05/10/2012 04:36 EDT | Updated 07/10/2012 05:12 EDT

Ontario stores keep records of gun buyers but province will not set up registry

TORONTO - The province of Ontario has no plans to create a gun registry, but will require stores to keep records of who buys long guns.

Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur has written her federal counterpart, Vic Toews, to clarify Ontario's position on the registry.

Meilleur says recent media attention created confusion, so she wants Ottawa to know Ontario does not want a provincial gun registry and will "comply fully" with the requirements of Bill C-19.

But in an interview, Meilleur said Ontario retailers will continue to take down names and address of anyone purchasing a gun as part of the permit process.

She said the chief firearms officer of the Ontario Provincial Police interprets section 58 of the Firearms Act as giving him the power to impose that requirement.

Meilleur says it's up to Toews to change that act too if he wants Ontario retailers to stop collecting information from gun buyers.

Toews sent a letter Tuesday to all provincial chief firearms officers, saying the collection of point-of-sale data is no longer authorized under the Firearms Act.

He asked the RCMP to notify him "immediately" if they learn that chief firearms officers are engaged in "unauthorized data collection."

Quebec has mounted a legal challenge preventing the destruction of federal long-gun registry records.