Long Gun Registry
February 16, 2012 by staff
Long Gun Registry, The Harper government’s controversial bill to end the long-gun registry has passed the House of Commons, marking the end of a long political battle over one of the most controversial law enforcement measures in recent memory.
The bill passed easily, by a margin of 159 to 130, as the Conservatives used their majority in the House to secure passage.
Almost all opposition MPs voted against the legislation except for New Democrats Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty, who sided with the government.
The bill next goes to the Senate where the Conservatives also have a majority. The Senate hearings are expected to take several weeks before the bill is passed into law.
Once that happens, RCMP officials will begin deleting information in a massive data-base that provides details to police on what types of firearms registered gun owners possess. The bill to abolish the gun registry, which dates back to the mid-1990s, has been a long-standing goal of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative party.
The mood in the House Wednesday evening was tense, although the outcome was never in doubt. The public galleries of the House of Commons were packed with staunch supporters and diehard opponents of the gun registry.
Earlier in the day, the Conservative party began taking fire over its plan to celebrate after the vote. Supporters of the long-gun registry say they are appalled by the festive attitude of the Conservatives, who planned to attend a ccktail reception with pro-gun lobbyists on Parliament Hill to mark the historic change.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told reporters Wednesday, hours before the vote, 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. This is simply an attempt to make people feel safe, rather than doing something substantive in criminal law.”
The vote represents a historic turning point, Toews said, when the law will once again be on the side of shooters and hunters who have been wrongly persecuted for 17 years.
“Unfortunately, Liberals and some New Democrats have attempted to turn a whole way of life into some kind of criminal conduct,” he said. “That’s really what the long-gun registry is about … it’s criminalizing, or attempting to criminalize, a way of life.”
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