75 per cent of illegal handguns seized in Peel smuggled from the U.S., police chief says

About 75 per cent of illegal handguns seized by Peel police were smuggled across the border from the United States, according to Chief Chris McCord.

McCord used statistics to give Brampton city councillors a window into gun violence and crime in Brampton and the region Wednesday (March 27), after he was invited to talk about the gun amnesty planned for May.

Last year, Peel police dealt with 1,143 incidents involving guns; of those, 579 were violent crimes, including robberies and assaults, with another 253 “non-criminal” reports in which a gun was reportedly seen, McCord said. Other criminal code offences involving guns totalled 214. In more than 950 of those 1,143 incidents, a gun was involved but not fired, he said.

Guns were fired four times during domestic disputes last year, three times during a mental health incident, and guns were used in four deaths by suicide, McCord said.

Of the 26 homicide victims in Brampton and Mississauga last year, 10 were shot.

There were 53 shooting victims in total in 2018, compared to 40 the year before and 38 in 2016.

McCord said that one of the most significant seizures during Project Baron — deemed one of the largest single seizure of illegal guns in Peel police history — was the high-capacity magazine police found. Any of the 16 handguns seized could have been made to operate with that magazine, which can fire 60 bullets in 4.5 seconds, he said.

“Where there is a need for that in Brampton, I have no idea,” he told council.

McCord said that handguns are typically rented out to criminals who commit a crime, then returned.

“They will rent them for anywhere up to $2,000,” he said.

He said that crooks are also turning more and more to using revolvers over semi-automatic weapons, because revolvers don’t leave behind shell casings.

With a revolver, “there’s no evidence left behind,” he said.