them are, but the ones who are not registering their guns, or not properly registering their guns, are not.

At the same time, there are many benefits to the gun registry - many of which have been outlined here.

As I said originally, what this poll tells me is that the facts are not getting out so the NRA are winning the propoganda war.

Seems to me this is a good issue where the LPC can take a stand. The facts are on their side, law enforcement are on their side, and if the two organizations cooperate they should be easily able to produce a compelling argument to retain the registry.

Of course, law enforcement traditionally likes to support the conservatives, with all their tough on crime legislation and leaked memos during elections (:)), so I am afraid the LPC cannot count on their support.