Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Poll of My Own

I have been doing an informal poll of my own. I have been asking front-line RCMP officers here in rural Alberta what they think of the gun registry. To my surprise an overwhelming majority of them support a continuation of the registry in one form or another.

They comment that while they do not depend on the registry's information for their safety, when answering a call, it is one more piece of information... and that if they find that a person has weapons registered, they can begin to build a mindset of who they are dealing with.

However, they also tell me that a rural gun owner will still kill his wife with a long gun, regardless of whether it is registered or not... so the idea that it saves lives on the farm when domestic violence begins is bogus (in their eyes), but they claim the registry helps them trace weapons that have been found at crime scenes... or even in the ditch... and helps them build a history of the weapon.

I was hesitant to ask law enforcement officers about the registry because I was sure (from all the media reports) that front-line officers are opposed to a continuation of the registry. I was surprised to find the opposite.

The officers I spoke with (Tim Hortons has been a great place to find them when I come home late from working), believe the media have gotten hold of a few front-line police officers who have other issues and wish to use their opposition to the registry as a lever to further those issues.

As far as law enforcement goes, the majority of officers I have spoken with over the last two weeks are supportive of continuing the registry in one form or another.

Personally, this is good news because the "front-line officers-oppose-the-registry" position is the one most of my conservative neighbours use to oppose the registry. Now, I simply tell them to go ask ten police officers themselves. I am confident that, while they may find a few that oppose it, the majority will support it... and perhaps get them to question where their own position comes from.

However, this is Alberta... so getting folks to question Conservatives might is a bit like bailing out the Athabasca River Basin....

1 comment:

  1. When looking at culture - anectdotes are extrememly powerful mechanisms to sway opinion and change culture. Your "poll" is such an antedote. But lets get pragmatic - ask is there value in the registry? It seems there is significant equipoise - thus change the question to - how much money should be spent on a program that may or may not be useful, effective? A question we will be required to ask more often in the future.

    In keeping with your theme -anecdotally - Julian Fantino former Toronto and OPP Chief - believes that the gun registry is not effective and should be abolished. Despite a press release by the Canadian Chiefs of Police - stating their support.