No Cure for Chaos
Ottawa Sun Editorial

DATE: 2006.09.16
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 12
COLUMN: Editorial


The gun registry didn't stop Kimveer Gill from carrying out his shooting spree at Montreal's Dawson College. The three weapons he used were all legally registered, according to sources.

And even if they hadn't been, so what? All that would have shown is that criminals don't usually register their guns.

The real issue here - despite calls from all the usual suspects to revive our near-extinct gun registry in the wake of this tragedy -- is that the registry isn't designed to prevent random, violent gun crime. That includes these latest shootings in Montreal and innumerable ones in recent years in Ottawa, Toronto and elsewhere.

Canadians were despicably misled by the previous Liberal government when it set up the registry in the mid-1990s and blew $2 billion on it, after claiming it would cost $2 million net.

The Grits pretended the long-gun registry (handguns have had to be registered since 1934) would help prevent a repeat of the 1989 Montreal massacre in which 14 women died.

This was nonsense. Gun registries don't deter such crimes.

The main purpose of a gun registry is to warn police if they are entering a house that has registered weapons, primarily in domestic dispute cases.

It's also -- combined with requiring gun owners to obtain permits and properly store and transport their weapons -- aimed at reducing the spontaneous use of guns in moments of anger, despair or recklessness, that lead to domestic murders, suicides and accidental shootings.

Even a well-run registry won't deter random gun violence. To suggest otherwise is a fraud. If gun control advocates want to argue for the registry to reduce domestic murders and suicides, fine. But be honest about it. For once.

Kimveer Gill's rampage represents the kind of shooting that is hardest for society to prevent. Even longer sentences for gun crimes and denying bail for those accused of them wouldn't have stopped him. Police said he had no prior record.

Gill was actually shouting out his murderous intentions on his blog, which we now know with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. But even if the police had known about this in advance, we don't arrest people for making generalized threats. Civil libertarians would go berserk.

This is one of the hardest gun crimes to prevent -- a random act by a mentally disturbed loner, with no criminal past.

Gun control lobbyists should stop pretending otherwise.