Gun registry not working: Police Chief Rick Hanson
Published Monday, April 26, 2010 5:34PM MDT
Police Chief Rick Hanson says it's time to review the federal gun registry, even though most of his colleagues support keeping it.
"The gun registry has done little to make the streets safer," said Police Chief Rick Hanson.
Calgary is known for its gang wars that have played out on city streets.
Shootouts have left a bloody trail of murder and violence.
The police gang unit says handguns are the weapon of choice for Calgary gangs.
But there has also been an increase in the use of heavier weapons like assault rifles, which can penetrate body armour and vehicles.
Chief Hanson is one of the first chiefs in the country to say publicly that the gun registry isn't working.
"For the years it's been in effect, there are more guns on the street today - handguns and prohibited weapons - than I can ever recall, and that's since the gun registry has been implemented," added Chief Hanson.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police support the registry.
They claim it's used 11-thousand times every single day.
But in Calgary, officers use the registry as an investigative tool and say it doesn't work when dealing with gangs and drug dealers.
Chief Hanson says the gun registry does nothing to reduce the level of violent crime and the use of guns by criminals on the street. He says it's not about politics, it's about safety.
"It's not helping. The guns these people have, they don't register, they don't care, they're probably stolen, they're probably obtained illegally, in many cases they're prohibited," commented Chief Hanson.
Chief Hanson wants tougher sentences when someone is convicted of using a weapon to commit a crime.
He also wants more search and seizure power when police have reasonable grounds to suspect someone may be in possession of an illegal gun.