Toronto is a typical big city, in that we’ve got our share of violence, gang bangers, dealers and the various nefarious who operate on the other side of the law as their career arc. There were three shootings last night in the Greater Toronto Area last night, as an example.
Handguns have been a popular way to even things up among the criminal element, just like anywhere else. That has the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, on his back legs calling for the closure of handgun ranges in the Greater Toronto Area. Miller has overlooked some information and managed to look like a dolt. Again.
Firearms laws are Federal, not Municipal laws. Sentencing of miscreants is most often Provincial, not Municipal laws.
Licensing of businesses is Municipal, which is why Miller wants to suspend the business licenses of someone who dares to have, or open, or considering opening a firearms range.
The association is clear enough to Miller: Legal handgun owners in the GTA ‘must’ be the source of all the handguns used in the various crimes in the city, as the legal handgun owners, actually have handguns. Therefore you can stop the criminals from having handguns by making the place where handgun owners congregate, disappear via the City Licensing Branch.
This is like banning the sale of wood in the GTA because some guns have wood on the handle or stock.
Note to Mayor Miller: Criminals don’t care about the niceties of a Firearms Acquisition Certificate from the Federal Government. There have been no recorded instances of a criminal taking lessons at a gun range in how to use an illegally obtained handgun. Most criminals couldn’t find the safety on their handguns even if it was flashing red and singing the ‘Ave Maria’. Most criminals don’t care if they have the right ammunition for the weapon. They just want something to wave around and feel important with.
As for handguns stolen from legal users in the GTA, there have been no reports as far as I can see, of any locally stolen handguns being used in the commission of local crimes. What handguns are confiscated invariably are from the US and have the serial numbers defaced enough to render tracking the weapon close to impossible.
This tells us two things that Miller can’t figure out: Our Customs and Border folks are not stopping the flow of handguns into Canada from the United States. That would be a Federal failure, not a municipal failure. Court sentencing, mostly Provincial, takes rare notice of the use of a gun in the commission of a crime. That would be a Provincial and Federal failure, not a municipal failure.
So far the reality score is Municipal Failures = 0. Which means that Mayor Miller, to be useful, should point the finger a the Feds and the Province for not doing enough to make illegal handgun possession difficult and very unappealing for the criminal element.
In November of 2006, I called for a double double law. Essentially, if you wave a gun around while committing a crime, your sentence doubles. Discharge the gun, and it doubles again, possession or discharge also having the effect of removing all mandatory release and parole options for the criminal. Seven years for theft becomes 28 years very rapidly. The guilty go away for a long time and even the most addled of criminals can understand the concept of 28 years in jail as a ‘bad thing’.
The nice part is a revised sentencing plan, like double-double, has nothing whatsoever to do with municipal governance and various mayors scoring political points off a situation they can’t do anything about. It is all Federal and Provincial, which is where it should be.
If Mayor David Miller actually cares about the handgun violence issue in the GTA, then something like double-double sentencing is what he should be flapping his gums about, not banning gun ranges in the GTA.