I have been trying to discover what type of firearm the killer used in the horrible shooting at the La Roche Community School in northern Saskatchewan. I assume that the gun was non-restricted, partly because news items have been silent on this matter. (If it has been a handgun or an AR-15-type rifle, they would have touted it in their headlines.) The only reference I could find was in this National Post article where an eyewitness student said he heard a yell, “There’s a shotgun! There’s a shotgun!” So it appears I am right in my assumption that the murder weapon was non-restricted.
If this is the case, it is important to remember that when then-Justice Minister Allan Rock introduced Bill C-68 into Parliament in the mid-nineties, he touted one of its features - the long-gun registry - as an indispensable crime-fighting tool. Though the long-gun registry is long gone, a shotgun is just the type of firearm that would have been required to be registered under C-68.
Or maybe not. If you are engaged in ‘subsistence hunting’, the registration requirement for long guns was waived. Because the only people who could legitimately claim to be subsistence hunters are natives, this loophole was clearly inserted for their benefit. But if the gun registry was as important a crime-control measure as Allan Rock claimed it to be, why would Rock deny the protective umbrella of the long-gun registry to Canada’s Indian communities?
The real answer is of course fear. After the Oka crisis, Canadian politicians were well aware of how well-armed Canadian aboriginals are. Because of the resistance they showed themselves to be capable of, these same gun-grabbing politicians knew well enough to give Canada’s Indian reserves a wide berth. Once bitten, twice shy. Therefore, because they knew the Indians wouldn’t comply with any gun registry, they gave them - and themselves – a face-saving out. In other words, Rock likely added the ‘subsistence hunting’ clause into Bill C-68 out of cowardice.
Just an unflattering little fact to keep in mind in case the hoplophobes try to use the La Roche atrocity as a pretext to resurrect the long-gun registry.