Canadian gun owners up in arms over registration requirements

Efforts by the Canadian government to establish a national firearms registry and licensing programmes to track gun owners are meeting with surprisingly broad resistance – particularly in the country's rural, western provinces.

  • Under the government's 1995 Firearms Act, all Canadian gun owners were to be licensed and to have registered their firearms by Jan. 1.

  • Failure to do so was to have resulted in up to five years in jail.

  • But only 5.9 million of Canada's estimated 8 million guns have been registered – and only 1.9 million Canadians have a firearms licence, leaving another 200,000 Canadians without one.

  • The Justice Ministry originally estimated that it would cost 119 million Canadian dollars for licensing and registering – but that figure had risen by last spring to C$688 million, and the final cost could reach C$1 billion, leaving taxpayers irate.

    Eight of 10 of Canada's provincial governments have called for the firearms programme to be scrapped.

    Registration opponents have reportedly attempted to sabotage the programme by calling the Firearms Centre with frivolous questions and waiting until the last possible moment to file their applications – effectively swamping the system.

    Source: Joel Baglole, Canadians Bristle Over Gun Registry, Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2003.

    For more on Gun Control

    FMF Policy Bulletin\4 February 2003

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