Politics

Tories serve notice on bill to scrap gun registry

The government gave notice Tuesday it intends to introduce legislation to finally scrap the federal long-gun registry.
Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner speaks with reporters after her private members bill to scrap the long gun registry was defeated in a close vote in the House of Commons in September 2010. On Thursday the Harper government is expected to introduce a bill to end the registry once again. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The government gave notice Tuesday it intends to introduce legislation to finally scrap the federal long-gun registry.

The long gun registry has been in the sights of Conservatives for years, dating back to the debate over its inception under the then-Liberal government in 1995.

The Conservative election platform last spring vowed to "end the long-gun registry once and for all," arguing that it is "wasteful and ineffective," "needlessly and unfairly targets law-abiding Canadians" and "does nothing to reduce crime, or to strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."

An end to the long gun registry was not included when the Conservatives bundled together other long-awaited justice measures in their omnibus crime legislation, bill C-10, in September. Instead, this bill will be considered by the House of Commons on its own.

In the years since its controversial implementation, the reputation of the registry has been tarnished by numerous reports of administrative cost overruns. However, recent audits suggest the program is more cost-effective and efficient than it was during its early years.

Police groups and gun control advocates continue to defend its usefulness.

A private members' bill from Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner narrowly missed passage by a 153-151 vote in the House of Commons in September 2010. The vote caused division on the opposition benches, and for the NDP in particular, as numerous MPs wished to break ranks from the rest of their parties to represent their rural constituents' wishes and vote against the registry.

After losing the close vote, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed "abolition is closer than it has ever been." 

This new legislation is expected to pass the House of Commons easily, thanks to the majority Harper's Conservatives won on May 2.

Corrections

  • The story has been edited from an earlier version that reported the legislation would be tabled Thursday. In fact, it was not.
    Oct 21, 2011 11:32 AM ET

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