VIDEO: CANADA – Quebec halts gun registry data destruction

Original Story VIA:  Sun News Network Canada

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OTTAWA – A Quebec judge has put the brakes on plans by the Conservative government to quickly destroy long-gun registry records.

On Thursday, a Quebec superior court decision barred the feds from scrapping the records until court hears the province’s request for a permanent injunction next week.

The province filed the injunction Monday in a bid to prevent the federal government from destroying records kept on long-gun owners as soon as Bill C-19 receives royal assent.

Quebec is planning to create its own gun registry.

On Thursday morning, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews dodged questions about how the government would follow through on its promise to destroy the records despite Quebec’s legal maneuvers.

“I won’t comment on any specific court action, but our government is clear in the defence of the legislation that we have passed,” he said.

A government spokeswoman said that while the data won’t immediately be destroyed, it will no longer be accessible to law enforcement.

Canadian long-gun owners will no longer have to register their firearms as soon as the bill gets the governor general’s stamp on Thursday.

Canadians will still need a valid licence to buy and own a firearm. There are no changes to laws regarding prohibited or restricted firearms.

The mandatory registry for long guns has been controversial since its inception in 1995.

Concerns over gun control are an especially hot button issue in Quebec. The registry was created in the wake of public outrage following the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, where 14 women were killed.

But many law-abiding gun owners felt the registry targeted them as criminals, was ineffectual as a gun control measure, and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Free at last, free at last,” Tory MP John Williamson said in the House of Commons Thursday.