Sunday, September 26, 2010

Facts and the Long Gun Registry

The Chronicle Herald recently published an article that purports to state a number of 'facts' concerning the long gun registry. At least, I'm assuming that was their intent, because the title is "Harper's (long-gun registry) index" and it would make no sense if they were stating fallacies.

My problem with it? They're not all true, some are half-truths and of those that are true, some are irrelevant to the long gun registry.

For example:

"Percentage of spousal homicides that involved the use of long guns and shotguns: 72"

This is absolutely incorrect. The truth is that an estimated 72% of firearms related spousal homicides involved the use of long guns and shotguns (it depends on the year) [source (see Table 4.3)]. Between 1997 and 2006, only ~26% of all spousal homicides involve a firearm, so naturally, its impossible that 72% of all spousal homicides could involve a long gun or shotgun [source].

"Cost of obtaining a licence for possession and acquisition of a gun: $60"

That is most definitely not the 'cost of obtaining a license for possession and acquisition of a gun' although I can see why someone who only took a cursory glance at the issue would think so. It is only referring to the cost of obtaining the PAL, after you have completed the $130 Canada Firearms Safety Course. And this PAL only allows you to possess or acquire a long gun, not a handgun which would require additional training.

Of course, the cost of licensing is irrelevant to the long gun registry, since the two issues are completely different.

This matters because I'm not a fact-checker who will go through the article one line at a time and check if each detail is correct or not. I'm not being paid to do that, which would could take hours. I can only point out discrepancies that I know to be wrong from personal knowledge and/or experience. I'm also not a journalist who is paid good (?) money to generate factual articles and/or commentary on issues today. If you're going to produce an article listing what you purport to be 'facts', you should make sure that you are actually stating the facts.

5 comments:

Patrick Ross said...

What proponents of the long-gun registry don't want Canadians to realize is that opponents of the long-gun registry welcome a debate based on the facts.

It's the proponents who unequivocally don't want a factual debate, because they know the facts don't support their argument.

Patsplace said...

Why bother with the truth when lying and cheating has always worked so well for them before. Lie. Cheat. Steal. The Liberal Mantra.

The NDP could no more not vote for anything that takes away freedom and provides draconian controls than Layton could just leap into the air and fly away.

Scum sucking hounds, the lot of them.

Patrick Ross said...

That almost sounds like the basis of a YouTube video.

Eric said...

Patsplace: I know the Liberals offer a pretty fat target, and it feels good to vent, but I'd prefer a more policy based argument.

The Conservatives are portrayed as an emotional, angry party when that needs not be the case. More conservative policy and rational discussion of the issues is needed, and I worry that name-calling doesn't promote that.

Eric said...

I agree. The facts are generally on the side of the opponents of the gun registry. What bothers me about the Tories is that generally they don't seem to be willing to use them.

When the Liberals quote the number of women killed with a firearm, the Conservatives should cite the fact that most of those homicides are committed by spouses (or exspouses) that had contact with the police before concerning spousal abuse. Then offer to make the laws regarding gun licensing more stringent.

Abolish the gun registry, and strengthen gun licensing. Seems like a winning strategy to me.

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