Guns, crime and public policy

To the official statements on last night’s shooting in Scarborough, the Globe adds comment from Julian Fantino and John MacKay.

“This is not a time for panicking. It is a time for people to work together at all levels and find solutions that actually will deal with these people in a preventable way,” Mr. Fantino, the International Development Minister, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. Perpetrators of these types of crimes have not been deterred by the criminal justice responses that existed for many years, he said. “That is why we are stiffening things up somewhat to make the consequences more meaningful and more certain. And, although that’s not the cure-all and the end-all, it does provide some answers.”

… Liberal MP John McKay, in whose riding the shootings took place, said there are better ways to spend crime-fighting dollars than the measures introduced by the Conservatives. But “to be candid about it, I frankly don’t know that any legislation can deal with something like this,” Mr. McKay said. “This is some immature individual who decided that they are going to solve their problems at the end of a barrel of a gun.”

Meanwhile, Vic Toews laments for judges who have refused to abide by mandatory minimum sentencing legislation.

“We are very concerned about the courts doing that, because illegal firearms — especially those smuggled in from the United States … minimum prison sentences are absolutely essential to create a strong deterrent against that kind of activity,” Toews said in an interview with Prairie network Golden West Radio. “These guns are being used by gangs in order to perpetrate the kind of violence that we’ve seen on our streets.”

For last week’s print edition, Colby Cosh looked at the two rulings this year in Ontario that have found the mandatory sentences inappropriate.