Nova Scotia

Halifax police chief wants to keep gun registry

The federal long gun registry is on track to be dismantled next year, but the chief of police in Halifax says he would like to keep it.

The federal long gun registry is on track to be dismantled next year, but the chief of police in Halifax says he'd like it to stay.

Bill C-19, the Conservative government's measure to scrap the registry, has passed first and second reading in the House of Commons.

It is currently before a committee, where it will be examined clause by clause before it goes for third reading and then to the Senate, and then possibly on to receive royal assent and become law.

Halifax police Chief Frank Beazley said his officers use the gun registry as part of domestic dispute calls and in any investigation involving a gun.

"If there's a gun recovered at a crime scene, I could investigate the crime gun — that's what they call it in the police world. We actually do a separate investigation on the gun, see where it came from, how it ended up in the hands of the criminal," Beazley said.

"The losing of the gun registry is going to impact my ability to do those types of things. That's what I'm sad about."

Nova Scotia has a population of 945,000, and there are more than 300,000 firearms registered in the province.

In his end-of-year interview with the CBC, Beazley also said his officers have seen an increase in the number of handguns seized this year, most of them stolen from Canadian gun owners.

"Each year we recover about 350, 370 guns. That includes long rifles, shotguns.… A lot of handguns this year so far — pistols, about 80 so far, in my last count," Beazley said. "That's a lot."

Since the introduction of stricter gun laws in 1991, there has been a 65 per cent reduction in homicides by long guns, Statistics Canada data shows.

Beazley said in the fall that he would like to see a provincial registry, but the province has said it has no plans for a Nova Scotia registry.