The Canadian government said it won’t recreate a database of gun owners and many of our rifles and shotguns when it proposes a new law tomorrow to change legislation that ended the so-called “long-gun registry.”
The Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, will introduce a bill entitled “An Act to amend the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act,” according to a Notice Paper today on parliament’s website. The title of the bill is visible, but not its text.
“For now I can only assure you that we will NOT recreate a long-gun registry,” Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the minister, said today by e-mail. “Parliamentary privilege constrains what we can say until the bill is tabled in Parliament tomorrow. We’ll have more to say then.”
The previous Conservative-led government scrapped the database in 2012 and ordered its data destroyed after the registry was criticized for its costs, errors and ineffectiveness, and for potentially jeopardizing the lives of police who trusted it.
At the end of 2011, the registry listed 1.9 million licensed firearm owners who had more than 7.1 million shotguns and rifles classified as “Non-restricted.” It listed law-abiding gun owners and their registered firearms, and left out people who acquired guns legally and didn’t register them, and also excluded violent criminals and their guns, which are generally obtained illegally.
Quebec sued the federal government to oppose the destruction of data. The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights said today on its website that the bill “will no doubt satisfy the Quebec provincial government’s request for the records and end the court battle between Quebec and the federal government.”
The RCMP continues to run a database of more than 500,000 individual gun owners and businesses that legally own more than 1 million so-called “Restricted” and “Prohibited” shotguns, rifles and handguns.
Update 08 June 2017: The name of the law is being changed to remove references to the long-gun registry, and will be “An Act to amend Chapter 6 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012,” MP Bob Zimmer said on Twitter today. The law is meant to resolve a constitutional challenge over the desctruction of data from the database, the Times Colonist newspaper reported today, citing Goodale.
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