Credits: REUTERS/JACOB SLATON
Yet, that appears to be what is happening.
Since the registry was dismantled by an act of Parliament last month, CFOs in at least five provinces have taken it upon themselves to demand that gun shop owners create an unofficial registry.
In Ontario, BC, Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick, CFOs have told retailers to start keeping track of who buys every gun they sell. This demand goes way beyond what is required by federal law.
Anyone wishing to buy a gun must first have a federal firearms licence. And gun retailers are required to make every reasonable effort to ensure their customers have licences before selling them firearms.
But the CFOs met in February and decided that even if the federal Tories managed to pass a law ending the registry, they - the CFOs - would do all they could to create a de facto registry.
So within the past few weeks, gun shop owners in at least the five provinces listed above have received letters telling them they must keep a record of each gun they sell, its make, model and serial number. They must also record who bought the gun, plus the buyer's name, address and firearms licence number.
This is exactly the same information that was collected under the registry, with the exception of a registration number that was generated by federal firearms computers at the time of each sale.
The only difference is, this info isn't stored in a central computer.
This is nothing less than a bald-faced attempt to defy the will of Parliament.
So what is the Harper government doing about this underhanded effort to resuscitate a registry it has worked so long to dismantle? Seemingly nothing.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is responsible for enforcement of firearms law, has hinted that he will not stand in the way of provinces that wish to create their own registries. Ottawa is currently fighting an attempt by Quebec to make the federal government turn over registry records on Quebecers, but beyond that Toews has dropped hints he will not stand in the way of any province that wants to build its own registry from the ground up.
What is particularly galling about the CFOs maneuver - and Toews' unwillingness to stop it - is that most of the CFOs are federal appointees. Except for the ones in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick (who are appointed provincially), all the CFOs are handpicked by Ottawa.
That means if Toews and the Tories were truly concerned about the CFOs attempt to undermine last month's legislation, a few quick phone calls might end the bureaucrats' scheme.
Last December, in anticipation of passing their registry-ending legislation, the Tories ran triumphant ads declaring that, "Now hunters and farmers won't be treated as criminals anymore."
That claim seems to have turned out to be a bit of a stretch.
Also last month, pollsters Angus Reid Public Opinion reported that Canadians' faith in the police had fallen 50% since 1997. Analysts speculated that this might be due to several high-profile missteps by officers, such as Taser deaths, failed serial-killer investigations and sexual harassment allegations.
But I imagine that much of the loss is the result of the registry and the way it caused police to treat all legal gun owners as criminals and threats to public safety.
If I'm right, this latest move by the CFOs will only further diminish confidence in law enforcement.