The billion dollar Long Gun Registry may be safe for now after a contentious vote in the House of Commons, but debate over its usefulness rages on. A Private Member’s bill to abolish it was narrowly defeated in its Third Reading in the House of Commons on Sept. 22. The legislation to abolish the long gun registry would not have affected the current Possession/Acquisition License process, which all gun owners are required to complete. Created in 1995, the registry was part of Bill C-68, which required all guns in Canada to be registered. The bill was partly influenced by a campaign for stricter gun control legislation fronted by families of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, where 28 people were shot by a gunman wielding a legally obtained rifle. The Canadian Association of Police Boards and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police came out in favor of keeping the registry, as it can be useful in instances such as domestic assaults, where police can check to see if there are weapons registered to the home, or to find out if any registered firearms need to be dealt with in order for individuals to meet bail conditions. That said the speaker will evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Long Gun Registry and consider a best “bang for your buck” scenario in terms of how funds earmarked for public safety programs are being spent.

Speaker: Chief Tom McKenzie

Upon completing the Criminal Justice Program at Lethbridge College, Tom McKenzie joined the Lethbridge Regional Police Service (LRPS) in 1976. Working his way through the ranks and experiencing nearly all aspects of law enforcement in Lethbridge and as well serving on several provincial action committees, Tom was sworn in as Chief of LRPS January 1, 2007, after successfully competing for that position. Throughout his career, Chief McKenzie has also been involved with sports, neighborhood associations, Criminal Justice lecturer at the College and as a course designer (white collar crime) at Athabasca University, to name just a few.

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