Provinces can create long-gun registries: Ottawa
Federal government not opposed to regional registries down the road
The federal government says it would welcome proposals from any province wishing to set up its own long-gun registry if the Canadian program is eventually abolished.
"Quebec or any of the provinces are free to move forward with any proposals within their jurisdictions," said Michael Patton, a spokesman for federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
But it's unclear what kind of role Ottawa would play – if any – in helping provinces set up their own provincial registries.
Toews' office could not immediately say whether the feds would help set up such provincial programs, by sharing records for instance.
The Conservatives have long promised to abolish the program, which they call ineffective and wasteful.
With its powerful majority mandate in hand, the Tories outlined their intention to eliminate the long-gun registry in last month's Throne Speech.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legislative majority would have no trouble killing the registry.
"Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end the long-gun registry once and for all and that is exactly what we intend to do," Patton said Monday.
Quebec historically opposed to registry abolishment
The Conservatives' plans have met the stiffest resistance over the years in Quebec, which became a hotbed of the gun-control movement after the massacre of 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989.
Supporters of the registry say it saves lives, particularly in reducing the use of firearms in domestic disputes, suicides and attacks against police.
Quebec Public Security Minister Robert Dutil told The Canadian Press that civil servants are considering a provincial registry if the Conservatives deliver on their promise to ditch the federal one.
But Dutil said his priority is focused on convincing the Conservatives to keep the registry alive.
The Quebec government has long supported the registry.
During the 2008 federal election campaign, Premier Jean Charest urged the parties to maintain it and reinforce gun-control regulations.