Quebec credits new gun registry for huge jump in number of voluntary surrenders

The Quebec government is crediting its new gun registry law for a major spike in the number of long guns voluntarily handed over to police for destruction.

Between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, 5,250 long-guns were voluntarily given to authorities to be destroyed, according to provincial police spokeswoman Joyce Kemp.

The previous year, 2,406 long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, were surrendered. 

That's an 118 per cent increase. 

The government estimated in 2015 there were 1.6 million long guns in Quebec.

Canadian law classifies guns in three categories: prohibited guns, such as automatics, and restricted guns, such as handguns, must be registered with the RCMP. Long guns, rifles and shotguns that are mainly used for hunting and sport shooting, no longer need to be registered in Canada, except in Quebec.

Jean-Francois Del Torchio, a spokesman for Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault, said Friday the jump is likely tied to the provincial gun registry bill. The law was passed in 2016 by the previous Liberal government but went fully into effect Jan. 29, 2019, the deadline to register long guns.

Long-gun owners must register their weapons, either online or by mail. There is no charge, but those who fail to comply could face penalties up to $5,000.