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iPolitics: Massaging Statistics to Prove Their Desired Outcome

iPolitics misleads Canadians again, starting with the headline “Handgun ownership soared after long-gun registry ended, gun crime followed.” [i]

Handgun ownership did not “soar” after the long gun registry ended. Canadians have purchased more restricted firearms (handguns and certain rifles) every year and have done so since at least 2003. [ii]

This headline implies increased lawful ownership of firearms is the cause of violent crime. No such causation exists as researcher Dr. Caillin Langmann showed in his submission[iii] to the House of Commons committee studying Bill C-71. 

Canada’s homicide rate, steadily falling for decades, hit a 50-year low in 2013. This was also the lowest year for fatal shootings in the history of Statistics Canada. Since 2013, driven primarily by gang murders, the homicide rate rose in each of the following three years. 

“The year 2013 is an outlier,”[iv] said Dr. Gary Mauser, professor emeritus in the Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Using 2013 as its base for comparison allows iPolitics to say violent crime is on the rise. This claim is as accurate as it is misleading. 

The death of the long gun registry did not affect handguns in any way. Canada implemented handgun registration in 1934[v].  At no time was the requirement to register handguns ever rescinded.

Canada’s licensed firearm owners are not shooting people in our major cities or anywhere else. Drug dealers and organized criminal gang members, in their ongoing turf wars over the illegal drug trade, are the offenders.

Conflating the former with the latter is both misleading and irresponsible.

By focusing their statistics on 2013-2016, iPolitics conveniently ignores all the data that disproves their thesis, a standard tactic for manipulating statistics. They continue that deception by conflating a rise in lawful firearm ownership with a spike in drug and gang-related murders.

The only accurate statement in the entire article is that “the debate over a handgun ban ignited by a mass shooting in Toronto July 22 could grow to a full-fledged confrontation: Sport gun owners and politicians on one side, ordinary citizens and other politicians on the other.”

Licensed, law-abiding firearm owners are not the problem. 

Violent criminals and organized gangs are the problem.

Banning the former from owning firearms will not and cannot stop the latter from committing crimes with their illegally-possessed firearms. 





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