ZIFFPAGE TITLECanadian Firearm Registry

By Mel Duvall Print this article Print

A national computerized firearm registry in Canada was supposed to cost taxpayers $2 million. Instead, it has held them up for more than $1 billion.

: A Shot in the Dark">

Canadian Firearm Registry: A Shot in the Dark

High price for safety: When the Canadian government proposed building a computerized database to track the estimated 7 million firearms in the country, it said the project would cost about $119 million Canadian ($88 million U.S.) to implement. Those costs were to be offset by $117 million in gun-owner registration fees, leaving taxpayers with a bill for $2 million. Instead, costs have soared to more than $1 billion.


  • New Firearms Act requires all gun owners to be licensed and all guns registered.
  • Of estimated 7.9 million guns, 20,000 are registered.


  • Errors in processing raise cost of each registration to $16.28 from original $4.60 estimate.
  • Annual owner fees total $300,000, up from $100,000.


  • Every gun owner required to have valid license by Dec. 31.
  • Fee for firearm license reduced to $10 from $45.


  • Government extends amnesty program to Dec. 31, 2002, to turn in newly restricted weapons such as .25 and .32 caliber handguns.
  • 1.5 million guns registered.


  • Canadian auditor general says registry costs will exceed $1 billion.
  • Fees received from owners reach $4.3 million, up from $1.5 million.


  • Despite controversy, majority of Canadians meet registration deadline.
  • 7 million guns registered, representing 88% of total firearms believed to exist in Canada.

    Sources: Office of the Auditor General of Canada, HLB Decision Economics Review, Hession Report, Baseline Research

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    This article was originally published on 2004-07-01
    Contributing Editor
    Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.

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