Slap down Ontario police on ‘back-door’ gun registries: lawyer

May 14, 2012 11:22 pm

May 14th, 2012 – Daniel Proussalidis, Toronto Sun

OTTAWA – The RCMP should waltz into gun shops across Canada and confiscate back-door long-gun registries, if necessary, one of Canada’s premier gun law experts says.

“They have the ability at the commissioner’s level to go in and inspect and to take the records of the chief firearms officer (CFO),” Ed Burlew told Sun News Network.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, Canada’s firearms commissioner, have demanded CFOs do nothing that even resembles a registry.

“The coming into force of the Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act leaves no doubt that Parliament has sought to eliminate any form of a long-gun registry,” Paulson wrote last week.

Still, Ontario Chief Firearms Officer Chris Wyatt maintains gun shops must keep paper ledgers with almost the same information as the abolished long-gun registry, arguing that the law that gives him that authority hasn’t changed.

Toews has threatened to introduce legislation to stamp out registries, if that’s what it takes.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has dared him to do so.

So far, neither Toews nor the RCMP has answered QMI Agency’s questions about what their next steps might be.

Burlew said the consequences are dire if they tolerate CFO defiance.

“If they’re allowed to do this, yes, we will be living in a police state,” Burlew said.

In the meantime, the situation remains confused in several provinces.

Gun shops in Newfoundland and Labrador say they haven’t been directed by their CFO to keep ledgers, but they still register sales for their own purposes.

In Nova Scotia and P.E.I., rifle sellers are also collecting extra info from clients while they wait for some direction from their CFOs.

New Brunswick’s CFO has reportedly told gun shops to collect more information from unrestricted firearms buyers, beyond just making sure they’re licensed.

— with notes from Allen Rollin