With all the hub-bub over the long gun registry, my partner and I were discussing other ideas. Since some people seem hell-bent on this as a safety concern, why not put a code on ammunition instead? That's something that can be done at industry level, does not require a huge team of officials to comb through reams of paperwork for hopeful gun owners, and the added cost of applying a serial number to each individual bullet may up their cost per box but would be the choice of the gun owner (to buy or not to buy, to shop around, etc). Guns do not kill people - bullets fired by people kill people. A collector who is not interested in arming himself to the teeth would be largely unaffected by serial numbers placed on each bullet. A person who owns a weapon and purchases ammunition for it would know that if he/she decided to fire it unlawfully, their name would practically be right on the bullet left at the scene. Maybe that would cause some people to stop and think before pulling that trigger? This could also help with poaching cases, such as those in Alberta who have been targeting the wild horses up north and leaving their bodies to rot - bullets right there for the authorities to check (but currently it doesnt help much unless you have the gun it was fired from).
No it does not solve all problems, there would still be a black market going on and we really cant stop that. But would it put a huge dent in crimes if every person knew that every bullet had a specific code on it, traceable back to them from the date of purchase? Right straight back to them?
Currently, it is my view and the view of police officers I personally know, that having a long gun registry does not help them when approaching a potentially dangerous situation. They can NEVER assume that a household is gun-free just because an address doesn't highlight on their screens as a registered gun owner. They can NEVER assume safety for themselves or onlookers. They might have some forewarning, but there are so many guns available and hanging around, they have to approach each situation with caution regardless of what the registry data in their computer tells them. So what does the gun registry actually do for safety? People can still get guns if they really want, and avoid the whole registration process. And they can buy ammunition whether they own a gun or not. So why not brand each actual deadly weapon - the bullet - with a serial number and have that information logged publicly. I know that is not ideal and many would still balk - but if politicians are hell bent on using the long gun registry as a talking point for election or re-election, why aren't we hearing of alternatives? Is it worth such a massive money-drain on our tax system if it doesn't actually DO anything to protect police officers or the public?
Another note - I saw on the news and read in the paper recently that something upwards of 72% of gun crimes in Canada are committed with 'long guns'. When you see that, you think HOLY CRAP! I had no idea! But then you realize that there were no other statistic numbers associated - nothing said that there were xxx number of deaths or xxx number of robberies. So we don't know if there were 15 murders and 72% of those were committed with long guns, or if there were 215 murders, or 2315 murders... you get the picture - AND the article DID NOT SAY if those weapons/offenders were registered either. Wouldnt that be important information? Did the registry come in handy for any of those cases at all? Why was none of that information included in the article? They choose the scare-factor number of 72% and hope readers/viewers are too stupid to think a bit outside the box.
And sadly, too many ARE too stupid.