Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gun Registry Poll

The most frustrating part of this entire long gun registry "debate" is the lack of any middle ground, as proponents and detractors distort and present one sided arguments, that can't even entertain any evidence which doesn't fit nicely into the preconceived bias. As a matter of fact, the long gun debate is really symptomatic of a larger commentary on how discourse seems to unfold in the modern political world.

For the life of me, I still don't know how much this gun registry actually costs? If you're in favour of the registry, it apparently costs next to nothing, if you're against, it is an obscene waste of taxpayer money. For anyone trying to decipher the dueling the exaggerations, you're left with nothing but confusion and frustration. How many times a day do police officers actually use the registry for "real" applications? Again, I haven't the slightest and I basically give up on anyone providing a detached review of the true facts. Do police officers unanimously support the gun registry or does every single one of them hate it with a passion, can't wait for the day that it's gone? You're guess is as good as mine.

There's one more question, that thankfully is outside of the confusion- what do Canadians think of this gun registry, and do they believe it worth saving? Today, Angus Reid releases a poll, which seems to be in line with previous findings. The bottom line conclusions- Canadians don't see much value in the registry and more of them want it scrapped then saved:
44% support scrapping the long gun registry; 35% oppose such a move

The only province where people support keeping the registry is Quebec, and by a large margin. In the rest of the country, sentiment is clearly in favour of scrapping the registry. It is worth noting, that 1 in 5 Canadians is unsure, and I suspect part of that is due to the confusing presentations criticized prior.

Maybe more troubling for those on the pro-registry side, Canadians really don't see it as a useful tool. An embarrassing low 13% of Canadians think this registry successful in preventing crime in Canada, while 43% think it unsuccessful. A further 29% think the registry has had no effect whatsoever. The only caveat here for the anti-registry side, people believe crime is increasing, gun crime a serious issue(as outlined in this poll), so one would expect a negative response to any question on effectiveness. However, it is fair to say that Canadians don't see this registry as a meaningful tool.

So, there you have it. I don't have a clue what is what with this gun registry, but it would appear that once again, a sampling of opinion shows a "two solitudes" divide, but an overall negative impression of the registry and its usefulness. And, that's the no spin reality...

19 comments:

Gordo said...

Keep in mind that in the very same poll, 45% of respondents want to make ALL guns illegal.

What does that mean? I have no idea. Interesting tidbit, though.

Steve V said...

I didn't like that question, because "firearms" includes handguns, so it tells us nothing about opinion on long guns.

RuralSandi said...

What I don't understand is why won't people act like adults and compromise? Ignatieff, for example, proposed making it easier to register and take the criminal element out of it.

I have no time for people who can't think beyond the narrow box and even consider an alternative.

calgarygrit said...

I worry about the question order affecting the numbers in this poll.

I mean, it strikes me as a little odd that more Canadians support a ban on firearms than the gun registry. That means there are people who believe there should be a ban on firearms in Canada who aren't sure they support the gun registry,

KC said...

I think that the confusion on the costs issue arises from the blurring of set up costs and operational costs. Opponents of the registry, when citing costs are referring the astronomical billion dollar set up cost. Its operating costs, now that its up and running, are a far more modest $4 million dollars per year.

I don't think the cost argument is a very strong one for opponents of the registry as the set up costs are sunk. That money is gone and it isn't coming back. If we had known the true cost back in the 1990s it would not have been worth the price tag--although it was still probably a better use of public money than the equally expensive G8/G20 summits. Unfortunately initial estimates of the set up cost were far short of the actual cost.

A rational approach to the registry at this point would be to balance the operating costs with the benefit of having the registry. Bringing the sunk costs into the debate at this point doesn't seem logical to me.

I hate to say it because I loathe the man but Ignatieff's compromise position--eliminating the criminal aspect of non-registration--is an eminently reasonable proposal now that the sunk costs are gone. $4 million dollars isn't much in the grand scheme of things for even a marginally useful registry. The libertarian "I shouldn't have to register my guns" line doesn't fly from me. Its a pretty minimal intrusion on our freedom.

Steve V said...

"are a far more modest $4 million dollars per year."

Is that really true, because that number seems to be in dispute? Seems a touch low, considering staffing, doesn't it?

Luke said...

“The Registry
The Canadian Firearms Registry, also known as the long gun registry, requires the registration of all non-restricted firearms in Canada. Two-in-five Canadians (43%) believe the registry has been unsuccessful in preventing crime in Canada, while three-in-ten (29%) think it has had no effect on crime. Only 13 per cent of respondents believe the Canadian Firearms Registry has been successful.”


….What is grossly misleading is the long gun registry is not the Canadian Firearms Registry, data of long guns such as certificates # and serial # can be found in the Canadian Firearms Registry along with other data; such as people who hold a firearm licence, their phone # address, registered restricted firearm certificates# and prohibited firearms certificates# etc.
CFRO Queries

The Canadian Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO) is a subset of the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS). The system is available to Canadian police agencies via the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system to assist them when responding to calls and conducting investigations. As a searchable application, police officers may query the name, address and firearms licence number of an individual, or firearm-related information such as the serial number or registration certificate number of a firearm. CFRO provides police with real-time access to the information they require in their investigative and operational activities.

The Average Daily Queries to the CFRO for 2010; . . . .14,012.


The Tory’s bill has nothing to do with abolishing the Canadian Firearm Registry; it’s about weakening the Canadian Firearm Registry because the information about long guns certificate # and serial # will no longer be in the data base if the bill passes. Funds will still be required to keep the Firearm Registry operational.

Issachar said...

The problem with the long gun registry is that it's supporters are typically people who don't actually use rifles. It's easy to say a law isn't a big deal when it only affects other people.

One of the most irritating things about the gun registry debate is the stupidity of arguments like this one.

"A joint task force of police officers was in the process of obtaining a warrant in a drug case. In consultation with NWEST, CFRO was queried. It was determined that the suspect possessed numerous firearms that could have been used to harm the police officers had they not been prepared. They subsequently approached the dwelling in a manner different from how they would have, had they not been aware firearms were in the residence. The warrant was executed without incident, and numerous firearms and other weapons seized."
http://www.truthsandmyths.ca/how-the-firearms-registry-has-contributed-to-community-and-police-officer-safety.html

If that story is true, then the officers involved are fools. But I find it hard to believe it is true. Would a police officer really be so stupid during a drug bust as to assume that the drug dealers don't have guns because they didn't register any guns? Somehow I don't think police officers are that stupid.

Luke said...

Issachar you along with numerous other people can not separate the long gun issue with the Canadian Firearms Registry on-line. What is so difficult about that?

What’s the cost to a firearm owner to register his long guns?

“It’s typically people who don't actually want to look at all sides and keep repeating the BS that the long gun registry cost 2 billion dollars.”

The Canadian Firearm Program is what cost approx billion dollars over a 15 year period, not the long gun registry.

The Tory’s top cop Kuntz believes;
“A person can have a valid possession/acquisition license, but not have any registered firearms in his name,” he adds. “So, no firearms are on the database associated to his address. But, he can borrow a firearm and have it in his possession. What good is the registry, then? In the above example, the police officer checks the person and sees he has no firearms registered to him – so does the policeman think there are no firearms? Probably. It’s a huge mistake on the police officer’s part, relying on a database for your safety. It’s ridiculous.”

Issachar “Somehow I don't think police officers are that stupid.” ….Maybe Kuntz is.

Again this has nothing to do with the Tories bill; firearm owners not required to register their long guns.

Luke said...

Some questions I wish a reporter would ask the government.

How much money will be saved if firearm owners don’t have to register their long guns?

Keep in mind the Firearms Center will still be administering and updating firearm licence renewals, apparently there are 1,830,542 valid firearm licences in the data base now.
Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the April - June 2010 Period- 82,929.

The certificates and data for restricted and prohibited firearms will still be in the registry.
Restricted firearms; 481,597
Prohibited firearms; 202,903


“transfer” under the Firearms Act
A firearm must be legally transferred whenever it is sold, traded or given to someone else. The registration information must be updated to indicate the new owner, if he or she lives in Canada.
Since 2007 there have been approx 2 million firearms transferred.

Another question:
If the long gun registry is scrapped what will be the new policy; when a person wants to transfer his long gun?

RuralSandi said...

I'm watching Evan Solomon on this issue on Power & Politics. He let Shelley Glover lie and go on and on and constantly interrupted Joe Comartin and Wayne Easter when they were trying to make their points.

I've had it. Solomon should be fired.

Dylan said...

It's an interesting "debate" all right. Does the gun registry *prevent* crime? I don't think it stops crime from happening.

Do I think it's a useful tool for law enforcement when responding to crime? Absolutely.

Cowboys for Social Responsibility has an incredible post today on that very issue.

If Shelly Glover doesn't think the registry is a useful tool for police, then she's a bigger idiot than we already have known. All she has are anecdotes to support her position, such as, "I know of lots of cops who hate the registry!" Really, Shells? Well, I'd welcome those cops to crawl out from their hiding spots and make those claims rather than have some partisan hack speak for them.

Jerry Prager said...

The police chiefs and their support for the registry has yet to be factored into any polling. They want it because they believe it is valuable, and well used.

Gayle said...

What this poll tells me is that people have heard loads of propoganda and half truths from the people seeking to disband the registry. The proponents of the registry are not as well organized and their message has not gone out.

Now that it is starting to, things may change.

Steve V said...

I'm not so sure the polling will change. This isn't a new issue, and the debate is still so cluttered, I can't see much movement. The registry enjoys widespread support in Quebec, beyond that, it is seen as ineffective and a waste.

I will say one thing, the government refusal to put all information on the table will only reinforce negative narratives.

Gayle said...

You might be rigtht, but I do know the headline in the Edmonton Journal yesterday had people talking. People who have not been engrossed in politics simply have not heard about how the police use the registry. They have only heard from one side on this issue. Isn't that why the Chiefs decided to mount this campaign in the first place?

Tof KW said...

RuralSandi said...
"He let Shelley Glover lie and go on and on and constantly interrupted Joe Comartin and Wayne Easter ... Solomon should be fired"

A few weeks ago I witnessed Rosemary Barton filling in for Solomon. She stopped Pierre Poilievre dead in his tracks and forced him to actually answer the question she had asked. That showed me who should be hosting that show fill time.

Tof KW said...

Oops ...I meant 'full time' of course.

nosing said...

I wonder if there are some statistics that show whether the long guns that were used to commit crimes were registered. If they were, then how can they say registration would save lives? Also, Do they think criminals will register their guns? Guns don't commit crimes, people do!