Canada’s registry began life with an estimated cost to the public purse of C$2m. Over the years, the price escalated exponentially. …
Given the prominence of the Canadian example, it is worth considering its lessons if only to avoid the myths and pitfalls, chief among which was a price tag that experts like Alberta-based independent firearms expert Dennis Young and put at C$3 billion (NZ$3.4b).
They said it would cost $2 million and it ended up at $3 billion!
I’ve been supportive of the previous tranche of gun law changes but the registry has been tried before in NZ, and also failed.
There is nothing to suggest that the Police have gained the competence to run a secure effective registry.
When the Canadian registry was introduced in the wake of a mass shooting in Montreal, it was not the first legislative crackdown on legal gun ownership but the second.
Gun owners felt unfairly conflated with criminality and they flouted the obligation to register in large numbers. Some actively obstructed the process: one wag registered his soldering gun. There were expensive court battles.
In all its 17 years, the registry never contained more than about 7 million guns, roughly a third of the estimated guns that were otherwise legally owned.
Registering guns – shotguns and small calibre rifles in particular – is not like registering cars and boats. In order for your car to be useful you must take it out into the world and use it on public roads where police can monitor it.
So in Canada only one in three guns got registered.