RCMP CFP Evaluation – Part 2

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I was going to analyze the RCMP’s budgetary numbers, but I can’t get WordPress’ psuedo-HTML to co-operate with me.  So let’s move on to the Findings and Recommendations, shall we?

Findings and Recommendations

Relevance

Finding 1:

There is an ongoing need for the Canadian Firearms Program to promote public safety through the regulation of firearms.

What else did you expect them to say?  This is their “rice bowl” – you don’t honestly believe that they are going to recommend a reduction in their powers, do you?

Currently, there are 6.5 million non-restricted firearms (long guns) and 0.5 million restricted firearms (mostly handguns), with almost 2 million Canadians holding valid licenses[10]. Regulating the use of firearms through the Canadian Firearms Program continues to be an appropriate approach to promoting the public safety and security of Canadians.(1) There is a divergence between the legal and public policy approaches to promoting public safety through the regulation of firearms use. Nevertheless, there is an agreement that supports the ongoing need for regulating the use of firearms in some form.(2)

There are estimates that put the number of gun owners as double that (or more) of their number of gun owners, and triple their number of guns owned, indicating a massive non-compliance with the Firearms Act.

(1) they still have yet to provide any actual proof that the Firearms Act “promotes the public safety and security of Canadians”.  There are plenty of people who disagree that the Firearms Act is an “appropriate approach” in any way shape or form.  All that these so-called “gun control” laws do is harass and persecute the honest, responsible gun owners.  The actual criminals laugh at such laws.

(2) An agreement by who?  I sure don’t agree with this crap!  Why should the legitimate use of firearms be “regulated”?  How is it “cost effective” to regulate law-abiding citizens?  Why not “regulate” criminals, instead?

The program is often misperceived by the media and the public as being solely a registry. The administration of this national public safety program might better be compared with a provincial Motor Vehicles Branch, which is also involved in safety training, licensing and registration and is an important resource to law enforcement, albeit in a limited nature, through license revocations. An added difference is the concern for the misuse of firearms, which impacts on public safety and hence the requirement for regulation.

Again, there is no substantiation to the claims that there ever was a “problem” with the vast majority of average, law-abiding gun owners.  And at no time do they ever define what they mean by “public safety”.  This is the flaw in their entire argument: it is based on faulty assumptions, for which there is no supporting empirical evidence.

There continues to be public safety threats in Canada caused by both the deliberate and accidental misuse of firearms, mostly through non-restricted firearms (long guns)(1). Safety certification is a prerequisite for licensing of firearm owners and users. Firearms safety courses test an individual’s knowledge of firearms and their safe use, and emphasize one’s responsibility for the safe handling, transport and storage of firearms. Safety screening processes restrict access to firearms to those individuals who do not pose a safety risk to themselves or to the public. More generally, the regulation of firearms provides for greater accountability for the firearm.(2)

(1) What kinds of threats?  How many? Again, no hard numbers, just unsubstantiated presumptions.

(2) Again, more unsubstantiated claims.  Where is the actual evidence that the vast majority of average gun owners were previously “unaccountable”?  What does that even mean?  Where is their proof?

There is legal support for the relevance of the CFP in promoting public safety. In response to public safety concerns of the time, the Firearms Act was introduced February 14, 1995, and Royal Assent granted on December 5, 1995. The Act included several significant changes to previous legislation with the aim of promoting public safety and security. Personal safety was emphasized through the creation of a new licensing system, emphasizing skills and safety training, to replace the previous FAC system.(1) Public safety was emphasized through Criminal Code amendments providing harsher penalties for certain serious crimes where firearms are used.(2) Furthermore, issues surrounding public and police officer safety were addressed in two significant ways: by requiring the possession of a valid license to possess and acquire firearms and to buy ammunition; and, the registration of all firearms, including shotguns and rifles.(3) These changes, however, met with significant controversy: mandatory registration and licensing, for instance, was viewed by many gun owners as an infringement on personal freedom and the criminalization of law-abiding citizens; whereas, from a legal perspective, there was concern as to whether the federal government could regulate personal property, thereby infringing on the federal-provincial division of powers as established in the Constitution Act,1982.

If this is their rationale for criminalizing 2 million honest citizens, then they have completely failed in their stated purpose.

As pointed out previously, while safety training is a laudable goal, it isn’t rocket science.  Further, it need not be tied to licensing; if the real goal was for “public and personal safety”, they would be instituting age-appropriate safe gun handling and shooting training in our schools.

(1) There is no evidence that the average, law-abiding gun owner was somehow “unsafe”;  There was already ample safety training under the previous FAC and Provincial Hunter Education courses.  Safety courses could be supplied through high schools or colleges, or even private businesses – there is no need to tie it to licensing.

(2) There were already plenty of penalties in the law for the criminal or negligent misuse of firearms.  It was the fault of the liberal so-called “justice” system that didn’t impose stricter sentences for “gun crimes” in the first place.  Again, 2 million law abiding citizens are being blamed for the faults of others.

(3) There never were any pressing “issues” surrounding “public and police officer safety” – just more empty and flawed rhetoric

In 1999, the government of Alberta, with the support of five other provinces and the territories, submitted a Reference Question to the Alberta Court of Appeal on this last issue. In its response to the question, the Alberta Court of Appeal wrote that the purpose of the Act is to protect “public safety from the misuse of ordinary firearms. This is to be accomplished through a simple but compelling concept – individual responsibility and accountability for one’s ordinary firearms. This is a small price to pay for the privilege of being allowed to possess and use a dangerous weapon.”[11] This was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2000.

Where is the evidence that proves that gun owners were NOT “responsible and accountable” for their firearms?  One would think that the fact that millions of legitimate gun owners DON”T go about shooting people would serve as evidence that they are, for the most part, “responsible”.

In Reference re Firearms Act (Can.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783, 2000 SCC 31, the Supreme Court of Canada held that requiring the licensing and registration of firearms was a valid exercise of the federal criminal law power, as:

“The law in “pith and substance” is directed to enhancing public safety by controlling access to firearms through prohibitions and penalties. This brings it under the federal criminal law power. While the law has regulatory aspects, they are secondary to its primary criminal law purpose. … while ordinary guns are often used for lawful purposes, they are also used for crime and suicide, and cause accidental death and injury. Guns cannot be divided neatly into two categories – those that are dangerous and those that are not dangerous. All guns are capable of being used in crime. All guns are capable of killing and maiming. It follows that all guns pose a threat to public safety. As such, their control falls within the criminal law power”.

This is the other basic flaw in the “reasoning” of the anti-gun extremists – that somehow the inanimate object is to blame, not the person who misuses it.  The sole basis seems to be that because some people misuse some guns, then all guns and all gun owners are at fault.  There is another basic premise of the statist that supposes that since “something must be done”, then “something must be done”.   This also ties into the statist belief that “if it’s a “good idea”, then it follows that it must be worth making into a law.  Unfortunately “good ideas” do not always make for “good laws”.

The Firearms Act does very little to address the “bad people” who do “bad things” with guns.

[11] In the Alberta Court of Appeal Ref: Firearms Act, 1998 ABCA 305, P60&64

– 19 –

The Court further argued that the Program, as designed with a licensing and registration component, contributed to public safety. The Court stated:

The combination of the two parts of the scheme is intended to ensure that when a firearm is transferred from one person to another, the recipient is licensed. Absent a registration system, this would be impossible to ascertain. If a gun is found in the possession of an unlicensed person, the registration system permits the government to determine where the gun originated. With a registration scheme in place, licensed owners can be held responsible for the transfer of their weapons…. If someone is found guilty of a crime involving violence, or is prohibited from possessing a weapon, the registration scheme is expected to assist the police in determining whether the offender actually owns any guns and in confiscating them.

The registration scheme is also intended to reduce smuggling and the illegal trade in guns. These interconnections demonstrate that the registration and licensing portions of the Firearms Act are both tightly linked to Parliament’s goal in promoting safety by reducing the misuse of any and all firearms. Both portions are integral and necessary to the operation of the scheme.

However,  the Supreme Overlords did not examine if C-68 was a good law or an effective one:

http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2000/2000scc31/2000scc31.html

The following is the judgment delivered by

THE COURT —

I. Introduction

2      The issue before this Court is not whether gun control is good or bad, whether the law is fair or unfair to gun owners, or whether it will be effective or ineffective in reducing the harm caused by the misuse of firearms. The only issue is whether or not Parliament has the constitutional authority to enact the law.

And that was the only “fact” that was put in front of the SCC, and thus the only thing that they could rule upon.

Later, in R. v. Wiles, [2005] 3 S.C.R. 895, 2005 SCC 84, regarding the use of firearms, the Court found that: the state interest in reducing the misuse of weapons is valid and important; the possession and use of firearms is not a right or freedom guaranteed under the Charter, but a privilege; and it is also a heavily regulated activity, requiring potential gun owners to obtain a licence before they can legally purchase one.

So, some guy in a robe lies, and all the other guys in robes swear to it…

What none of these legal beagles seem to acknowledge is that at no time has there been a court case that has had as its sole subject matter the question “Do Canadians have the right to keep and bear arms?”.  There is no case law precedent that substantiates and supports the opinion of these “Men in Black” – and that is all it is, their opinion.

Combined, the three court decisions support Canadian democratic values and the social contract whereby the state is obliged to protect citizens (through regulation and criminal law, in this case), and in return, citizens have a responsibility to the state. In this process, some of its members may experience limitations in individual liberties in lieu of all citizens gaining collective liberties. These decisions have also established the legal basis for the ongoing relevance of the CFP, in that the program employs a specific licensing and regulatory regime to promote public safety.

These are the most disgusting totaltitarian and statist words I have read in a long time: subordinating the inherent and inalienable individual rights to those of the “collective” somehow brings about “liberty”.  These guys have absolutely no interest in anybody’s liberty, just their own authority.

Furthermore, the State has absolutely no legal obligation to “protect citizens” – the sole purpose of the Canadian State is “peace, order and good government”.  Period.  The mandate of the police is to “detect crime and apprehend perpetrators of crime”.  They maintain “peace and order” through the general derterrent of their presence, but are not obliged to protect any given person at any given time.

While the legal basis for establishing the relevance of the Canadian Firearms Program is unanimous, the policy basis for maintaining the Program in its current form is changing. Although the licensing aspect of the program is still being supported, efforts have recently been made to change the registration portion of the program.

Support for and praise of the Firearms Act is far from “unanimous”, there are a few judges of independent thought who have said that this onerous and draconian law is “convoluted” and difficult to understand:

Talk.politics.gun FAQ

21. Did a judge really say our laws are badly written?

Yes. Justice Gibb, Supreme Court Of B.C.; Hurley V. Dawson and Newson, 1985:

Not the least of the difficulties is due to the tortuous language of the gun control provisions of the criminal code. In Regina V. Neil, (Provincial Court Judge) Gordon was moved with some justification, to refer to those provisions as one of the most horrifying examples of bad draftsmanship I have had the misfortune to consider, as “so convoluted that even those responsible for enforcing the provisions are apparently unable to understand them”, and as “a challenge to one”s sense of logic.”

[1] Hurley v. Dawson (August 15, 1986), unreported Vancouver Registry No. CC861283, upheld on Appeal in (May 29, 1987) unreported Vancouver Registry No. CA006486

22. Was there a coroner’s report that focussed on firearm storage?

Coroner Anne Marie David wrote the following in her report published the 13th of January, 1995 [translated from French]:
According to the majority of the interested parties, the Regulation “is written in a hermetic legal language, far from being always understandable by everyone”.  “… the different discussions show that it can sometimes be difficult to put in practice and lends itself to interpretation” (C-52, page 7). It contains gray areas and “navy blue” (sic) areas (testimony of Mr. Banks). This is why, the interested parties suggest that the wording of the Regulation be modified.

No argument was made against this suggestion. Far from it, the Federal Department of Justice admitted to having been informed, by various sources, of the difficulty in understanding the wording.

From R. v Rogan:

¶ 2      The dispute incorporates a complex intertwining of gun law and gun technology. In recent years Canada’s gun law has expanded into a large convoluted legal tangle. Under it responsible persons have been deprived of their lawfully acquired guns by Government without compensation from Government. Other persons, irresponsible and ill-intentioned, continue serious crime undeterred by it.  Some portions of that law are straightforward and well suited to provide protection to the general public without creating unnecessary legal peril or inconvenience for those honest responsible citizens who prefer to possess guns.   Other portions are abstruse and seem to have the potential for providing more legal peril and inconvenience to honest responsible gun owners than real protection to the general public. Canada’s foremost jurists disagree among themselves upon what some key portions of Canada’s gun law mean but lay persons under threat of Criminal Code sanctions are required to understand all of it perfectly and to obey all of it completely.

And this is before the current Firearms Act was passed!  C-68 only served to make matters worse.

– 20 –

At the program level, the CFP continues to be aligned with the RCMP’s Strategic Priorities, which are, in turn, aligned with the RCMP’s overall goal to achieve Safe Homes, Safe Communities, focusing on three major strategic outcomes: quality federal policing, contract policing and policing support services, in support of its five strategic priorities: organized crime, terrorism, youth, economic integrity and Aboriginal communities. The CFP’s stated outcomes in the logic model are: to increase public safety through effective risk management of firearms and their users, through improved capacity of government and non-government partners to address firearm crime and safety issues, and responsible firearms ownership and use.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  But they still haven’t provided any substantial supporting evidence that the Firearms Act has had any of the desired effects.

Recommendation 1:

That the Canadian Firearms Program continue to be responsible for the promotion of public safety through a process which involves the effective risk management of firearms and their users.

Of course they do!  Going through this “evaluation” I discovered departments and programs that I’d never heard of before.  All of this adds up to power, prestige, and money for these guys.  Authority attracts authoritarians.  Authoritarians seek more authority.

So far, there has been zero actual evidence that the average, law-abiding gun owner was ever a public safety risk.  It seems to me that this is another version of “The Big Lie”: if you repeat an assertion often enough, then maybe it will become the truth.

I guess if you start off with the basic assumption that guns and gun ownership is “a problem”, then you’re obviously going to come to that conclusion in your reports…




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