In 2021, Edward Burlew LL.B., expert firearms lawyer and legal counsel for the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, received hard written evidence from Crown prosecutors that the RCMP still maintains and uses a secret copy of the Long-Gun Registry.
The revelation comes eight years after RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter Henschel testified to Parliament all Long-Gun Registry data was deleted in 2012.
“Consistent with the government-approved implementation plan,” Henschel told Parliament on June 4, 2015, “the RCMP destroyed the records between October 26, 2012, and October 31, 2012.”i
The Deputy Commissioner’s statement referred to Section 29(1) of Bill C-19, Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act, which states:ii
“The Commissioner of Firearms shall ensure the destruction as soon as feasible of all records in the Canadian Firearms Registry related to the registration of firearms that are neither prohibited firearms nor restricted firearms and all copies of those records under the Commissioner’s control.”
Section 29(2) gives a similar instruction to each provincial Chief Firearms Officer.
Despite clear legislation passed by Parliament and the unequivocal assurance of an RCMP Deputy Commissioner, all copies of the Long-Gun Registry were not destroyed.
The Smoking Gun
After receiving permission from the Attorney General of Ontario, Mr. Burlew was able to provide copies of the data to federal Members of Parliament. In at least three legal cases, the Crown’s disclosure to Mr. Burlew as defence counsel included a printed-out list of firearms registered to the accused and those lists included Non-Restricted, Restricted and Prohibited firearms.
Access to Information records were released to Mr. Burlew’s clients by the RCMP several months after the police received the pre-2012 records of registered long guns. These records did not show any information for those same long guns in the Privacy Act release.
The only conclusion is the RCMP kept this long-gun registry information secret – unless you are a police officer.
Recall the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
“The long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I’m not going to resuscitate that,” Trudeau said on December 1, 2012.iii
There is no need to ‘resuscitate’ a long-gun registry that was never killed, despite the testimony of Deputy Commissioner Henschel to Parliament.
Cannot Be Copied Easily
“A copy of the registry could not be printed, copied, or deleted with the push of a single button,” said Deputy Commissioner Henschel.iv
Henschel’s statement means the RCMP’s decision to create and maintain a secret copy of the Long-Gun Registry data was a calculated and premeditated act specifically designed to contravene the will of Parliament.
News of the RCMP’s secret Long-Gun Registry proves what CSSA has said for 25 years: The only reason to register a firearm is to tax it or confiscate it.
Anticipating a future government would seek to ban and confiscate firearms from licensed owners, in the opinion of CSSA, the RCMP clearly decided they must keep the Long-Gun Registry data, no matter what Parliament wanted.
Parliament is the ultimate authority of Canadian law and the representatives of the Canadian people and clearly, the RCMP doesn’t seem to care about that little inconvenience.
“We will not be bringing back a long-gun registry — it’s not part of our plan and has never been,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in 2018.v
Did Trudeau speak those words knowing that it didn’t have to be brought back because it was never gone?
The RCMP kept a secret copy of the Long-Gun Registry and they lied to Parliament about it.
Now Parliament must demand answers to these questions:
Why is the RCMP keeping secret records on law-abiding Canadian citizens?
Did the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau know about it? If not, why not?
Is the RCMP’s secret Long-Gun Registry ONLY available to Crown attorneys and police officers? If not, who else has access to this secret database?
Why is the RCMP’s secret Long-Gun Registry data not available to citizens when they request copies of their own personal information held by the RCMP Registrar of Firearms?
What measures will Parliament unleash on the RCMP for lying to the House of Commons and all Canadians?
How will Parliament guarantee the RCMP doesn’t lie to you the next time they assure Canadians that the RCMP has actually followed their orders and deleted this secret Long-Gun Registry?
Are the Liberals intending to use this illegally possessed information to further their May 1, 2020 gun ban?