John R. Lott and Gary Mauser report on a national gun registry experiment in Canada in which the government has finally admitted total failure after blowing $2.7 billion:
Despite spending a whopping $2.7 billion on creating and running a long-gun registry, Canadians never reaped any benefits from the project. The legislation to end the program finally passed the Parliament on Wednesday. Even though the country started registering long guns in 1998, the registry never solved a single murder. Instead it has been an enormous waste of police officers’ time, diverting their efforts from patrolling Canadian streets and doing traditional policing activities. . . .
The statistics are revealing: out of 4,257 homicides from 2003 to 2009, 1,314 were carried out with firearms. In fewer than 10 percent of these cases was the gun even registered, and in only 62 of these registered instances was the gun actually registered to the person committing the crime. Lott and Mauser comment,
To repeat, during these seven years, there were only 62 cases — nine a year — where it was even conceivable that registration made a difference.
Most importantly, they add,
But apparently, the registry was not important even in those cases. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.
The authors get it wrong, however, when it comes to solutions:
The problem isn’t just that the $2.7 billion spent on registration over 17 years has produced no arrests, it is that the money could have been used to put more police on the street or pay for more health care or cut taxes. An extra $160 million a year pays for a lot of police or doctors or teachers.
Or, you could stop the spending altogether and shrink the size and scope of the State. One reason governments grow tyrannical and eventually push for greater gun control is that we keep feeding the State and demanding more social problems to be solved by it. Gun rights exist by definition as a last-resort defense against tyranny—and thus gun rights represent the preservation of a small State that fears the citizenry and honors individual rights. You negate this very principle when you demand more State-funded police and social services.
The Welfare and Warfare States are two sides of the same coin. Until conservatives understand this and discipline themselves accordingly, gun control advocates will always have ready access to the very infrastructure they need to advance their agenda: a strong police force, a strong agency of propaganda (“education”), and a strong facade of its necessary existence (benefits like education, health care, safety, etc.). The goal is to minimize the programs permanently and not use the money for something else. Use the money to pay down debts and restore freedom once again.