QUEBEC - The Quebec government marked the anniversary of Canada's worst mass shooting by reiterating its intention to create its own gun registry.

Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron said in a statement Thursday it will happen once Ottawa turns over Quebec data that was in the now-defunct federal long-gun registry.

Alexa Conradi, president of the Quebec Women's Federation, welcomed the confirmation that the province will proceed with its own gun registry.

"Controlling firearms is a really important and essential aspect of fighting violence against women," she said at a rally in front of the Montreal courthouse Thursday.

Conradi made her comments as several dozen people commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the killing of 14 women at the Ecole polytechnique in 1989.

France Bourgault, one of the organizers, said the courthouse was chosen because, according to her, the judicial system and the state are unable to guarantee the safety of women.

While Conradi welcomed Bergeron's statement, she was still worried about the impact of the Conservative government's decision to abolish the federal registry.

"We're definitely concerned about women across Canada who will now be faced with the absence of sufficient controls of firearms and that might put them at greater risk for violence against women," she said.

Bergeron later said he wasn't sure if the legislation setting up the registry would be tabled before the resolution of an ongoing legal battle with the federal government. But he said it would happen "soon."

Quebec and Ottawa are fighting over the federal registry, which the Conservatives scrapped earlier this year.

In September, Quebec Superior Court ordered the data on Quebec guns be preserved and turned over to the province.

The federal government is appealing that ruling and a hearing is scheduled for March.

Information provided by the other parts of the country has been destroyed.

The federal registry, created in 1995 by the Liberal government, has been controversial from the start due to conflicting claims about its effectiveness.

In announcing the province's intentions, Bergeron noted that he knew one of the victims, student Nathalie Croteau.

Vigils were scheduled across Canada to mark the 1989 tragedy and decry violence against women.

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  • Australia

    Gun ownership is strictly prohibited unless there are "genuine reasons" such as licensed sport, animal control or employment requirements.

  • Brazil

    Brazilians over the age of 25 are allowed to own guns as long as they are registered and kept indoors. The country has the second-highest gun-related death rate after the U.S.

  • Canada

    Canada's gun laws are significantly stricter than the neighboring U.S. To acquire a license, applicants must take a safety course, pass a criminal records check and be certified by a firearms officer.

  • China

    Chinese civilians are not allowed to own guns, except for hunting and protection from wildlife. Citizens can face the death penalty if caught illegally selling arms.

  • Czech Republic

    Czech guns laws are considerably more liberal than the rest of Europe. Applicants must pass a questionnaire on firearms, have no criminal record and show ID proving they are over 21 years old.

  • Germany

    Germany's Federal Weapons Act, enacted in 1972, restricts everything apart from replica guns to adults at least 18 years old, who must pass checks for "trustworthiness, knowledge and adequacy." A firearms ownership license, or <em>Waffenbesitzkarte</em>, must be obtained before a weapon can be purchased.

  • Italy

    Italians can have up to three "common" handguns in their home, but if they want to hunt or carry a concealed weapon they must apply for a license.

  • Japan

    Japanese licensing requirements are considered a formality -- there is little enforcement of the strict laws. Despite this, gun deaths are among the lowest in the world.

  • Mexico

    Strict laws, including criminal record checks, apply for Mexican ownership. However, there are growing concerns that smuggling from the US is undermining these regulations.

  • Russia

    Self defense is not a viable excuse for carrying firearms outside the home in Russia. Hand guns and fully automatics are prohibited, but adults with no criminal record can apply for a license for shotguns and air rifles.

  • United Kingdom

    Brits convicted of a criminal offense cannot handle, possess or shoot a gun. A license is needed for any firearm except low-powered air rifles/pistols. Self-defense is not a valid reason for ownership.