MONTREAL – The Quebec government tabled a bill Thursday to establish a provincial long-gun registry.
The Firearms Registration Act, Bill 64, would require all firearms to be registered with the province.
Public Security Minister Pierre Moreau confirmed each gun in Quebec would have its own number and information on every gun in the province will be entered into a database.
The bill also requires gun-selling companies to create a tracking system for their stock of firearms.
Moreau said the bill includes criminal penalties for those found guilty of violating its provisions.
“We must establish a gun registry,” said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.
“We are united at this point that firearms are not ordinary objects. They need to be registered. They need to be surveyed at all times.”
In 2011, then-Conservative Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews announced the federal government would scrap the gun registry.
That decision was appealed by Quebec, but the program was abolished in 2012.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled the federal government could legally destroy the registry data.
That pushed the province to vow to create its own program.
Couillard told reporters at the National Assembly Thursday there is unanimity around the idea of establishing a registry, however there will be a public consultation process.
This comes just before the 26th anniversary of the mass shooting of 14 women at École Polytechnique in 1989.
Remembered as the Montreal massacre, it was one of first school shootings in the province.
Gun control activist, Heidi Rathjen, who survived the Polytechnique shooting has spent her life fighting for better gun control.
“It reflects the consensus of Quebecers. It’s very clearly demonstrated through polls, the unanimous motions in the National Assembly, through the solidarity that we witnessed at the last anniversary,” she said.
“All firearms are potentially dangerous.”
The horror was relived at Dawson College in 2006.
Quebec’s new bill could take up to eight months before it becomes law.
The estimated cost is between $15 and $20 million.
* with files from The Canadian Press.