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HomeNationalGun Control: Feds Stopped in National TracingTAZAA News

Gun Control: Feds Stopped in National TracingTAZAA News

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Ottawa –

Federal agencies are trying to step up efforts to find the sources of guns used in crimes, but jurisdictional barriers prevent some from taking as much action as they would like.

The federal government says the RCMP has introduced a new mandatory tracing system that means in areas where Mounties police jurisdictions, seized illegal guns will automatically be sent to the force’s national firearms tracing center.

The House of Commons Public Safety Committee and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have urged the government to require all crime guns seized in police investigations across the country — not just the RCMP — to be submitted for tracing.

Recent statistics indicate that only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of crime guns seized each year are identified.

In a newly issued response to the Public Safety Committee’s April report on reducing gun and gang violence, the government says tracing is a key tool for identifying the sources of illegal weapons.

The RCMP’s National Tracing Center tracks the movement of a firearm from its manufacture or importation into Canada, through wholesalers and retailers, to the last known legal owner or business. The center works with partners including the Firearms Analysis Tracing and Enforcement Program in Ontario.

Tracing can also help determine whether a firearm was smuggled into Canada or came from a domestic source.

Ottawa has allocated $15 million over five years, starting in 2021-22 and $3.3 million ongoing, to increase the RCMP’s ability to find firearms and identify movement patterns, as well as to support the development of a new national tracing database.

The federal center traced more than 2,140 firearms in 2020 and new funding could triple the tracing capacity, a Commons committee was told.

The money will also go towards convincing the police of the strategic benefits of tracing to criminal investigations. The federal response adds that the RCMP will “actively support” police chiefs and partner agencies to move forward with the committee’s recommendation that all police agencies submit seized firearms for tracing.

But the government has stopped short of a pledge to make the tracing of all crime guns a requirement.

Asked about the government’s intentions, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s office said while the RCMP has a new mandatory tracing system, “the issue of guns seized by other police services falls under provincial jurisdiction.”

In a July resolution calling for comprehensive tracing, the effectiveness of tracing as a police intelligence tool “depends on the quality of the information,” police chiefs cited, citing a lack of solid data outside of Ontario to understand the ways criminals take guns. Collected” and appropriate follow-up investigations.

RCMP Deputy Commissioner Stephen White told the Commons committee that “we need to do more tracing on a larger scale to really get a much better insight into patterns and trends.”

Gun-control advocacy group PolySeSouvient says there is a general consensus that crime guns need to be identified. “Unfortunately, there is no comparable consensus regarding the tools needed to enable effective tracing.”

The trail of smuggled guns usually starts with American manufacturers, requiring sales records and universal registration to track ownership of weapons originating in Canada, said a group made up of students and graduates of Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, which shot and killed 14 women in 1989.

Canada had those measures in place until Stephen Harper’s Conservative government ended the federal long-gun registry and eliminated mandatory sales records, PolySeSouvient said.

“Although the Liberal government recently restored commercial sales records, the Conservatives and Liberals oppose bringing back universal registration.”


This report was originally published by The Canadian Press on September 23, 2022.

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