Oh Yeah, Licensing and Registration is a GREAT Idea!

Just look at how well it’s working in Canada!

This report (link might be temporary) explains that the gun-owner database that was supposed to “keep guns out of the wrong hands” is, like the rest of the system, a disaster:

Ottawa report blasts gun registry

Unreliable data threaten key screening goal of program

OTTAWA – An internal Justice Department report on the firearms program cites major weaknesses in the ability of the gun registry to provide crucial information to firearms officers and police.

The report says one of the chief goals of the program — continual screening to make sure gun owners remain eligible for licences — is threatened by unreliable information contained in a massive database that is supposed to tip police and the Canada Firearms Centre to individuals who should not own firearms.

The report, dated last April, also says RCMP concern about privacy rights is delaying or preventing access by firearms officers to information they need to judge whether a person should be issued gun licences.

Privacy rights? What right to privacy do peons have?

As well, firearms officers told Justice officials who prepared the report they were concerned about delays receiving copies of court prohibition orders that could prevent individuals from acquiring firearms or force them to surrender them.

Furthermore, police officials expressed concern about the length of time it can take to obtain information from the registry on all the firearms that may be registered to a gun owner at a specific address. Each individual serial number must be searched on the registry.

The report, obtained by Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz through the Access to Information Act, also pinpointed major failures in the original design of the program which led to the explosion in costs Auditor General Sheila Fraser outlined in a scathing report last year.

Garry Breitkreuz has been a vocal and active opponent of C.68 since inception, and has fought implementation of the registry probably harder than any MP. He also predicted that it would run way over budget – and was right.

The report was prepared by the Justice Department’s evaluation division, which conducted a review of the firearms program covering the period from 1995, when Parliament passed the Firearms Act, to September 2002, three months before Fraser released her report.

The Justice Department report contains further detail about aspects of the program which Fraser also questioned.

It says police agencies do not follow consistent procedures when entering information in the Firearms Interest Police (FIP) database, an RCMP computer information record which contains files on four million individuals for the purpose of gun licence screening. Local police forces contribute about 75 per cent of the information in the database.

Thus reinforcing the objection that implementation of licensing and registration draws on police resources thus further reducing their ability to do their primary job – protecting the citizens. And that time isn’t free either.

The report notes the database is a major component of the firearms program’s ability to ensure licence eligibility of gun owners is reviewed continuously — one of the main arguments the government has used to argue the Firearms Act will do more for public safety than the previous licensing system.

Except it’s run like pretty much every other government database – poorly. Nor is it secure (there’s that privacy issue again.)

“There appear to be several issues that threaten the effectiveness of FIP,” the report says, explaining some police agencies enter information that is irrelevant to gun ownership, files are duplicated whenever a FIP file is modified and information on individuals in the database is often vague. For example, the report said surnames are often entered only with the initial of the person’s first name.

Police, however, say they have more time for front line work now that the firearms centre has taken over responsibility for screening would-be gun owners.

The report said key personnel interviewed for the evaluation, including Canada Firearms Centre officials, were “nearly unanimous” that the centre’s structure was poorly designed at the outset, with separate policy and operations branches that reported to an assistant deputy minister who had duties in other areas within the Justice Department.

As well, the department initially had a “consensus approach” to management which attempted to accommodate too many divergent views and interests.

“The search for consensus had a cascading effect on the entire implementation of the Canadian Firearms Program,” the report says. “At least in hindsight, the initial implementation timelines and the ambiguous net estimate of $85 million to implement the (Canadian Firearms Registration System) were quite unrealistic and damaged the credibility of the program,” the report says.

So, you’re saying it was just another government bureaucracy?

“The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.” — Eugene McCarthy

Firearms centre spokesman David Austin noted that the report was delivered following changes to the program the government had initiated earlier in response to Fraser’s report.

Jebus, where have I heard that before. “Oh, yes, we had those problems, but they’re fixed now!”

Breitkreuz predicted it will cost the government millions to fix the weaknesses outlined in the Justice Department report.

The latest flaws in the registry followed last week’s revelation that it has been a dismal failure at tracking stolen guns over the last five years, matching only 4,438 firearms with descriptions of more than 100,000 stolen weapons the firearms centre attempted to trace.

All the stolen guns which were located had been registered under the Firearms Act, according to RCMP records obtained by Breitkreuz. The owners apparently acquired them without knowledge they were stolen.

The records also revealed that serial numbers for 250,305 firearms logged in the registry matched the serial numbers of the 101,835 guns police reported stolen since 1998.

Why, why, WHY do gun control proponents think licensing and registration will work here?

Because of the duplication of serial numbers, a weakness of the gun-making industry years ago, all the stolen rifles and shotguns that were traced had to be found through manual comparisons of other features, such as the manufacturer’s name, model and brand.

It is estimated that setting up the gun registry will carry a price tag approaching $1 billion.

I’ve got news for you: EXCEEDING $1 billion. Even in Canadian dollars, that’s a lot of dough to flush down a rathole.

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