Sport shooters debate how to, and where to safely store their weapons

A murder in the heart of the city on Jan. 14, was unlike the usual gang-related shooting Toronto has come to know. The bullet was shot by a 22-year-old licensed gun owner with no criminal record, killing an innocent bystander.

Licensed firearm owners are allowed to carry their guns from their homes to target ranges and back, but some want a stop to the transport of weapons by building secure guns storage vaults at shooting ranges.

The head of an organization, called The Polite, speculates the only reason gun owners want to keep their guns at home is for self-defence.

“If you have a home invasion in the night, you can use the gun for self-defence,” said Geoff Currie. “That’s why they don’t want to put it in a vault because then they can’t use it (anywhere) except at a shooting range.”

The Member of Parliament for Agincourt, Jim Karygiannis, believes owners carrying guns and bullets to the range and back jeopardizes the safety of the public.

He has once again called for a firearm repository in the in the wake of the recent shootings in the city. “My proposal for a firearms repository would see the repositories located beside ranges,” said Karygiannis speaking through his office.

But the former chairman of the Toronto Police Services Board opposes this idea strongly. “A lot of dumb ideas have come out, just like Karygiannis’,” Norm Gardner said, adding there is no protection if somebody can access that vault access those guns.

Somebody will have to build a huge vault and you will have to have guards, he said.

Mr. Gardner said that despite the Jan. 14 incindent, licensed gun owners are not the ones going out and shooting people, it is the criminals. “Who is doing most of the shooting? Gangs. Most of them are gangs,” Gardner said.

“People who invest money and in firearms and in the sports industry want to protect their property,” said Gardner. “And the safest place they can protect their property and look after their property is at home.”

Currie disagrees. Centralized vaults are far more secure, he said. “I hear this from the gun lobby a lot.

They think the vault idea is dumb, they think regulating ammunition is dumb,” said Currie. “They just don’t want anybody watching what they are doing.”

“When these guns are stored in private homes that’s where a lot of theft occurs. If they were in a central vault which was guarded, then theft wouldn’t be possible.”

According to the Canadian Shooting Sports Association there are eight shooting ranges in the GTA area one located on the seventh floor of Union Station.