By LINK BYFIELD
Sorry, but if I had a pistol, I'd keep it. Nuts to the Liberals.
Yesterday, all the much-derided predictions of gun registry critics came true.
Paul Martin promised to solve the national gun-crime crisis -- the one we read about so endlessly in Toronto -- by confiscating all half-million registered legal handguns across the country.
Ten years -- almost to the day -- since the passing of the Firearms Act, he proved the critics correct. The reason for gun registration from the start was confiscation.
Funny thing. Last we heard from Martin on gun control was on June 22, 2004. Trolling for western votes a week before the last election, he said he was thinking of downgrading gun registration from criminal to civil law.
But that was the last election. That was a whole year ago. This is a whole different election, a whole year later.
Now he's more in the mood to confiscate half a million legal handguns.
Rifles will be next.
Or maybe just rifles with clips. Or rifles with German-sounding names.
But that will have to wait for the next election -- which probably won't happen for another whole year or more.
I know, Martin and his accomplices will deny they'd ever confiscate rifles -- but denials from habitual Liberals don't carry much weight.
You can point out until you're blue -- as many people have -- that neither registration nor confiscation will stop crime.
You can even point out that in Britain and Australia, where guns were banned, it actually led to a surge in gun crimes.
A year after the British obediently surrendered 160,000 legal handguns, London muggings were up 53%, gun-murders up 90%, robbery up over 100%, and by the year following, annual gun-crimes overall had risen 39%.
"The underground supply of guns doesn't seem to have dried up at all," said David Rogers, vice-chairman of the city's Metropolitan Police Federation in 2002.
That was after the random murder of a London teenager, first robbed of her cell phone and then shot in the head.
Gun control is entirely about politics, not law and order.
This is a matter of record, not opinion.
The Liberal government was warned by John Tait, chief Justice bureaucrat at the time, that a universal gun registry would be expensive, ineffective, and a source of political outrage.
A loud outcry from angry, white, male, Tory gun owners was exactly what the campaigning Liberals wanted, according to eye witness John Dixon, one of Tait's advisers, recounting to reporters in 2003 how the gun registry was born.
The Chretien Liberals were targeting urban female voters, most of whom know nothing about guns except they don't like them, and nothing about gun owners.
Now the Liberals are doing it again.
The louder and angrier the persecuted owners get, the more votes they will generate for the Liberals.
My own advice to gun owners would be to ignore this promise, and if the Liberals win the election and actually pass such a law, to ignore that, too.
It is almost certain to offend the Charter of Rights.
Any province, such as Alberta, could ask a "reference question" to the Supreme Court of Canada on this matter.
As Foothills-Rockyview MLA Ted Morton has pointed out, Alberta could argue the ban on handguns is excessive, impractical, and needlessly infringes on our Charter rights to liberty and security of the person, and our traditional common law rights to property and to bear arms.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled against categorical government bans on anything -- as we saw with tobacco advertising, child pornography and private health care.
The Klein government would be doing Harper and the national Conservative party a favour (for a nice change) if it announced immediately that it will challenge and defeat this law in court if it is ever passed in Parliament.
Meanwhile, if I had a handgun, I'd hang on to it.
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