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NDP tables long-shot bill to bridge divide on gun registry

A rifle owner walks around his hunting camp in rural Ontario west of Ottawa on Sept. 15, 2010.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The NDP has tabled a private member's bill aimed at making the controversial long-gun registry palatable to both rural and urban Canadians.

However, it's a long shot that the bill will ever make it through Parliament.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says he's hoping for support from Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs to accelerate the normally lengthy legislative process for private members' bills.

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But that may not be forthcoming since the Liberals have their own plan for reforming the registry should they form government and the Bloc, while willing to consider Mr. Angus's bill, says it won't support anything that weakens the registry.

Even should the bill make it through the House of Commons, it would likely run into a brick wall in the Senate, which is now dominated by Conservatives who are committed to abolishing the registry outright.

Among other things, Mr. Angus's bill would decriminalize first-time failure to register long guns and eliminate registry fees.

The bill was promised by NDP Leader Jack Layton last month in a bid to persuade a dozen anti-registry New Democrats to vote against a Tory private member's bill that would have scrapped the registry.

Six New Democrats, including Mr. Angus, ultimately switched sides, just enough to kill the Tory bill.

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