The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Gun Control in the News: Monday Roundup

Posted by cgccanada on July 7, 2009

1.0 RELATING TO GUN CONTROL

1.1 Guelph Mercury – July 3, 2009, Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor – I am writing in response to a recent letter stating that the gun registry had not solved or prevented a single crime. As a psychiatrist in a rural area where guns are prevalent, I have invoked the gun registry at times where it is necessary, to either get someone’s guns removed or prevent them from getting guns because of mental illness. I am sure this has prevented tragedies but, unfortunately, none of those events make headlines. I practised psychiatry in Prince George, B.C., before the gun registry was available, and it was difficult then to have guns removed. There have been some 22,000 licences denied to date, and a recent Ottawa Citizen article reported that the number of firearms surrendered and confiscated since Nov. 1 is 8,281 — 74 per cent of which were nonrestricted shotguns and rifles. The same article reports that the reason for these confiscations is usually that the individual has threatened or use violence. So, are we really comfortable with allowing these people to arm themselves by removing the mechanism which allows authorities to locate and remove firearms, the long-gun registry? It is impossible to truly measure the prevention of suicides, accidents and crimes. However, we can measure rates of all these over time. We know the incidence of gun deaths and injuries are at their lowest levels in more than 30 years. Since 1995, the rate of homicide with rifles and shotguns has dropped by 50 per cent, and gun-related murders of women have fallen by two-thirds. The gun registry is an inconvenience for hunters, farmers and other gun owners, but it helps people like me and the police prevent tragedies. Since gun owners are only required to register their firearms once per gun, it is a minor inconvenience that is having a major impact on gun crime, suicides and accidents, perhaps more than any other intervention we have.b The registry needs to be preserved. Dr. Barbara Kane, Prince George, B.C.

2.0 OTHER NEWS

2.1 Calgary Herald, July 3, 2009, 100 guns unearthed in Red Deer cache By Sherri Zickefoose

RED DEER – A Red Deer man has been charged after police unearthed a cache of weapons that included more than 100 guns and up to one million rounds of ammunition in the central Alberta city. And RCMP are also investigating the possibility that counterfeit clothing was being distributed from the same location. Police say they discovered an arsenal of weapons while responding to a complaint about a man making threats Tuesday around 10:45 a. m. in the 5200 block of Gaetz Avenue in downtown Red Deer. They say they turned up antiques, pistols, rifles and shotguns. Seven were registered firearms. Police say they also seized marijuana. Police were led to the downtown business and residence after the complaint. “There was a report of a threat that somebody might have to take matters into their own hands,” said Cpl. Kathe DeHeer, a spokeswoman with the Red Deer RCMP. Police also seized what appears to be counterfeit clothing. The RCMP federal enforcement section is now investigating possible copyright violations, DeHeer said. RCMP customs and excise section is also looking into the case. David Elliott, 46, is charged with uttering threats, possession of marijuana and unsafe storage of firearms.

2.2 The Toronto Star, July 4, 2009, High-powered guns seized, ‘How to aim on the move’ video found as downtown couple rack up 100 offences

An arsenal of guns, ammunition, cocaine and cash was seized from a downtown home Thursday, after police were called to the residence for an unrelated domestic dispute. A couple has been charged with 100 firearms-related offences. Police allege a man called police to his Fleet St. home, located at the foot of Bathurst St., around 4 a.m. When officers arrived they noticed a handgun and bullets sitting out in the open, police said. Around 5 p.m. investigators returned with a search warrant and discovered a stockpile of bullets, a machete, a bulletproof vest and six firearms, including two submachine guns, one equipped with a silencer. “Basically all that is, is a killing machine,” said senior firearms officer Michael Press, pointing to a Tec 9 machine pistol with silencer. Some of the weapons look older and appear to have been fired, he added. The guns, likely smuggled from the United States, will be sent to the forensics lab to determine if they had been used in any shootings. A source said police are looking into a possible connection with organized crime, particularly weapons trafficking. Investigators also found cocaine with an approximate street value of $1,800, as well as $5,000 in cash. None of the guns was owned legally or stored properly, said Det. Izzy Bernardo. Investigators also discovered two instructional DVDs, which show how to disarm an assailant and how to aim on the move. Jason Clarke, 35, and Michelle Sowinski, 36, face charges including possession of an unregistered restricted weapon, possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, weapons dangerous, unauthorized possession of a prohibited device, careless storage of a firearm and a restricted weapon, possession of cocaine and possession of proceeds of crime.

2.3 Canada.com, July 4,2009, American is jailed for drug, gun smuggling

American gun and drug smuggler Evans Matan was sentenced to a decade behind bars this week for helping to bring 228 kilos of cocaine and three firearms into B.C. Matan, a 36-year-old skate shop owner, was working for Vancouver businessman Charles Lai, who was sentenced in a Seattle courtroom last month to 13 years in jail as the leader of a cross-border smuggling ring. Also charged on the Canadian side of the border are Herman Riar, 26, and Shminder Johal, 34, of Richmond and Baljinder Kandola, who was a border guard with the Canada Border Services Agency at the time. All three are due back in Surrey provincial court Aug. 18. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said it was one of the largest cocaine transactions to come before his court. “When you start loading guns and cocaine in your own residence, you have actually gone as low as you can go,” Robart told Matan. Matan, a longtime drug trafficker, was arrested Oct. 26, 2007, after the seizure of 228 kilos of cocaine at the Canada-arrest border. He had paid a co-conspirator to move the cocaine from his Poulsbo, Wash., home to a storage locker in Bothel, Wash.

2.4 Halifax Chronicle Herald, July 4, 2009, String of raids result in 13 arrests, Homes in Halifax area target of early morning operation

Police from six provinces raided 15 Halifax-area homes Friday and arrested 13 people on charges involving weapons, drugs and prostitution. And they also laid Atlantic Canada’s first-ever human trafficking charge. In a sweep called Operation Intercede, Halifax Regional Police and Halifax RCMP, with help from body armour-wearing officers from five other provinces, made simultaneous raids on nine homes at 4:30 a.m. Police quickly gained entry to those homes, and six more later, without incident.  Supt. Mike Burns of Halifax Regional Police said police picked the early start time in hopes of finding most of their targets at home, which is exactly what happened. “You plan for a date and you try to keep tabs on people and you hope that you know where they are,” he said. “I think it went better than we planned.” Insp. Brad Sullivan of Halifax RCMP said the raids put some gun dealers out of business, although none of them were thought to be associated with any active gangs or recent shootings in the area. “We’ve taken individuals off the street that we are alleging have committed serious criminal actions involving firearms,” Insp. Sullivan said. “Public safety should be enhanced.” The weapons seized included a rifle, a shotgun and a replica. The most serious of the 60 or so charges laid Friday include discharging a firearm with intent to wound, conspiracy to traffic in illegal firearms, drug trafficking, human trafficking and living off the avails of prostitution. The drug-related charges involve cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, illegal mushrooms and a small amount of marijuana. Officers arrested 13 of the 15 people they were after. The other two are thought to be out of the province, and other police agencies have been asked to detain them. The 13 arrested range in age from 15 to 49, and seven of them face weapons charges. Supt. Burns said police intended to ask the courts to keep those suspects in custody at least until their bail hearings. A few of the others have been released pending future court appearances. Many of the weapons charges stem from a shooting on Scotia Court in Dartmouth on April 30. Officers drew their guns at about 9 p.m. that night when a large crowd gathered after reports of shots being fired and a possible fight. Terry Arthur (Courtney) Downey, 30, of North Preston is charged with discharging a firearm with intent to wound. The human trafficking charge, laid against Terry Comfort Downey, 30, of North Preston, involves a local 23-year-old woman who ended up working as a prostitute in Moncton. “She was being controlled and exploited,” Insp. Sullivan told reporters. He wouldn’t provide details of a charge of counselling to commit kidnapping that was laid against a 15-year-old Lower Sackville girl, but he said it was not related to the human trafficking case. The police operation that resulted in Friday’s raids had its beginnings in a task force that was formed to investigate violent armed robberies in Dartmouth and Cole Harbour between last August and this February. No charges have been laid in those cases

2.5 The Province, July 3, 3009, Missing Lumby man left home with gun

Police are beginning to fear the worst in the case of a missing Lumby man. Cory Lee Romanick, 21, was last seen leaving his family home with a single-barrel shotgun in hand two weeks ago. Romanick may have been distraught when he took off, police say. “There’s some indication that he was in a bit of an argument or a disagreement with his girlfriend or ex-girlfriend,” said Gordon Molendyk, spokesman for the Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP. Romanick is believed to have left his parents’ Trinity Valley Road home sometime after 10 p.m.  His family reported him missing when he failed to return two days later.  Romanick hasn’t accessed his bank accounts, used his cellphone or contacted anyone, including his employer in Alberta, since his disappearance. Vernon Search and Rescue, assisted by three local teams, have scoured the bushy area surrounding his home in the past week to no avail. The ground searches have now been called off and Molendyk said police dog units and a helicopter are taking up the search. “We’ve checked all our normal avenues that we search and we’ve come up with nothing,” said Molendyk. Police are appealing to people across the province to look out for Romanick in hopes that he simply wandered off. “We hope that’s what happened but with no activity with his phone and bank records and no one has heard from him, we’re not as hopeful as we would like.” Romanick was wearing a black hoodie, jeans and brown running shoes when he vanished. Police hope a passing motorist may have seen him in the area on the night of June 21.

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