This summer Canada's pundits have done a pretty good job. They ruthlessly mocked the Conservatives census talking points and did not pay much heed to the Liberals had to say on the subject. The Liberals deserved to be ignored and the Conservatives laughed at.
Enter the "long gun registry". The long time Liberal talking point about the gun registry being used by police x time of times a day is pretty thin gruel and the pundits have long be right to ask where is the beef. That said, this is no reason to leave the various Conservatives talking points virtually untouched and that is exactly what has happened over the years. For starters there is no reason for letting the Conservatives talk about a "long gun registry". There is but one registry -- a gun registry.
More substantively, consider the following talking point.
"Canadians have been very clear. They want us to spend our time and our money focusing on the criminal misuse of firearms and not going after law-abiding duck hunters and farmers."
Pundits have rightly noted that while it costs around 3 million a year to register long guns, had the Conservatives continued to collect monies for these guns (about 15 million annually), then there would be no cost to tax paper whatsoever. They have also noted despite the gun registry's 1 billion dollar price tag, saying these cost overruns justify dumping any part of the gun registry now is akin to saying the gazebo in Tony Clement's riding should be blown up because the Conservatives spent 1.3 Billion on a three day conference . http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/liberal-staffer-accuses-tories-of-trying-to-discredit-auditor-general/article1667099/ It makes no sense.
However to leave at that is not enough. After all, the number of legal gun owners in Canada, is huge (just over 2 million) and as with any large population certain predictions can be made about their future behavior. One thing we can know for sure is that a sizable number of "law-abiding duck hunters and farmers" in absolute terms will be convicted of a crime sometime in the future and that an equal or greater number will develop a mental disorder that will render them unsuitable for gun ownership.
Between 1999 and 2008 22,523 licenses refused or revoked. By having "law-abiding duck hunters and farmers" register their firearms, authorities can ensure that guns, owned by "duck hunters and farmers" who are no longer fit to own a gun, are properly disposed of. A gun license only indicates that person has the right to own a firearm. It does not tell the cops whether someone actually owns a gun or how many guns they might have. In sum, the gun registry helps keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Indeed between November 2008 and April 2009, the police seized about 3600 registered guns. Based on their rhetoric, the registry is therefore something Conservatives should support not oppose.
Furthermore, as it allows guns to be traced back to their last legal owner, the registry makes illegal sales and straw purchases more difficult and so helps keep "law-abiding duck hunters and farmers" honest. "Studies have shown that in the US, states with both licensing and registration (versus one or the other) had fewer guns diverted from legal to illegal markets."
Finally, the pundits can no longer be so concerned with only what the political parties have to say on the subject and so miss the guy in gorilla suit. http://www.livescience.com/health/invisible-gorilla-basketball-video-inattentiveness-100712.html Suicide is at the center of the academic debate about gun control and one can not ignore it and still remain credible. A significant number of "law-abiding duck hunters and farmers" and their family members in absolute terms use long guns to commit suicide.