More evidence that the Canadian gun registry may be contributing to crime

You know that the gun registry is in trouble when even Toronto based newspapers are giving it a hard time.

we note two fine columns published yesterday -- one in the Sun, and one by one of our competitors -- that once again shot the rightly discredited registry full of holes.

Our own Mark Bonokoski, who has diligently covered a disturbing number of recent stories involving legitimate gun owners having their legally stored weapons stolen, offered a devastating argument that the nearly $2-billion registry itself could actually be contributing to these crimes.

Citing numerous examples of breaches of the federal government's other (supposedly) secure databases -- the RCMP-administered CPIC system; even top secret defence department security computers -- Bono argued that the bungle-plagued gun registry is just as vulnerable.

Proving the point, he quoted former firearms registry webmaster John Hicks, who says he reported flaws in the system to his superiors: "It took some $15 million to develop it, and I broke into it in about 30 minutes," said Hicks. "A 16-year-old kid could have broken into that system in a heartbeat."

Sophisticated computer hacking aside, Bono has also reported how would-be thieves can track gun owners through ammunition sales records kept by retail stores, or other means. But most registry proponents prefer to ignore these troubles and blame the victim -- gun owners who've been burgled -- while demanding laws to ban all innocent people from owning guns. . . .

Gunter skewered claims that the registry is oh-so-useful because police computers check it thousands of times a week -- explaining that such checks are built into the system. The fact remains, all the registry can do is tell police if someone is, or isn't, a legally registered gun owner. It can't tell them if a suspect has an illegal gun, and it has done absolutely nothing to stop them flooding our streets.. . . .

From Lorne Gunter's column:

The CFRO (Canadian Firearms Registry Online) may indeed process thousands of police-generated information requests each day, but the vast majority of these "hits" are not deliberate. As many as 80% are likely generated automatically when officers call up records from the nation police computer system. That system reflexively searches the firearms computers, a statistic that Ottawa then counts as police use of its registry.

Hundreds more of these daily police hits are merely officers checking to see whether someone seeking to register a new gun is already a licensed owner. Hardly a crime-fighting tool; more like a bureaucratic file check.

It is true, as the Star asserts, that "since 1998, the registry has assisted ... in revoking or turning down" 16,000 licence applications. But it is also true that this is a lower rate of refusals -- less than 1% -- than were rejected under the pre-registry screening system run by the RCMP.

It's difficult to fathom what the Star means when it says "the registry is at last working as it was originally intended," unless the system's original goal was to become a money-devouring, bureaucratic cock-up with no tangible effects for making Canadians safer.


Anonymous Emilio said...

hmm... I wonder if 3rd world South Africa will be able to do a better job of running an online gun registry than "1st world" Canada... Wotdooyatheenk???

3/12/2006 7:32 AM  

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