The Scarborough shootings: Shyanne Charles, gun control, and the Toronto Star

Where to begin? Let’s start with a plea for facts.

by Michael Petrou

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP Photo

I get tired of writing about gun control even before I start typing. It is probably the one topic in Canadian public discourse that is most saturated by emotion and bereft of evidence-based arguments. But some contributions to the debate require a response.

This morning we have the Toronto Star weighing in on Monday night’s Danzig Street shooting, in which two people were killed and another 24 were injured when two men opened fire at each other at a neighbourhood barbeque. All the facts are not yet known, but police suspect gang involvement.

The Star’s solution, according to its paper editorial headline, is that it’s “High time to ban guns.” The editorial continues to note that witnesses should come forward. “But society as a whole can do more by banning private ownership of handguns… Indeed it’s hard to imagine how this could have happened at all if the shooters didn’t have access to easily concealed handguns.

“It’s too early to say where the firearms used in the latest bloodshed came from. But there’s no doubt that handguns — legal and otherwise — are all too common and easily obtained. Any reduction in the supply available to criminals would help…

“As of the end of May, there were almost 700,000 legally registered handguns in this country — a sizeable arsenal waiting to be stolen by criminals. While this isn’t the main origin of firepower, private collections represent a significant source that should be shut down.”

Where to begin?  Let’s start with a plea for facts.

The Star claims private collections represent a significant source of handguns used by criminals. What constitutes “significant source”? How many handgun murders in Canada last year involved legally registered handguns that were subsequently stolen? The Star doesn’t say.

But maybe this is because registered handguns — the “sizeable arsenal” — are still “waiting” to be stolen by criminals. Canadians have been required to register handguns since 1934. Exactly how much longer does this sizable arsenal need to wait before criminals will get around to seizing it?

The Star contends the only people who should have access to handguns are police, the military, and “a few top competitive shooters.” Exactly how amateur shooters are supposed to become top shooters without guns is something the Star doesn’t explain. But this is comparatively minor point. The bigger logical chasm is the Star’s argument that banning guns would somehow prevent tragedies like the one that occurred Monday night.

Obtaining a firearm’s licence in Canada today requires a police check, taking a comprehensive course, and passing a written and manual exam. This will give you the right to buy a rifle or shotgun. Getting licenced for a handgun is a lengthier and more complicated process. The Star’s claim that legal handguns are easily obtained is simply untrue. The idea that the gang members or otherwise troubled young men involved in so much of Toronto’s gun violence are also spending their weekends at a gun safety course taking notes on how to properly store and lock up their handguns is ludicrous. Their weapons are illegal. Banning legal guns won’t change that.

The Star’s editorial drives off a cliff towards its conclusion. “Collectors and pistol enthusiasts complain such a ban, under a mandatory federal buyback program, would end their freedom to pursue a hobby. They’re right. But balanced against that is the freedom of innocent people to enjoy life without being cut down by a bullet.

“That’s what killed Shyanne Charles, a generous and happy 14-year-old with a love of sports and music who happened to attend the Scarborough block party Monday night. No one’s pistol collection is worth that.”

The Star actually wrote that. Of course no one’s pistol collection is worth Shyanne’s death. And no one’s pistol collection contributed to it.

I hope the Star’s editorialists believe what they say, that taking away a sport shooter’s pistol collection might save little girls like Shyanne Charles. It’s an inane argument. But the alternative — that they know what they’re saying is illogical but still exploited Shyanne’s death to advance the paper’s position on gun control — is shameful.




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The Scarborough shootings: Shyanne Charles, gun control, and the Toronto Star

  1. Actually, what we really need is more mandatory minimum sentences. Or so sayeth our leaders. I wonder what are the penalties for illegal possession of a firearm vs. illegal possession of a few ounces of pot?

  2. The Star also seems to gloss over a few other facts, namely that:

    1) Handgun owners, by and large, only have permission to transit those firearms between their homes and an accredited range/store from the Provincial Firearms Officer and must carry the paperwork authorizing them to do so.
    2) In transit, no firearm may be loaded – long gun nor handgun. As such, clips must be removed and no rounds chambered.
    3) All firearms must be stored in a secure case for transport – handguns usually in a locked box – and may only be removed and loaded at their destination; which, for handguns, because of point 1, is pretty much only a certified range these days.

    Therefore, the police have multiple grounds to arrest and detain anyone walking around with a loaded handgun; it just doesn’t seem to happen (or get much press if it does).

    • I imagine it’s because the pistols are being hidden and the police don’t have the ability or desire to search randomly (well, maybe the desire…) Once a situation occurs where the hidden gun is revealed, it’s probably well past an improper transportation issue.

  3. Petrou, you need to think more carefully about the issue. Consider the following:

    1. All guns are, at some point, privately owned. This means that every single gun used in every single crime was at some point owned legally, somewhere, and then either used by the legal owner or by an illegal owner that procured the gun, to commit a crime. Criminals do not manufacture guns, legal gun manufacturers manufacture guns.

    2. If the manufacture and sale of legal guns was ended (impossible, but worth noting) then eventually, there would be no gun crime.

    3. Any decline in legal handgun ownership would, eventually, reduce the number of legal guns in circulation.

    From these premises (all of which are undeniably true), it follows that any reduction in the availability of legal guns will probably reduce the number of gun crimes by either 1) simply making guns less available or 2) making them more difficult (e.g., expensive) to procure.

    There remain many uncertainties here, and many things that Canadian policy makers can’t control. But for me, and for many Canadians, the sum utility of gun ownership is not worth a single drop of blood, so more regulation and restriction is justifiable.

    • Let’s ban Meth and Cocaine production/purchase in Canada, surely it will then disappear….oh wait, it’s already banned….
      If people want guns to kill other people, they’re going to get them. You have to find ways to prevent murders like this from the get go. If these monsters didnt have guns to shoot up that party they would have just used different weapons instead.
      I’m sick of bad apples spoiling everything for those of us who have brains in our heads…

      • Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote.

        My point is that guns and drugs are different: all guns start out their lives legally. Thugs do not make them in their basement. They steal them, buy them through straw-man purchases, smuggle them, whatever. Drugs, by and large, start out their lives illegally. There ARE ‘meth labs’, but there ARE NO ‘gun labs’. Most drugs are hard to control because manufacture and production are too easy and require so little expertise. Guns are different. Your average street thug cannot manufacture a gun.

        Ideally, we would be better at controlling smuggling from the U.S. too. But not all guns used illegally in Canada are imported. I’m not sure anyone knows how many are domestic, but some are. If we banned them then demand WOULD go up, as would prices, and by all the logic of criminal economics of an elastic good, thugs would seek alternatives to guns.

        I’m sick of gun owners not taking responsibilities for the social costs of gun ownership.

        • If there was no legal source, and a willing clientele, there would be gun labs…

          • It’s a possibility, but the quality would suck and they’d be ridiculously expensive.

          • @GFMD: You do not know what you are talking about obviously. Making a deadly firearm is ridiculously easy, if not childish, as is making ammo.

    • You are an idiot if you cannot understand that the banning of legally owned hand guns will only increase the criminal demand and supply for illegally smuggled handguns across the largest unguarded border on the planet.

      • Supply would likely remain constant, demand may very well increase. Now, what happens to a product when demand increases, and does this make the product harder to get or easier?

        • Good question. However keep in mind that guns are an elastic good–there are replacement technologies–such as knives. The great thing about knives is that they aren’t good at mass murder and injury…

        • The illegal hand gun industry would thrive—those presently involved in that industry on border Reserves and the buyers and end users in the criminal gangs would step up the supply if needed—though i doubt if today`s legal gun owners would be a large customer. They would just sit at home like you and wonder why the gun violence problem has not been solved.

          • Both American and Canadian guns are currently sold on the illegal market. If the supply of American guns is essentially infinite, people are only illegally buying the Canadian ones if they have no access to American ones, or the Canadian ones are much cheaper. Either way, eliminating those handguns make guns harder to come by.

          • —must be the heat…..I did not understand a word of that, or maybe the heat is affecting your logic.

          • think harder.

      • So you’re saying that it’s easier to smuggle a gun into the country than steal one from a legal owner in Canada? Where are your facts? How do you know this to be true? You’ve not made an argument here just an unsubstantiated claim, and did not offer a counter-argument to anything I wrote. Are you sure I’m the idiot?

        • I`m sure

        • Maybe not easier, but the supply is an incredibly greater in the US, especially wrt. easily concealable weapon, which are prohibited in Canada anyway, and I’d assume the most wanted.

  4. Thank you writing this.

  5. Prairie farmers figured they were cute toasting the end of the gun registry with ‘Shooters’….and never gave a thought to this outcome, yet it was entirely predictable.

    And now, because they couldn’t leave well enough alone….handguns are suddenly on the list to go too.

    Congrats fellas. Bright move.

    [Full disclosure: I own and use guns]

    • Handguns were used in the shooting. Handguns are not on any list to to be deregisterd.
      The long gun registry was abolished, not the restricted weapon registry, which also include some long guns.

      • Did you read the article here at all?

        • I did. What does it have to do with the long gun registry?

          • This govt….in it’s short-sighted ideological waste land….eliminated the registry….celebrated it’s end in fact.

            Now we have more shootings…. which was predictable….and now handguns are on the list to be eliminated too when the govt changes.

            “The Star’s solution, according to its paper editorial headline, is that it’s “High time to ban guns.”” There is much more said here, but that one sentence sums it up. I don’t know how you could miss it.

          • Again, how are you proposing that the elimination of a registry that had NOTHING TO DO WITH HANDGUNS has contributed, in any way, to shootings involving handguns?

            Also, who told you that “handguns are on the list to be eliminated too”??? I never discount the possibility that the Tories are lying to us, but I’ve never heard any Tories suggest that they are even THINKING about lessening the current restrictions on handguns. Got a link?

          • Are you sure you’re a librarian? Because you don’t seem to be able to read very well.

            The original article tells you that people are now talking about banning ALL guns….long, short, medium and blow. LOL

            Cons won’t be govt forever…..and Libs or Dips would probably back such a thing.

            And I must have posted at least 5 comments about how a ‘gun culture’ is created….and that we’re on our way to one now …..something predictable after the registry was removed.

          • Again Emily, ending a registry of LONG GUNS can’t possibly have had an effect on the recent spate of shootings with HANDGUNS, for which there is still an active registry.

            The two are no more related than if the government stopped requiring people to be licensed to drive motorcycles, and you then blamed that decision on a subsequent spate of CAR accidents that didn’t involve motorcycles.

          • I’m sure the library has remedial reading classes.

    • More lies, eh Em? Hand guns aren’t on any “list to go”, you’re simply making things up again. Lying troll.

    • The last line in your comment is probable the best argument I have heard yet for the complete abolishment of any type of gun ownership in Canada.

      • Yeah, that’s bright. Only the government and the criminals with guns. Sure, that will make us “safer”. Do you read history?? Did you know that gun crime in the US is by far the highest in cities where handguns are banned for wonership by the law abiding? Why do you think that is? After the US Spreme Court told Washington DC that they had to allow their citizens to own handguns, violent crime dropped by more than 30%. Virtually overnight.

        Also, check out the genocide that occurred in all those “gun free” countries, like Nazi Germany, Cambodia, China or the USSR. Allowing yourself to be disarmed and “protected” by the state is not a wise move. Moreover, it will NOT reduce the crime rate anyway. Never has worked that way.

        It’s not the tools (guns, cars, knives) that bad people use to cause mahem. It’s the fact that they are BAD people. Deal with the people problem!!

        Please people, start looking at the evidence and stop thinking with your amygdala.

        • PSA from the NRA.

        • I think you missed his irony… I believe his comment was in response to the fact that Emily The Troll owns and uses guns.

          • Thanks for clarification Rick.
            Yes, I did mean to point out the dangers of gun ownership and poor judgement skills.

  6. Stop using drugs and you stop the gangsters.

    • Legalize drugs and you stop the gangsters.

      Prohibition never works. It was the banning of alcohol that led to gangs, Al Capone and the constant street shootings in the US, not so long ago. But we don’t appear to have learned anything.

      • Agreed. But untill that happens, every joint you smoke or line you do, buys bullets for these guns :(

        • We stand far more chance of legalizing drugs than we do of getting people to give them up though.

        • Well, good luck with that campaign, Nancy. North Americans are huge consumers of drugs that we have deemed illegal, creating a very lucrative market. The sooner we take our blinders off that reality, the better.

      • Find one single reference that says the “banning of alcohol” led to gangs! Gangs existed long before prohibition, despite your revisionist history. Stop lying, troll.

          • Speaking of trolls… She should have said something that was accurate, not “more precise”.

            But I guess saying Jean Chretien stole millions of dollars from Canadian taxpayers is a “verbal shortcut”. Justin Trudeau beats up Aboriginals is just a “verbal shortcut”.

            Whatever, defend the lying troll to your own detriment.

  7. These are all fair points but I did find the following ironic. The Star says, ”
    It’s too early to say where the firearms used in the latest bloodshed came from” but Petrou says definitively that “no one’s pistol collection contributed to (Shyanne’s death)”. So, is the Star right and we don’t yet know the path the gun took prior to the shooting or is Petrou right and there’s no possible way that it was stolen from a legal owner?

    • The Star also DID give at least some of the information requested (although not in the detail asked for). It notes 1/3 of gun crimes involve registered guns, a figure which jibes with Maclean’s own piece by J. Geddes shortly after the demise of the registry. (I don’t imagine the figures include relatively minor charges under the statues like the Fish and Wildlife Act – which would make the 1/3 even higher).

    • Well, Petrou is right, no legal collection in Canada have guns with magazines for more than 10 bullets – these thugs may have had extra magazines, but that’s not common.

  8. well said

  9. More people are killed by careless idiots texting while driving than by handguns in this country every year so let’s ban mobile phones while we’re at it starting with the folks at the Toronto Star. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind leading by example. Whose ability to operate a motor vehicle while in possession of a mobile device is worth another person’s life or safety?

    We could do this all day and with numerous products from motor bikes of all types and skidoos to folks with communicable diseases being able to leave their homes and mingle with the public at large.

    • Proof?

    • Per capita, more people have been killed in ATV accidents in New Brunswick than have been killed by guns in Toronto to date. Is having those hulking monsters ranging through our province worth even one of those lives?

      • adjust the figures per minute of use overall to get a better picture of actual danger of the actual thing (sure cars kill more people than guns, we have tons more and put them to use usually every day of our lives).

        Then factor in utility (ATVs are good for driving, guns have extremely limited use), and you’ll begin to see the error in the argument you made.

        • Firearms bring up emotions in most people.

          FEAR: shared by both sides but for different reasons .
          Gun Control advocates fear all guns, why ? Probably for as varied of reasons as the people themselves. Some are so extreme they don’t even want the Police or the military to have them! But almost all their fear is based on emotion not facts. In are great country they are free to not learn about, keep, or use firearms, this is their right and I would not be the one to take it away! Thou not learning everything you can about something your afraid of seems odd to me, and giving up the single best equalizer should it be needed is just crazy in my opinion.
          Gun Owners fear the basic natural right every single human being walking this earth has to defend their family and themselves from harm can be restricted by ANYONE for any reason. Criminals have this right restricted WHEN and only WHEN they are in jail other then that they will not be bothered by the gun laws in the least. But because of the gun control laws on are books legal gun owners would have to brake laws in order to defend themselves against the illegal gun carrying, thug, rapist, robber, mental defective criminal if needed. That my rights are being taken away because of the unjustified fear of others is scary as hell.
          If you want to give up your right to defend yourself go for it but don’t expect me to lay down the lives of my family or myself because your too afraid to stand up for yourself.
          Firearms owners But because

          • er, no. i was offering a better way of analyzing the posters per capita figures to make them more illuminating.

    • well said… I see the anti-gun finatics have their heads up their bums again!


  10. The Star claims private collections represent a significant source of handguns used by criminals. What constitutes “significant source”?

    I can’t find the original article, but it didn’t take much Googling to find a reference to a 2005 Toronto Sun article in which Toronto police claimed that approximately HALF of all handguns used in crimes in Toronto were stolen from legal owners. I also found many references to the fact that the gun used to kill Jane Creba in 2005 was stolen from a legal owner.

    Apparently there are between 2500-4000 firearms reported stolen each year in Canada and in 1996, the total number of legal firearms that had been reported as missing or stolen since 1974, but had yet to be recovered, was 87,043 (LINK)

    • In your rush to support your fellow Liberals at the Star you have chosen to ignore the real problem of illegal smuggled guns coming across the border in an organized fashion and then used in the local drug-gang-trade.

      If the Star chooses to put forth such an idiotic argument that the elimination of legal guns will somehow save generous and happy 14 year old girls, then Petrou is right to call them out on that. Your Liberal method of fighting gangs and guns by chasing sport shooters and duck hunters will continue to make these gang thugs feel more secure while shooting up at the local barbecue.

      • Well, clearly if the Toronto Police were correct back in 2005 that roughly half of the handguns used in crimes were handguns that had been stolen from legal owners then the other half of the handguns used in crimes were illegally smuggled in to the country, and of course that’s a problem. That’s no reason to focus on the half that were smuggled in illegally exclusively though.

        Criminals don’t have their own gunsmithing shops. Virtually every gun out there was legal when it came off the assembly line and then became illegal at some point further down the line.

      • So if I get what you are saying, all Liberals are for ignoring illegal gun smuggling? We don’t see it as a problem, and we are all on board with ridiculous bans on bullets and would really love to see all sport-shooting outlawed? Pretending that all Liberals have exactly the same ideas, and that none of us can recognize that guns smuggled in from the states are a huge concern is partisanship of the highest order. Blame the lefty-pinko-commie cockroaches and everything will be fine. How about being realistic and recognizing that no thinking person left or right sees illegal guns as a good idea. What we need is some leaders who won’t spend the whole gun control debate pandering to their base and making it an us-versus-them nightmare. Leaders who will put the time and the money into stopping the flow of guns. Did you see the parts of the federal, provincial or municipal budgets that addressed that? The parts where they put more resources into reducing both the supply and the demand for illegal handguns? Yeah, neither did I.

    • Well, let’s think about that critically, shall we? Let’s take your numbers, as they’re perfectly reasonable on their face – between 2500-4000 FIREARMS are reported stolen every year. That’s consistent with the findings of Toronto police that roughly 1/3rd of the FIREARMs seized by them were originally stolen in Canada.
      But the truth of those statements, overlooks the key point those are numbers for FIREARMS, not handguns. Now, “firearms” includes handguns, but it also includes rifles and shotguns. Of course, the vast majority of “firearms” in Canada are not handguns, precisely because it is very difficult to legally acquire or own them (for example, in the numbers you linked to, 12% of gun owners reporting owning a handgun, while 95% of gunowners reporting owning long long arms. Similarly, according to the City of Toronto, of the 7 million or so registered firearms in Canada, less than 10% are handguns. The teling question is this: “what proportion of stolen firearms every year are handguns”? No one seems to answer that question, but if it’s more than 1/10, I’d be shocked.
      All of sudden, that number doesn’t look at that significant now, does it?
      The other point is that the whatever the inventory of stolen (or “lost”) guns may be, banning guns now does nothing to address that point (since it’s not a ban on handguns will affect those guns, they’re already illegal).

      • Fair point about firearms vs. handguns, and I did realize the distinction. That said, that point doesn’t address the claim by the Toronto police back in 2005 that roughly half of all HANDGUNS used in crimes were stolen from legal owners. Sure, the other half were smuggled in illegally, but half is half.

        Also, I don’t have the stats on the use of legal handguns in crimes committed by their legal owners, but I do know that domestic murders with handguns are actually more prevalent than gang-related murders with handguns, and a good proportion of those murders were committed by people who legally owned their handguns. Statistically, you’re much more likely to be murdered by your spouse/common law partner/boyfriend or girlfriend than by a gang-banger, and a good portion of those domestic violence deaths by handgun were not committed with stolen hand guns.

        Also, it’s true that banning handguns does nothing to get the 85,000 or so lost and stolen legal handguns that are already on the streets off the streets, but it would presumably decrease the number of handguns that would continue to be lost or stolen going forward.

        • Do you think that murders of spouses/common law/ partner/boyfriend or girlfriend would decrease in number if handguns were banned OR would the murderers just used another weapon like a knife/axe/hammer/baseball bat..one of the old-school methods? Perhaps women would be murdering less men in domestic violence situations because they are at a physical disadvantage and the handgun is the ulimate “leveller”. However, I really doubt that it would cut back on the amount of men murdering women during domestic violence. Of course it is hard to make a stabbing look like an accident…..”I thought she was an intruder and I stabbed her when she ran through the door” or a suicide, “he stabbed himself in the throat”.

          • Are you more likely to survive being shot in the head or being beaten with a baseball bat? Although to be fair, if I was being battered and needed to protect myself against my abuser, I think I’d pick the Glock every time.

          • Now remember we are talking about domestic violence…..spouse killing spouse. I did say that men would have the advantage if we take the guns out of the equation due to sheer physical strength (unless the wife goes after the husband when he is sleeping). I think a baseball bat blunt force trauma to the head would do just about as much damage as being shot in the head. If you take a swing a miss……
            There is no doubt that a large adult male can wipe out his whole family without using a gun as long as they are not all in the same room. Sadly it has been done. It seems the advantage of suprise ways heavily against the victims.

          • see above.

          • It’s possible but by no means a given. there’s no accurate way to measure if the increased lethality of firearms would have meant the altercation would have been a much les serious injury but for involving a gun.

          • Oh wait a minute, that’s right we aren’t talking about ALL firearms, only handguns. We still have the long guns in the equation as well as the knives and the baseball bats and the poison for those who actually planning out these spousal murders. So what I am asking is if you remove handguns from existance, will spouses fail to murder one another?

          • Well, I’m willing to bet that if a spouse is going to grab a weapon in the heat of the moment and unleash it on his or her partner that the victim probably has a better chance of surviving that attack if the weapon their spouse grabs is something other than a handgun.

          • I would be interested in the research findings. How many murders of spouses result from stabbings, blunt force trauma, etc. v. handguns. I would never sugget bullets are not lethal but I know that a knife in the chest and a baseball bat to the head are also lethal. There used to be a time in Canada when almost all murders within families involved weapons you would find in any home. A good number of domestic violence murders still do.

          • We also have to remember that not all spousal murders happen “in the heat of the moment” some are actually planned….hence poison & medication…..

    • The figures thrown around regarding the number of registered handguns used in crimes seems to change every time the wind blows. The figures I was able to find said, “Of the 108 handguns used in Canadian homicides in 2006, only six were
      registered. In 2005, of 129 handgun homicides only four were
      registered.” Now I’m no math genius, but those numbers only represent 6.48% for 2006 and 5.16% for 2005.

      And on Nov 23, 2006, Chief William Blair testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, “What I think we’re seeing now, in our latest work this year, is that close to 80% of the firearms we’re seizing have in fact been smuggled across the border.”

      Will we ever know what the real numbers are?

      • No figure stated by yourself or LKO actually contradicts any other figure – they can all be true.

  11. This comment was deleted.

    • Don’t worry, jason kenney will be to play on your fears any minute now.

      • Better get a petition started to thank him . . .

    • Jeezus….given your attitude, I’D pee on your lawn!

    • Go away Jethrine. Your racist rant adds nothing to the conversation.

  12. “I get tired of writing about gun control even before I start typing.”

    —-
    “A man goes to see a doctor about a nagging pain in his shoulder. As the doctor examines him, the man turns his arm in a certain way and says, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.”The doctor says, “Then don’t do that!”

  13. No use for critics that don’t do any of their own research and offer up better solutions. I am not in agreement with the Star article but you need to do better than this.

    • I agree, the Star article is bad but why point out its (obvious) flaws and offer no solutions? What will stop random gun violence?? Those who are against gun bans must have some ideas.

  14. Black crime rates are the same in Africa, in Europe, in the US, in the Caribean, in South America, and in Canada. Ultra PC leftists will scream racist, biggot etc. Their solutions have never worked to prevent black crime on our streets. The only solution is no more blacks in Canada, we do not need them.

    • Well, feel free to label me an “Ultra PC leftist.”

      By the way, it’s spelled ‘bigot.’ I’m surprised you’re not familiar with its spelling by now.

  15. This comment was deleted.

    • Who is this racist idiot and why is he allowed to post something so useless and derogatory???!!

      • perhaps because it’s the truth….and the truth shall set you free.

      • Why is it whenever someone speaks the TRUTH you get morons like this crying “racism”. It’s not racism pal, it’s fact. Just like it’s a fact that black people, despite being a so-called “minority” commit the MAJORITY of violent crimes in the city. Let’s ban THEM.

        • Uh, you want to ban black people? What is your major malfunction?

          • No I think we need to ban the ones who are criminals..so that would be a good 80% of them anyways. Sorry but it’s the truth. Very few actually are law abiding and the ones who are law abiding are from the older generation. Almost the entire younger generation are a society of thugs.

    • aspiring rap careers? yeah, bopping around at the corners of convenience stores with a getto blaster blaring making monkey like gibberish noises like the animals that they are.

  16. The continued brilliance of the Toronto Leftist crowd. Toronto has a hand-gun problem, so let’s figure out a national solution. Why the hell can’t Toronto ever solve any problems on it’s own, why does it always have to effect everybody else?

    • The Rob Ford Criminal Code – can you imagine?

      • Yes, I can. It’d be refreshing to see a civic or provincial leader who didn’t go running to the federal government on every single issue.

        • Ford’s got his own police force and says he’s not going to tolerate this, I look forward to his solutions.

  17. Until someone has the guts to stand up and admit we have a problem with black on black crime in Toronto, and are willing to make meaningful long term commitments needed to tackle the problem, the same thing will continue to happen again and again.

    Quick fixes like the banning of handguns or other insane ideas like the “bullet ban” proposed by Adam Vaughn, will do absolutely nothing to curb the violence and is more of a scheme to make it look like he is doing something when the truth is he can’t be bothered to come up with a meaningful solution, OR is afraid to risk votes.

    The key isn’t just to break up these gangs but to stop young people from getting involved with them in the first place. Young people who join gangs are usually from single parent or dysfunctional families. A gang offers them a purpose or a place where they belong that they do not get with their current families. Reaching out to these kids should be the very first priority.

    Next the laws need to be strengthened in certain areas. Right now if someone is caught with an illegal firearm they will most likely get probation or a very short sentence. In March a judge struck down the mandatory 3 yr sentence of a man convicted of having an illegal and loaded hand gun. The judge said the mandatory sentence was “too harsh”, and gave him 5 months in house arrest! Wow that should teach him or anyone else thinking about getting an illegal handgun.

    And what about about smuggling illegal firearms? In March a man was sentenced 1 year in jail for trying to smuggle a sub machine-gun into Canada. He will probably get out in 3 months. Is that a deterrent to him or anyone?

    And Adam Vaughn wants to ban bullets..

    The problems and solutions are clear as day. When will someone step up to the plate and actually do something?

    • Tighter gun control AND better outreach would both be helpful, though neither is likely to be 100% effective.

      • Bad guys don’t care about the gun laws….they will continue to break any gun laws that are put in place…….but that’s right punish law abiding citizens……. maybe if a law abiding citizen had the right to carry a hand gun and was there they might have saved those two lives.The

        • Oh that will work. The answer is clearly to have more handguns at a firefight. If Joe Private Citizen had pulled out his Glock and started firing back at the shooters, you can bet that some of those bullets would have missed and hit even more bystanders. I’m not a fan of outright handgun bans, but I don’t think the answer to gun violence is more gun violence.

          • I didn’t say any thing about more gun violence……just the right to protect ourselves……..and you would be surprised how well many Joe Private Citizens can shoot….. and I didn’t say lets start mass shoot outs in the streets……but if a guy is shooting a bunch of people in the street I still believe he could have been stopped way before he got to 24 people….Joe public have stopped alot of bad guys in the states as they were about to shoot a bunch of people and when the police got there the person received a pat on the back and a job well done…..not arrested like here in Canada for simply protecting them selves and others…….if a regular person can pass a phycological exam and qualify on a range same as police why shouldn’t we be allowed to carry……The criminals do and all ways will even if there is an all out ban on gun…. so that means they will be the only ones with gun’s…… gun bans don’t work look at the UK and Australia when they band them gun crimes went up ….. criminals laughed in interviews and said this is great we are the only ones with guns…..just saying there’s lots of responsible gun owners.

        • How is a ban on guns a punishment to law abiding citizens? Canada does not have a second amendment…that was writen some 300 years ago btw, not something that a modern society has any need for. Give one reason for owning a gun legally that has any justifiable purpose other than “it’s my right!”

          • “Give one reason for owning a gun legally that has any justifiable purpose other than “it’s my right!”"

            1. Wide-spread private gun ownership prevents MONOPOLY OF FORCE, either by criminal elements or (heaven forbid) by an out of control government.

            This is the most fundamental, underlying reason for firearm rights. It is also the reason why most tyrannies and dictatorships throughout modern history have been immediately preceded by a disarming of the common citizenry.

          • Thats pathetic…with an attitude like that maybe we should have a dictatorship in canada. Surely I jest, but that is just the most stupid reason in this modern world for citizens of ANY country to bear arms…in case they have to rebel against the government? Widespread gun ownership prevents NOTHING and has NO PURPOSE…period. If you believe you need a gun for protection, you dont…but if you feel you do, move, cause a gun is not going to protect you, it’s going to get you shot.
            And second, if you own a gun to prevent a criminal orginization from usurping control from your local authorities, or to stop an “out of control” government…take a deep breath, relax and remember, your really Bruce Willis, and this is all just a bad movie…also, I personally really hope you dont own a gun!

    • More white farmers are killed in South Africa in one year by black criminal elements than the total number of homicides in Toronto in 10 years!! None of these killings are with legally owned guns…

  18. There have already been some comments made with respect to race…and I’m sure that I may take some heat as well for my comments, but we need to put tolerance aside and face some facts. I have lived in Ottawa all my life and while there has consistently been crime, I have noticed when I read about violent crimes (both in Ottawa and throughout the rest of the country) I am seeing that the vast majority of these crimes are being committed by minorities. Again, I am not a racist but a fact is a fact. The issue is not about gun control, the issue is we as a country allow people to come into our country with no skills (because we don’t give teach them skills) and continue to support them via some type of social assistance which is barely enough to get by. All of a sudden we find ourselves with growing families that remain below the poverty line and their children want something more…some grow via education, some unfortunately turn to crime. I see comment after comment about gun control, no go control but we need to remember one thing…guns don’t point and shoot by themselves. So here is the hard comment to make/hear…either we do better a job supporting these minority families so they don’t need to turn to crime, dramatically increase police presence in ghettos, or go hardcore and shut down the border.
    Again, I’m not a racist but I keep seeing names in papers that clearly define the ethnicity…something has to be done. Don’t blame the weapon, blame the people using it.

    • Ego..Quit pussy footing with the PC ,I am not a racist stuff,the vast majority of us aren’t and your comment doesn’t require a disclaimer..The problem isn’t farmer Bob and his deer hunting pals getting all ginned up and crashing a childrens party or Eatons shopping trip,it is useless politicians advocating bullet bans,atomic bomb bans,basketball courts etc.The problem is drugs,gangs,and a certain cultural group.Same crap year after year.from the social engineers who make a living talking the problem to peoples death.

    • If immigrants and their Canadian born children are failing, then it is because they do not have the resources to become part of mainstream Toronto society. One of the barriers to that is racism and xenophobia. I taught in immigrant neighbourhoods, and worked with the younger siblings of gang members. I’ve watched racism happen happen, and it is good old-fashioned Canadians that do it under the aegis of statistics and demographic data. We have absorbed waves of immigrants since Canada was invented, we used to be good at it. Children are perceptive, they see racism in it’s most subtle forms and they know they are not part of the mainstream culture, and that that culture is afraid of them. It sets them up to fail, and then we slam them when they do. So when a person says “I’m not a racist, but all these crimes seem to be committed by one ethnic group, blame them” I get my back up. It makes more sense to say “all these crimes were committed by young, unemployed, uneducated men who feel their only path to mattering is to join exploitative and violent gangs”. You can’t de-black a youth, but you can find ways to educate, train, employ and include him. Focus on the characteristics that can change, not the racial and ethnic factors, and you have a chance to change something. You would also avoid having to preface all your remarks with “I’m not a racist”

      • This comment was deleted.

        • People aren’t born criminals you idiot.

      • This idea you talk about is so unrealistic. We can’t keep accepting immigrants that are uneducated and do not have the resources to support themselves. I know everyone see’s Canada as the gateway to opportunity and the country that will accept virtually anyone so that they can have a better way of life.. blah blah blah.. but there is absolutley no way that our tax dollars can support them. We have enough Canadians already that are in dier need of government support and assistance yet we ignore them and take in more immigrants that add to the pot of problems. Let’s fix our problems at home and have harsher border control so that everyone can have a chance at a better life. Do you know how impossible it is for the average person to recieve any government assistance because there are so many people abusing the system. The reality is that yes, these people, black or not, need to break the horrific cycle they are in.. Criminals often breed criminals and unless they have a way out, they are stuck in their situation. But we CANNOT afford to support all of these people. Period.

    • In South Africa there is a bumper sticker found on the back of mini bus taxis (black owned, ironically) which states the following: “A black man is always a suspect.” I agree.

  19. My understanding has always been that the vast majority of illegal hand-guns arrive here from the U.S. Outlawing hand-guns will not solve the problem, it will only increase the number coming across the border. I do think that penalties should be greatly increased for legal gun owners who do not properly store their guns. If improperly stored guns are stolen and subsequently used in a crime the owner should be charged as an accessory to the crime.

  20. I have a better idea. Let’s ban the Toronto Star. No paper is worth the social damage and mental retardation they cause.

    • Excellent idea! Restricting the freedom of the press is a great solution to opinions you disagree with!

      If you think that “guns are used to kill people, let’s ban guns” is an idiotic argument, you’re not helping your case with your “I disagree with this newspaper, let’s shut it down” argument, no matter how facetious. Two wrongs don’t make a right, especially when the second wrong is a WORSE WRONG.

    • I might have a better idea? the toronto star should be used for bum wipe by the caribbean sector of our society?

  21. So, it boils down to the black community of Toronto choosing, now doesn’t it? The evidence says that the bulk of these shootings almost exclusively involve young black males. Occasionally, Asians. It’s likely a no-brainer that the bulk of the illegally held handguns in T.O. are in the hands of young black men. Given that, then the black community has to quit making a stink when the cops start aggressively targeting that demographic and going after their guns. It also means that very community has to be willing to speak up and rat out the thugs.
    Compare this dichotomy: If a gainfully employed fisherman gets caught with one lonely poached trout in his cooler in the back of his $50K F350, he loses the trout, his fly rod, and his truck.
    But, some jobless thug under house arrest AND on parole for an act of interpersonal violence gets caught driving a Porsche Cayenne (purchased who knows how?) with a boot full of illegal (and illegally possessed) handguns, he’ll be driving that same rig 20 minutes after posting bail.
    We have to be willing to disarm and dehorse ‘em. Use the tax code. If you’re driving a $75K rig, you had to get the money from somewhere. Send in the tax cops.
    This ain’t rocket surgery, here kids. The bottom line is that it’s still a problem because the black community still wants to blame white folks, and the Ontario cops would far rather chase down miscreant dairy farmers, rampant cell phone abusers, and the occasional hunter who (God forbid) failed to properly secure the trigger lock on the shotgun locked in the case in the back of the Suburban.

  22. Prior to 1977, Canada’s gun laws were so lax that civilians could buy MACHINE GUNS without permits. Yet shootings like this were unheard of. And full-auto weapons (illegal since 1977) and short-barreled handguns (banned since 1991) are turning up with increasing frequency at these shootings, and in the possession of gangsters. What changed? Let’s not stick our heads in the politically correct sand, and pretend that white, suburbanite licensed gun owners are to blame for this. Have a look at this CBC article, if you don’t believe me:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/01/18/shower-posse-jamaica-gang-toronto.html

    Gun bans are a ludicrous idea, from a government intent on deflecting blame from a politically incorrect cause. Until the immigration system is tightened, conditional sentencing turfed, and public housing projects disposed of, the urban gang problem will only get worse.

  23. There were a few interesting discussions down the page a bit concerning criminals building their own weapons to circumvent bans. As my reply jumped the shark by a healthy margin, I’ll just post is as a new thought.

    I’ll note that the sort of firearms that could be built from plans on the internet tend to be capable of greater “firepower” than legally built ones. The internet-plan type of firearm tends to be either a straight copy or similar design to the tube-guns(sten, M3) or square-guns(MAC, Uzi). These are not difficult to produce(nor is the ammo, in case you were wondering).

    The nightmare scenario is when the criminal element realizes the potential profits in producing these incredibly simple and robust devices outweigh the profits seen from importing less capable weapons from other locations. You could make the argument that firearm theft from legal owners is less expensive than production of potentially more capable designs from scratch, and you’d be right. I claim that this is one of the reasons why we don’t see large amounts of homemade SMGs.

    We should always look to the examples set by other countries that have attempted similar courses of action to those we contemplate ourselves. Britian banned firearms, and has since seen a steady increase in crime. We need more data to make the assertion that these two points are connected, but it’s certainly worth keeping in mind moving forward – especially when similar trends can be observed in certain cities and states in the United States. Likewise, locations that have few restrictions on firearm ownership suffer greater numbers of deaths from accidents(the real death figure behind firearms). Frankly, I think that nobody has gotten the firearm issue solved, but there’s always room to try.

    If it were up to me, I’d give the following a try:
    1: Remove all restrictions on cosmetics and minor function limitations. Really, who cares what type of bullet it fires or what type of grip a given firearm sports? A firearm is a firearm and any firearm can kill you just as dead as the next. Treat them all equally, as they are all equally capable of killing someone. This frees up law enforcement dollars and paperwork involving definitions between what is legal and what is not.
    2: Mandatory firearm proficiency training for prospective firearm owners. Now, I’m not talking about the ridiculously easy tests one might have gotten accustomed to, but rather tests that are actually difficult and training to prepare a firearm owner for such tests. Mandatory re-testing every few years(two? five?).
    3: Mandatory psychologist visits. The goal being here for the psychologist to sign off on the prospective firearm owner as not representing a clear and present threat to himself or others. Right off the bat, this would do much to limit firearm suicides. Suicides represent a huge number of the firearm-related deaths worldwide, and anything within reason to curb that is a good thing. Secondly, a measure such as this would make it more difficult for the crazies of the world to get their fifteen minutes. Mandatory re-testing every few years(again, two? Five?).
    4: Tough laws for those that break them with firearms. This is a no-brainer.

    What this does is create a situation where individuals obtain firearm licenses which are good for owning any type of firearm they can think of. This is also good for carrying firearms anywhere they please(private property may of course exercise the right to ask the person to leave on the grounds that they are carrying, of course). Weapons may be sold between private parties without hassle(“can I check your license? Okay, looks good, let me take down the info and we’re done.”). Also, the job of law enforcement where firearms are concerned becomes much simpler(“can I see your firearm license?”).

    Simple, easy to enforce. Grants freedom to pursue your hobby or enable self-defense within the confines of being mentally fit and capable in training.

  24. Bring back the death penalty for killing someone with a firearm and make it a mandatory 25 years incarceration if you use a firearm in any criminal activity. If you have a gun on you while committing a crime you must be intending to use it. Now there a reality check for the bad guys!!! Canada wake up and change the laws to protect the public and impose severe consequences on these criminals.

  25. Sanity from the mainstream media on gun control. Who’d have thought it possible. A certain Ryerson prof must be verging on suicidal.

  26. Canada needs to stop letting immigrants in from the Third World. From now on only immigrants from the USA, UK, Australia, and Western Europe.

  27. As a law abiding gun owner it angers me when I hear of legal guns stolen, it makes me wonder if those owners where actually complying with the law. I keep my guns/ammo secure in a safe with trigger locks on. When I head to the range they are locked in the trunk with trigger locks on and I drive directly to and from and would never leave my car in a parking lot. Could they be stolen? sure anything is possible but good luck trying scumbags.

    If you actually want to prevent gun crime perhaps instead of blowing billions on a long gun registry spend that on border security. Have a read hippys lets deal with facts
    http://www.cisc.gc.ca/annual_reports/annual_report_2007/feature_focus_2007_e.html
    The number one threat to Canadians regarding firearms is US lack of gun control.

    One could argue that refining the “storage of firearms” laws could decrease theft from legal firearms owners. I don’t have any data on the particulars of how they where stolen but I am sure someone does and their is always room for improvement.

    When they say 1/3 of all gun crime occurs with legal firearms, I would like to know what defines a gun crime? I bring this up because with regards to the registry politicians that supported the long gun registry loved to bring up stats that said the registry was used by police 100K times a day. What they didn’t say is that if a legal firearms owner was pulled over for speeding/reported a crime that would be that counted towards “accessing” the registry.

    The premise that banning handguns would put a stop to a tragedy’s like this one in Toronto is pretty laughable. There is no “magic bullet” pardon the pun that would prevent things like this and banning something won’t make it stop. If all the legal guns disappeared tomorrow someone would get shot the next week.

  28. It’s time to get tough on young black males who commit crimes. No more second, third and more chances. Give them but ONE chance to redeem themselves and if they turn up in front of a judge again then give them 5 years. No if’s and’s or but’s. The problem is that our justice system is a joke. These guys commit crime after crime all the way through the juvenile system that repeatedly slaps their wrists and throws them back into the community where they re-offend again and again. Revolving door courts keep this going on and on.

    Despite being a “minority”, young black males commit the majority of crime. They belong to gangs and as part of moving up in gang ranks, they try to “outdo” one another in terms of severity when it comes to crimes they commit. To put it bluntly, the more animal they are the more “respect” they gain. It’s sick. Throw them ALL in jail and lose the key. There is no “rehabilitation for 99% of them so let’s stop pretending there is. These guys WANT to be criminals, it’s all they know and it’s all they’ll ever be in most cases. The only way they stop hurting people is when they end up shot and killed themselves or catch a life sentence for killing someone else. Until then they are ALL threats to innocent people in the city.

    Until the tough talking Mayor Ford all the way up to the PM actually put their money where there mouth is nothing will change!

  29. The Star is really starting to become what the Sun is..a hapless rag that’s not worthy of wiping your bum with.

  30. The Star’s numbers are wrong. All they did is add up “prohibited” and “restricted” registrations with no understanding of how many firearms that describes. There are not 700k handguns in Canada. What an utter failure.

  31. Thank you for a common sense approach to a serious problem rather than fostering more anti gun sentiment that serves zero purpose. Now please instruct Adam Vaughan on the realities of aquiring a firearm in Canada and its associated storage and transport laws. Oh, yeah, he doesn’t even care.

  32. People watch way too much U.S. TV. The ability to get, own, transport handguns in ‘the States’ is way different than what is required in Canada. This is well explained below by ‘Random Output’. Legally obtained handguns in Canada are not the problem. Illegal guns of all sorts coming across our border from ‘the States’ is the major supply of illegal guns in Canada.

  33. Thank you for Michael for a reasonable and balanced ariticle.As a responsible legal firearms owner who like millions of others take firearm ownership as a responsible privelege.It was refreshing to read . As for the star,I am amazed they didn’t fit their obsessive Rob Ford did it and was directly responsible rants in as well.The star is a joke ,not a reliable news source.

  34. We don’t need gun control, we need nigger control. This is why immigration does not work!! You don’t take savages from third world countries and expect them to act like human beings when they get to a new country. Instead they hook up with other savages (gangs) and kill innocent people with no regret and no regard for anyone but themselves. Time to send them back to Jamaica, Africa or wherever they’re from. Enough is enough of this crap. Get them off our streets and off our welfare system and get rid of them all. The majority of them are criminals, only a small percentage of those people are law abiding. Keep them and ship the rest OUT!

  35. Petrou should have followed his first instinct and not
    written about gun control.

    “Let’s start with a plea for facts,” he writes, and then
    goes on to excoriate the Toronto Star’s claim that, “private collections
    represent a significant source of handguns used by criminals . . . How many
    handgun murders in Canada last year involved legally registered handguns that
    were subsequently stolen? The Star doesn’t say.”

    Nor does Petrou. A quick Google search indicates between a
    third and half the firearms stolen in Canada are “restricted” firearms (i.e.
    handguns, machine guns etc.). I couldn’t find an easy number for stolen
    handguns used in crime in Canada. Stats from the U.S. indicate 15% of violent
    crime involved stolen firearms—in a country where it is far easy to legally buy
    handguns and assorted assault weapons.

    Why didn’t Petrou provide definitive answers to the
    questions he says the Star avoided? Was he more interested in using his bonne
    mots to slag a competitor than being a journalist?

  36. Where are the parents of these young people who destroying our society. I feel that all parents should go and claim their children regardless of how old they are they belong to someone. Those parents should grow a backbone and get tough with these young people. You brought them into the world, it’s never to late to late to get into their lives and start being parents. In some cases” which really sucks”, parents need to stop enabling your children. Grow a backbone and go find you child.

  37. Hear Hear! Well written! The Star’s editorialists, while
    shamefully capitalizing on this tragedy are perfect examples of the emotional
    reactions that run rampant. Building further on the logic and argument put
    forth by the Star, may I suggest that in addition to removing all legally owned
    sport collections, we require CRIMINALS to take a shooting course so that they
    will reduce harm to the innocent bystanders?

  38. I think the obvious solution to this is to allow anyone and everyone to carry concealed weapons. Sure, its gonna be messy for the first while but after a bit, it will calm down and people will think twice before doing something stupid if Grandma is might be packing a .44 magnum!!

  39. Any handgun that can be stolen should be illegal. Anyone who turns in a handgun should be rewarded. That means any kid, wife, brother or passing acquaintance…or thief, gets a prize, no questions asked.

  40. Let’s think this one through for a moment… Which people are actually registering their guns and will be affected by harsher gun regualtions? It’s responsbile people such as farmers and hunters. It is these people who will abide by the law.. not the criminals.
    People who are committing these horiffic acts are criminals who get their guns from the black market and other illegal means. Putting in place laws that will make it more difficult for the every day person to buy a gun is not going to have a positive effect on crime and is a waste of our tax dollars.

  41. this
    is what i said about John Gerretsen: “you know i think he is no
    different than a criminal himself! this man has little to no regard for
    anyone’s civil liberties and absolutely none for any law-abiding
    citizens and their right to defend themselves and their families. he is a
    big monstrous joke to the Canadian public and i think he should be
    impeached for his proposal. Reason, We have too many laws
    regarding gun ownership and we don’t need anymore unreasonable
    restrictions. Furthermore, people like him and Adam Vaughan want Canada
    to adopt new “Spread the cheeks” policies on how people should defends
    themselves against criminals, when knowingly very well that they
    themselves wouldn’t let some criminal walk in to their property and
    terrorize their families. One more point, its actually proven through a
    lot of university and FBI studies, and when i talk about universities
    I’m saying from both Canada and the United States, that the places with
    more Gun control have more violent crime than the places that encourage
    more people owning and using firearms in their defense against
    criminals. And here is why! Criminals would prefer having people who
    they know are defenseless and have little to no resistance from the
    people they are stealing from than the people who are armed and willing
    to rise up against crimals and bring them to justice.” BW

    • Love your FB page – you’re like a comic book character – ‘Shoot ‘em up Steve’.

  42. guns and mobile phones. two totally different things. yu cant put them in the same context lol get outta here. too many guns too much violence . period. have yu asked yurself, how did they guns get here in the first place, how did the drugs get here in the first place? because yu can NOT grow coke in your own home and it has to be imported from somewhere. the states? okay fine. but where did it come from before it got to the states, how it got there. and who paid for it. ask the government that. drug money fuels the war.

  43. I don’t at all believe that “half” of the guns used in crimes originate from registered legal form. This is complete bullshit derived from the anti gun whiners we have around us, too bad I say…. I remember a Vancouver police chief had once said, ( on Global news ) ” about 96 ( or 97 ) percent of handguns used in crimes are smuggled in guns.” Funny to see how toronto seems to have a rash of “stolen” legal guns used in crimes but vancouver has only about 3 percent of the same??? The sad part of this whole thing is that some capitalize on this latest toronto shooting to push for their own agenda to ban guns rather than deal with the problem appropriately to “actually” do some good to curb gun violence. Maybe deport some of the garbage that originated from the caribbean, send them back to where they came from, and let em do their life of crime over there. ( thanks Jason Kenny )

  44. who’s the bastard who took my post off yesterday? was the truth too much for this site to handle or what? I say those claims that “half” the guns on the street are from stolen legal guns is a complete lie. To hell with the toronto star and to the caribbean trouble makers and all the rest !! ( thank you Jason Kenny )

  45. who ever took my recent post off can suk my dik !! I know toronto is full of fags.

    • The ‘c’ key is on the bottom row, third from the left.

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