MONTREAL, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Following today's ruling by the Quebec Court of Appeal that failed to grant Quebec the rights to keep the data on the province's 1.6 million rifles and shotguns, records that federal legislation requires be destroyed, the Coalition for Gun Control reacted:
"This decision is a setback but we will continue to fight for sensible gun control measures in the interest of public safety. The Quebec National Assembly has stood firmly behind this battle, understanding all too well the risks of making it easier for dangerous individuals to have access to lethal weapons. We are confident that the Quebec Government will continue to fight to protect its citizens where the federal government is failing. Regrettably, other provincial governments did not listen to safety experts when they warned of the dangers of the federal government's legislation and destruction of records on registered firearms. They are already paying the price," said Wendy Cukier, President. "For example, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has noted that last year alone, gun seizures were down by nearly 40% in part because information his officers relied on is no longer available."
In April 2012, the federal government swiftly passed legislation ending the registration of rifles and shotguns — allowing a licensed individual to buy as many guns as they want, without any record being kept. The law applies to all non-restricted firearms, including powerful semi-automatics such as the Ruger Mini-14 used in the Montreal Massacre. In spite of pleas by police, the federal government has since destroyed the data on 5.6 million rifles and shotguns registered in other provinces. This eliminates the possibility that stolen guns or guns recovered in crime can be traced back to their owners and undermines Canada's ability to combat the illegal gun trade.
Official documents obtained earlier this year through Access to Information revealed that the Canada-wide long-gun registry cost just $2 million a year and that any savings from its elimination will be reassigned to compensate for the weaknesses that the loss of the registry created.
The federal government further weakened controls by quietly passing regulations last July forbidding provinces from requiring gun dealers to maintain records of their sales of rifles and shotguns, undoing a measure in place since 1977. They then went on to eliminate gun show regulations against the advice of police and to postpone UN marking regulations. Canada is no longer in compliance with international agreements targeting the illegal trade in firearms. And though 72 countries have signed the Arms Trade Treaty to date and the US has indicated its intention to follow suit, Canada has so far refused to say whether it will sign the agreement.
The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre, is an alliance of more than 300 organizations including Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, Montreal Police Brotherhood, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Quebec Public Health Association, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Fédération des femmes du Québec, YWCA of Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, and numerous other organizations and community groups across the country. The alumni and families of the victims of the Montreal Massacre along with other victims of gun violence have also played a pivotal role.
SOURCE: COALITION FOR GUN CONTROL
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