The number of firearm owners who fail to renew their gun licences has steadily increased since the Harper government tabled legislation to scrap the federal long-gun registry.
Opposition critics and the Coalition for Gun Control in Canada say the problem has increased risk for frontline police officers and undermines public safety.
Despite an amnesty the Conservatives introduced to coax gun owners into licence renewals, the latest RCMP figures show the opposite occurred.
The rate of non-renewals climbed to 25.3 per cent of expired licences in the first three months of this year, compared with 14.1 per cent in 2005.
A little-noticed RCMP report for 2007 on the Canada Firearms Centre contains positive information about the registry and its use by police that could surprise even diehard opponents.
The report includes a groundbreaking RCMP survey that found general duty police officers use the online version of the registry at a high rate to check for potential weapons while responding to trouble calls.
On average, 73 per cent of the officers said they log on to check for the presence of firearms en route.
The rate was even higher for officers trained to use the online registry – 81 per cent of that group use it on calls.
June 27, 2009
Declining gun-licence renewals a risk to police: observers
[Would the same concern on the lack of renewals be expressed if instead of gun owners it were Jews, blacks, and gays being registered?–Joe]