The Canadian Long-Gun Registry: A Preliminary Evaluation
Journal on Firearms and Public Policy, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 9, 2015
In 2012, eleven years after its introduction, Canada scrapped its controversial long-gun registry that had required the registration of long guns (shotguns and rifles). This paper briefly reviews the politics behind the demise of the registry and explores the linkage between the long-gun registry and murder rates. No solid evidence was found linking Canadian gun laws to the slow continual decline in Canadian homicide rates. An analysis of a Special Request to Statistics Canada found that less than 3% of long guns involved in homicide were registered to the accused. Neither the beginning nor the end of the long-gun registry had a measurable effect on the spousal homicide rate. Registered firearms were involved in only 4.7% of firearm homicides and 1% of all homicides. The registry misleads police because it cannot alert them to the existence of unregistered guns. Only half of Canada’s gunstock has been registered. Available data suggest that Canadian homicide rates are likely to continue declining after the demise of the long-gun registry.
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