In my book, What I meant to say was . . ., I wrote an essay titled “Annie, register your gun.” In it, I wrote one line in bold type: personal liberty trumps social responsibility. Well, we’re back into the debate, and next week the retention or abolition of the long gun registry will be decided. My MP is insisting that he represents the constituents while the retentionist Bloc, Liberal and New Democrats don’t. I personally have doubts about whether or not he (or the other parties, for that matter) actually knows what the majority of his constituents think on this issue; we’ve never been asked.Obviously, the passionate ones urging abolition are the ones most directly affected. They’re the long gun owners.The majority of Canadians live in urban settings and own no long guns. They’ve been understandably silent. It doesn’t matter to them enough to raise a hue and cry about the issue like the gun lovers have. I doubt that most Canadians even understand the process of long gun registration.
I personally own no gun, but if long gun registration means that someone out there is safer from danger by gun fire, I’d vote for keeping it. I’ve been thinking about registration and licensing generally and have come up with the following list off the top of my head:
- Automobiles are registered and their drivers must prove themselves competent through training and testing because, we’re told, a car can be a dangerous weapon. There’s no protest about this, no assertion that it’s making criminals out of law-abiding citizens.
- Professionals must be registered in order to practice. Most would do their jobs conscientiously and within the law if they weren’t, but we accept this as necessary to protect us from incompetence.
- To participate in benefits like OAS, CPP, etc., we must be registered and must possess a Social Insurance Number.
- Our municipal government attempted to have us register our cat, which we didn’t do. This bylaw made criminals out of law-abiding cats and their owners.
- Airplanes can’t be flown unless they’re registered.
- Births, marriages and deaths are all registered by law.
If you’d like to know what’s involved in registering a firearm, go to http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/form-formulaire/pdfs/998-eng.pdf. This form describes the different kinds of guns so you can fill in the line on the application that describes your weapon. The form has two parts: one part identifies you and the other identifies the weapon. The form might take as much as five minutes to fill out. You then need to get a “verifier” to sign the paper to ensure that you’ve identified the gun correctly. That’s it. You send it in and pay the fee and it’s done.
Annie, for Pete's sake, register your guns and quite whining.