Credits: REUTERS/ERIC GUILLARD
BRIDGEWATER, NS -- Thousands of gun owners are swapping their shotguns and rifles with friends and neighbours in an effort to obliterate the defunct federal long-gun registry.
"More than two million law abiding Canadians are sick of being portrayed as criminals so we are calling on them to swap their guns so we can make the old data totally useless," said Tony Bernardo, spokesman with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.
"More than 2,000 guns were shuffled on Thursday."
Firearms ownership advocates worry that because the Quebec has filed an injunction to save the data in the long-gun registry so it can set up its own, that it will one day come back from the dead and be used to track long-gun owners across Canada once again.
A women's shelter in Toronto is also in court trying to keep the data.
Dubbed "The Great Canadian Gun Registry Shuffle," owners are trading and selling firearms without using the old registry numbers, making the old data inaccurate.
"We are taking the new law all the way, doing what the House of Commons said we could because these left-wing groups seem to want to put up blocks to what the government decided," Bernardo said.
Introduced by the federal Liberal government in 1995, the long-gun registry was a database used to track owners of rifles and shotguns in Canada.
It ran over budget and was largely loathed in rural and Western Canada, with many farmers and hunters feeling targeted by police and politicians.
The Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance and eventually the Conservative Party all promised to scrap the registry. After winning a majority, the Tories passed a law this past spring to officially stop the registry and ordered the data destroyed.
Many groups wanted to keep the registry, saying that it assisted police in finding guns and reduced violence against women.
Quebec has gone to court asking to keep the data for their own purposes and has stalled the destruction of all files.