Gun lobbyists oppose Quebec's proposed long-gun registry

MONTREAL -- Quebec's bid to create a provincial long-gun registry -- seemingly a given not long ago -- is being met by grassroots opposition from those who want the government to abandon the initiative.

See Full Article

The province tabled a bill last December aimed at setting up its own log three years after the Conservatives abolished the federal database for non-restricted guns, known as the long-gun registry.

But after unanimity among Quebec lawmakers on the proposal, some politicians are starting to have cold feet.

Members of the Parti Quebecois and the Coalition for Quebec's Future have acknowledged caucus strife on the matter and there are reports the governing Liberals have their own divisions. There are even rumblings about a seldom-used free vote on the matter if it the bill gets that far.

The caucus rifts seem centred on a rural-urban divide -- one that registry detractors are trying to capitalize on with protests targeting specific riding offices.

Watching eagerly from the sidelines is the national gun lobby, which is admittedly concerned about the repercussions of a Quebec registry.

Canada's National Firearms Association has lent its support to the Quebec movement calling for the bill to be abolished. The group is called 'Tous contre un registre quebecois des armes a feu," which translates loosely as "All Against a Quebec Firearms Registry."

"Hunters and sport shooters from all the provinces have their eyes on Quebec," said Francis Tenta, a Quebec representative for the National Firearms Association. "If Quebec moves forward with this gun registry, all other provinces will look at it and some may be tempted."

Guy Morin, vice-president of the Quebec group, says a few donations have come in from Western Canada and that some Ontario gun owners were set to join a weekend protest in Maniwaki, Que.

"They know if it passes in Quebec, they might be next," said Morin, who argues there isn't as much support outside Montreal for a registry.

He advocates spending the money on mental health and says Canadian regulations pertaining to the licensing of weapons are sufficient.

"For the past 25 years, people who've favoured a registry and stricter controls have been ignorant about the rules that exist," he said. "The money must be invested in the right place. For 25 years they put the focus on the weapon and it was a fiasco (federally), both in terms of money and in terms of registration."

Gun-control advocates counter that a majority of Quebecers want a registry and that licences aren't enough.

Heidi Rathjen, a spokeswoman for PolyRemembers, says the cornerstone of effective weapons control is to hold gun owners accountable for what they possess.

"You can't have gun control if you're not controlling the guns," Rathjen said.

"Without registration, you make it a lot easier for guns to fall into the wrong hands because gun owners aren't accountable for their guns."

Quebec has often been cast as being more bullish about gun-control legislation than anywhere else in the country, partly because of major mass shootings such as the Montreal Massacre in 1989.

The move to create a provincial registry was lauded by public health organizations, women's groups and law enforcement and Rathjen says there were no signs of cracks.

That said, she isn't surprised by the gun lobby opposition.

"It's the same scenario playing out on the provincial level that played out on the federal level," she said.

Gino Marra, an anti-registry hunter and sport shooter, says law-abiding gun enthusiasts feel compelled to take a stand.

"I think most of the hunters and sport shooters are fed up being targeted as a threat to public safety," Marra said.

That refrain was heard often during the contentious federal long-gun debate and many elements of that battle are being transposed to Quebec.

Opponents argue the registry might end up just as costly as the defunct federal one.

Premier Philippe Couillard's Liberal government says it will cost about $17 million to start and $5 million yearly to operate.

The province fought a protracted legal battle against Ottawa in a bid to preserve the Quebec data from the federal registry, which was eliminated in 2012. It ultimately lost at the Supreme Court.

For his part, Couillard has said he doesn't see what the fuss is all about.

"I have two hunting rifles at my house," said the premier, whose own riding is partly rural. "I'm not at all traumatized by the fact of having to register them."

A petition calling for the bill to be scrapped has garnered more than 36,000 signatures and is expected to presented in mid-March.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Warrant issued for mother of Ont. girl who was subject Amber Alert

    Canada News CTV News
    Layla Sabry, 9, is described as white, about four-foot-two, with a thin build, brown hair, and brown eyes. Source
  • Ceremonies mark 27 years since Montreal massacre

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - Polytechnique Montreal opted for a simple commemoration today to mark the 27th anniversary of the massacre that saw 14 women gunned down at the school. A bouquet of 14 white roses was placed at a memorial plaque in honour of the 13 students and one staff member killed on Dec. Source
  • Indigenous people can be leaders in climate change fight: Bellegarde

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations wants indigenous people to take the lead in the fight against climate change -- an issue sure to dominate the agenda for first ministers gathering later this week in Ottawa. Source
  • Head-on crash claims New Jersey trooper, man

    World News Toronto Sun
    MILLVILLE, N.J. — A rookie state trooper responding to a call for help was killed in a violent wreck on a highway when a car travelling in the opposite direction crossed a grassy median and slammed into his cruiser head-on, authorities said. Source
  • Edmonton dog breeding operation shut down [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A man and woman are charged after dozens of dogs at a local breeding operation were found suffering in horrific conditions, says the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS). “I’ve been here six years now in the animal protection department and this is the worst one I’ve seen for the number of animals confined to these spaces,” said peace officer B.Grey, supervisor of Animal Protection Services with the Edmonton Humane Society. Source
  • NYC mayor blames Trump for rise in hate crimes

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, December 06, 2016 10:39 AM EST | Updated: Tuesday, December 06, 2016 10:45 AM EST Source
  • Four Calgary children orphaned by parents' suspected drug overdoses

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Two people dead from what police believe were drug overdoses were found by their four children. Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette with the Calgary Police Service said a 14-year-old phoned 911 at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday. When first responders got to the 30 block of Glengrove Close S.W. Source
  • Lebanese women protest against rape law

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- A dozen Lebanese women, dressed as brides in white wedding dresses stained with fake blood and bandages, have gathered outside government buildings in Lebanon's capital to protest a law that allows a rapist to get away with his crime if he marries the survivor. Source
  • 'He always said he was going to kill her': Turkish laws protecting women are often ignored

    World News CBC News
    Aydeniz Alisbah Tuskan doesn't really need reminders, but her bulletin board is plastered with the headlines anyway: rape, murder, domestic violence in Turkey and the ongoing battle to ensure the abusers, rapists and killers are punished. Source
  • Iraqi troops enter another ISIS-held neighbourhood in Mosul

    World News CTV News
    MOSUL, Iraq -- The Iraqi army on Tuesday pushed into another neighbourhood held by the Islamic State group on the southeastern edge of Mosul, according to a military statement and Iraqi commanders on the ground. Source