Gun serial numbers are not personal information, judge tells RCMP

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OTTAWA — The Federal Court is ordering the RCMP to release the serial numbers of hundreds of its handguns in response to a request under the national information law.

In a decision made public today, Justice Nicholas McHaffie rejected the police force’s argument the numbers amounted to personal information that should be exempt from disclosure under the Access to Information Act.

In 2014, the RCMP received an access request for information related to a number of Sig Sauer P226 handguns.

In response, the Mounties released a 13-page chart that listed 468 P226 firearms along with details including the RCMP unit to which each gun had been issued.

The RCMP blacked out the serial numbers of the guns on the basis the numbers constituted information about identifiable individuals — data considered exempt from release.

The requester successfully complained to the federal information commissioner, but the RCMP refused to budge and the matter wound up in Federal Court.

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