“The Canadian Firearms Registry is the gun registry managed by the Canadian Firearms Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as part of the RCMP’s responsibilities under the Firearms Act, 1995. It requires the registration of all restricted and prohibited firearms in Canada.”
In 1998 I worked directly on the implementation of the Canadian Firearm Registry for 2 years. This national legislation which was introduced in 1995 and was born out of tragedy.”
“On December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine entered a mechanical engineering class at the École Polytechnique and ordered the women and men to opposite sides of the classroom. He separated nine women, instructing the men to leave. He stated that he was “fighting feminism” and opened fire. He shot at all nine women in the room, killing six. Lépine then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, targeting women for just under 20 minutes. He killed a further eight before turning the gun on himself.” –Wikipedia
The Canadian Firearms Registry was the Canadian federal government response to this horrible gynophobia tragic event at Montreal École Polytechnique.
There was certainly a lot of debate regarding the original Canadian Fireman Registry and later cancelling of the legislation that continues to this day. Any national legislation is difficult to satisfy and implement in such a diverse country as Canada. How do enact legislation wherein First Nation communities where hunting rifles are community-owned and where inner-city gang wars are underway using assault rifles and handguns used to kill each other. And where others are the concerned government overreach and ballooning costs.
Its legislation was comprehensive and complicated, it included many features like safe gun storage and spousal notification. It was designed to track the ownership change of firearms as they sold from store to person or person to person. It had popular support from most of law enforcement. The original program required the registration of all non-restricted firearms but this requirement was dropped on April 6, 2012, by another act of parliament.
The tragic event this month in Nova Scotia brought back so many memories of time working on the project. I worked with so many amazing Canadians, federal civil servants from the Justice Ministry. I worked with Chief Provincial Firearms Officers as I visited all 10 of Canadian provinces. I especially remember my time working with the Sûreté du Québec, police force in Quebec. I saw large rooms full of unwanted firearms as many Canadians decided to turn them into the police instead of completing the registration. There were cases of rifles, all varieties of firearms, ammunition and some souvenirs from the second world war.
I was originally hired as a Telecommunications analyst and to set up information contact centres throughout Canada. I later had the added responsibility of designing processes to initiate the sale of a long gun over the phone. It was originally set up to be 100% by mail. We were actually changing processes resulting from questions raised in the parliament from the previous day. I helped draft a memo that was later used by the Prime Minister to explain how to speed the sales process by initialing ownership change and later following up with paperwork.
Before the legislation I never fired a handgun or long gun in my life and I was pro-hunting, especially subsistence hunters practiced by Indigenous people in Canada. I along with a few others working on the project were asked to meet firearm enthusiasts at a gun club outside of Halifax Nova Scotia.
We were given the opportunity to fire all commonly owned legal hand and long guns. We started with a 22 caliber hunting rifle and shot at nearby metal targets. We then moved on to military assault rifles; Chinese, Russian, and American. I even fired a vintage rifle used by my father in WW2. The military rifles were so powerful as we shot into targets about 75 metres into a hillside.
We moved onto a number of handguns that lay on a table. The hang guns included a Glock 29 10mm and 50-Cal. Magnum was made popular by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movie. We fired a handgun into paper targets about 25 metres away. It was during the firing of handguns that I had a significant emotional response. I thought, fxch!, these guns are designed to kill people. I was unable to hit the middle target, shooting at the lower edge. The instructor shouted out , bring it up! You see in my head I was going for a non-fatal good wound.’ I left the firing range with the feeling that continues today. Any firearm not used for hunting was designed to kill people.
I wrote this essay about my personal experience during my 2 years working on The Canadian Firearms Registry project. It is not intended to convince you to be for or against any new legislation that may lie ahead as a result of recent mass murder in Nova Scotia. I am sure that renewed debate on new firearms legislation will once again confront our country.
So today April 24, 2020. I wear red and remember those 23 families who lost loved ones in rural Nova Scotia and pray for all those souls who died.
“The World Could Use A Hero Of The Human Kind”