02/13/2012 01:04 EST | Updated 04/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Gun Registry Bill At Final Stage In House Of Commons


The final stage of debate on the bill to end the long-gun registry began Monday in the House of Commons.

Bill C-19 is at third and final reading in the Commons and is being debated by MPs for two more days before a vote will seal its fate Wednesday evening. Because of the Conservative majority, the bill is expected pass and move to the Senate.

It passed the report stage last week after the opposition tried unsuccessfully to amend it. Amendments were also proposed, and defeated, at the committee stage. Opposition parties want to maintain the registry and are particularly upset that the government intends to destroy the data in the registry.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan said last week that on Wednesday MPs will have "a momentous vote to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all."

As debate got underway Monday, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz read testimony from witnesses that appeared at the committee stage who were in favour of the bill and he defended the government's position.

"I've always said that government moves slowly but I never dreamed it would take this long to get rid of something that has been absolutely a waste of time," said Breitkreuz.

Affects non-restricted weapons

The Conservatives have been intent on scrapping the requirement for gun owners to register non-restricted firearms. They argue the registry, maintained by the RCMP, targets law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals and is a waste of money and does little to improve public safety.

Prohibited and restricted guns would still have to be registered and a licence is needed for all guns.

The government used a time allocation motion to limit further days of debate on the bill so that it could move more quickly to a final vote.

Opposition parties and critics are opposed to ending the long-gun registry because they say it helps police forces and is important for public safety.

NDP MP Francoise Boivin talked during the debate Monday about why the registry was set up in the first place and mentioned the Montreal Massacre.

"We have not forgotten any of these young women," she said after reading out names of the victims of the 1989 shooting.

Boivin said the registry did cost a lot of money, but that there is a need for it.

"We need to know who has guns, how many firearms they have, if there are constraints on whether they should have one or not. We need to know how they are being kept," she said.

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