In November 2018 Rob O’Reilly, who at the time was the RCMP’s Director of Firearms Regulatory Services, told a House of Commons committee “We do not know the exact numbers of the firearms, but there has been speculation that they could be in the tens of thousands”. Which leads one to wonder exactly how accurate this statement is?
Emails obtained by the GunBlog.ca have the RCMP Firearms Program on record stating (source link 1).
"At this time, it is not known how many CZ/SA firearms exist in Canada as many of the firearms have been deemed non-restricted, and are therefore not registered."
Also obtained in emails the Firearms Program told the GunBlog.ca that it was using the estimate of 10,000 to 15,000 CZ-858 and Swiss Arms rifles “as a planning figure only.”.
This raises a very obvious question. How do they not know the exact number? It would actually be very easy to find out, all they would have to do is have CBSA import records on the rifles examined, or at worst obtain a court ordered subpoena for the import records from the known importers of the rifles. Over the years there have been very few importers of the rifles, so the paper trail would actually be a very short list no matter what route they chose to take.
Could it be that they've played this game in the past? With the former long gun registry estimates of compliance were known to have been over exaggerated by the Government lowering the number of estimated firearm owners from 6 million down to 2.2 million (source link 2). With lowering the amount of estimated firearm owners the published compliance rate could be 90%. However in this case it was an estimated 65% of all gun owners registered only one rifle or shotgun, and only about 50% of the estimated firearms in circulation were registered at all (source link 3). This game of moving numbers made compliance appear to be greater in order to give the appearance that the long gun registry and newly launched firearms act were actually useful.
When it comes to modern compliance with the recent Quebec passing of a long gun registry there is a non-compliance rate of about 75% (source link 4).
Perhaps the email answer to the Gunblog.ca from the Firearms Program is beating the same old tired drum, that they can't figure out how many of these soon to be prohibited firearms are in circulation without a registry? Again to quote the email exchange "as many of the firearms have been deemed non-restricted, and are therefore not registered.", which clearly points to the Firearms Program preferring to be able to reference a registry rather than do some actual Police work.
With C-71 awaiting Royal Assent, the Firearms Program will get a de-facto version of their baby back in a registry held at the retailer level, but even then they may have to pick up a phone which of course will make it "impossible" to know the exact amount of firearms in circulation. Am-I-Right?
The wild variance in estimation allows the numbers of compliance to be played with in the future, as the numbers of compliance of the old long gun registry were, for political gain. As revealed by Bruce Hutton, a former RCMP member and founder of the Law abiding Unregistered Firearms Association (LUFA) that the Government continually lowered it's estimates of the numbers of guns and gun owners in Canada in order to make compliance appear to be at a higher rate (source link 2).
"The government is lying to everyone," Hutton said. "About 10 years ago, the RCMP Solicitor General conducted a study and, based on retail and manufacturing figures, estimated the number of gun owners at 4 to 6 million. Since then, the government has revised its estimate on the number of owners downward, to 3.6 million, then 3.3 million and now 2.2 million. I'm sure it's at least twice that number."
You can see that this game of "not knowing" the numbers and estimating lower once the rate of compliance is known has been played before.
Now we'll never attribute malicious intent as something that can easily be explained as ineptitude. However if that's the case and the RCMP Firearms Program are too inept to figure out information that is easily obtainable, then are these people really qualified to be considered as "experts" in the field of firearms law and classification?
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