Rifle and gun owners have until January 29 to register their firearms with the Quebec Firearms Registration Service. Photo: Radio-Canada
The gun registry in Quebec, launched in the controversy in January 2018, is not very popular. The CBC has learned that only 211,555 firearms were registered at the end of October, which is one in ten potentially outstanding weapons.
A text by Mathieu Dion, parliamentary correspondent in Quebec City.
Prior to its abolition by the Conservative government in 2012, no less than 1.6 million unrestricted firearms were registered in the Canadian Firearms Registry in Quebec. There could now be many more.
To date, the Ministry of Public Security has “preferred that more owners have applied for registration of their weapons.”
The Quebec Firearms Registration Service (SIAF) has been accessible since the new legislation came into effect on January 29, 2018. The owners “were one year old as of that date,” the ministry said.
Under the law, there are three months left to the owners to take action.
Fine of 5000 dollars
An owner who refuses to register his firearm could be revoked his license to possess and acquire firearms, has already warned the Sûreté du Québec.
Moreover, a fine of 500 to 5000 dollars is provided for the recalcitrant. It can even be doubled in case of recidivism.
Attorney Guy Lavergne, who represents the Canadian Firearms Association (NFA), says the justice system is already “congested,” and the authorities “can not add hundreds of thousands of lawsuits to that.”
The NFA has appealed its case to declare the provincial law unconstitutional; it must be heard on February 26th.
In the election campaign, PolySeSouvient, which campaigns for arms control, nevertheless received from the Coalition avenir Quebec a written response according to which the state has “the duty to enforce the law”.
“We do not lose hope,” says coordinator Heidi Rathjen, provided that “the government stands up.”
The Firearms Registration Act targets long guns commonly used for hunting. These rifles or rifles make up 95% of the firearms in Quebec.
Boycott of the register
There are several reasons for the lack of registration for the SIAF, starting with the procrastination of weapon owners and the pitfalls encountered during online registration.
Calls for boycotting the registry have also increased since it was set up.
The one led by Guy Morin, president of the collective Against a Quebec Firearms Registry, invites owners to delay the registration of their firearms as much as possible.
In the light of the most recent data, Mr. Morin does not see how the government can maintain the law.
If the honest citizen does not see the point of embarking on this law, it is because the government has failed.
Guy Morin, President, All Against a Quebec Gun Registry
Complications arising from massive registration at the very last minute could actually stop the process.
Guy Morin, spokesman for the group “All against a Quebec gun registry”
Since October 22, the Department of Public Safety has been using the hunting season to conduct a radio advertising campaign to encourage gun owners to put their rifles and carbines on the new register.
A man’s voice invites them to visit www.siaf.gouv.qc.ca to register online.
Targeted advertisements on the Internet and in some local dailies and newspapers have also been published in recent months.
For the moment, it is clear that this advertising offensive is inconclusive.