Gun Registry Cost

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Rod Manchee
Gun Registry Cost

 

Rod Manchee

If I had Heather Mallick's email address, I'd send her the following:

Hi Heather Mallick:

In your column ‘Mass fatality events present enormous challenges' of September 4, 2007
on Rabble, reprinted from CBC.ca, you said: "Presumably the gun registration system was costly because it is admirably meticulous.”

The gun registration system was costly to set up(not so much to operate) and that seemed to be in large part due to the resistance it met, rather than inherent in its design. The original cost projection was $2 million net, $80 million gross, with the difference being the collection of fees on registration. Because of considerable resistance the fees were soon moderated or waived, but organized resistance continued in the form of legal action and mass delay in registration, clogging the system at the last minute and straining its design(making it more expensive than projected). I seriously doubt that being meticulous is much of a factor in registry costs, and it certainly pales in comparison to the costs of resistance. Surely in assessing a system it is necessary to differentiate between the actual cost of the system itself(with a further distinction between capital and operating), and political costs. The registry didn’t seem to be all that costly in the former sense, but was in the latter sense and since a significant part of this latter cost was monetary, many have interpreted it as former sense cost.

A parallel might be an ecology/forestry issue: people may object to cutting down an old growth forest. Some get out the placards, hoping to spur pressure for government action, or maybe even reducing the demand for the product, thus reducing the commercial incentive. Some may get arrested, but usually it’s pretty quiet. Some may sabotage machinery - they get jail time. It seems to me that while much of the gun control opposition was of the placard type, some straddled the sabotage border, but I heard nary a hint of jail-time talk.

Civil Disobedience is an essential component in the citizens tool-box, but is a tool that must be appropriate to the threat and used with reticence and reflection. That these are obviously not the gun lobby’s strong points just reinforces the worries many have about leaving unregistered weapons in their hands.

Yours, etc
Rod Manchee
(Ottawa, aa330@ncf.ca)