Police trade shots over gun registry

OTTAWA — Three top police groups came together Thursday to defend the long-gun registry, even as the Conservative government called on three retired officers to speak against it.

OTTAWA — Three top police groups came together Thursday to defend the long-gun registry, even as the Conservative government called on three retired officers to speak against it.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Police Boards came out against a private-member’s bill that aims to scrap the registry.

The heads of all three groups — representing police chiefs, frontline officers and the boards that employ them — said perceptions of the registry are dated and rife with misconceptions.

While they acknowledged it got off to a bad start, they lamented the “misinformation” that has driven government policy and shaped public opinion on the registry of rifles and shotguns.

They said it’s not the billion-dollar boondoggle it’s been made out to be. It’s now under RCMP control, it’s well run and it costs taxpayers just $4 million a year, they said, adding police used it 3.8 million times last year. They said it saves lives.

“We need to stop pointing fingers at one another,” said Charles Momy, representing officers.

“If the registry can prevent one person in this country from either committing suicide, from being injured or killed, or that a crime is solved as a result of information obtained by the registry, isn’t that worth it for all Canadians?”

But Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner, who introduced the bill, was pitting cop against cop, claiming they are divided on the issue. She held a news conference with three former SWAT team members who said the registry is all but useless.

Dave Shipman, who retired after 25 years with the force — 16 of them in homicide — said he’s seen hundreds of killings with a myriad of weapons.

“Never have I attended a killing when a registry of any of the weapons would have prevented that killing from occurring,” Shipman said.