Quebec's proposed firearms registry opposed by gun enthusiasts
Attendees at Longueuil gun show say Bill 64 is 'waste of money' and 'ineffective'
Gun enthusiasts are hoping to stop the Quebec government from resurrecting the long-gun registry, and are armed with a petition of 15,000 signatures.
At a gun show in Longueuil on Saturday, they added hundreds more and defended their stance.
"Bill 64 is an empty book," said Roland Côté, a retired RCMP officer, of the bill tabled on Dec. 3 at the National Assembly.
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"There's nothing in it that will protect people. I don't see how engraving a firearm with a serial number is a security measure."
The proposed legislation would require every gun owner in the province to apply to the ministry to register all firearms.
Each firearm would be assigned a unique number by the ministry, and owners would be required to "affix it to the firearm in the manner prescribed by government regulation."
The penalty for an individual failing to register a gun would be a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000.
A more effective way of regulating guns, Côté said, is ensuring gun owners are trained properly, licenced, and given a photo ID that certifies this.
Gun enthusiasm may not have quite the reach in Quebec as south of the border, but it's enough to fill up a parking lot of an exhibition hall.
A group calling itself Tous contre un régistre québecois des armes à feu (All against a Quebec firearms registry) was highly visible among tables laden with rifles and memorabilia from the world wars.
It is the group that started the petition. It expects to present it to the government in March.
"It's a waste of money. The federal registry didn't help police to solve homicides," said Jessie McNicoll, a volunteer with the group.
Quebec tried to stop the previous federal government from scrapping gun data for the province when the federal long-gun registry was eliminated.
The province lost that battle in the Supreme Court, and now wants to start a new registry from scratch.
Moreau said the proposed registry would cost an estimated $17 million to establish and $5 million annually to maintain.