POLITICS

Feds completely shut down long gun info collection

07/10/2012 09:51 EDT | Updated 09/09/2012 05:12 EDT
The federal government has ordered the province to stop collecting personal information from people who buy long guns.

Nova Scotia's firearms office collected the information under federal authority and continued to do so, even after the federal government killed the long gun registry earlier this spring.

Roger Merrick, the province's director of Public Safety Investigations, said that will now end.

"We will be sending out letters to businesses that sell firearms, basically stating that they are no longer required to collect data on persons purchasing long guns," Merrick said.

Dealers have been recording long gun sales since the 1980's, including the names and addresses of the buyer.

Last week, the federal government explicitly told Nova Scotia and other provinces to stop collecting information.

"Previously, the firearms act required the data to be collected, to be available to be scrutinized. After this, we will not have any data to look at, " Merrick said.

For police, he said, the end of the ledgers will make tracking the movement of long guns harder, if not impossible.

"If the police were looking to track a particular firearm that may have been used in an offence, they would have to utilize the serial number of that firearm, go back to the manufacturer, find out who they sold it to, and then perhaps interview the business owner to see whether or not they would be able to provide the information," Merrick said.

Justice Minister Ross Landry said the province has no interest in setting up its own system, making it clear the NDP will not fight the federal government's decision.

"For us to go in and try and challenge them in that battle, it makes no logical sense to us. Our taxpayer dollars would be better spent on crime prevention and other initiatives," Landry said.

Firearms dealers are still required to collect and maintain data on the sale of restricted weapons, such as handguns.

Buyers of long guns require a training course that is overseen by police.