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Long-gun registry scrapped
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2012 6:05PM MST
The Conservatives have won approval from the House of Commons to scrap Canada's contentious long-gun registry.
After a lengthy debate, MPs voted 159-130 in favour of passing Bill C-19, which will end the registry and allow the government to destroy records pertaining to non-restricted firearms.
The bill still needs final approval from the Senate, but since the Conservatives form a majority in the Upper Chamber as well, the law is sure to pass.
The Long Gun Registry Act, first introduced last October, eliminates the requirement for gun owners to register their long guns and other unrestricted or non-prohibited weapons. It also relaxes the rules for the transfer and sale of non-restricted guns.
Data in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to restricted and prohibited firearms such as handguns will be maintained, however.
On Tuesday, RCMP found a .50 calibre sniper style rifle in a truck that is suspected of being involved in a police shooting near Killam.
These kinds of guns are used by enthusiasts for long range target shooting, and also by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan but they aren't common among civilians.
"It's a five thousand dollar plus rifle, it's used for long range target shooting. It weighs probably 30 to 40 kilograms. Like I said it's two meters long, it's only practical application is for long range target shooting," said James Bachymsky from the Calgary Shooting Centre.
Several groups who have always been behind the registry spoke out on Wednesday saying the federal government is making a mistake by scrapping it.
The Coalition for Gun Control warned that getting rid of the registry will make it very difficult for police to trace firearms used in crimes.
At the same time, many gun owners who did all the paperwork and registered all of their guns over the years, say they never saw the point of the registry in the first place.
"To the average shooter it probably won't make that much of a difference unless you go for a purchase or something like that. I've had my firearms certificate for a long time, nobody has ever called me or come to visit or anything like that," said Stephen Stretch.
The federal government said provinces can start their own gun registries if they want, but won't be getting any funding from Ottawa.
(With files from ctv.ca)