Published here December, 2003.

Introduction | Project Formulation | Project Performance
Other Matters | Lessons Learned | Project Benefits

Other Matters

Software: The custom database software suffered from considerable technical problems. Yet a large government database is not a new phenomenon, so the decision to acquire entirely custom software instead of customizing existing software was questionable.

Stakeholders: The public that was (apparently?) demanding some form of gun control was not the same public that would be most impacted by the new regulations. The latter are the people in the rural areas who have traditionally used rifles and shotguns on their farms rather than the handguns typically used in thuggery. In the event, many of the disgruntled rural gun owners declined to register their guns until the last minute, thus swamping the registry and causing a massive backlog necessitating employment of additional staff and an extension of the deadline.

Targeted stakeholders: Conversely, it has been difficult to persuade felons and potential felons to register their guns. The program, like so many other laws, focuses on the wrong group and in the wrong way i.e. those that are already law-abiding.

Impact: Notwithstanding that the gun legislation has been in place since 1995, "a mini epidemic of shooting and murder in Toronto [Ontario, Canada, in 2002], ten murders in five weeks ... in day light and dark, in malls and outside clubs"[7] served to emphasize the futility of a concept singularly inapplicable to the particular type of urban violence that gave rise to the need in the first place. But in any case, the police have suggested that some 25% of the entries are unreliable and that therefore the registry itself is useless.[8]

The Defense

The minister responsible observed in an interview that "The law we adopted in 1995 really reflects what Canadians want to see - it reflects Canadian values, it reflects the decision we've made about the kind of country we want, it's important in that respect."[9] Moreover, the country's prime minister came to the rescue by referring to his government's "insistence on rock-solid fiscal discipline ... And we remain firmly committed to fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets."[10]

If the gun registry is an example of "fiscal responsibility", it is hardly surprising that many Canadians feel over taxed.

Project Performance  Project Performance

7. Murphy, R., The National CBC TV News, 12/4/02.
8. Ibid.
9. Delacourt, S., National Post, 12/6/02, pA8.
10. Yaffe, B., Vancouver Sun, 12/6/02, pA22.
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