(Quebec) The Legault government must eliminate the “loopholes” that allow hundreds of thousands of hunters to boycott the gun registry with impunity, says a group that supports arms control.
Quebec must submit a bill by Easter to implement the easing announced by the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, to encourage participation in the controversial program.
In a letter obtained by La Presse, the PolySeSouvient group urges the government of the Coalition avenir Quebec to go further to force the end of the boycott.
“This is a matter of public safety, it requires law enforcement,” spokesman Heidi Rathjen said. So, we hope that these amendments can encourage the issuance of fines, which for us is the missing piece to counter the boycott and ensure compliance with the law. ”
According to the most recent data from the Department of Public Safety, there were almost half a million records at the Firearms Registration Service (SIAF) as of April 4. This is a progression from the end of January, when the law came into effect.
But obviously, the recalcitrant are still largely in the majority. It is estimated that there are 1.6 million weapons in circulation in Quebec. More than two-thirds of them are still not registered.
PolySeSouvient therefore suggests that the law be amended to allow wildlife officers to seize weapons, if they are not recorded in the SIAF. The group argues that rangers are “more likely to interact with gun owners”.
“It’s a deterrent: people will not be able to continue using their weapon until it is registered, and their hunting event is going to stop there,” argued M me Rathjen.
Currently, wildlife officers do not have the power to confiscate unregistered weapons or impose fines on their owners. At most, they can report a recalcitrant hunter to the Sûreté du Québec.
The union representing these workers has been lukewarm to the idea that its members be responsible for checking the registrations to the SIAF. Its president said he feared a new “source of conflict in the woods”.
PolySeSouvient offers a battery of other measures to fill the “gaps” in the law. Among them, an article that would impose a fine on those who encourage the boycott of the SIAF.
The exit comes one week after a group of doctors in favor of stricter gun control laws, and less than a month after the killing in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people found the death.
Minister Guilbault rose against acts of civil disobedience last week, after calls for boycotting the future law on secularism. She mentioned the possibility of using the police to counter the recalcitrant.
The minister’s office was open yesterday to study PolySeSouvient’s proposals.
“As any bill, there will be a period of consultation, and the minister will listen to the demands of all groups at that time,” said the spokeswoman for the minister, Amelie Paquet.