Kelly to push fellow mayors for tighter gun restrictions
Posted by cgccanada on June 2, 2009
From The ChronicleHerald.ca
By DAN ARSENAULT Crime Reporter
Mon. Jun 1 – 4:46 AM
Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly intends to recruit his fellow mayors attending a national conference this week to help him seek tighter gun laws.
The mayors of Canada’s 22 largest cities will gather Thursday in Whistler, B.C., and Mayor Kelly plans to ask his peers to jointly push for automatic jail time for people who commit violent crimes with firearms.
“It would send a very clear message across the country that it won’t be tolerated,” he said in a recent interview.
Although mayors do not have the power to make laws, these cities have more than half of Canada’s population and bear the brunt of most violent crime, he said.
That’s one reason he wants to use the Big City Mayors’ Caucus to push the federal government on several points.
“Legislatively, legally, constitutionally we’re at the short end of the stick,” he said. “We need to make sure that we come forth with a collective voice and bring these issues to the forefront.”
Some of the other issues Mayor Kelly will ask the mayors to push Ottawa for include a ban on handgun possession except for sportsmen, collectors and gun club members; more federal money for extra police officers, a way to integrate the myriad of police agencies to improve efficiency and to push the United States to find ways to prevent guns from crossing the border into Canada.
He also wants more stringent rules for gun storage and he doesn’t want anyone awaiting a trial for incidents involving firearms and violence to be eligible for bail.
He expects the other mayors to be supportive.
“We are not the only ones going through this. We need to find a way collectively to address the issue for the long-term.”
Some of the mayor’s positions aren’t new to the group. Toronto Mayor David Miller started his own petition last year to ban handgun possession.
Criminals must be shown that society won’t tolerate gun violence, Mayor Kelly said.
He praised the work done by Halifax Regional Police and Halifax RCMP and said they have his full confidence despite a rise in the rate of violent crime in the city so far this year.
That trend reverses some notable improvements in recent years though.
Much of the recent violence is widely considered to be part of a struggle to control the local drug trade.
When asked, Mayor Kelly said he has not seen reallivestreetshit.com, a website run by Jimmy Melvin Jr., whose recent release from jail is thought to have re-ignited the violence.
Mayor Kelly, who noted that he wasn’t speaking specifically about Mr. Melvin, said he can’t comprehend life as a drug dealer because of the fear of retaliation and the notoriety one would have.
“For anybody to want to live in that kind of situation is, to me, asinine,” he said.
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