Mauser delivers blow to firearms registry at conference

July 13, 2006, volume 36, no. 6
By Diane Luckow

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In the oppressive heat of a New York June day, Gary Mauser, SFU business professor, stood at a podium at the United Nations.

He was there to present his thoughts at a conference to review progress in the global fight to eradicate illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Mauser has spent the past 20 years researching firearms legislation as part of his academic research with SFU's Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies.

His unique research has prompted debate and controversy across the country, even winning him the 2001 Ted and Nora Sterling prize in support of controversy.

In his speech, Debunking myths about the Canadian firearms registry, Mauser told delegates that the Canadian firearms registry is not effective, has not reduced crime and has not saved any lives.

He asked the General Assembly to “reject the siren song of the anti-gun NGOs…The campaign to impose blanket prohibitive gun regulations is contrary to a growing body of research showing that in a wide variety of countries, arms prohibition does not contribute to lowering criminal violence.”

The speech led to an invitation for a private meeting with the Canadian delegation.

“In my role as expert, they asked me how I would advise the UN to act with respect to worldwide efforts to control small arms and light weapons.”

He recommends that the UN focus on limiting military arms rather than civilian arms.

“They want to work on consensus and many countries don't want to include civilian arms,” notes Mauser. “We need an approach that will work rather than one that is idealistic and will fail.

If we focus on what is do-able it will probably be more successful, saving lives and helping countries that are running into difficulty.”

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