some interesting quotes as to costs broken down in this article in the Windsor Star.
Gunning for the cash
By Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star August 28, 2010 Just as they did with the census debate two weeks ago, the Opposition and their allies are whipping themselves into a righteous froth over preserving the long-gun registry.
It doesn’t seem to be working any more than their census fight did. And that’s despite the “big guns” being rolled out this week – the Association of Chiefs of Police, who would have you believe they speak directly with God.
Ignore what the police chiefs say about the gun registry.
As public employees they should be keeping their political opinions to themselves, and not taking sides in a partisan campaign or attempting to further pad their already huge budgets.
“Since when do the police make government policy?” wonders Garry Breitkreuz, a Conservative MP from Yorkton, Sask., and an expert on Canadian gun control. “They can advise us on policy, nothing more.”
Public opinion is running strongly against the long-gun registry anyway, according to an Angus Reid poll released this week. It shows 72 per cent of Canadians think it is a huge waste of money that does nothing to prevent crime.
The chiefs group claims its members unanimously support the registry, which is demonstrably false, Breitkreuz told me by phone Friday. “Nine of the 12 chiefs here in Saskatchewan have told me they don’t support it.”
A whopping 92 per cent of rank-and-file police officers think the registry should be scrapped, he said.
It’s the census fight all over again: Bureaucrats, leftists, academics and professional do-gooders all one side of the issue, normal people on the other.
Here’s something the gun registry zealots would hate: Do the math and it appears the cost to taxpayers of each gun check performed in Canada is at least $15,284.78.
The annual cost of the registry was a minimum of $106 million per year in 2003, according to the Library of Parliament research department, cited by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Since gun registry records show police run an average of only 19 gun checks per day, coast to coast, that works out to $15 Gs each.
Police officials claim the registry costs only $4.1 million per year to operate, but that’s a ridiculous claim. If that were true the 250 employees who work at the registry centre in Miramichi, N.B., earn an average of $16,400 each annually. Federal employees at that wage? Fat chance.
Of course, Canadian police claim they run 11,000 gun checks per day in their relentless pursuit of keeping the peace.
Candace Hoeppner, the Conservative MP from Manitoba who sponsored the private member’s bill to kill the registry, says the vast majority of the 11,000 daily registry checks are for names and addresses only.
“The vast majority were due to hits automatically generated by a system designed to produce impressive statistics from irrelevant inquiries,” Hoeppner says on her website, scraptheregistry.ca.
But let’s say for the sake of argument the cost for 11,000 queries per day is only $26 per pop, so to speak.
Virtually all of those checks are run on law-abiding people who don’t own any guns, or who register the ones they have.
The rest of the checks are run on criminals who don’t register their guns, so they never get flagged.
Still, the police industry collects a $26 tax per query. Every traffic stop is another cha-ching for the registry racket.
“Police chief bureaucrats defend the registry because it gives them an excuse to purchase more computers, hire more staff and get larger budgets,” Kevin Gaudet, federal director of the CTF, said this week.
Critics of the gun registry often point to its $2-billion cumulative cost over the past 14 years. I’ve never heard anyone question why it continues to cost $106 million per year, or who profits.
Gaudet says the $106 million is the most conservative figure available, unadjusted for inflation.
The worst-case estimate prepared for Parliament seven years ago put the potential cost of the registry at $982 million per year for all three levels of government.
That would go a long way to explain why the chiefs are so determined to preserve an agency that doesn’t appear to perform any useful function. (As Hoeppner says, the gun registry has never prevented a single deadly crime).
Like most things that purport to be about principle, the gun registry is mostly about the money. It’s just another petty racket being run against taxpayers, this time by police administrators.
The long-gun registry should be filed in the same bin as the one containing the cancelled long-form census. The one entitled, Too Much Government, Costing Too Much.
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