For a long time now - since the summer of 1989 when then Progressive Conservative Justice Minister Doug Lewis wanted to ban all semi-autos - law abiding gun owners have been squeezed by a relentless ratchet, each click narrowing the rights that Canadian citizens could enjoy by yet another increment. We could fight, but it seemed that the best we could do was to delay the inevitable next click of the gun control ratchet by some finite period of time.
And this is the real meaning of the repeal. As I have argued before, deregistering long-guns will have little effect on established gun owners such as myself. It will incrementally decrease the amount of paperwork that I must do, but as I have already filled out the required forms, deregistering my long guns will not make my life appreciably easier. Making transportation requirements less restrictive, eliminating the orders-in-council that prohibit entire categories of firearms and decriminalizing trivial offences such as technical safe storage violations would improve my life much more markedly.
However scrapping the registry is still a giant step in the right direction because the only purpose of the long-gun registry is – as all gun owners realize – to help disarm Canadians. Once they know where all of them are, the government can gradually prohibit one class of firearm after another, until there is nothing left. And there is not a God damn thing we can do about it because they know where everything is. They are inhibited from doing this if a significant portion of the guns aren’t tracked, because each prohibition order drives the guns the government doesn’t know about even further underground (hence this last ditch effort to prohibit more stuff).
And just as importantly, the act of deregistration sets an important precedent, demonstrating to freedom loving Canadians that if they push hard enough against our effete political establishment, the ratchet can sometimes click in the opposite direction too.