MONTREAL - The federal long-gun registry might die — but it's not happening today.
A Quebec court has stepped in and ordered a delay in the destruction of registry data from that province, following a request by the Quebec government.
The court has granted the delay until further motions are argued in court next week.
The legal battle is playing out in Montreal while, in Ottawa, legislation to kill the registry has sailed through the Senate and is set to receive royal assent today.
The feds say they plan to begin the process of deleting the registry data immediately. A federal lawyer told the court that royal assent takes effect at midnight.
Now Quebec can keep up the fight in court next week to save the information. It wants the data to create its own registry.
It argues that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to destroy the information, if it means thwarting the public policy of another level of government.
The registry battle has been particularly emotional in Quebec, which was the epicentre of the national gun-control movement after the Polytechnique massacre of 1989.
The Quebec government has never accepted the view of registry critics, like the Harper Tories, who call the measure useless in deterring violent crime.
The court order today applies only to data from Quebec. Information from other provinces is still subject to destruction — although a government lawyer says that deletion process won't be so easy, and might actually take months.