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Canada Plans to Tighten Gun Reviews and Records
The registry, introduced by a Liberal government in 1995 in response to a mass shooting of students at an engineering school in Montreal, was unpopular in rural areas and in many Indigenous communities. It was also plagued by computer problems and cost overruns.
But many police forces and some provinces had campaigned vigorously to keep the long-gun registry, and Quebec introduced its own this year. Handguns, semiautomatic and automatic weapons have continued to be registered with the federal government, but Mr. Goodale said that most firearms in Canada were rifles and shotguns.
In a series of posts on Twitter promoting the legislation, Mr. Trudeau tried to strike a balance.
“We’re taking action for common-sense gun control, better background checks, and safer communities — while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Mr. Trudeau wrote.
Under the measure, stores will have to indefinitely maintain records of every gun they sell and the gun license number of every purchaser. The government will not have access to those records, but police forces will be able to examine them with a court order.
The measure leaves one significant gap: It would not impose a recordkeeping requirement on guns sales between individuals. But individual sellers, as well as stores, would be required to confirm with the government the validity of buyers’ mandatory gun licenses before completing any sale.
The bill will also expand the review of gun license applications. Only violent crimes or behavior, crimes involving firearms and violent episodes related to mental illness going back five years are currently considered. The new law will extend the review of those factors to the lifetime of license applicants.
The legislation will make it more difficult for some owners to transport some kinds of guns without permission and will reclassify two broad types of rifles to restrict their sale and ownership.
The Liberals’ majority in the House of Commons ensures that the legislation will ultimately pass, although Conservative members of the unelected Senate could prolong the final approval.
Mr. Goodale acknowledged that the changes are likely to dissatisfy some gun owners and gun-control advocates.
“I’ve watched this issue for 40 years,” Mr. Goodale said. “There will be people who argue strenuously that what we’re doing today is not nearly enough, and there will be those who will argue exactly the opposite.”
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