Quebec introduces gun bill dubbed Anastasia's law

The province introduced legislation on Friday to limit the movement of semi-automatic weapons in Quebec.

Province urges Ottawa to do its part to control firearms

Quebec will ban firearms in schools and on public transit and will require gun club owners to report suspicious behaviour, Premier Jean Charest announced on Friday.

Anastasia DeSousa, 18, was killed by a gunman in September at Dawson College in Montreal.

The measures are part of new provincial legislation introduced to control firearms and weapons in the province.

Quebec's Bill 9 will be called Anastasia's law in memory of 18-year-old Anastasia DeSousa, who was killed at Dawson College in Montreal last September in a shooting rampage.

Wearing a pink ribbon in honour of DeSousa's memory, Charest unveiled details about the proposed bill Friday afternoon at Dawson College, at an event attended by Anastasia's parents, students who survived the shooting and Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant.

"No one can legislate human folly. But if we can take action to prevent such events, we should," Charest said.

The bill, officially tabled in Quebec's national assembly Friday morning, will:

  • Restrict ownership of semi-automatic weapons to gun club members.
  • Limit the right of the owner to transport guns from one place to another.
  • Require people to apply for gun permits in person at a police station and pass an aptitude test.
  • Require gun club owners to report any suspicious or unusual behaviour detected among members.
  • Require other professionals, such as physicians and teachers to report suspicious behaviour even if it contradicts doctor-patient or any other confidentiality.
  • Create gun-free zones on public transit, and at day cares, schools and colleges.

"Someone who does not comply with this ban will have to pay a very high fine of as much as $5,000. Those weapons will be seized immediately without a warrant and will be confiscated," Charest said.

Louise DeSousa sits with Premier Jean Charest at Dawson College Friday. Quebec's new gun law will be named after her daughter Anastasia, who was slain at the school last September. ((CBC))

The bill is Quebec's response to the Sept. 13 shootings at Dawson, where 20 people were shot and injured before gunman Kimveer Gill turned his weapon on himself. It was later discovered he was an active member of a Montreal gun club prior to the attack.

The new law requires Quebecers to do their part to alert authorities to any odd behaviour that could potentially lead to tragedies like the one at Dawson, said Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis. "It's obvious that this person, Kimveer Gill, gave off warning signals before committing this crime. It's important to flag them."

The provincial government will also spend $6.2 million a year on a new joint task force to fight arms trafficking that will include RCMP, Quebec provincial police and Montreal police investigators, Dupuis said.

New gun law sends strong message to Ottawa

Charest also called on the federal government to maintain the firearms registry and work with provinces to allow them greater leverage to limit weapons.

"I would ask the federal government to delegate the powers [it] now has with regards to the gun registry," the premier said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should "establish a baseline across the country of regulations, and say this is the base that will apply everywhere in Canada, and we will never go under that, and then allow us to do more if we feel that's appropriate in Quebec," he urged.

Ontario's attorney generaladded his voice to Quebec's call to Ottawa. "We need to close the loopholes that allow thousands of guns into the cities," said Bryant.

DeSousa's family, friend welcome new legislation

Anastasia's parents, Louise and Nelson DeSousa, were pleased with the new measures introduced Friday.

"It's common sense that we can send our kids to school and be at ease," Nelson DeSousa said.

Hayder Kadhim was shot in the head, neck and leg during the Dawson shootings. He says he's no longer a victim, but a survivor. ((CBC))

Anastasia's mothersaid she hopes the law will force people to pay more attention to how others around them behave. "We all see things but people say, 'I don't want to get involved.' We have to be involved."

Hayder Kadhim, a Dawson college student who survived three shots to the head, neck and leg, sang a rap song about the shootings that he wrote under his DJ name, Jiggy.

He praised the Quebec government for taking what he calls a tough stance on gun control and urged Ottawa to do the same.

Anastasia's law will come up for vote at the national assembly later in June.