Halifax police chief calls gun registry valuable
300,000 registered firearms in Nova Scotia
The chief of police in Halifax says his organization will lose a valuable tool with the abolition of the federal long-gun registry.
"We’ll lose in Nova Scotia somewhere in the area of 200,000 records that, you know, [police were] able to access while doing investigations," Chief Frank Beazley said. "That’ll all be gone once that bill is passed."
The federal Conservatives introduced legislation into the House of Commons Tuesday to abolish the long-gun registry, which Tories say has been a waste of money and resources. They also plan to destroy all of its records.
The Conservatives have tried several times to scrap the registry since taking power in 2006 but were never successful in a minority Parliament. They promised during the spring election to try again and now with a majority in the House of Commons and Senate they should be able to pass it with little trouble.
Nova Scotia has a population of 945,000 and there are 300,000 firearms registered in the province.
That includes 289,000 non-restricted firearms such as rifles and shotguns, 16,000 restricted weapons including handguns and semi-automatic rifles, as well as 7,000 prohibited firearms including automatic weapons which are mostly held by gun collectors.
Police in the province say they use the registry every day when they respond to domestic dispute calls and whenever a gun is found at a crime scene.
Hasn't accomplished its goals
Many in the province are in favour of abolishing the registry.
Gerald Sarsom, a retired RCMP sergeant, described it as a misuse of money.
"It just doesn’t seem to have accomplished what it was set out for. People are still using weapons against fellow human beings," he said.
Jim MacPhee, who operates a gun shop in East Mountain, said there will still be a licensing process and the money saved can now go to the police.
Allan Hawkes, on the other hand, is a gun owner who has no problem with the registry.
"I’ve been hunting for years and I’ve got my papers and I have all my guns registered and it didn’t take me too much trouble," he said.
Beazley said a provincial registry would be helpful.
However, a spokesperson for Premier Darrell Dexter said the province had no plans for a Nova Scotia registry.