RCMP takes precautions to protect identity of gun owners

Complainants worry gun owners will be identified after RCMP releases gun registry database to a newspaper.

The Ottawa Citizen obtained information related to the Canadian Firearms Registry through an Access to Information Act request to the RCMP. The newspaper then included the following statement on its Web site: “Tap into the gun registry database.” As a result, a number of people contacted the OPC to complain about the RCMP’s actions and express concern that they could be identified. Businesses complained their gun inventories would become publicly available, leaving them vulnerable to thieves.

The complaint was not well-founded. The OPC concluded the RCMP had taken precautions to ensure gun owners would remain anonymous. The RCMP had released information about registered firearms as well as the registration date, client type and the first two digits of the individual’s postal code. This was not considered personal information under the Privacy Act, which consists of information about an “identifiable individual.” The OPC also concluded the RCMP had not violated the privacy rights of business owners as it did not release the names of businesses or their owners.

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