Archive for November 16th, 2010

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Recommendation 2 of 7 for this section of the “evaluation”.  Read along at:

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pd-dp/eval/index-eng.htm

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Recommendation 7:

That the CFP work in collaboration with public safety partners to consider the merits of a five (5) year Firearm License renewal process

Notably, the province of Québec has experienced significant success in having ‘health service providers’ report clients with mental health concerns. Their progress should be reviewed to determine the need to further the program in other provinces.

Yeah – under penalty of the law!

On Sept 1, 2008 Québec’s gun control legislation, Bill 9, came into force. The legislation is dubbed Anastasia’s Law in memory of 18 year old Anastasia DeSousa, who was killed during the Sept 2006 Dawson College shooting. The law bans the possession of firearms in schools and daycare centres, and on public and school transportation. Under the new rules, teachers, gun club owners, and public transit and health-care workers are also required to report suspicious behaviour relating to firearms, even if it contradicts doctor-patient or any other confidentiality.[30]

[30] The Canadian Press, Monday, September 1, 2008, new Quebec gun legislation, Anastasia’s Law, now in effect

Here we see the start of the creation of the “snitch society”: gun owners are to be “reported on” by a bevy of public servants and others – in fact, required by law to do so! Failure to do so can result in a fine from $500 to $5,000.  One also wonders about civil liability for not reporting some nutbar who then goes on to shoot someone…

Anastasia’s Law” (English version)

Gun owners are not only being treated like criminals, they are being treated like potential psychopaths as well.  Who gets to define what “suspicious” means?  What happens when (not if) some law-abiding gun owner gets snitched on?  Are SWAT teams and high-risk takedowns to be the norm?

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Health services are provincially regulated and would need to be approached one province at a time. This has been problematic in light of the privacy issues surrounding mental health, which also needs to be further addressed. An example of the types of existing unresolved mental health issues is represented by the Ontario Medical Association(OMA). [31]

[31] 2003 Ontario Medical Association, summary of health legislation, concerning Firearms Office Authorization for Release of Medical Information Form: http://www.oma.org/phealth/hpolrep/03hpr.htm

Those pesky rights, eh?

Prior to 2003, the OMA Forms Committee initiated discussions with the Chief Firearms Office to review and revise the process of information collection from physicians whose patients were identified as potentially “high risk” for possession of a firearm. While the content of the form was successfully revised, the process for obtaining the firearms licence remains an issue. The process for obtaining a Firearms licence involves:

Completion of an application form by the applicant, which is then reviewed by officials in Miramichi, New Brunswick

Most of the patients referred to physicians for an opinion will be high-risk patients whose problems are clearly identified either through the applicant screening process or reference interviews.

The physician’s report is very often used as a stop mechanism, thus preventing high-risk individuals from obtaining a firearms licence. Not only does government place physicians in a difficult position by requesting confidential and potentially damaging information on their patients, but government also refuses to pay for the form, leaving physicians to collect fees for their services from patients – and possibly placing physician safety in jeopardy.

The OMA is seeking timely resolution to this matter, and is prepared to resume negotiations. Physicians are requested not to complete the “Firearms Office Authorization for Release of Medical Information Form” until further notice.

Did you know that such a Form existed?  What are the physician’s responsibilities in letting a patient know that they are submitting such a form to the CFP?  I guess when they get sent the bill for this gross intrusion on their privacy.

Considering almost three-quarters (3/4) of the firearm deaths across Canada are attributable to suicide(1), there is little progress being made in developing better links with the mental health community as far as reporting obligations(2). The exception being with the province of Québec, as mentioned above, where more workable arrangements have been made with the mental health services to report on persons of risk. British Columbia has also made some progress, albeit it is regionally-specific only. Although health care is under provincial jurisdiction, the RCMP is the provincial police service in all but two provinces, so this could be approached in a comprehensive nationally-coordinated manner. As further support, a national mechanism has recently been created- the National Mental Health Commission- through which the issue of mental health and firearms can be further pursued. Nevertheless, the concern about privacy rights of the individual has hindered any progress made toward accommodating both the issues of privacy and public safety(3). Some CFOs have limited cooperation with ‘mental health facilities’, however this is sporadic and uncoordinated.

There seems to be a lack of outreach on behalf of health and police throughout most of Canada. The CFP as a whole are not actively pursuing mental health–specific initiatives.

(1) But, as I have pointed out before, only 20% of all suicides are by the use of firearms.  What about the other 80%?  Do their lives mean so little?  And while firearms suicides may be dropping, the overall number of suicides has remained the same, and may actually be trending upwards.  This indicates that those intent on taking their own lives are simply substituting other means when firearms are not available to them.

And again, what about those who don’t have guns?  Why are gun owners being singled out for “special treatment”?  Is there some kind of proof that owning a gun means a greater “public safety” risk than, say, owning a car?

(2) But what about real help for those with mental health issues?  It could be argued that hunting and shooting can be therapeutic for those under stress, as it takes their mind off their problems and focuses on the here-and-now.  How much more stress would it place on an individual to be the subject of a police investigation, and have their personal privacy invaded, and their personal property confiscated?  What might have been done to help all these people with the $2 BILLION that has been squandered on this boondoggle.

(3) Once more, the rights of gun owners must take a back seat to some nebulous ideological concept of “public safety”.

From the RCMP’s Program Management Action Plan:

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/fire-feu-eval/respon-eng.htm

  • Management Supports Recommendation (Yes or No)

Management supports the recommendation.

  • Current Status

The Review of Firearms Licensing Renewal Report prepared by Kelly Sears Consulting Group (March 31, 2009) is an RCMP CFP sponsored report that recommends continuation of the current 5 year licensing regime. It also demonstrates that the CFP is on side with its international counterparts in the United Kingdom and Australia.(4)

The CFP is currently monitoring compliance rates and analysing trends through the ‘In-Sites II’ business intelligence system.(5)

  • Responsible

SIPMS (Strategic Integration and Program Management Services Directorate)

  • Planned Action

Continue to monitor compliance rates.

  • Diary Date: On-going

(4) Again, this RCMP sponsored and funded “study” of mostly RCMP employees is “supported” by RCMP management…I’m shocked!

(5) I wonder how much setting up this “system” cost us.  They don’t seem to provide any of this “analysis” for us plebes to look at.