Guns in the News: Thursday Roundup
Posted by cgccanada on July 10, 2009
1.1 BC Local News, July 8,2009, Gun registry has not been a failure
Once again, pro-gun activist Gary Mauser has treated us to a diatribe against gun registration (Gun Registry a Failure, June 23). The reality is that gun control works. In 1991 when controls on rifles and shotguns were first introduced, 1,441 Canadians were killed with guns; in 2005, it was 812, a reduction of 629 lives lost per year. Murders with rifles and shotguns have decreased dramatically, to 32 in 2007 from 107 in 1991. At a time when the smuggling of handguns from the U.S. has increased, registration of rifles and shotguns must have helped achieve this dramatic reduction in gun deaths. At a time when the rest of the world is strengthening its laws in an effort to combat the illegal gun trade and misuse of firearms, it would be a tragedy for Canada to move in the opposite direction. The EU recently announced its European Firearms directive that will establish uniform standards for all its countries, including the registration of all firearms. The decreases in gun injuries and deaths since the gun registry’s inception are worth nearly $1.4 billion annually. Mauser selectively uses statistics to buttress his dubious case. Using the homicide rate, rather than gun death rates, does not separate out homicides by firearms from those committed by other means. In fact, as the statistics below demonstrate, Canada’s firearms homicide rate is considerably lower than that of the United States. If firearms homicides are removed from consideration, our homicide rate through other means is close to the non-firearms homicide rate in the U.S. Similarly, it is perplexing why he uses 1996 data. The firearms legislation was passed in 1995 but not implemented until 1998. Therefore, 1996 was a year in which firearms registration and licensing did not apply. While Canada, the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia have comparable rates of violent crime, guns increase the lethality of violence. The US has nearly as many guns as people and little control. In 2007 the US had 10,086 (3.3 per 100,000) gun murders while Canada had 188 (0.56 per 100,000) even though the rates of homicide without guns were comparable. US guns fuel illegal markets worldwide. Although the law may not be perfect, without information about who owns guns and what guns they own there is no way to keep guns out of the wrong hands. The Conservatives have introduced three bills in the last Parliamentary session that will make it easier for dangerous people to get guns. By dropping the one-time registration procedure, it will also make it more difficult for police to track and remove guns from dangerous people. For Canadians, that should provide a sobering reminder of the direction Stephen Harper will take us. Tim Quigley, Professor of Law, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
1.2 The Vancouver Sun, July 8,2009, Teen gets jail time for guns found in secret compartment
VANCOUVER — A teenager has been sentenced to seven months in jail for possessing two rifles found in a secret compartment in his truck. One of the rifles was loaded. The offender, now 18 but 17 at the time of the offence, was only identified as JMF in a judgment released this week. The teen was given credit for 15 days already served in pre-trial custody, so he will serve only 69 additional days. Provincial court Judge Thomas Woods also imposed 42 days of community supervision after release from custody, followed by a year of probation. A five-year firearms and weapons ban was ordered by the judge, who also imposed 25 hours of community service work. The teen was originally charged with five offences but pleaded guilty to the two counts of unlicensed possession of the two rifles, which were found hidden in sub-woofer speakers in the back of a 2001 Chevy Tahoe. The charges arose from an incident last Sept. 22 at Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam. The teen was found wearing body armour and had been seen with two other men, including a career criminal armed with a loaded handgun. JMF was a target of the Coquitlam RCMP drug squad, which considers him to be associated with a group who have drug and firearms connections. Police had previously stopped the teen several times while driving the Tahoe. The teen claimed he was waiting to meet a man identified only as “Mr. C” who was going to pay some money for items that had been stolen from JMF’s home. Mr. C said he wanted to meet at Leigh Square and said he would be “packing heat,” the criminal underworld term for carrying a concealed weapon. JMF had a “simmering dispute” with Mr. C and heard rumours that people involved with Mr. C were trying to kill him, which was confirmed by police when they told him in August 2008 that he was potentially the intended target of a planned “hit,” the judge was told. Police received a tip from a confidential source that JMF was going to be at Leigh Square. When police arrived, they approached the three males in the square and they dispersed. An unidentified male escaped but another man, identified only as RM, dropped a loaded 9-mm. pistol and was arrested. RM was acquitted at trial. The Tahoe was towed to the Coquitlam RCMP detachment. After a search warrant was obtained, police found a FN Deluxe Mauser bolt-action rifle and a Winchester Model 94 lever-action rifle hidden in a sub-woofer installed in the back of the vehicle. The box could be opened manually but it also had a remotely operated electronic locking mechanism, which indicated the sophistication of the secret compartment. Other secret compartments were also found in the Tahoe, but they were empty.
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