Ending violence against women includes keeping federal long gun registry

Vancouver, BC – We are approaching fast October – Violence Against Women Awareness Month, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) is calling on all Members of Parliament to reject a private Member’s bill that will eliminate the need to register rifles and shotguns and destroy more than eight million records in the federal long gun registry.

“Violence against women is the most pressing social issue of our time.” says BWSS Executive Director Angela Marie MacDougall. “The over 8,000 women who access our services each year, 582 missing and murdered Aboriginal Women and the Montreal Massacre prove that, violence against women remains endemic.”

Priscilla de Villiers, former president of CAVEAT and victims advocate says. “Canadian Public Health Association and others have argued that the progressive tightening of gun laws in Canada has contributed to reducing gun death and injury. In 1991, when I began this journey, there were 1,444 gun deaths and in 2001 there were 842. Firearm robberies have declined dramatically over the decade by 64% since 1991, from 8,995 to 3,474. Domestic homicides with firearms have fallen according to the latest report on intimate partner homicide from Statistics Canada. The police are using the system 1,500 times each day and have reported case after case where the system allowed them to remove guns from people who were a risk.”

MacDougall asks why the federal Conservative government is so intent on dismantling a program that is believed to prevent murders of women by gun violence by voting for Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry).  “The federal Conservative government has successfully made this issue a split between Western and rural opponents and Eastern and urban supporters.  The issue is much more complicated than that for women victims of gun violence.”

BWSS is calling on governments at all levels to implement concrete solutions to end violence against women through adequate support of women’s anti-violence organizations and economic programs. These include childcare, social housing, increased welfare benefits, access to justice, programs that ensure Aboriginal women are secure, and employment equity for Immigrant and racialized women.
“Women need a social safety net and economic security to flee violence and find safety,” says MacDougall.  We want effective federal government action to end violence against women, now, that includes maintaining the federal long gun registry.”

For more information:
Angela Marie MacDougall
Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services

Gun Registry