Saturday, August 28, 2010

On valid questions

Antonia Zerbisias may not be so restrained in her own take on the issue. But let's point out that her example (drawn from Sault Ste. Marie police chief Bob Davies) as to the role the gun registry can play in cases of domestic abuse is exactly the kind of area where there may be some rational discussion to be had in contrast to the "'you want to lock up Uncle Joe on the farm'/'you want to kill women and children!'" quality of rhetoric that seems to be characterizing the issue these days:
Most often, the registry is used when domestic assaults go to court. If an accused appears likely to reoffend, police will request the Crown attorney ask for weapons to be surrendered while the person is on bail.

"They won't volunteer that information," said Davies.

"Without the registry we wouldn't know if they had firearms."
Now, I'm not inclined to simply take that without question. But rather than simply dismissing it out of hand as the Con side of the debate is looking to do, let's actually ask the questions that can determine whether the long gun registry will serve a particularly valuable purpose in cases of domestic assaults.

Does the long gun registry provide information beyond any licensing that takes place for gun owners and sales that allows the court to determine what weapons an accused might own in such situations?

And in the wake of the Con-imposed amnesty, is it reliable enough to serve a useful purpose beyond requiring self-reporting backed by appropriate searches at the time an accused is released on bail?

If the answer to both is demonstrably "yes" (keeping in mind that the mere fact that the long gun registry is currently used for those purposes isn't a full answer absent reason to think that alternatives aren't available), then that's the kind of use for the long gun registry which might well shift the debate. So let's start the discussion on both sides for this and other similar examples.

No comments:

Post a Comment