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  • The Canadian Firearms Registry is now a case study in failure in information management in business school. Firearms are inherently complex Cooperating agencies have widely differing standards for ensuring data quality, and information needs
  • Source of error claim: ERRORS, ERRORS AND MORE ERRORS By Garry Breitkreuz, MP ミ February 26, 2002
  • Alberta, (BC), Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, (Newfoundland)
  • Gun death is the criterion of choice for the ‘anti-gun lobby’ so they have trumpeted that these declines signal success.
  • Can it be considered a success if total suicides do not decline? No lives have been saved.
  • There is a fundamental clash between Crime prevention and civil rights.
  • The table shows the percentage of each category that involves firearm. How is the public safer if gun laws merely move criminals from gun crimes to knife or club crimes?
  • Firearm assaults are less likely to result in injuries, and the injuries that occur are more likely to be less severe injuries than those that occur during assaults involving other weapons. UCR II -- 61% of total volume of crime. Non representative of Canada as a whole; 122 police departments.
  • The violent crime rate in Canada is not dropping as fast as it is in the US. Why not, if the gun program is so successful?
  • Pendulum has swung too far away from protecting public safety towards rehabilitation of offenders; most criminal violence is committed by repeat offenders.

Transcript

  • 1. The 1995 Canadian Firearms Legislation - Ten Years Later Gary Mauser, Ph D ANZSOC Conference Wellington, NZ February 2005
  • 2. Gary Mauser Professor Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC Canada February 2005
  • 3. Canada has long had strict firearms law
    • 1880s - firearm permit required
    • 1920s - anti-Bolshevick law
    • 1934 - handguns registered
    • 1967 - modern framework for law
    • 1977 - FAC
    • 1991 - Kim Campbell
    • 1995 - Allan Rock
  • 4. The 1991 Canadian Firearms Legislation (1991 through 1994)
    • Registration/ban of semi-automatic military-style rifles, and high-capacity magazines,
    • Increased FAC requirements:
    • - firearm safety course,
    • - 35-question application form,
    • - passport-type photograph
    • - two references (spouse required)
    • - mandatory 28-day waiting period
  • 5. In 1994 Canada Consulted with New Zealand
    • The Canadians were advised that firearms registration
      • would be exceptionally difficult to achieve
    • - with an acceptable error rate
    • - at an acceptable cost
    • - The results probably not worth the effort
  • 6. The 1995 Canadian Firearms Legislation (1995 through 2003)
    • Prohibition of over half of all registered handguns
    • Stricter regulations
    • Broadened police powers
    • July 1998 - Registration of firearms begun
    • January 2000 – Licensing of firearm owners begun
    • January 1, 2001 – All firearm owners required to be licensed
    • July 1, 2003 – All firearms required to be registered
  • 7. Criteria for evaluation
    • Reasonable cost
    • Acceptable error rate
    • High level of compliance
    • Public support
    • Effective in improving public safety
  • 8. Cost estimates of owner licencing and universal firearm registration
    • Original estimate in 1995 $C 2 million
    • AG partial estimate (DOJ) $C 1 billion
    • To date for all agencies $C 2 billion
    • Original estimate off by a factor of 1,000
  • 9. Organizational problems
    • Failure to understand project scope
    • Failure to plan for inter-agency cooperation
    • Information criteria differ across agencies
    • Some participants opposed to firearm ownership in principle
    • Failure to consult with owners, provinces, or Natives
    • Government cover-up of costs
  • 10. Data quality of firearm registry
    • Over 5 million of the 7 million registered firearms are un-verified
    • Error rate between 50% and 90%
      • Errors in description of firearm or owner
    • Few criminal record checks of owners
    • No information on location of registered rifles or shotguns
    • No information on more than 170,000 people with firearm prohibition orders
  • 11. Police do not trust the registry
    • RCMP told Auditor General they do not trust the information (2004)
    • Toronto Police Chief reports (2003) the system has not helped solve a single homicide
    • Police Association of Ontario said they fail to get information requested 95% of the time (2002)
  • 12. Public support for the firearm registry
    • 77% of Canadian public agree that “the firearm registry should be scrapped.”
      • (JMCK Polling, N= 1,586, April 2004)
    • 8 out of 10 provinces declined to cooperate with federal government in registry (2003)
    • 6 out of 10 Provinces challenged the constitutionality of Firearms Act (2000)
  • 13. Owner cooperation 25 + M 7 + M DOJ estimate (1995) 12 - 13 M 7.7 M 7 M Firearms 3.5 - 4.5 M 2.2 M 2 M Firearm owners Mauser estimate CFC estimate CFC actual
  • 14. Participation rates
    • Approximately 50% of firearm owners have complied
    • Less than 25% of residents of First Nations communities have complied
    • Approximately 50% of firearms stock is registered
  • 15. Evaluation Do licencing and registration improve public safety?
  • 16. Which measures are the most appropriate?
    • Gun deaths
    • Gun crime
    • Gun violence
    • Total violent crime
    • Total homicide
  • 17. How measure public safety?
    • Gun death?
      • Gun deaths are falling in Canada
      • Gun homicides falling
      • Gun suicides falling
    • Is it a success?
  • 18. Trends in Canadian Gun Deaths 822 651 171 2001 969 818 151 1998 1,092 916 176 1995 1,379 1,108 271 1991 Total Gun Suicide Gun Homicide
  • 19. Canadian Suicide Trends 3,688 1,509 651 2001 3,698 1,434 818 1998 3,968 1,382 916 1995 3,593 1,034 1,108 1991 Total Suicides Hanging Suicides Firearm Suicides
  • 20. Gun Death is a Red Herring
    • Gun deaths are largely suicides
    • Suicide is not central to public safety
    • Strong substitution effect
    • The removal of firearms or sharps must balance liberty with personal safety
  • 21. Trends in Canadian Suicide Rates
  • 22. Trends in Suicide Rates in Australia
  • 23. Social costs of the decline in gun ownership
    • Hunters are the driving force behind conservation
    • Hunters pay $70 million annually in licence fees
    • Hunters donate $33 million annually for habitat and conservation projects
    • Hunters spend almost half ($2.7 billion) on all expenditures on wildlife related activities
    • Increased number of wildlife-vehicle collisions
  • 24. How measure public safety?
    • Gun crime?
    • 47% of gun crime is permit violations
    • Not a measure of violence, but regulatory enforcement
  • 25. Gun Crime in Canada, 2003 100% 21,201 Total crimes with firearms 1% 137 Trafficking 1% 223 Discharge with intent 1% 161 Homicide with firearm 11% 2,256 Firearm usage 18% 3,877 Robbery with firearm 21% 4,510 Other offensive weapon charge 47% 10,037 Illegal possession Percentage Number
  • 26. How measure public safety?
    • Gun violence?
    • Gun violence is small fraction of violent crime
    • Not even the worst violence
  • 27. Gun violence and violent crime 14% 31% 2% Canada 4% 9% 1% England and Wales 6% 14% 1% Australia Robbery Homicide Violent crime
  • 28. Injuries caused by weapons during assault, Canada 2003 5,432 5,760 812 Number of incidents 2% 2% 2% Unknown 24% 47% 52% No injuries 60% 40% 40% Minor physical injuries 14% 11% 6% Major physical injuries Club Knife Firearm
  • 29. How measure public safety?
    • Gun homicide?
    • Gun homicides are only a fraction of total homicides
    • Can reducing gun homicides reduce total homicide?
    • Substitution effect is quite powerful
  • 30. Homicide trends in Canada 29% 26% 34% 27% 33% % Firearm 1.7 1.9 1.8 2.0 2.1 Homicide rate 2003 2002 2000 1998 1996
  • 31. Homicide trends in Australia 13% 13% 19% 17% 33% % Firearm 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.8 1.7 Homicide rate 2003 2002 2000 1998 1996
  • 32. How should we measure improvements in public safety?
    • Violent crime rates should drop
    • Not just criminal violence involving guns, but all criminal violence should fall
    • Homicide rates should fall
    • Not just gun homicide, but total homicide
  • 33. More appropriate measures of public safety
    • Homicide rate
    • Robbery rate
    • Armed robbery rate
    • Violent crime rate
  • 34. Homicide Trends in Canada and USA
  • 35. Gang Related Homicides in Canada
  • 36. Violent Crime Trends in Canada and USA
  • 37. Trends in Armed Robbery in Australia 16% 15% 14% 15% 18% 24% 25% % Firearm 7162 7817 9474 9452 10850 9054 6256 Armed Robberies 2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996
  • 38. Violent Crime Trends in Australia and USA
  • 39. Summary and Conclusion
    • The 1995 Firearms Act is not a success
      • Incomplete coverage
      • Unacceptably high error rate
      • No evidence for effectiveness
    • Firearms registry cost $2 billion -- other public safety measures under funded
    • The registry has reduced firearms access but has not improved public safety
  • 40. Suggested alternatives
    • Improve monitoring of criminals on probation and parole
    • Increase prison time for violent criminals
    • Increase port security
    • Increase number of police officers
    • Tighten controls on deportation orders