Writing in the National Post, Lorne Gunter points out that the long-gun registry was even less useful than we thought:
Last month, the RCMP and Statistics Canada were forced to admit that they don’t keep statistics relating to the number of violent gun crimes in Canada that are committed by licensed gun owners using registered guns.
“Please note,” Statistics Canada wrote in response to an access to information request filed by the National Firearms Association, “that the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) survey does not collect information on licensing of either guns or gun owners related to the incidents of violent crime reported by police.” Nor does StatsCan’s annual homicide survey “collect information on the registration status of the firearm used to commit a homicide.”
This raises the question: Why did it take so long for the government to begin ridding Canada of the horribly expensive, unjustifiably intrusive federal gun registry? If no one in Ottawa had any systematic way of tracking whether or not Canadians suspected of committing a violent gun crime were licensed to own a gun and had registered the gun being used, then they had no way of knowing whether registration and licensing were having a positive impact on crime.
There are around 340,000 violent crimes reported to police in Canada each year. Just over 2% of those (around 8,000) involve firearms. (There’s another reason to question the initial wisdom of the gun registry: Why was Ottawa expending so much time, effort and taxpayer money on such a tiny percentage of violent crimes, while doing comparatively little to prevent the 98% of murders, robberies, kidnappings, rapes and beatings not committed with a gun?)
Even if you grant the original notion that the government had an overriding need to track gun ownership (over and above the user licensing scheme that pre-dated the registry by decades), this can only count as a waste of time, money, and effort.