Canadian and Hawaian experience illustrates pitfalls of gun laws
The California Legislature has launched hearings on legislation to license guns. Criminologists advise California and other states considering the subject to take a look at the experiences of Canada and Hawaii. Although the deadline arrived this January 1, millions of Canadians must suddenly have become outlaws because while official documents claim there are only 2.5 million gun owners, internal government documents put the figure at 5 million to 7 million and private surveys indicate an even higher number.
In 1995, Canada passed a law requiring Canadians to obtain a licence and register their guns within five years.
The vast majority of gun licensing costs in Canada are borne by the provinces and local governments leaving the attorney general's office in Alberta to complain that the law "is an administrative mess and it is very costly, and it is using money that would be better used really fighting crime."
Hawaii has a law based on the theory that licensing would allow police to trace a gun left at the scene of a crime back to its owner.
But police have spent tens of thousands of manhours administering gun laws and not a single case has turned up where licensing and registration have been instrumental in
identifying a criminal.
That's because criminals very rarely leave their guns at the scene of a crime, and wouldbe criminals virtually never get licences or register their weapons.
Gun licensing advocates claim licensing and background checks might keep criminals from getting guns in the first place. But there is not a single academic study that finds that background checks reduce violent crime.
Source: John R. Lott Jr. (Yale University), Some Time to Kill: In Waiting Periods, Gun Buyers Are at Mercy of Criminals, Investor's Business Daily, March 2, 2001
For more on Gun Registration http://www.ncpa.org/pi/crime/crime51.html
Publish date: 20 March 2001
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.