POLITICS

Quebec government tables its own gun-registry legislation

02/19/2013 05:50 EST | Updated 04/21/2013 05:12 EDT
QUEBEC - The Quebec government tabled its own gun-registry legislation on Tuesday amid an ongoing legal battle with Ottawa over the fate of data from the scrapped federal registry.

If Quebec's bill becomes law, owners of non-restricted firearms will have to obtain a certificate for each one.

Quebec and Ottawa are fighting over the information that the province contributed to the federal registry.

Quebec Superior Court ordered last September that 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.

Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron decided to proceed with Tuesday's legislation even before next month's court proceedings.

''We can't end up in a legal vacuum,'' he told a news conference surrounded by opposition politicians, police chiefs and gun-control advocates.

''We need a legal framework so we can implement the registry quickly, once we get the data.''

Bergeron was unable to specify how much the registry would cost, although he did say it would be a ''few million.''

He did not want to say what would happen to the legislation if Ottawa won in the Quebec Court of Appeal.

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

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