Canada: "Countdown on to register guns"


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cuchulainn
December 26, 2002, 10:26 AM
http://canada.com/national/story.asp?id=7FCD0179-884E-489F-A7D6-92DD88A96CB3

Countdown on to register guns
Firearms owners have till Jan. 1

Barb Pacholik
Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post
Thursday, December 26, 2002

REGINA -- The difference between being a registered gun owner or a criminal is a mere seven days away.

As of Jan. 1, 2003, every gun in Canada is supposed to be registered.

The federal government is anticipating "a last-minute rush" as thousands of gun owners aim for the target date, David Austin, spokesperson for the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC), said earlier this week.

"They don't want to run the risk of waiting," he said. After Dec. 31, those caught with unregistered firearms can face fines up to $2,000 and jail terms up to five years.

Even as the deadline approaches, gun registry opponents haven't given up hope of scrapping the law. Those voices got louder and angrier earlier this month when the auditor general's report revealed costs will hit $1-billion by 2004-05 -- almost $900-million over budget.

This past weekend near Battleford, about 150 firearms owners held a rally at which they burned gun licences and flushed away fake money to send a message to Ottawa.

Despite the opposition, the majority of gun owners are complying with the law, Austin said. According to the CFC, 90 per cent of gun owners had a licence or had submitted an application for one -- the first step in the process -- by the end of November. And 70 per cent of those people have taken the second step and registered their guns. That means about 5.5 million guns are registered, Austin said.

A CFC-commissioned study by GPC Research estimates there are 7.9 million guns in Canada. About 410,000 of those firearms are in Saskatchewan.

Austin suggested the quickest way to register is online at www. cfc.gc.ca. CFC doesn't charge to register online. The other option is to mail in registration forms by Dec. 31. It costs $18 to register by mail because, unlike online, the data must be manually entered into a database, he said. Licensed gun owners were sent registration forms by mail. While the cost is currently $18 for as many guns as a person has, after Dec. 31, the price will rise to $25 per gun.

In order to register firearms, gun owners must first have a licence. All owners were to be licensed by Jan. 1, 2001, "but there's some who have gone two years without being caught," Austin said. To get a licence, applicants must take a gun safety course test and have a "public safety screening." A licence costs $60 and is renewable every five years.

Austin admitted it will be impossible for people to get licences now in order to meet the registration deadline since there's a 28-day waiting period. However, he suggested unlicensed owners should still register, but the forms won't be processed until they are licensed.

Austin said the average gun owner hasn't paid more than $10 to get licensed and register their weapons. That $10 was the reduced price of a licence before the 2001 deadline, and registering online is free.

For more information, call the CFC at 1-800-731-4000 or on the Web see www.cfc.gc.ca.

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KMKeller
December 26, 2002, 11:05 AM
The writing is on the wall and it's going to be a bumpy ride for Canada.

Ted Bell
December 26, 2002, 02:06 PM
I was talking to my mother-in-law's new husband on Christmas Eve and casually asked him: "So Bob, are you going to be a felon come New Year's Day?" Wrong question :D Nothing like a little political discussion to liven up a family gathering!

Slotback
December 26, 2002, 02:26 PM
Ted, what was the rest of the conversation like? :D

Ted Bell
December 26, 2002, 04:42 PM
I realized some of my Canadian relatives are farther right than I had ever hoped to be. There is a strong successionist sentiment in rural Alberta where people are used to taking care of themselves and resent government intrusion (except in healthcare, of course ):)

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