Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety made an announcement related to increased offender accountability measures in Ottawa, May 9, 2012.
Credits: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency
OTTAWA - The public safety minister has called on provincial chief firearms officers (CFOs) to put their back-door long-gun registries through the shredder.
"To me it makes no difference whether you collect information on paper or electronically," Vic Toews said Wednesday. "If C-19 covers that type of data, it is to be destroyed."
Bill C-19, which abolished the federal long-gun registry, included the requirement that all registry data be deleted.
This is the first time Toews has been specific that the law applies to the paper ledgers CFOs have demanded gun shops keep to collect the names and addresses of licensed long-gun buyers, along with the make, model and serial number of every unrestricted firearm purchased.
That's much of the same data once collected in the abolished federal registry.
CFOs have argued that they can keep the paper ledgers because they predate the federal registry, but Toews says that "doesn't make it lawful" to keep using them now that the federal registry has been abolished.
"These are individuals who enforce the Firearms Act," Toews said. "What legislative authority is there to collect this information? I'm unaware of that legislative authority."
Toews says he expects CFOs to act accordingly and stop collecting the data, but he wouldn't speculate on possible penalties for violators.
Meantime, the minister says current laws are sufficient to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
"You can't sell a firearm to a person who doesn't have a licence," Toews said.
Handguns continue to be federally registered in Canada.