Toews shoots down back-door registries 0
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has threatened bring the law down on any provincial or territorial chief firearms officer who insists on setting up a back-door long-gun registry.
Toews sent the letter after Sun News Network and QMI Agency broke the news that Ontario's chief firearms officer (CFO) was forcing gun shop owners to collect personal information from buyers of hunting rifles despite Parliament's abolition of the long-gun registry with Bill C-19.
"If it comes to your attention that CFOs are interpreting the Firearms Act as a basis for unauthorized data collection, please advise me immediately," Toews wrote in a letter Tuesday to RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson.
"I am prepared to consider all legislative and regulatory measures necessary to give effect to the will of Canadians."
That information was collected in ledgers owned by the CFO.
The minister says any CFO who persists with those actions is "breaking the law."
"The CFOs are not to engage in the collection of information of that nature," Toews said. "That runs contrary to C-19."
Gun law specialist Ed Burlew said the minister leaves CFOs no choice but stop their back-door registries.
"If I were a CFO, I would have to salute, click my heels, and say, 'I'll obey my commander' because I see no wiggle room whatsoever," said Burlew.
Bill C-19 required all data contained in the registry to be deleted.
Toews didn't say whether data collected in CFOs' ledgers since the abolition of the registry last month must be destroyed as well, but Burlew said he expects that would be the next logical step.