09.22.2010 03:25 PM

If you read anything today, read this

What an astonishing and powerful story this is. I, for one, did not know.

It is powerful journalism, too.  Kudos to Susan.

(And be very careful in comments, please.  I’m not going tolerate anything that goes after Scott or his family.)


  1. Anonymously Posted says:

    Powerful story, absolutely, and tragic.

    Not sure, though, how a registry would stop suicides. However, I can see how it would be an important tool in domestic violence cases.

  2. Luke says:

    Just as in domestic violence, authorities can remove firearms from a person who is considered to be a threat to oneself.

    Reasons for licence refusals or revocations include: a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information.

    Once a person’s firearm licence is revoked; The Registrar of Firearms is notified of all licence revocations, is responsible for revoking all associated registration certificates, and works to ensure proper disposal of the firearms.

  3. Scotian says:

    A registry can help stop suicides by giving police the tool to know who has the weapons when the doctors call to say that they fear this person is a risk to themselves and/or others because of suicidal tendencies. Then they go and remove the gun(s). Now, does this make it impossible for someone to kill themselves? Of course not, but it does make it a harder thing for them to do and something that takes more effort than is the case with a firearm, and this can also end up causing second thoughts both because the other methods available may be longer and/or more painful and cause second thoughts. The thing about firearms and suicidal behaviour is that they make killing oneself very easy, speedy, and relatively painless compared to most other options out there, which is why being able to take away those firearms from those so inclined in their thoughts (especially if it is not a heavy suicidal fixation but flashes of depression reaching that level, that is where having a method that takes longer can cause second thoughts and thereby prevent the suicide) can in fact prevent suicides.

    Not all of them of course, but isn’t some better than none?

  4. michael hale says:

    How many tragedies are required to make it clear that a gun registry is a good thing? It isn’t a question of whether the registry would stop every incident, but rather, a question of whether it would stop even one incident. And as Mr. Simms says, stopping one incident is worth the cost.

  5. Northbaytrapper says:

    I feel for the man. My heart aches for him.

  6. Nuklhd says:

    It just passed – 153 to 151 and Simms received a standing O for his vote. And heckles from the Tories. Classy to the end

  7. Paul R. Martin says:

    A personal and family tragedy yes, but unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if any suicide victim would find another way of doing the tragic deed.

    I do remember watching Simms on the Weather Channel and thought that he was an intelligent decent hard working individual.

    The 153 to 151 vote does not end the long gun registry issue, I expect that it will be revisited.

  8. Lew says:

    Another sad day in Canada. The $66 million dollar a year long-gun registry (that cost more than $1 billion to set up) will continue to suck taxpayer money for no good reason. All gun owners in Canada are already registered when they acquire an FAC. Just another damn excuse to create bureaucracy and waste our money!

    • Warren says:

      Its a PAL or a POL, not an FAC. Costs you nothing. I’ve done it. Easy as pie.

      • Lew says:

        You are correct about the license names and the ease in which they are acquired. I think that is where the problem should be addressed.

        • Steve T says:

          I have a PAL, and although perhaps it is easy to fill out the form (where’s the harm in that?), it certainly is not easy to obtain the PAL. There are a variety of background checks and references required. If you are married, your spouse has veto power. You have to take a firearms safety course before applying. And the list goes on. Not sure what more than the current process you are suggesting, Lew.

          • Warren says:

            I did the course years ago. Got 100 per cent on the handling part!

            And what’s the big deal about spousal approval? Makes sense to me.

          • Lew says:

            Iif you think that the process for obtaining a PAL/POL is sufficent, then why the long-gun registry? I am sure the relevant police departments would have access to who has a PAL/POL and would act accordingly in a criminal matter. The ability to operate a firearm has a little more relevance to who actually has `registered` said firearm in a life-threatening situation.

            BTW, I despise guns of all sorts, even for collecting, but my libertarian views must leave law-abiding citizens alone in this case.

          • Jan says:

            Owning a gun is a priviledge, not a right. A lot of people should not be allowed to have them.

      • Namesake says:

        Yeah, ain’t it grand how so many of these hunters & sportsmen are:

        – just chock full ‘o (NRA-supplied) ideas on how to fight gun smuggling, fight gangs, and protect society from all the truly dangerous elements…. except them, of course, who not only can’t be bothered to but are outraged by the very idea of filling out a form which helps keep them more accountable for the firearms they own.

        – and are such stalwart defenders of fiscal conservatism, and have so many brilliant ideas on how that princely sum of $4 to $10-M a year could be spent more effectively…. but don’t say squat about how their favoured party wastes millions on self-promoting advertising, and billions on photo-op summits, pork-barreling, and unneeded prisons and stealth fighters etc. etc.

        Meanwhile, the whole “inncocent duck hunters” refrain is getting pretty tired, too, considering that most long-gun homicides are committed in rural areas by the victims’ duck-hunting, varmint shooting family-members or acquaintances in jealous rows or drunken arguments.

        And even on Breitkreuz’ own site,* there’s official police-reported evidence showing that of the 75 people actually accused of homicide between 1997 and 2005, 36% of them had valid firearms licenses at the time; and that 118 of the guns they ID’d as the homicide weapon during those years were registered, and 52% of those were registered to the accused!

        So make no mistake: even “innocent duck hunters and farmers” are sometimes formally charged with the most serious crimes around, too.

        But the long gun registry is helping combat that (if only by helping to secure convictions, if nothing else, but actually by enhancing the authorities to confiscate the weapons of those at risk of violence to themselves or others, and also by greatly increasing the likelihood of people complying with the safe storage, authorized loaning & transference, and promptly reporting when stolen requirements by tying the individual weapons that might become involved in mishaps to them).

        And many of the Reformers & Conservatives who have been advancing this rather quixotic cause (‘Down with those damnable gummint forms!’) know all this, too, but persist in maintaining that the LGR has no legitimate application to the rural setting. That’s Harpocrisy, of a particularly dangerous sort.

        * http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/2006_new/106.pdf

  9. MyNameHere says:

    What an awful story, but I if this happened while there was a long gun registry, presumabley if there wasn’t one it wouldn’t have made a difference no?

  10. Tim says:

    This was the most powerful personal story I’ve heard all year.

    Unlimited condolences, prayers, and respect to Mr. Simms and, frankly, all the rural progressive MPs – whatever their party – who tonight made a tough but stark choice to do the right thing for Canadians, consequences be damned. Homage also to Messrs Holland, Comartin, and indeed Madame Mourani, fearless, principled critics who made the case for principle over expedience.

    It’s now decidedly up to the Prime Minister to explain why he opposes reasonable compromises intended to balance the majority view of Parliament in favor of the registry with the legitimate frustrations of rural Canadians, aboriginals and northern communities.

    It’s easy to get cynical about our dysfunctional, out of touch political system, but naively or not, I feel new confidence as a Canadian in our democratic process tonight.

    Remember who we’re up against: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsogv4Bw5kM

  11. Kevin says:

    I hope certain journalists and Jane Taber, who have spent weeks engaged in waaaay off-base speculation and innuendo about the intentions, and even the whereabouts, of Scott Simms, feel about three inches tall tonight.

    No, wait. I take that back. That is too tall for them to be entitled to feel.

  12. Lew says:

    “It’s easy to get cynical about our dysfunctional, out of touch political system, but naively or not, I feel new confidence as a Canadian in our democratic process tonight. “

    I also feel new confidence in our democractic system, unfortunately not enough confidence to vote for any candidate (since they are all frauds), but at least the MPs who defied their constituents will feel their wrath in the next upcoming election.

  13. Michael Teper says:

    Sorry, but I don’t buy the “If it saves only one life it’s worth it” argument. By that logic we could save lots of lives by banning automobiles, establishing a knife and baseball bat registry, or establishing a “Minority Report” style preventive detention regime.

    In addition, with all due respect to Mr. Simms, it is the duty of every MP to vote according to his or her best judgment of what is right for the people of Canada, without giving undue regard to that MP’s personal or family circumstances, however tragic. If such personal tragedy makes the exercise of such judgment impossible, the correct course in my view is for the MP to abstain from the vote.

    • Kevin says:

      No MP represents “Canada”. Each MP represents a riding. Just one.

      • Michael Teper says:

        “Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. I beg pardon for saying so much on this subject.”

        — Edmund Burke

        • Namesake says:

          thanks, I was hoping someone would speak to that. I’m of that view, too, that MPs have to consider not only their immediate constituents’ interests, but also their Province’s _and_ the country’s as a whole.

          That’s why I’m put out by those urban Members from the three Prairie provinces who’ve reasoned that since _their_ police haven’t been using the thing, and _their_ population have resisted using it –and neither have been required to, since their provincial govt’s have been too cowardly to risk losing some votes to actually stand up for it and enforce it, all these years — that, basically, to Hell with everyone else. I’m looking at you, Jim Maloway.

          • Kevin says:

            So where are all the unanimous votes?

            There’s only one country. If all members of the country’s Westminster Parliament are supposed to vote for the same reason, then they should all be voting the same way on everything.

            Like in a Communist-era Eastern European Parliament.

          • Namesake says:

            um, gee, maybe they have different conceptions of what constitutes what is best or even good for the country, and different beliefs on what the facts are, even when they are all acting in what they take to be the best interests of the country, which, of course, they often aren’t (which was the point).

            But bravo for drawing a conclusion all on your own!

            Careful, though: that’ll get you kicked out of the Con-Bot tribe.

  14. bc says:

    Sad story indeed – though the irony is that the long-gun used to take his own life was likely registered.

    It’s a story that kind of proves how unnecessary the registry is, not the other way around…

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