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LETTER: Guns should remain easy to transfer between private citizens in Canada

A reader writes that they're not in favour of the government tinkering with current gun laws in Canada, and how the long gun registry in Canada was done away with good reason

I read your piece on purchasing a firearm "Buying a gun off a citizen in Canada is easier than transferring ownership of a car", and while I appreciate that you are concerned about how simple it is to transfer a non-restricted firearm, I take issue with your suggesting that we should change this. I feel that any move to increase police involvement in firearms ownership is a very real and previously demonstrated bad idea, due to the inability of police and politicians alike to leave legal firearms owners alone.

I was previously a supporter of the long gun registry while it existed, for the simple reason that I found it an easy way to guarantee that a firearm purchase wasn't a scam if done over the internet. However, I also fully supported the same registry being abolished, as the RCMP repeatedly changed their policy on specific firearms, resulting in me personally receiving notifications on three occasions that I had thirty days to turn in my property without compensation or face prosecution. The fact that the RCMP could change their interpretation on a firearm's classification without any legal recourse or need to go through a parliamentary debate, costing me close to $10,000 was more than enough to convince me that the best way to avoid this happening again in the future was to avoid the police having any records of ownership or transfers (because what is a legally required record of transfer between two individuals including make/model/serial number if not a record of ownership?). I feel that your article misses this point - that we had a registry in the past, but it was abused and mismanaged by the RCMP so repeatedly that even after 20 years it bothered firearms owners enough to push for it's abolition.

Seeing as bill C71 includes a section allowing the RCMP to directly control classification of any firearm based on their judgement rather than need to act through policy and legal interpretation, having any sort of registry scares the heck out of me. I've already been the victim of police whims three times, I don't wish to go through that again.

All the best,