An RCMP evaluation report of Canada's long-gun registry concludes that the program is cost effective, efficient and an important tool for law enforcement, CBC News has learned.
The findings of the report, conducted with the help of outside auditors and completed six months ago, have been in the hands of the government since February, but have not yet been released.
One section of the report states: "The program, as a whole, is an important tool for law enforcement. It also serves to increase accountability of firearm owners for their firearms."
The report found that the cost of the program is in the range of $1.1 million to $3.6 million per year and that the Canadian Firearms Program is operating efficiently.
"Overall the program is cost effective in reducing firearms related crime and promoting public safety through universal licensing of firearm owners and registration of firearms," the report states.
The full report contains over 40 pages of analysis of the effectiveness of the firearms registry, in both urban and rural areas. The RCMP would only confirm that the report is still being translated and could not give a firm date for its release.
The Conservatives have denounced the long-gun registry, which was introduced by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien in 1995, as wasteful and ineffective.
A private member's bill being considered this fall would scrap the registry.
Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner's bill, which passed second reading in the House last spring, is slated to face a vote in the House of Commons in September.
Earlier this week, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said Canadians must see the report before Parliament votes on the issue.
"If that information is in fact made available to Canadians and to Parliamentarians then perhaps our parliamentarians will be in a far better position to make an informed decision about Bill C-391 and they will have a much better understanding of the value of the gun registry to law enforcement and public safety," Blair said.
His comments came as members of the police chiefs' association at their annual meeting endorsed a national firearms strategy that includes a recommendation for a public relations campaign to explain the value of the long-gun registry.
Police chiefs and police organizations across Canada have voiced support for the registry, saying it is a valuable tool in assisting officers in doing their job.
But some police officers have expressed support for eliminating the registry, saying it doesn't give frontline officers any comfort when they are entering a home or pulling over a driver.
The long-gun registry was introduced in 1995, not 2002 as was reported in an earlier version of this story.Aug 26, 2010 1:50 AM ET