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Old 05-03-2012, 12:33   #10
4Rules
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Ontario cops enforcing 'backdoor' gun registry

Ontario Provincial Police will continue to maintain records of all firearms sales and who bought them, but say this not an attempt to create a provincial long gun registry.
http://www.canada.com/news/Ontario+c...371/story.html
Quote:
Ontario cops enforcing 'backdoor' gun registry
By Jeff Davis, Postmedia News May 2, 2012

Ontario Provincial Police will continue to maintain records of all firearms sales and who bought them, but say this not an attempt to create a provincial long gun registry.
"This isn't a registry," said Staff Sgt. Steve Ridout, a spokesman for the Ontario Chief Firearms Officer. "It won't be on a central data base, and it won't be digitized."
Some, however, say Ontario police are flouting the will of Parliament, and creating a new provincial gun registry "by the backdoor."
Suspicion the OPP is creating a long-gun registry by another name was stoked by an April 10 letter circulated to all Ontario firearms businesses by Chief Firearms Officer Supt. Chris Wyatt.
In the letter, Wyatt says that according to his interpretation, the new federal legislation that dismantled the gun registry only requires gun vendors to stop collecting some information.
"Bill C-19 does not define record of registration," Wyatt writes. "The Chief Firearms Officer is taking the interpretation that a record of registration is the registration certificate number or a firearms registration number, only."
For decades, Ontario has required firearms vendors to maintain a government-issued ledger recording the make, model and calibre, as well as the name and firearms licence number of all purchasers. Despite the recent passage of Bill C-19, which ended the federal long-gun registry, Wyatt decreed that gun vendors must continue to record most of this information.
Wyatt's letter says gun vendors must keep these records, or have their licences revoked.
"Currently, all firearms businesses are required, as a condition of their licence, to maintain CFO issued ledgers for all classes of firearms, including non-restricted firearms," the letter says.
Firearms lawyer Solomon Friedman says the letter makes it clear that Ontario police, who opposed the destruction of the gun registry, are skirting the new federal law.
"He's using the backdoor by using his control over firearms businesses essentially to extort them into complying with a registry that the federal Parliament has rejected," he said. "If you read between the lines, he says 'I don't like the law Parliament passed, and I'm going to subvert it and maintain a provincial registry.' "
The approach the OPP is taking, Freidman added, is a sneaky one.
"At least Quebec is honest, and is going through the front door, as it were, and litigated this in court," he said. "The CFO wants to appear to be complying with federal law, but at the same time maintaining a hidden business registry of firearms."
Ridout said the purchasing ledger system must be maintained so the OPP can ensure that firearms businesses are not selling guns to people without licences. Police officers will perform an audit once every two years, he said, and inspect the ledger to determine whether any illegal sales have been made.
Friedman says this justification does not stand up, because the RCMP has set up a new toll-free hotline through which vendors can call to verify whether a purchaser holds a valid firearms licence.
How police will use the data in this "undercover registry" remains to be seen, Friedman said.
"Can the police continue to use it as an investigative tool, will you see it forming the basis of arrest warrants? Will it be used if firearms are reclassified and later confiscated?"
Ridout said the information contained in purchasing ledgers will not be compiled into a central database, and will therefore not be at the fingertips of the police. He said, however, that police will be able to use the data in court during prosecutions if they abide by the proper procedures.
"Like any other piece of privately held information, they would have to obtain the information through a search warrant," he said. "Just like any other criminal investigation, if the evidence was obtained legally and with judicial authority it would be a valid piece of evidence."
All provincial chief firearms officers met in February to discuss the ramifications of Bill C-19, Ridout said. He said there was agreement that ledger information should still be collected, and that other provinces will likely follow Ontario's lead.
"That was the interpretation the CFOs nationally were taking."


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