1 month, 4 weeks ago
Ottawa (AFP) – Canada’s high court struck a blow against gun control on Friday, with a decision that clears the way for the federal government to destroy data on owners of rifles and shotguns.
Ottawa ordered the database destroyed in 2012, but Quebec went to court to try to stop it, hoping to use the names of Quebecers on the list to build its own firearms registry.
The Supreme Court’s decision means that while Canadians must still obtain a license to own a gun, most will not have to disclose that they own a long gun.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a longtime advocate for the gun rights of hunters and farmers, said he was “happy” with this outcome.
But in Quebec, which also fought to maintain the national firearms registry created by parliament in 1995, there was disappointment.
The province pressed Ottawa to hand over parts of the database relevant to Quebec after the federal government shut down the national firearms registry three years ago.
But Harper’s Tory government refused, citing critics of the registry who complained the original had been an expensive intrusion on gun owners and should not be repeated.
Furthermore, the Tories argued, the registry did not help to stem crime.
With both sides refusing to yield and Quebec vowing to create its own registry from scratch, firearms regulations are sure to become a hot campaign issue in upcoming elections.
In a five-four split decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Quebec had simply failed to establish a legal basis for its claim to the data.
The court added that the disagreement over the fate of the information in the registry should have been negotiated in a political process, rather than adjudicated.
So here’s the scene. The firearms registry is being done away. Quebec wants the information, and this court case decided the issue. Quebec doesn’t get it. In the process, the Canadian supreme court looks a lot like the U.S. supreme court and other morons, and stipulated that in the future, the political process must be used to restrict God-given rights. But it gets better.
Quebec Public Safety Minister Lise Theriault said the province would move ahead with its plans for a database of its own, allocating Can$30 million (US$24 million) for the project.
If the centralized government won’t help, they’ll do it themselves. Sounds like New York or Connecticut, no? But wait. It gets even better than this.
Earlier this month, Harper earned widespread scorn over comments he made which seemed to wrongfully imply that Canadians have the right to shoot intruders.
“My wife’s from a rural area, gun ownership wasn’t just for the farm, it was also for a certain level of security when you’re ways away from police, immediate police assistance,” he’d told the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities on March 12.
Legal experts and the opposition pounced on the comments to suggest Harper had urged Canadians to take the law into their own hands.
“It’s vigilantism,” former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant was widely quoted as saying.
“People are going to find themselves facing the criminal justice system and being charged with serious crimes if they decide to follow what the prime minister is suggesting.”
Rather than being a God-ordained duty, self defense is “vigilantism” according to Bryant. The former attorney general of Ontario is a damn communist. And the damn communists (and Harper’s Tories) notwithstanding, the reasons for ownership and bearing of arms goes beyond hunting and self defense (American “Fudds” also notwithstanding). It also enables us to kill people just like them. The extent to which Americans get that will be directly proportional to the liberties we retain in the face of men just … like … the … rulers … of … Quebec in the U.S., federal, state and local.