10/19/2011 11:47 EDT | Updated 12/19/2011 05:12 EST

Long-Gun Registry: Tories To Move On Long-Anticipated Plan To Scrap The Program


The Conservative government is finally scrapping the long-gun registry.

The Tories intend to introduce a bill to abolish the controversial program by the end of the week, The Huffington Post has learned.

The bill, entitled "An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act," is guaranteed to pass the Commons with the help of the Tories' healthy majority.

"It's a committment the government has held for several platforms now, for several elections we campaigned on it, it is something we said we would do, and we are going to be doing it," Andrew MacDougall, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Press Secretary told HuffPost.

While successive Conservative ministers have claimed the registry harasses law-abiding farmers and outdoorsmen and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, groups such as the Coalition for Gun Control, the CAW, the Canadian Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association all support the continued use of the long-gun registry.

Law enforcement groups say the registry provides police with a "valuable tool" that is used extensively in their operations.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police say the registry contributes to community and police officer safety and provides preventative and investigative value. The association also said they believe the registry is "very cost-effective," but pledged, in a press release Wednesday, to work with the government to mitigate the results of repealing the registry.

"We must respect the will of Parliament and recognize the mandate given to the Government. Our focus will now move forward in offering suggestions to help mitigate the impact of the anticipated repeal of the long-gun registry,"Chief Dale McFee, CACP's president is quoted as saying in the release. "This one issue, however, should not overshadow the fact that our relationship with the Government is extremely positive and we are very supportive on a wide-range of Justice and Public Safety initiatives."

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) urged parliamentarians last month to keep the registry, arguing most firearms-related deaths in Canada are caused by rifles and shotguns and that the guns are most often used in domestic violence.

"The evidence is overwhelming. Gun control and the long gun registry in particular, are effective measures for promoting public safety and preventing violence against women. There is no evidence to suggest that weakening gun control will make women safer," Brenda Wallace, CFUW's national president said in a press release.

The Tories had previously tried to get rid of the registry through a private member's bill by Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner in 2009.

Votes on private member's bills are usually 'free,' meaning Members of Parliament are free to vote against their party's official position. Because of this, Hoepner's bill received some support from opposition MPs.

But when the time came for the crucial vote to eliminate the plan, the NDP and Liberals forced their MPs to vote along party lines and the bill was defeated.

The Liberals established the registry following the 1989 killing of 14 women at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique.

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CORRECTION: An early version of this story gave 1984 as the date of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre. The shootings took place in 1989. This story has been updated.