Gun community says money better spent elsewhere

Quebec is at arms with the federal government to allow them to establish a long-gun registry in their province. Quebec hopes to set an example for the rest of the country in doing so.

On Sept. 10, a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled that destroying the federal gun registry data was “unconstitutional.” They gave Ottawa 30 days to hand over information on Quebec’s gun owners so that the province could create their own registry.

 The Ontario Superior Court has since rejected the bid to surrender the data, with Canada’s public safety minister Vic Toews calling the ruling “an absolute victory for the rule of law.”

Although the battle wages on, Alberta is unlikely to be swayed by Quebec’s way of thinking.

Produced by Roxanne Blackwell

Calgarian Rick Pollock is a competitive Benchrest shooter – a sport that uses high-power rifles and focuses on precision shooting. Pollock was one of many Albertans who was pleased when the long-gun registry was abolished earlier this year.

“In our minds, firearms are just like a hammer or a screwdriver – something you use day to day,” Pollock says. He also points out that since criminals do not register their illegal guns, the registry was only targeting law-abiding firearm owners.

Fortunately for recreational gun users in Calgary, police chief Rick Hanson also seems to be on the same page.

“In our minds firearms are just like a hammer or a screwdriver – something you use day to day.”

– Rick Pollock

 Chief Hanson has openly opposed the long gun registry for years, saying that it has done “little to make the streets safer.” Although he declined an interview, his representatives say that he maintains his stance on the registry.

Pollock says, “Our chief here in Calgary seems to be one of the few who recognizes that our resources could be better spent elsewhere.”

James Bachynsky, owner of Calgary Shooting Centre, agrees that the money could be put to a better use, such as a registry used to track criminals rather than responsible gun owners.

“We don’t have a corresponding registry of people who are prohibited from owning Rick Pollock and other Benchrest shooters take aim at the Rosebud Silhouette and Benchrest Club.

Photo by Roxanne Blackwellfirearms,” Bachynsky says.

He points out that gun owners go through a criminal background check and are deemed safe to own a gun once they are given their license. For that reason he does not understand why there was ever a registry in place to track these gun owners rather than known criminals.

As an owner of a shooting range open to the general public, Bachynsky is frustrated that there is no way for him to know whether or not certain patrons are legally allowed to be shooting a gun.

“If someone comes in I can ask them ‘do you have a firearms prohibition?’ And they can lie to me and say ‘no I don’t,’” He says. “There is no way for me to verify.”

“To me that just seems ludicrous.”

While gun control continues to be a sensitive topic in all of Canada, Bachynsky says that gun sports are growing in popularity.

“It’s a fun activity. It’s not dependent on age, gender, or strength — anyone can do it. We have target shooters that come in here who are 80 plus years old, and we have children coming in here that are five or six years old. They can all participate in the shooting sport, and they have fun doing it.”

rblackwell@cjournal.ca