Sunday, February 05, 2012

Councillors tweet opposition to city gun registry

By DON MACPHERSON

macpherson.don@dailygleaner.com

01 Feb 2012

A plan has hatched on Twitter to review a city bylaw requiring air- and spring-fired guns to be registered with the Fredericton Police Force.

Recent media reports about a City of Fredericton bylaw governing such guns have given way to criticism, and some of it’s coming from city councillors.

Coun. Mike O’Brien took to Twitter to express his thoughts about the registration aspect of Bylaw S-5.

“The spring loaded nurf [sic] gun my grandson & I play with at home likely falls under our By-Law S5 & must be registered. No need for a registry,” he tweeted Tuesday.

It wasn’t long before a colleague addressed the issue on the social-networking site as well.

“Good chat with @mikeobrien_fton today, he’s on board with repealing Fredericton’s Gun Registry. Who else is in?” tweeted Coun. Jordan Graham.

There’s no need for the registry, O’Brien told The Daily Gleaner later Tuesday, but there are aspects of it that should be retained.

“It’s a well-intentioned bylaw,” he said. “The bylaw itself has to be amended.”

The elements allowing for fines and seizure of weapons in instances of misuse should be maintained, O’Brien said, but requiring people to register such guns with the police force isn’t practical.

“The registry doesn’t serve a purpose,” he said.

He has no doubt the idea of a registry made sense on paper when it was passed by council a few years ago, but it just didn’t work in practice, O’Brien said.

The time has come to review the bylaw, first at the committee level, he said.

Should the city’s public safety committee vote to remove the registration requirement of Bylaw S-5, the councillor said, then the issue should be forwarded to council.

O’Brien said removing the registry component is merely a bit of housekeeping business he and his council colleagues need to undertake.

Coun. Bruce Grandy added to the Twitter chatter on the subject Tuesday, suggesting a regular review of bylaws to ensure relevance and usefulness.

“This brings up a good question, why is there not a ... process to revisit by laws for purpose every X years?” Grandy tweeted.

O’Brien said he agreed a regular review of all of the city’s bylaws is something worth discussing and undertaking.

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