The UN Arms Trade Treaty will likely involve registration and licensing of all privately owned firearms — despite the problem with these regulations:
Beginning in 1998, Canadians spent a whopping $2.7 billion on creating and running a registry for long guns — in the US, the same amount per gun owner would come to $67 billion. For all that money, the registry was never credited with solving a single murder. Instead, it became an enormous waste of police officers’ time, diverting their efforts from traditional policing activities.
Gun control advocates have long claimed registration is a safety issue. Their reasoning is straightforward: If a gun is left at a crime scene, and it was registered to the person who committed the crime, the registry will link it back to the criminal.
Unfortunately, it rarely works out this way. Criminals are seldom stupid enough to leave behind crime guns that are registered to themselves.
From 2003 to 2009, there were 4,257 homicides in Canada, 1,314 of which were committed with firearms. Data provided last fall by the Library of Parliament reveal that murder weapons were recovered in less than a third of the homicides with firearms. About three-quarters of the identified weapons were unregistered. Of the weapons that were registered, about half were registered to someone other than the person accused of the homicide.
In only 62 cases — that is, nine per year, or about 1 percent of all homicides in Canada — was the gun registered to the accused. Even in these cases, the registry did not appear to have played an important role in finding the killer. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.
Note that the Canadian data provided above cover all guns, including handguns. It isn’t just the long-gun registry — there is also no evidence that Canada’s handgun registry, started in 1934, has ever been important in solving a single homicide.