May 1st London Free Press

Let's talk Hunting in and around Erieau.
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Gwens Dilemma
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May 1st London Free Press

Post by Gwens Dilemma » Tue May 01, 2012 10:08 am

OTTAWA - Ontario is telling sellers of shotguns and rifles to keep paper records of all the people who buy long guns at their stores -- a move one firearms advocate is calling a "back-door" long-gun registry.

The province's chief firearms officer has gun sellers writing down buyers' names, numbers and addresses.

"The long-gun registry was used to target gun owners and confiscate their firearms. That was one of the reasons for scrapping it in the first place,"said Solomon Friedman, criminal defence lawyer who specializes in firearms law.

"What we see here is nothing less than Ontario creating a back-door registry."

The feds scrapped the controversial long-gun registry in Canada when they passed Bill C-19.

"The passage of Bill C-19 ordered that all of the records of registration held by the chief firearms officer must be destroyed. This is a way of keeping that information," said Friedman.

Friedman said that since businesses check for a federally-issued firearms license before they sell any kind of gun anywhere in Canada, keeping tabs on who owns what kinds of hunting rifles at the provincial level is excessive.

The province's chief firearms officer, however, sees things differently.

In a letter obtained by QMI Agency, superintendent Chris Wyatt, tells stores to continue keeping paper records. He goes on to say that license checks have changed with the end of the long-gun registry.

"I believe it is desirable and in the interests of public safety that firearms businesses and the Chief Firearms Office take all reasonable steps to ensure non-restricted firearms are transferred to licensed individuals only," writes Wyatt in a letter dated April 10.

"Bill C-19 states that a person, which includes any business, may transfer a non-restricted firearm if the (buyer) holds a license authorizing (him or her) to acquire and possess that kind of firearm and if the (business) has no reason to believe the buyer is not authorized."

It's the "no reason to believe" part that's worrying the Chief Firearms Office.

"The old way of doing it, you would show your firearms license, you'd say, 'I want to buy that shot gun,' they'd punch your licence number into the computer and the computer would tell the business whether you can have that firearm or not," said Const. Wayne Johnson.

"Now, you can be a person with a prohibition, walk into a store, the store doesn't have to verify that you have a firearms licences. They just have to be satisfied that you have one."

Friedman counters that the law's wording mirrors the Criminal Code in that police seize a person's licence when a prohibition is imposed and stores can check licences through an RCMP hotline.

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