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Wednesday, August 17

Police State Canada: Toronto Proposes Guns Housed In Central Depot

Toronto: The new Berlin.


Store guns in central depot
mayor: No reason to have a firearm at home, Miller

James Cowan
National Post


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gun owners in Toronto may soon be prohibited from
keeping their firearms at home even if they are
properly licensed and registered, Mayor David Miller
said yesterday.

"There's no reason to own a gun in Toronto --
collector or not. If you are a collector and you have
a permit, the guns need to be stored in a way that
they can't be stolen. And perhaps a centralized
facility of some kind could accomplish that goal," Mr.
Miller told the National Post. "The law requires gun
owners to have proper storage, but obviously not
everyone adheres to that."

Following a spate of shootings in Toronto, the Mayor
has asked city lawyers and the police to determine
whether the municipality has the "legal ability" to
require individuals to store their weapons at a secure
facility such as a gun club.

"It's a very serious issue and I don't have all the
answers to it, but I've spoken to the [Police] Chief
as well as our own legal department to see what we can
do," Mr. Miller said.

The Mayor has repeatedly blamed lax gun laws in the
United States for some of Toronto's violence, saying
half of the firearms in the city originated in the
United States.

While pressing the federal government to stem the
smuggling of guns across the border, Mr. Miller said
steps must also be taken steps to address domestic gun

"I understand there was one theft from a collector two
years ago, where some of the guns were recovered after
being used in murders in Toronto," he said.

Police have also speculated a theft in June of 46
handguns, along with three rifles and ammunition, from
a collector in Port Hope, 100 kilometres east of the
city, has contributed to the recent increase in

Mr. Miller noted several U.S. cities such as Chicago
have passed ordinances restricting handgun ownership.
But legal gun owners argue the new rules would only
make life simpler for criminals.

"It would just put all the firearms in one place so
they could all be stolen at one time," said Eric Greer
of the Ontario Arms Collectors Association. "That
would be a wonderful thing."

Mr. Greer added the Mayor's proposal would not prevent
criminals from acquiring weapons, noting Canada
enacted its first handgun registry in 1934.

"It hasn't made one iota of difference. And the reason
is the people that registered their handguns don't
commit the crimes. The people who commit crimes don't
register their guns. It's as simple as that," he said.

Other gun owners said they are tired of being
conflated with murderers and thieves.

"There are legal gun owners all over Ontario who don't
go around brandishing their guns, who go through the
whole rigamarole to get licensed properly," said Bill,
a member of the Maple Leaf Revolver Club, who asked
his last name not be used citing safety concerns. "The
Mayor's not thinking properly."

He added most gun owners would support tough sentences
for individuals caught using firearms to commit a

"At most of the clubs, you will hear people say,
'Arrest the guy, look at the law and if the law says
to throw him away for five years or 10 years, do it,'
" the gun owner said.

Mr. Miller agreed the courts must be more stringent,
noting individuals caught with weapons currently are
routinely released on bail.

"If somebody has a gun, that's illegal, whether or not
they've shot it should be irrelevant. They should be
treated like they've shot it and tried to kill
somebody," he said. "So when they come to court, they
shouldn't get out. They should be kept in court until
they're tried."
© National Post 2005

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