Handgun ban misses mark

The mayor’s online campaign to ban handguns in Canada needs to go offline.

The message to support the ban started spreading through Facebook and YouTube last April, but since his campaign launched, reality offered nothing to suggest that all the recommendations he approves can put a stop to the tragedy of gun violence in our city. Just recently guns were seized in a police raid from two locations in Scarborough.

While this action seems to have been done in good faith to enhance citizen safety, the sad fact is there will always be criminals no matter the geographic scale or ethnic diversity of any municipality.

An all-out ban on the private ownership of handguns is an invitation for more illegal arms dealers to flood firearms into our city.

If the suggestion to restrict handgun manufacturing and assembly came into effect, those who want handguns will buy it from the black market. Illegal gun traders would profit, instead of registered warehouses and distributors.

Illegal distributors will find ways to smuggle handguns across a loosely guarded Canadian border, leading to more handguns finding their way into our cities. An increase of handguns in a community results in the need for more resources to track down illegal weapon by all levels of government.

The mayor needs to remember that not all gun owners are criminals. Zoning bylaw to suppress local firing ranges and gun clubs only divides people who share an interest in avoiding tragic deaths by such a weapon.

Gun violence can decrease without a ban on handguns. Since 2005 shooting occurrences in the city have decreased from 359 to 239 last year.

Instead of wasting his efforts on a hopeless campaign, Miller should focus on fortifying community centres and social programs across Toronto.

Miller asserts that youth are involved in most firearm-related violent crimes. So instead of trying to implement impossible draconian measures, he should focus mainly on his suggestion to enhance community social supports to break the cycle of violence.

Getting interested and involved in positive community activities, youth will no longer have the need to find a sense of support in friendships founded on guns and gangs.

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Posted: Apr 23 2009 9:40 am
Filed under: Opinion