I’m a Liberal. I’m also a gun owner.
Now, I’ll bet those aren’t two sentences you’re used to seeing strung together.
But, in my case, it’s true. I don’t see them as being mutually exclusive concepts, either.
I got to thinking about guns, and the politics of guns, with the news this week the long-gun registry is a goner.
Conservative government sources revealed the registry will be scrapped this fall.
The Cons’ telegenic gun-loving talking head, Candice Hoeppner, all but wrote the obituary.
“Everyone knows it’s been part of our party’s policy for many years,” she chirped. “It’s a priority for our government.”
And no one should be particularly surprised, either. They said they’d kill it, and now they’re killing it. That’s that.
But it’s still a mistake.
It’s going to get people killed who don’t deserve to die. Cops and women in particular.
Now, now, calm down. I’m not going to regurgitate the statistics about guns and gun control.
You’ve heard them plenty of times over the years.
Gun-related crimes are down from what they used to be, and you’re a damn fool if you suggest otherwise.
But forget about the statistics.
What’s more important here are the lives that will be lost.
Lives which wouldn’t be lost, but for the scrapping of the registry.
I used to be a crime beat reporter. Used to go along in squad cars with officers, or meet up with them at crimes scenes. I did that in Calgary and Ottawa, and I came away with a lot of respect for police officers.
It’s a cliche to say they put their lives on the line for us, but — like some cliches — it’s true.
I’ve been alongside cops when they are rushing to the scene of bank robberies, or riots, or even terrorist-type incidents.
Every time, they remember their training and they keep their cool.
The only time I’d see them looking a little bit uncertain is when they were called to one of the many, many “domestic disturbances” that happen every night in every town in every part of this country.
You could feel the edge, then. It’d get tense.
There’s a reason for that. Chances are, they were heading to a residential neighbourhood, where some pathetic coward of a man had beaten his wife, or worse.
Here’s the two very good reasons, then, for having some gun safety laws.
One, they obviously make it a bit harder for the cowardly S.O.B. to get his hands on a gun in the first place.
Two, and this is a big one for me, a gun registry helps cops.
They plug in the address on the computer in their car and they see within seconds whether the S.O.B. has a gun.
If I were a police officer, I would find that pretty damn useful information.
I’m knocking on the door, I can hear screaming inside and I know the guy on the other side of the door probably has a gun.
I know that because the registry has a record of it.
Anyway, like I say, it’s over. Conservatives wanted to get rid of the registry, and now they’re going to.
Not as a Liberal — just as someone who knows what guns can do — I ask one favour of Conservatives.
Next time you hear about a cop getting shot dead while attending to a domestic dispute, ask yourself one question: Did I let this happen?