Federal gov't planning a gun amnesty: CTV
CTV.ca News Staff
The Conservative government plans to gut the gun registry by granting an amnesty to rifle and shotgun owners, CTV News had learned.
As a result, the registry would only apply to handguns and automatic weapons.
The government is also expected to waive a $60 fee that more than 1.5 million Canadians must pay this year to renew their firearms registrations.
The possible changes thrill hunting and sport-shooting enthusiasts, who have hated the gun registry since its inception.
"It's something we've been crying out for for 10 years," said Tony Bernardo of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.
"The Firearms Act has been an expensive and intrusive sinkhole. It whisks away precious tax dollars from programs that really need them."
Created in 1995, the gun registry soared in costs for a host of reasons. A 2002 report by the auditor-general found it had cost the feds $1 billion.
The registry move is one part of a Conservative security plan. Others include:
Hiring 3,500 police officers across the country;
Mandatory sentences for gun crimes, and;
Strict monitoring of high-risk people who are prohibited from owning firearms.
Sources tell CTV the regulatory changes to the registry will be fast-tracked through cabinet to avoid a messy parliamentary debate. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office reportedly want quick action on the file because it's a key campaign promise.
Liberals say Parliament and the police must be consulted.
"I think most of my colleagues in the House would regret if the cabinet decided to dispense with this major public policy change without going through Parliament in some way, at least for a debate," said Ontario Liberal MP Derek Lee.
The Canadian Chiefs of Police Association and the Canadian Association of Professional Police Officers both back retention of the long-gun registry. Police use the registry thousands of times ber day.
One reason is that long guns have been used in several police killings, including the murders of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alta. in 2005.
"Our last six or seven police officers were killed with long guns," said Tony Cannavino of the Canadian Professional Police Association.
"That's very sad, so that's why we need those tools to make sure we keep Canada safe."
With a report from CTV's Rosemary Thompson