In April 2012, with the unanimous support of the National Assembly, the Quebec government filed a constitutional challenge to recover the province’s gun registry data in the perspective of creating a provincial gun registry to provide a more secure environment for its citizens.
Through Bill C-19 the federal government has ended the registration of rifles and shotguns and called for the destruction of all records on the 7.1 million rifles and shotguns that were registered in Canada. The permanent destruction of registry records and loss of gun records of sales has a severe impact on law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute gun-related crime and makes it nearly impossible to trace stolen guns. The registry was a tool used by police officers to remove guns from dangerous people, enforce prohibition orders and take preventive actions.
With the help of front-line police officers, Quebec has argued that the data is useful, that the province contributed to collect it and that it is therefore in the interests of public safety to maintain it. This has so far prevented the federal government from shutting down access to the gun registry in the province.
After a victory at the Superior Court of Quebec, and a loss at the Court of appeal, Quebec is now pleading in front of the Supreme Court of Canada.