Quebec’s Public Safety Minister, Pierre Moreau, presented the Quebec legislature with a bill that would see Quebec begin a provincial long gun registry.
Bill 64, if passed, would require all gun owners in Quebec to apply to the Ministry of Public Safety to register all non-restricted firearms, in compliance with as-yet unknown regulations, and . If successful, the gun owner would be given a unique registration number that would apply to that individual firearm for as long as it remained in the owner’s possession.
Furthermore, “Within 90 days after a firearm has been assigned a unique firearm number, the owner must, if the number is not already inscribed indelibly and legibly on the firearm, affix it to the firearm in the manner prescribed by government regulation.” There are no concessions within the bill for the marking of a firearm upon transfer to a new owner, wherein a new registration number would be issued, and requisitely marked upon the firearm.
Owners must be able to produce the registration numbers for all firearms in their possession upon request, and must also make their firearms available to any peace officer in order to confirm registration compliance, without the need of a warrant. Additionally, peace officers may “also require the person to provide any other information conducive to identifying the firearm and its owner.” If a peace officer has reasonable ground to believe that a firearm has not been registered, they may seize the firearm concerned.
Finally, all firearms businesses will be required to maintain a table of all firearms in their possession, in any establishments within the territory of Quebec. The table must be sent to the Minister upon request, and any peace officer or person authorized by the Minister shall be granted the right to inspect any and all firearms businesses at a reasonable hour to ensure compliance with the registry.
The registry is forecasted by Quebec’s government to cost about $17 million to set-up and about $5 million annually to maintain. There are an estimated 1.6 million long guns in Quebec. By comparison, from its creation to its demise, the Federal long gun registry tracked just over 7 million long guns at a cost of over $1 billion in setup costs and at least another $1 billion in accrued costs between its creation in 2003 and its termination in 2012.
In other words, the Federal government spent nine years tracking roughly four times as many firearms as Quebec hopes to, and found it cost them over 32 times as much as Quebec’s estimates would over a nine year period. And as Quebec is currently a “have not” province that takes in more in Federal transfer funding than it provides in revenue, the cost of this registry will be borne by some of the $20.4 billion Federal dollars given to Quebec this year by the Liberal government… the same Liberal government that vowed not to see Canadians return to a long gun registry.