Miller back on the handgun ban trail

Toronto mayor David Miller is on another push to convince the world that handguns are the source of all of Toronto’s troubles and if the federal government would only ban those damned things the country would be violence free.

Having no facts to back him up, Miller relied on the emotional approach to make his case.

In inviting speakers to the city’s executive committee to back his call for a handgun ban, Mayor David Miller yesterday uncorked a flood of emotion in Committee Room One. This committee is the Mayor’s salon, where one can speak personally to him (albeit on a tightly controlled agenda; he had security guards throw out a man protesting a lack of shelter beds).

It was a cathartic morning, like a therapy session for locals rattled by the spray of gunfire that has claimed so many lives in town in the past few years. It was also a shock: the range of speakers make it impossible to file “gun violence” as something that happens to someone else in a bad part of town.

Miller seems to think that handguns run around his city killing people on their own.

“Handguns kill people. They kill people who aren’t involved,” Miller told a press conference Friday, his voice breaking at times. “They’re used to kill family members.”

and

“We can choose to say that handguns are so dangerous and kill uninvolved people. And close the loopholes in the law,”he said. “We need to stop these crimes before they happen.”

Apparently there is some disconnect in his mind when it comes to the young thugs who are shooting each other and innocent bystanders over drug deals and turf wars. I find it hard to believe that Miller really believes that a ban on guns, even country-wide, would stop these shootings. A more disturbing thought is that Miller really does believe his own rhetoric.

Miller’s office has also started a petition which says: “Handguns are intended for one purpose and that is to kill people. Their presence in Canada has resulted in the deaths of far too many people and have no place in our country.”

Of course that is a patently false statement. Handguns are widely used for recreational shooting and competition. Trappers and other people working in the outdoors are licenced to carry handguns in their work. In the USA handguns are used for hunting in almost every State and would be welcomed by many hunters in Canada if the federal government would make transport licences available for that purpose.

In fact the only way that Mayor Miller’s statement would be true would be if his total handgun ban would come to pass. Then, other than the police, handguns would only be in the hands of the drug dealers and the gang members.

There are half a million handguns legitimately owned in Canada and if Miller’s statement had any validity there would be mayhem in the streets across Canada. That is obviously not the reality.

There are some commentators that have seen the flaws in Miller’s rhetoric.

Handgun owners are like smokers: Their habit is unpopular. They’d just as soon keep their heads down and let the politicians yammer away. But here’s the thing about Miller’s proposed ban. If introduced, it will have little, if any, effect on handgun violence anywhere in Canada. The mayor’s own statistics show between 60 and 66% of handguns seized by Toronto police are smuggled across the Canada-U.S. border.

Cops themselves will tell you the number is actually higher. Police officers have identified cross-border smuggling as by far the biggest part of the handgun supply problem.

Here’s a fact that’s mysteriously absent from Miller’s list of statistics: Of criminals convicted of serious offences using firearms in Toronto over the past five years, how many used legally registered handguns, belonging to a target shooter or a collector?

and

Mr. Mayor-with-a-Mandate sunk to a new low yesterday with his latest effort to ban all handguns, not just in his empire of Toronto, but in the entire country of Canada.

****

But in my view, Miller’s efforts amounted to little more than a sideshow that took advantage of the vulnerabilities of many of the poor deputants.

Frankly, I was rather sickened by Miller’s performance and that of some of his minions like Pam McConnell, who actually had the chutzpah to say she’s “tired of the words” and “tired of the tears.”

A different perspective on the problem of big city gang violence was taken by Vancouver’s Mayor, Sam Sullivan.

A mayor, reacting to killings on his city’s streets, can choose to adopt one of two attitudes. There’s the path of outrage and the simple idea; or there’s the more difficult path of circumspection and wisdom.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has chosen to take the first course, over and over again. Whenever someone is shot in Toronto, Mr. Miller expresses outrage, and demands that the federal government ban handguns. Every crime, to him, comes down to the same cause. Every story is the same story.

****

But the social factors that create crime are not simple. A ban on all handguns would certainly not end gun crime. It wouldn’t root out violence, or alter gang behaviour, or topple the markets in illegal drugs and weapons.

Mr. Miller is wrong to oversimplify the problem. Tragedies happen for many reasons. If all guns were “banned” in the sense that it was against the law to own any kind of firearm, there would still be shootings. We need politicians who are willing to keep asking why that’s so.

It is refreshing to see a big city politician show that kind of common sense and honesty. It would be nice to feel that more of our elected officials had that clarity of thought.

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5 Responses to “Miller back on the handgun ban trail”

  1. Simon Says:

    While I agree that the larger problem is cross-border trafficking of illegal guns, and that should be our focus, Miller is not without facts. Toronto’s Police chief is backing him on this issue, and that alone should make us take the proposal seriously. Moreover, if even one gun-related death could be prevented by Miller’s proposed ban, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Wouldn’t every hunter and target-shooter happily hand over their guns if they knew for a fact it would save a life? Owning handguns – much like smoking – is not essential to anyone’s life.

  2. totalrecoil Says:

    Ah, the old “if it only saves one life” gambit. I have heard that over the years to justify everything from banning smoking, to banning ‘dangerous’ dog breeds and Lord knows what else. If we were really concerned with “saving just one life”, we would ban swimming pools, snow skiing, alcohol (tried that once), cars, sharp knives, chainsaws and for good measure enforce an 8:00 PM curfew for everyone. If that didn’t do it you could probably find a whole bunch of other thing to ban that would “save just one life”. Give me a break.

  3. Dave Says:

    It’s hard to believe anyone would think a gun ban would make any difference on our streets. We once again are not solving the real problem yet again. That’s our liberal way. Does anyone really think the gangs and drug dealers are going to turn to plastic butter knifes after a gun ban is imposed? Does anyone really think its the sport shooters with valid FAC’s who are the trigger pullers on the streets? Are we really that stupid a society now? We all watch the news. I think we all know what the real problem is. David Miller is truely an idiot.

  4. Bill Gibbons Says:

    Miller is a typical leftie – actually thinking through a problem is too much trouble. And he’s English, which says a lot. Tell you what Mr. Mayor, after you have disarmed law-abiding citizens from their legally owned a safely stored handguns, why not disarm Metro Toronto’s finest? I mean, let’s get back to the unarmed “Bobby” on the beat. I’m sure that the Jamaican gangs who routinely kill each other over drugs and turf will gladly put down their illegal, unregistered firemarms once everybody else has. But, don’t forget your other promise – to build more basketball courts. I mean, that’s why people join gangs, right? because there is not enough basketball courts andf after school activities. Don’t forget to serve up the fried chicken and watermelon while your at it Mr. Mayor, given the fact that you already believe that all black youths play basketball. Really.

    But, let’s look at Switzerland, which has an almost completely volunteer, part-time military, where most men of military service age (18-52) keep assualt rifles with ammo in their homes. Are they killing each other? Not a chance. Why? Well just look at Toronto, or even Calgary. See what Multiculturalism and brainless liberalism has done to Canada with people who come from other countries that produce violent cultures – like Jamaica, where I was recently. Let’s start with a few common sense changes.

    1. Ban David Miller. Because he doesn’t have a brain
    2. Bar everyone coming from countries that produce violent cultures.
    4. Hang murderers.
    6. Make Gang membership a criminal offence punishable by 5 years in jail.
    7. Establish an anti-gang task force with a no-nonsense shot-to-kill policy.
    8. Make the use of handguns involved in crimes of any kind punishable by an automatic ten year sentence (even if the gun isn’t used)
    9. HOLD and then deport all foreign criminals, regardless of where they come from.

    Let’s elect mayors and politicians that have some balls. Ooops, sorry, I forgot. We’re living in Canada.

  5. barry Says:

    we hear the same drivel ad nauseum about how dangerous the u.s. is because of guns,
    (of course nothing is mentioned on how the states with the most legally owned guns are the safer ones). but the u.n. stats show the highest world murder rates are south africa and jamaca. -just stopping for gas at a station in washington d.c.(where handguns are banned),i saw a felony commited by a black motorist(i spent a grand total a few hours in that state)whereas i spent the balance of 3 weeks in florida without seeing a single crime, where i know there are millions of legal handgun owners.
    in all honesty, is there not an identifiable pattern here?
    my vehical was vandalized and broken into twice in toronto-both in predominantly black areas.never in any other area .i say stop immigration from cultures that clash with ours, and strip citizenship from these offenders i- care not if they were born here as second generation – this is what will reduce violent crime while protecting real canadians and the rights their ancestors fought for.

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