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InsiderOnline Blog: February 2012

Registering Guns Didn’t Help Canadian Police

Canada’s long-gun registry, killed this week by the Canadian parliament, wasted $2.7 billion since it was started in 1998, reports John Lott Jr. and Gary Mauser (“Death of a Long-Gun Registry,” National Review Online, February 20, 2012):

Crime guns are very rarely left at the crime scene, and when they are left at the scene, they have not been registered — criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind a gun that’s registered to them. Even in the few cases where registered crime guns are left at the scene, it is usually because the criminal has been seriously injured or killed, so these crimes would have been solved even without registration.

[…] From 2003 to 2009, there were 4,257 homicides in Canada, 1,314 of which were committed with firearms. Data provided last fall by the Library of Parliament reveals that the weapon was identified in fewer than a third of the homicides with firearms, and that about three-quarters of the identified weapons were not registered. Of the weapons that were registered, about half were registered to someone other than the person accused of the homicide. In just 62 cases — that is, only 4.7 percent of all firearm homicides — was the gun registered to the accused. As most homicides in Canada are not committed with a gun, the 62 cases correspond to only about 1 percent of all homicides.

[…] But apparently, the registry was not important even in those cases. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.

The authors note $2.7 billion would have paid for an additional 2,300 police officers annually over the 17-year period, which they calculate would have reduced violent crimes in Canada by about 1,800.

Posted on 02/24/12 10:46 AM by Alex Adrianson

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