The head of the Mounties is warning chief firearms officers in the
provinces and territories not to create their own lists of long-gun
owners now that the federal government has scrapped its registry – but
Premier Dalton McGuinty says Ontario has no intention of complying with
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson reminded the firearms officer in a letter this week that the passage
of the Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act leaves no doubt about
Parliament’s intention to stop that type of compilation of information
about gun owners.
“I instruct all chief firearms officers to ensure that the licensing
conditions you impose on business records pursuant to the Firearms Act
do not facilitate the creation of long-gun registries in your
jurisdictions,” Mr. Paulson wrote.
But Mr. McGuinty said Friday his province will ignore the RCMP demand.
It is not at all clear, he said, whether the federal government’s
legislation banning the long-gun registry also applies to provincial
Until the Harper government makes its intentions clear, Mr. McGuinty
told reporters in Toronto, Ontario plans to continue collecting
information from firearms dealers through a register it set up in 1978, a
practice that predates the long-gun registry.
Ontario’s chief firearms officer, a member of the Ontario Provincial
Police, is of the view that the province’s firearms act gives him the
authority to continue using the register, Mr. McGuinty said. There is a
difference of opinion in interpreting the law with federal officials, he
There has never been a public debate about the ledger itself, let alone eliminating it, the Premier added.
“Perhaps we’re going to enter into a new debate now. If we’re going to
do that, let’s have it on Parliament Hill. Let’s not have an exchange
between the RCMP experts in this area and provincial experts in this
area,” he said.
“Let’s turn it back to the feds, and say, ‘if your intention was to
eliminate not only the long-gun registry but a pre-existing practice I
think you need to make that clear.’ Right now, there’s obviously some
The letter from Mr. Paulson to the chief firearms officers, some of whom
are RCMP employees and some of whom are not, followed a missive he
received this week from federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Scrapping the registry was a top priority for the federal Conservative
government which deemed it to be “wasteful and ineffective” and an
unnecessary imposition on law-abiding gun owners. The passage of the law
to shut it down was marked by much celebration by Tory MPs.
So Mr. Toews was not happy when he learned that some provincial firearms
officers were obtaining data from firearms dealers to indicate who had
purchased guns. He characterized the practice as a “backdoor” attempt to
recreate the gun registry, and warned the collection of point-of-sale
data was no longer authorized under the Firearms Act.
Ontario is not the only province to indicate an interest in keeping data
about gun owners in the absence of the federal registry.
When the bill to end the gun registry became law, all registration records were ordered destroyed but Quebec sought and won a court injunction halting the destruction of those records.Ontario says it won’t create a provincial gun registry, but it will
require stores to keep records of who buys guns, despite federal
objections.Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur has
written her federal counterpart, Vic Toews, to say Ontario will “comply
fully” with the requirements of Bill C-19, which scrapped the federal
In: Regional News, Politics, Weapons
Tags: registry, gun-registry, long-gun, rifles, non-restricted, Firearms Act
Location: Ontario, Canada (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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