Misfire: Firearm Registration in Canada

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In 1995, the Canadian government introduced universal firearm registration. The plan is to license all gun owners by January 1, 2001, and then register all firearms by January 1, 2003. It was claimed that firearm registration would cost no more than $85 million over five years. Freedom of Information requests have uncovered that firearm registration has cost at least $600 million over the past three years. In addition to concerns about mismanagement, the firearm registration has been criticized for its abuse of individual privacy and property rights. Few believe that forcing hunters and target shooters to register their firearms will actually reduce criminal violence.

The demonization of ordinary people who happen to own a gun lays the foundation for a massive increase in governmental intrusiveness in the lives of ordinary citizens. Firearm registration violates the basic principles of policing set forth by Sir Robert Peel, the father of the English Bobbies. Passive resistance to firearm registration is expected to be widespread as it has been in other countries. The history of gun control in both Canada and the United Kingdom demonstrates the slippery slope toward eroding personal liberties, a process that begins with even the most benign appearing gun control measures.

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