By Andrew Mendler
Issues surrounding the long-gun registry could have an impact on the way people vote in the upcoming election, says Darryl Kramp, Conservative candidate for Prince Edward-Hastings riding.
“It might not be the dominant factor but it will be one of the issues of many that will influence how people cast a ballot and pass judgment on whether or not their representative is true to their word,” said Kramp the incumbent member of Parliament.
Local Liberal candidate Peter Tinsley knows the registry is an issue in rural ridings but feels there are a lot of other issues people have to consider.
“Compared to some of the other dramatically significant issues that we’ve got on the table I don’t think it will rate that highly with many people, however it will with some, “said Tinsley. “I am aware that there are some people who feel that they have been greatly inconvenienced with the current nature of the administration of the long gun registry.”
The long-gun registry was brought back to the forefront when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was campaigning in southeastern Ontario on Monday. Harper said, if elected he would scrap it.
Tinsley and the Liberals are against the Conservative plan to scrap the long gun registry and feels that it just needs to be modified. The Liberals agree with the recent advice from the Association of the Chiefs of Police and Police Service boards across Canada to maintain the long-gun registry to ensure the safety of police officers and the communities they work in.
“The Liberal government will modify the long-gun registry to make it more efficient and convenient for gun owners,” said Tinsley. “In that respect there will be a removal of all costs of licenses and renewals and a more efficient process put into place in terms of registering and updating on registering.”
Tinsley knows that the registry has been somewhat of a controversial issue in the area but feels the Liberals have the right approach.
“I think that it is a reasonable compromise between the positions of strongly for the registry and those who dislike it,” said Tinsley.
On the other hand Kramp is fully supportive of Harper’s promise to abolish the long-gun registry. He feels the registry hasn’t done what is was made to do.
“It doesn’t solve the problem and in many, many cases it’s a false sense of security that doesn’t deal with the real problem and the real issue of people who shouldn’t be having guns,” said Kramp.
He said he’s strongly in favour of gun control, the registration and restriction of prohibited weapons but not the long-gun portion of the registry.
“We need to be expanding our efforts so we can keep firearms out of the hands of undesirable people,” said Kramp. “I want to work towards what is a solution and I think most of the people in this riding I represent share that opinion.”
Over the past few years Harper has continued to extend an amnesty for long-gun owners. Long-gun owners do not face charges for failing to register their weapons.
The Liberals originally created the long-gun registry as part of a package on gun control in 1989 in the aftermath of the Montreal Massacre, in which a single gunman killed 14 women. It was implemented with the hopes of reducing the number of murders and suicides by firearms in Canada.