Registry Advocates Pin Hopes on Supreme Court

MONTREAL – Advocates of a provincial long-gun registry were dealt a major blow by Quebec’s highest court on Thursday, but they maintain that all hope is not lost.

In a unanimous ruling, the Quebec Court of Appeal determined that federal long-gun registry data pertaining to Quebec “does not belong” to the province, and can therefore be destroyed.

“The Supreme Court gets to decide whether to take the case or not,”

“The Parliament of Canada, which considers the data at issue to be pointless and inefficient and believes that its existence in a registry infringes the right to privacy, can certainly decide to stop compiling and preserving that information,” the 14-page verdict said.

The Appeal Court also ruled that Quebec should cover the court costs for the case.

“Obviously we’re very disappointed in the ruling,” Heidi Rathjen of the Quebec Coalition on Gun Control said. “We believe that the data belong to Quebecers, whose taxes have paid for it and whose police accumulated the data and set up the registry. Police use it every day to protect Quebecers.”

The provincial records, once part of a nationwide database, have already survived longer than expected as a result of the legal battle surrounding them. When the federal government scrapped the national registry last year, the Quebec government immediately initiated legal action, stating that it wished to conserve the data and set up its own database.

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This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.