The police are increasingly cracking down on life-long, law-abiding people who let their PAL lapse. The RCMP says this is justified because “the majority of gun related crimes in our communities are committed with guns that are domestically sourced.” Where “domestically sourced” means PAL holders.
The police have concocted this false claim out of whole cloth. Available evidence shows that most “crime guns” are smuggled. It has long been known that Canadian gang bangers get their firearms — particularly handguns — from American criminals in exchange for illegal drugs.
The term “domestically sourced” is deceptively vague. Because the police ignore the difference between law-abiding firearms owners and criminals, the police use it to imply that Canadian criminals get their firearms by stealing them from law-abiding licensed owners. This is false.
The vast majority of “crime guns” have never been in the system. Handguns used in crime have either been smuggled or never registered. Almost all long guns used in crime had never been in the system: few were held by law-abiding individuals.
The term “domestically sourced” covers up another important but lesser known domestic source of “crime guns:” the hundreds of guns “lost or stolen” from the police or military.
Using the term “domestically sourced” justifies the Police crackdown on lapsed PAL holders. Oh. It also lets them escape having to admit that few “crime guns” have been stolen from law-abiding owners.
According to Statistics Canada, exceptionally few “crime guns” have never been registered, nor have their owners ever had a firearm licence. In 2012, even at the height of the long-gun registry, fewer than 5% of firearms used in homicide had ever been registered, and just 2% of accused murderers have a PAL or POL.