TORONTO - Ontario's chief firearms officer is merely following federal rules - rules the federal government can change if it wants, Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur said Thursday.
"The chief firearm officer's interpretation of the S. 58 of the Firearms Act is that they can impose on those who are selling firearms to keep registry of who they are selling it to," Meilleur said. "That's what they continue to do.
"It's up to Minister Toews to change that act if he so wishes."
Ontario's CFO has been asking gun stores to record the names of anyone buying a firearm, saying it's necessary to verify buyers hold a valid firearm acquisitions certificate.
But federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has objected to the practice, saying since Parliament passed Bill C-19 scrapping the federal firearm registry, there's no need.
Meilleur said C-19 is separate from the Firearms Act and asking stores to gather the info won't lead to an underground gun registry, as critics say it will.
"It's the store and it's not centralized," Meilleur said. "Each store keeps the information because the person who's buying needs to have the permit."
At the same time though, Meilleur said she won't act on a motion from Toronto City Council calling for a provincial gun registry, and said she sent a letter Thursday to Toews reiterating that.
"They're sending their motion to the premier and the premier is very clear, like I am: We're not going to recreate the registry." Meilleur said. "We are going to comply with Bill 19."
Speaking on Sun News Network, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he doubted the Liberals' sincerity on on the issue.
"Here's why I'm worried about it: because Dalton McGuinty was probably the Liberals best friend when it came to that national gun registry," Hudak said.
"I'm very concerned he's going to try and copy Quebec and build an Ontario one. I'm against that. Let's support our frontline police officers; we don't need to waste money on another provincial registry."