Archive for February, 2012

CANADA: Ontario Crown appeals after court shoots down minimum gun sentences

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012


By Bradley Bouzane, Postmedia News February 27, 2012

The Ontario Attorney General has appealed a recent court ruling that deemed mandatory minimum sentencing for gun crimes unconstitutional.

The Ontario Crown served the appeal on Friday, setting up a future appearance before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

One of the lawyers who argued the constitutional issues surrounding the sentence for Leroy Smickle of Toronto – who eventually received a lighter sentence for a gun crime despite the mandatory minimums imposed by the federal Conservative government – said it’s no surprise the Crown intends to contest the ruling from the Ontario Superior Court.

“There’s a section of the Criminal Code that was declared to be unconstitutional,” said Dirk Derstine, who was brought in by Smickle’s lawyers to argue the constitutional matter. “The Attorney General’s office has a mandate to defend the Criminal Code. It’s a very important section from the Crown’s point of view. I’d be surprised if they would just let it lie.

“We’ve all told Mr. Smickle that there may well be an appeal.”

Representatives for the Ontario Attorney General were not available early Monday evening.

Earlier this month, Smickle, 30, who was found holding a loaded handgun, was sentenced to five months under house arrest in addition to the equivalent of seven months spent in pre-trial custody. Mandatory sentences, under changes to the Criminal Code made by the Conservative government, would have required at least three years in prison for the crime.

Judge Anne Molloy described the mandatory sentence as “cruel and unusual punishment” and said sending Smickle to prison for such a lengthy term would be “fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable.”

In her ruling, Molloy cited the section of the Charter of Rights that says every person “has the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.”

The mandatory minimum gun law came into force in 2008 as part of the Conservative government’s “Tackling Violent Crime Act.” A similar approach is part of the new Bill C-10, the Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill.

The bill has been attacked by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which says there is little evidence mandatory minimums provide deterrence, enhance safety or lower crime rates.

Although the Toronto judgment will have important ramifications, the case it emerged from is oddly comic.

A Toronto police tactical squad burst into an apartment in the early morning hours one day in 2009.

Smickle happened to be spending the night at the apartment when officers came looking for his cousin.

When officers burst in, Smickle was on the couch in boxer shorts, tank top and sunglasses, a pistol in his left hand and a laptop computer in his right, apparently taking pictures of himself looking “cool,” court heard.

The gun wasn’t his and police found other guns in the tenant’s bedroom, court heard. Smickle had no criminal record, held a job, has a young child and a fiancee and was working to finish high school.

He was charged with possession of a loaded firearm.

Derstine said Monday that the appeal is likely to be joined with an earlier application dealing with the case of Hussein Nur, another Toronto man who was found in possession of a gun. He had no prior criminal record.

While he could not provide an exact timeline for the matter, Derstine said it would be about six months before the appeal was heard in court.

With files from the National Post

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

The UN Arms Trade Treaty & Our Constitution’s Loophole

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Original Story VIA:

New York, NY--( of the constant mantras of U.S. firearm-prohibitionists is “close the loophole!”

There’s seemingly a loophole in every restrictive firearm law. And although these demands are presumably for our safety, the intent is to make lawful firearm acquisition and possession more difficult for ordinary citizens.

However, there is one very real loophole that almost no one talks about, or even recognizes. And it lies in the U.S. Constitution. And it’s one that most U.S. gun-owners blithely refuse to believe, even when it’s pointed out to them. To most gun-owners, the Second Amendment is unbreachable, especially when it comes to international treaties like the forthcoming Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution states: “He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….”

We constantly come across comments from American gun-owners, in Internet blogs and in response to articles, that the U.S. Senate will never be able to pass a Treaty such as the ATT. The argument made is, invariably, that, because 2/3 of the Senate is required to ratify a treaty, one like the ATT will never be ratified by the U.S.

Therefore, we are told we can all rest assuredly that the protections provided by our Second Amendment would not be in jeopardy, even if an ATT were to be enacted.

This —the 2/3 Senate majority— is our Constitution’s “loophole.”

And it could be the means to nullify our Constitution. The loophole relates to the process of “norming”, a concept which our Founding Fathers never had to deal with, or even envisioned, when they wrote the law of the land that guarantees us the right to private firearm-possession, and all those other rights enumerated in our Bill of Rights.

In his paper “The Second Amendment and Global Gun Control, Joseph Bruce Alonso, an attorney in Georgia, shows in great detail, just how the process of norming can create a mechanism to erase the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. He does not address the Arms Trade Treaty because his paper was written prior to the very notion of an ATT.

He discusses the UN’s attempts at global firearm-prohibition, and the multitude of legal conflicts this brings about. Alonso acknowledges that, “In the United States, acceptance of a treaty is ratification by the Senate. By signing, a sovereign state does indicate an intention to ratify or at least consider and abide by a treaty….” But, he also notes:

“if a treaty conflicts with the United States Constitution, the United States Supreme Court will hold that the treaty is not binding because it violates the United States Constitution. If the same conflict came before an international court, the international would hold that the treaty was binding. These competing legal systems are on a road to conflict.”

Then, Alonso adds the following:

“The United States Constitution clearly anticipates the United States federal government entering into treaties, but does not appear to have anticipated the extent to which treaties would have domestic ramifications….[T]he desire to end all private gun ownership worldwide is a final goal of many international law actors. This desire is often hidden or lightly shrouded, but is sometimes flaunted….Based on the intensity of disapproval aimed at the United States, one expects…politics will push in the direction …to end private gun ownership….The ways in which the rights of private United States gun owners could be infringed are endless. Clearly, a final goal of eliminating private gun ownership [the UN’s agenda] would violate the Second Amendment.”

So, the biggest obstacle to overcome for global firearm-prohibition to succeed is our Second Amendment. Alonso provides numerous scenarios that could plausibly occur to get around this:

“The first way is the possibility that the President of the United States signs [a treaty]…Signature by a United States President would indicate to the international community that the United States intends to abide by the gun control laws, with or without ratification by the Senate.”

Note that final phrase, “…with or without ratification by the Senate.”

So much for a 2/3 Senate majority vote needed in order for U.S. citizens to be subject to the provisions of a Treaty meant to disarm them—along with the rest of the world!

According to David Kopel, Paul Gallant and Joanne D. Eisen, in their paper “The Human Right of Self-Defense” (Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law, Vol 22, Number 1 (p. 56-57):

“While it is unlikely that a severely restrictive international gun control treaty could be ratified by two-thirds of the United States Senate, there are many mechanisms by which unratified treaties can work their way into U.S. law. For example, some eminent international disarmament experts have taken the position that the president of the United States may announce that a treaty has entered into force, and thereby become the law of the United States even if the U.S. Senate has never voted to ratify the treaty [emphasis ours]. The United States Supreme Court has cited unratified treaties (and even an African treaty), and various contemporary foreign law sources, as guidance for interpreting United States constitutional provisions. Likewise, other scholars, writing in a UN publication, argue that United Nations gun control documents (notwithstanding the fact that the documents, on their face, have no binding legal effect) represent “norms” of international law.”

Alonso further addresses the problem of conflict between international treaties and the U.S. Constitution. The role of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties in resolution of such conflicts is of pivotal importance when a case is presented in international courts. Alonso concludes: “…an American citizen who is protected by the Second Amendment could not assert this right as a protection in an international court.”

Kopel, Gallant and Eisen elaborate further on that point in their paper: “Attorney Joseph Bruce Alonso has detailed how the theories being developed by IANSA [International Action Network on Small Arms] and its allies would allow American manufacturers, governments, or gun owners to be sued in foreign courts.”

That means you —or any of us— could be prosecuted by an international court with all our protections asserted in the Bill of Rights thrown down the drain!!

How many believe that, in this firearm-hostile world, any of us would prevail in such a lawsuit?!

Americans had better pay heed to this very real Constitutional loophole, because those who don’t may be in store for a very rude awakening! Times have changed since the Founding Fathers drafted our unique document called The Constitution of the United States, and it appears clear that proposed international law (e.g. an ATT) may infringe upon the American Right to Bear Arms, and all the other rights guaranteed within it, without any need for a Senate vote.

Is this a potential loophole that President Obama—our country’s most anti-gun president—might take advantage of?

About the authors:
Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practice optometry and dentistry, respectively, on Long Island, NY, and have collaborated on firearm politics for the past 20 years. They have also collaborated with David B. Kopel since 2000, and are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute, where Kopel is Research Director. Most recently, Gallant and Eisen have also written with Alan J. Chwick. Sherry Gallant has been instrumental in the editing of virtually all of the authors’ writings, and is immensely knowledgeable in the area of firearm politics; she actively co-authored this article.

Almost all of the co-authored writings of Gallant, Eisen, Kopel and Chwick can be found at, which contains more detailed information about their biographies and writing, and contains hyperlinks to many of their articles. Their recent series focusing on the Arms Trade Treaty can be found primarily at . Respective E-Mail addresses are:,,,

VIDEO: Canadian dad arrested over daughter’s gun drawing

Friday, February 24th, 2012

VIDEO and Original Story VIA:  Sun News Canada

February 24th, 2012

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Police arrested a Kitchener, Ont., father outside his daughter’s school because the four-year-old drew a picture of him holding a gun.

Jessie Sansone told the Record newspaper that he was in shock when he was arrested Wednesday and taken to a police station for questioning over the drawing. He was also strip-searched.

“This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school,” he said.

Officials told the newspaper the move was necessary to ensure there were no guns accessible by children in the family’s home. They also said comments by Sansone’s daughter, Neaveh, that the man holding the gun in the picture was her dad and “he uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters,” was concerning.

Police also searched Sansone’s home while he was in custody. His wife and three children were taken to the police station, and the children were interviewed by Family and Children’s Services.

Sansone’s wife, Stephanie Squires, told the newspaper no one told them why her husband had been arrested.

“He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them, ‘You’re making a mistake.'”
Several hours later, Sansone was released without charges.


VIDEO: Phil Watson of IAPCAR on Canadian TV

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Original Story VIA:  Sun News Canada

Kris Sims recaps the top 5 moments from CPAC in Washington DC.

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Gun Ownership Skyrockets in India; 2nd to U.S.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Original Story VIA:  Opposing Views
Submitted by Mark Berman Opposing Views on Feb 21, 2012

The era of Gandhi-like peaceful protests in India is over — the Hindu nation is now second in gun ownership in the world.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Indians own about 40 million guns, second only to the United States and our roughly 300 million guns. reports that there are three guns for every 100 people in India compared to 89 guns for every 100 people in the U.S.

Experts say rising crime and rising income has led to the explosion of weapons.

“Having a gun 24/7 is a necessity,” said gun owner Vikramjit Singh. “And an expensive weapon is a status symbol. You can’t flash just any old gun around.”

India has very strict gun laws, so 85% of the weapons in the nation are unregistered Saturday-night specials that are thought to be responsible for 90% of gun murders.

Indians feel more guns will make them safer, given that the country’s police-to-population ratio is among the lowest in the world. Gun foes, though, believe that thinking is flawed.

“Are we not paying for the rising gun violence in India?” asks antigun activist Binalakshmi Nepram, secretary-general of Control Arms Foundation of India. “It is a wrong perception that one needs a gun for security.”

U.S. Must Stand Its Ground on U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Original Article VIA:   The Heritage Foundation

February 21, 2012

The final Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was held last week. The purpose of this PrepCom was to adopt rules of procedure for the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which will be held in New York July 2–27. This conference is intended to complete the negotiation of the ATT and thus open the treaty for signature and ratification. The outcome of the PrepCom makes it even more vital for the U.S. to establish its red lines and stand its ground before and during the July conference.

The Conference Will Make Decisions on the Basis of Consensus

When the Obama Administration announced in 2009 that it would support the negotiation of an ATT, it did so with an important caveat: The treaty conference had to operate “under the rule of consensus decision-making,” meaning that a formal objection from any national representative to the chair on any matter of substance prevents agreement. But the U.N.’s draft rules of procedure allowed two-thirds majority voting on all matters of substance except the adoption of the final treaty text, as well as on amendments to the rules themselves. This opened the way for the July conference to amend the rules by a two-thirds majority and then to adopt the treaty by a similar majority, over any U.S. objection.

When the PrepCom considered the draft rules of procedure, the U.S. and a number of other nations urged that all matters of substance at the July conference be subject to a strict consensus requirement, while other delegations—including Mexico—supported the U.N.’s weaker proposals. In the end, the PrepCom adopted rules that require the July conference to “take its decisions, and consider the text of the Treaty, by consensus.” In other words, the U.S. will not be limited to an up-or-down vote on the final treaty text. Instead, it will have the opportunity throughout the July conference to object to and block progress on any portion of the ATT that it finds unsatisfactory.

The Conference Will Be Held Mostly in Closed Session

At the July conference, the U.S. will be pressed to accept an unsatisfactory treaty. One way to counter this is to use the conference to show that the U.S. is not the only nation that has concerns about the effectiveness and scope of an ATT. But if the conference is to serve this purpose, it must be public. If it is not, other nations with concerns will be able to hide behind any U.S. objections in the final plenary session.

Before the PrepCom, the U.N. planned to hold only the conference’s plenary meetings and meetings of its Committee of the Whole in public. Unfortunately, the PrepCom did not significantly alter the relevant provisions of the draft rules of procedure, and thus most of the July conference will be open only to national delegates, intergovernmental organizations, and U.N. officials, not to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In general, diplomatic negotiations should not be open to NGOs, which do not have the legitimacy of representatives of democratic governments. But the closure of most of the July conference’s sessions means that the objections of most nations will receive little publicity; thus, the attacks of the activist NGOs that support the ATT is likely to be concentrated on the United States.

The Dilemma the U.S. Faces in the Negotiations  

The U.S. strategy so far has been to try to avoid playing the role of treaty spoiler, on the grounds that this will prevent the U.S. from serving as a rallying point for the activist NGOs and nations that support the ATT. This strategy will be difficult to use at the July conference, where the consensus requirement and the number of closed sessions will place the U.S. in the position of having to object repeatedly and in private to unsatisfactory treaty provisions. If the U.S. does not object, the treaty will be adopted by consensus. If it does, it will be depicted as the treaty spoiler.

One press report quotes a senior U.S. official as stating that the U.S. wanted decision-making by consensus so that it would have the ability to “block a weak treaty.”[1] If this report is accurate, then the U.S. dilemma is acute: The stronger the U.S. tries to make the treaty, the more the U.S. will have to use its power to block consensus on weaker versions, and the more it will be depicted as the spoiler. Furthermore, many nations will demand a treaty that they will characterize as strong but the U.S. will find unacceptable. For example, Mexico wants to impose a national gun and ammunition registry on the United States.

In the same report, the U.S. official also states that vetoing the final treaty at the July conference is “the nuclear option,” i.e. the last resort. Signaling the U.S.’s unwillingness to veto is poor negotiating strategy, but, more fundamentally, the official’s statement implies that the U.S. is going to try to get a treaty it can accept. This means the U.S. has to have clear red lines for the July conference, as well as the willingness to uphold them during the negotiations by breaking consensus. It will not be easy for the U.S. to get what it wants if it is unwilling to use the “nuclear option” or to play the role of spoiler. 

What the U.S. Must Do

The PrepCom chair originally proposed that the U.N. be entrusted with the responsibility of editing the views of the member states on an ATT into a background document to be distributed in advance of the July conference. The PrepCom sensibly rejected this idea, which would have allowed the U.N. to skew the terms of the conference debate, and it has instead invited U.N. member states to submit statements of no more than 1,500 words on the provisions of an ATT by March 31. The U.N. Secretary-General is to compile these statements into a background document for the July conference.

The U.S. must use this opportunity to establish its red lines for the July conference. In particular, the U.S. should make clear in its March submission that it will not accept the inclusion of hunting and sporting weapons or ammunition in the ATT. Nor will it accept treaty language that impinges on rights protected by the Second Amendment, requires any new internal controls, legitimates arms trafficking by dictators or terrorists, inhibits its ability to support friends and allies, or creates any additional burdens for U.S. manufacturers, importers, or exporters.

Finally, the U.S. must state clearly that if the July conference does not reach consensus on a treaty text, it will resist any effort by one or more nations to break away from the U.N. process and negotiate an ATT outside of that process. The national interests of the U.S. would be best served by having no ATT, because any ATT negotiated through the U.N. will begin by assuming that dictatorships and democracies possess the same sovereign rights. The only advantage the U.N. process has is that the U.S. has the power to say no. The U.S. should use that power to limit the damage the ATT does to its interests, the rights of its citizens, and the responsible conduct of diplomacy.

Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

Death of a Long-Gun Registry

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
Original Story VIA:  National Review

Despite spending a whopping $2.7 billion on creating and running a long-gun registry, Canadians never reaped any benefits from the project. The legislation to end the program finally passed the Parliament on Wednesday. Even though the country started registering long guns in 1998, the registry never solved a single murder. Instead it has been an enormous waste of police officers’ time, diverting their efforts from patrolling Canadian streets and doing traditional policing activities.

Gun-control advocates have long claimed that registration is a safety issue, and their reasoning is straightforward: If a gun has been left at a crime scene and it was registered to the person who committed the crime, the registry will link the crime gun back to the criminal.

Nice logic, but reality never worked that way. Crime guns are very rarely left at the crime scene, and when they are left at the scene, they have not been registered — criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind a gun that’s registered to them. Even in the few cases where registered crime guns are left at the scene, it is usually because the criminal has been seriously injured or killed, so these crimes would have been solved even without registration.

The statistics speak for themselves. From 2003 to 2009, there were 4,257 homicides in Canada, 1,314 of which were committed with firearms. Data provided last fall by the Library of Parliament reveals that the weapon was identified in fewer than a third of the homicides with firearms, and that about three-quarters of the identified weapons were not registered. Of the weapons that were registered, about half were registered to someone other than the person accused of the homicide. In just 62 cases — that is, only 4.7 percent of all firearm homicides — was the gun registered to the accused. As most homicides in Canada are not committed with a gun, the 62 cases correspond to only about 1 percent of all homicides.

To repeat, during these seven years, there were only 62 cases — nine a year — where it was even conceivable that registration made a difference. But apparently, the registry was not important even in those cases. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.

The problem isn’t just with the long-gun registry. The data provided above cover all guns, including handguns. There is no evidence that, since the handgun registry was started in 1934, it has been important in solving a single homicide.

Looking at just long guns shows that since 1997, there have been three murders in which the gun was registered to the accused. The Canadian government doesn’t provide any information on whether those three accused individuals were convicted.

Nor is there any evidence that registration reduced homicides. Research published last year by McMaster University professor Caillin Langmann in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence confirmed what other academic studies have found: “This study failed to demonstrate a beneficial association between legislation and firearm homicide rates between 1974 and 2008.” There is not a single refereed academic study by criminologists or economists that has found a significant benefit from gun laws. A recent Angus Reid poll indicates that Canadians already understand this, with only 13 percent believing that the registry has been successful.

The problem isn’t just that the $2.7 billion spent on registration over 17 years has produced no arrests, it is that the money could have been used to put more police on the street or pay for more health care or cut taxes. An extra $160 million a year pays for a lot of police or doctors or teachers.

Take police. Assuming each officer is paid $70,000 per year, $2.7 billion would pay for almost 2,300 officers annually. Academic research by one of us (Lott) indicates that adding that many street officers would reduce violent crimes in Canada by about 1,800. Registration isn’t getting Canadians any of this.

And the costs of running the registry aren’t just the $2.7 billion, since that excludes enforcement costs and individual compliance costs. The first step that police in Canada take in investigating a violent crime is to see if their suspects are licensed gun owners. But when Canada has 6.4 million registered gun owners, and police accuse only nine people of homicide each year whose registered guns were found at the scene of a crime, the return seems as close to zero as possible. It is also claimed that registration protects police officers’ safety, but homicide against Canadian police officers is actually up 20 percent since the long-gun registry started, compared with the rate during the previous decade. And more important, not a single police officer has been identified as being killed by someone with a registered gun.

Gun-control proponents have worried that scrapping the long-gun registry after so much has been invested in it would be a waste — “a $2 billion bonfire,” in the words of Gatineau member of Parliament Françoise Boivin. Unfortunately, that money is already wasted, and the registry costs kept growing. It costs about $100 million a year to operate. Instead of burning up more money, Canada can spend it on things that will actually do some good.

— John R. Lott Jr. is the author of More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, third edition, 2010) and Gary Mauser is professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University.

National Association for Gun Rights India

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Conservatives and enthusiasts cheer the end of the long-gun registry (Canada)

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Original Article Via:  The National Post

By Jeff Davis

OTTAWA — The Conservative government says its MPs will celebrate after a historic vote to end the long-gun registry Wednesday evening, despite vehement opposition to the move in Quebec and much of urban Canada.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told reporters Wednesday, hours before the vote, that the government’s actions are long overdue.

“It does nothing to help put an end to gun crimes, nor has it saved one Canadian life,” he said.

“It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”

Quebec MP Maxime Bernier said MPs and gun-rights advocates will celebrate together Parliament Hill after Wednesday evening’s vote.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs and supporters of the registry are expected to say the government’s actions are a step backwards, because the registry has been useful in keeping the country’s streets safe.

Bill C-19, the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act, is guaranteed to pass through the House of Commons, thanks to the Conservative government’s majority, but more political wrangling is expected to follow.

“It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”

Quebec MP Maxime Bernier said MPs and gun-rights advocates will celebrate together Parliament Hill after Wednesday evening’s vote.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs and supporters of the registry are expected to say the government’s actions are a step backwards, because the registry has been useful in keeping the country’s streets safe.

Bill C-19, the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act, is guaranteed to pass through the House of Commons, thanks to the Conservative government’s majority, but more political wrangling is expected to follow.

Liberals in the Senate say they have no intention of “rubber stamping” the bill, which they say needs time for sober second thought.

Meanwhile, the government of Quebec, meanwhile, has plans to take legal action against the Harper government for withholding Quebec-specific data, which is essential to its plans to launch a provincial registry.

The federal law will end the requirement for lawful gun owners to register their long guns, and it relaxes rules around selling or transferring guns. Gun licences for individuals will still be required, and the registry for restricted and prohibited firearms such as handguns will be maintained.

Gun control has been ferociously debated in Canada for decades, particularly since the Montreal massacre of 1989, when a gunman shot and killed 14 women with a rifle. This event prompted the Liberal government of Jean Chretien to tighten gun controls and create Canada’s first mandatory long-gun registry in 1995.

Hunters and sport shooters reviled the registry, and dismantling it became a central plank of Reform, and later, Conservative party policy.

Liberal Senate leader James Cowan said while the Liberals in the Red Chamber have no intention of filibustering Bill C-19, they’ll make sure it gets the serious consideration it needs.

Cowan said the Tories have taken five months to move Bill C-19 through the House, taking their time with an issue that pleases their base and is a good fundraising tool.

“We’re not going to rubber stamp anything,” he said. “But certainly it won’t be in Senate longer than in House.”

Cowan said he expects Bill C-19 to arrive at the committee on legal and constitutional affairs sometime in March, at which time the committee will hear testimony, which could continue for weeks.

“We want to make sure all sides are heard,” he said. “We are determined to use the powers we have to make sure the committee has a full hearing.”

The Harper Conservatives now have a commanding majority in the Senate, so while Liberal senators may succeed in slowing down the passage of C-19, it will ultimately pass.

According to Bill C-19, all data pertaining to non-restricted firearms will be deleted.

Michael Patton, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, said the gun registry’s central database is located in an RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. Since only data for non-restricted guns will be removed, the officials are still deciding how to carefully sift out what to delete and what to keep. He said he could not predict exactly how long the deletion of all long-gun data would take.

Patton said officials with the Canadian Firearms Program have not requested any additional money or outside assistance for this task.

Once the bill is finally passed into law, Quebec will immediately seek an injunction from the courts to halt the destruction of the registry data.

Mathieu St-Pierre, a spokesman for Quebec Public Security Minister Robert Dutil, said Quebec has the full intention of taking legal action against the federal government if it does not cough up the data it wants.

Appearing at a parliamentary committee in November, Dutil made clear his province’s desire to maintain the national gun registry. If it is scrapped, he said, Quebec should be given the data it paid for.

St-Pierre said Quebec can’t take legal action against the federal government until the bill passes. The only thing that will stop them now, he said, is if the government voluntarily transfers the Quebec-specific data from the long-gun registry.

“We will go before the courts if Bill C-19 passes, and if the (Quebec) government does not receive the data, our government lawyers already have their strategy in mind,” he said.

Jeff Larivee, whose wife was killed in the 1989 Montreal massacre, is a spokesman for the Coalition for Gun Control. He said he and many other Quebecers feel outrage at the Harper government’s determination to dismantle laws that, for many, serve as a memorial.

“I feel frustrated and I feel sad for my wife,” he said. “We are continually facing a government with an ideological belief that guns should not be controlled.”

While some lawyers doubt the constitutionality of provincial firearms registries, Toews has said that provincial registries are indeed legal.

“It’s certainly possible for a province to create a gun registry under property and civil rights,” he told Postmedia News in January. “I don’t see a constitutional issue there.”

Nevertheless, Toews said he is “certainly not advocating” provincial registries be set up.

Tony Bernardo is Canada’s leading advocate for gun owners, as executive director of the Canadian Sports Shooting Association and a lobby group called the Canadian Institute for Legislative Action.

“I’ve been working for 15 years to make this happen,” he said. “It’s a big deal for me.”

Bernardo says scrapping the long-gun registry is already a “defining moment” in Canadian people power.

“What you’re seeing here, this is democracy in action at its finest,” he said. “Millions of people spoke up and said we don’t want this, and the government responded and now it’s gone.”

Postmedia News