Gun Advocates Sue Quebec & Canadian AG
(CN) - Quebec is illegally operating a gun registry, though the federal government scrapped it last year, Canada's National Firearms Association claims in Federal Court.
While the federal government scrapped the national long-gun registry last year, destroying registration data to the chagrin of many police organizations, the Quebec provincial government defiantly refused to turn over data on its residents, so as to maintain its own gun registry.
Co-plaintiff Shawn Bevins claims the country's Registrar of Firearms, the Firearms Commissioner of Canada and Quebec's Chief Firearms Officer are still illegally collecting data on non-restricted gun owners and sellers.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants are illegally operating a registry and collecting data, and that the Firearms Commissioner of Canada is illegally refusing to destroy records contained in the scrapped Canadian Firearms Registry.
The plaintiffs, or applicants, claim Quebec's Chief Firearms Officer is "illegally refusing" to tell legal gun dealers that they no longer have to register sales of non-restricted firearms to Quebec residents, and are no longer under threat of sanctions for failing to register sales, transfers or for accepting guns for service or repair without verifying the firearm is registered.
The officer is "forcing Quebec based firearms dealers to comply with legislation that has been repealed by Parliament," the application states.
According to a notice on the RCMP website for the Canadian Firearms Program: "Until further notice, due to ongoing litigation, the CFP is continuing to accept registration of non-restricted firearms from Quebec residents."
Canada scrapped the registry for being too costly and punitive on law-abiding long-gun owners.
Politicians in the ruling Conservative Party claimed victory after scrapping the program, but police agencies were not happy, as the registry was used by front-line officers nearly 14,000 times a day across the country.
Gun registry data was accessed as recently as this month by police in Quebec during a 20-hour standoff. The issue is particularly sensitive in the province because the gun registry was set up after a mass shooting claimed the lives of 14 women at the University of Montreal in 1989.
The plaintiffs are represented by Me Guy Levergne, of Saint-Lazare, Quebec.