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Try enforcing the law

Barrie Advance
15 April 2008
Toronto Mayor David Miller’s continued insistence that a (Canada-wide) ban on handguns is the solution to the gun violence plaguing Toronto is nothing more than shameless political grandstanding.

Does Mayor Miller honestly believe that any of the thugs carrying and using handguns really care that they will get in trouble for using a BANNED handgun? They are willing to kill people with those guns! Mayor Miller, what makes you think that banning handguns will change this attitude amongst gun toting thugs?

Mayor Miller completely ignores that fact that handguns in Canada have been subject to very strict and rigid regulations since 1934, making them already effectively banned. This virtual ban has done nothing to discourage criminals from carrying or using handguns. That’s why they are criminals; criminals don’t follow the law.

I have a really simple solution: simply enforce the laws we currently have on the books and hand out harsh sentences for violators. You use a gun in the commission of an offence, you go to prison for a minimum of 5 years, on top of any another sentence you are awarded. Sure we may have to build more prisons. However, will the construction costs of new prisons outweigh the legal, social and medical costs inflicted upon society and the victims? I know I’d feel much better if these thugs were no longer walking the streets.

Frequently, due to space limitations, articles are edited.  Here is the full article that I wrote:

March 2006
I would like to take issue with Toronto Mayor David Miller’s continued belief that a ban on handguns is the solution to the violence plaguing Toronto. While it may appear to be the solution to our problems, consider this: the people using these guns are already committing a number of crimes. Shooting people is ILLEGAL. Shooting at people, whether you hit them or not, is ILLEGAL. Pointing a gun, whether real or a replica is ILLEGAL. Shooting a gun within city limits is ILLEGAL (OK, this is a by-law offence not a criminal offence, but it is still ILLEGAL). Do you honestly think that someone who would shoot a fellow human-being really cares that they will get in trouble for using a BANNED handgun? I’m sure that is the last thing on their mind.

Some other facts: possessing a handgun without a permit is ILLEGAL. Possessing an unregistered handgun is ILLEGAL. Transporting a handgun, either on your body or in a gun-case without a permit to transport is ILLEGAL. Further, a citizen who has a permit to transport a handgun may only do so if the gun is in a locked case and they are transiting between a licensed gun store (eg: where they bought it) or an approved and licensed gun club. Except for specially licensed security guards (eg: armoured car guards) and a very select few public & private citizens, no one other than law enforcement officers should be walking the streets with a handgun on them, whether openly or concealed.

Handguns in Canada have been subject to very strict and rigid regulations since 1934. This has caused handguns to already be effectively banned to law-abiding citizens who can’t be bothered jumping through all the hoops to acquire and use them legally, and DON’T want to become criminals either! So chances are that fellow walking up to a bouncer at the nightclub that he was recently kicked out of is not legally supposed to be carrying that handgun he has stuck down the front of his pants.

Now I know Mayor Miller’s opinion is that since, according to Toronto Police crime statistics, 50% of illegal handguns on Toronto’s streets are stolen from private collectors, that is more than justification to ban them outright. Now according to his math, a handgun ban will result in a 50% reduction in the number of handgun crimes. What about the other 50%? What does he plan to do about that? Even one handgun crime is too many and should be treated harshly.

Do any of the above facts discourage criminals from carrying or using handguns? NO! That’s why they are criminals! I hate to shatter any illusions, but people who carry guns to commit crimes aren’t going to buy them legally, have all the required permits to own or carry them or even register them. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair recently admitted about a quarter of the people his cops apprehend with guns are already banned from possessing firearms as a result of a previous conviction.

I’m not trying to be sarcastic when I say this, but could Mayor Miller please advise me how many of the shootings committed in Toronto last year were committed with legally possessed (by the person using them) handguns. Oh heck, forget about last year; go back as many years as you want. That is one statistic I would be very interested in knowing.

Now I know Mayor Miller’s opinion is that since, according to Toronto Police crime statistics, 50% of illegal handguns on Toronto’s streets are stollen from private collectors, that is more than justification to ban them outright. Now according to his math, a handgun ban will result in a 50% reduction in the number of handgun crimes. What about the other 50%? What does he plan to do about that? Even one handgun crime is too many and should be treated harsly.

I have a really simple solution that will not require any committee studies, public inquests, parliamentary debate, new laws being drafted or large amounts of money being spent of ineffectual registries: simply enforce the laws we currently have on the books and hand out harsh sentences for violators.

I say put anyone who commits an offence with a handgun in prison until they are 65 years old, no parole. Why 65 years old? Because by that age, even the most hardcore gang-banger will have chilled out. To that 65 year old man, the S**t talking 20 year old gang-banger they used to be will be a complete stranger to them, a distant memory. I used to work in a prison, so trust me, I’ve seen it first hand (you might want to watch the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” Good movie). Sure, by that age, we will have to support these senior citizens as they will have no means to support themselves, but I hardly think it can be any worse than what is going on now.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/try-enforcing-the-law-2/

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