Forget handgun bans, focus on criminals

Forget handgun bans, focus on criminals

Having first run up the flagpole the possibility of a national handgun ban, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now taken it down heading into the Oct. 21 federal election.

There will be no legislation banning handguns in this Parliament.

That’s good because it ends, for now, the never-ending debate in Canada over “banning handguns,” a distraction from effective measures to combat violent urban street crime, an example of which Toronto experienced again on Monday during the Raptors’ victory parade.

Four people were injured when shots rang out during the celebration of the Raptors’ NBA championship, an event that drew throngs to the city’s downtown core. Police made several arrests on firearms-related charges in the fallout.

Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief, said if the Liberals are re-elected, they will look at banning “assault-style” weapons (long guns) and giving municipalities increased powers to restrict firearms.

The Liberals would also consider even tougher storage rules for legal gun owners, more prosecutions of people who buy guns legally and then sell them illegally, and tougher border controls to combat handgun smuggling into Canada from the United States.

None of these ideas is new, and the Liberals would have to reveal what specific measures they’re talking about.

What “assault-style” weapons that are now legal would they ban?

What new powers would they give cities like Toronto to further restrict firearm use?

How would existing laws requiring the safe transportation and storage of legal guns be toughened?

Many Canadians can agree with cracking down on illegal handgun sales and curtailing gun smuggling from the U.S.  In southern Ontario, which is tightly laced by geography to the U.S., that’s not a new issue.

But what new measures would the Liberals use to crack down on illegal firearms sales and smuggling?

Finally, what about enforcing the laws we have and longer prison terms for criminals using handguns?

On banning handguns, many agreed with Toronto Mayor John Tory in the 2014 mayoral race when he described the idea as an empty gesture after it was proposed by his opponent,  Olivia Chow, a former New Democrat MP.

“Handguns are already strictly regulated by the federal government,” Tory said. “What Ms. Chow doesn’t seem to understand is that criminals and gang members don’t obey the law. Calling for such a ban isn’t leadership.” Exactly.

Tory who, in fairness, along with council, has allocated increased resources to the police to combat violent urban street crime, now supports a handgun ban, which he once called an empty gesture.

With Trudeau having abandoned that idea, it’s time to talk about real solutions.

Source