The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Archive for August, 2009

Re-Post from AdvocacyNet: Guns Were a Terrifying Presence in Our Home

Posted by cgccanada on August 11, 2009

Guns were a terrifying presence in our house.  We all understood we would most likely die by shooting. I’ve heard others say that this scenario is like “living in the eye of a hurricane”, in that you never know when the next bout of violence will erupt.  On the contrary, we could usually predict the onset of violence.  There would be a false bravado, a tone of camaraderie, a heightened sense of humour in my father’s speech that was certain to end badly.

During one of his moments of sobriety and remorse, my father allowed my mother to lock away vital parts of each firearm.  I know little about hunting rifles, but I believe it was the “clips” that he removed.  It was probably this insistence on my mother’s part that saved our lives.

When I finally escaped from my childhood I became another statistic.  I married my first husband, a drug and alcohol abuser with an even worse temperament than my father had.  During that brief marriage he strangled me twice, beat me several times, threatened and belittled me constantly, refused to work and demanded my pay checks, was constantly paranoid and jealous and accused me of having affairs…

…One day I went to put the clean towels away in the linen closet and found an illegal handgun hidden there. I knew it was time to get out… more

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Toronto Star Editorial: Three amigos and guns

Posted by cgccanada on August 10, 2009

When Stephen Harper, Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon, the “three amigos” leading Canada, the United States and Mexico, saddle up for their summit in Guadalajara today and tomorrow, they will gallop through an agenda that has seldom been more rugged. From trade protectionism to climate change, swine flu and immigration issues, there will be scant time in the two-day meeting to pause for breath.

But there’s likely to be a glaring omission, one that is a matter of life and death. It’s the “iron river” of smuggled guns flowing from the U.S. to both Canada and Mexico, and leaving destruction in its wake…

…Harper should take the opportunity of this summit to point out that tighter U.S. controls, including enforcement of existing laws, would also benefit Canadians by keeping guns from the hands of violent gangs in our cities. Such a stand may seem unlikely for our Prime Minister, given his push to eliminate the long gun registry and his cordial relationship with anti-gun control folks.

But Harper has also billed himself as tough on crime. He could live up to his own billing by raising this issue with Obama in Guadalajara. read more

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From The Toronto Star, August 6, Friend, 17, dies after gun goes off

Posted by cgccanada on August 7, 2009

Carelessness and a bit of stupidity are likely to blame for the death of 17-year-old Patrick John Smith, police say. Smith, his girlfriend and a friend were hanging out in an eighth-floor apartment near the St. Lawrence Market on Tuesday evening. Smith’s friend had a handgun. At around 10:30 p.m., it went off, hitting the victim in the torso. The other two took Smith to nearby St. Michael’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. “It would appear right now it was accidentally discharged, but we’re still investigating some information to the contrary,” Det. Doug Sansom said. The handgun, which was recovered at the scene, was unregistered. Quincy Callaghan-Thomas, 18, of Toronto has been charged with manslaughter. He is scheduled to appear at College Park court this morning. Smith is the city’s 34th homicide this year. “It’s pretty straightforward. Just a tragedy (resulting from) a stupid act, ” said Sansom

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Lethbridge Herald, August 4, 2009, House torched, guns stolen

Posted by cgccanada on August 6, 2009

A Fort Macleod gun enthusiast suspects he was targeted by thieves who made off with five of his guns and torched his home on the weekend. “They targeted me. They know me, but I don’t know who it is,” said homeowner Rod Burton, who keeps his collection of more than a dozen weapons secured in a special gun room in his basement. “They went after my pistol, and (now) it’s out there,” he said, adding four of his rifles are also missing. “I made (the gun room) fire retardant. They lit a fire and it wouldn’t burn,” said Burton, a local gun club member and avid target shooter. According to Burton, thieves forced their way into his home between midnight and 2 a.m. Saturday while he was out of town, broke into his locked gun room and then tried to set the room on fire. Later the same day, between 5-6 p.m., it’s suspected someone threw what may have been a molotov cocktail through his kitchen window, setting the house on fire. Burton suspects the thieves ransacked the rest of the house on their first visit in an attempt to hide the fact they were really after his guns and later torched the house to destroy any fingerprints or other evidence they may have left behind. Fort Macleod RCMP, meanwhile, are staying tight-lipped about their investigation other than to confirm there was a suspicious fire at the home, located along a busy one-way street in the downtown area. Const. Stephen Hynes wouldn’t confirm Burton’s allegation about the stolen guns and described talk of a molotov cocktail as the cause of the second fire as “speculation”, at this point. RCMP and firefighters were dispatched to the home just before 2 a.m. Saturday. Had the rest of the gun collection not been locked up, Burton said, those responsible may have gotten away with more weapons. He was vacationing in Winnipeg when a friend called early Saturday morning to alert him about the first break-in. It wasn’t until he arrived back home just after midnight Sunday that he learned his home had been targeted a second time. So far, he said, RCMP have told him little about their investigation. “They’re keeping me right out of it — probably a good thing,” he said, adding if he knew the culprits’ identities, he might have been tempted to take matters into his own hands. “It was stupid (of them) to take on someone who knows how to shoot,” he said. “If I knew who they were, I’d probably be in jail (by now).” Burton estimates the damage to his kitchen and basement at as much as $60,000.

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From Advocacynet, August 3, 2009, An Interview with Dr. Alok Mukherjee, Chair, Toronto Police Services Board

Posted by cgccanada on August 5, 2009

Dr. Alok Mukherjee is the current Chair of Toronto’s Police Services Board. He joined the board in 2004, having been appointed by the City Council, and was elected by his colleagues as Chair in 2005.  Prior to his service with the Board, Dr. Mukherjee served as Acting Chief Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and was also a member of the Ontario Civilian Coalition on Police Services. Additionally, he was an instructor of South Asian studies at York University. The Toronto Police Services Board has many responsibilities, including determining the objectives and priorities of their municipalities police services in conjunction with the Chief of Police, establishing policies for the effective management of their police services, and establishing guidelines for the administration of the public complaints system.  Despite his very busy schedule, Dr. Mukherjee spent time with me talking about the usefulness of the Firearms Act not only in combating domestic violence, but also other problems such as gang violence.  According to Dr. Mukherjee, because police officers are the individuals that actually utilize the measures included in the Firearms Act, they are best equipped and most able to comment on its effectiveness. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Association of Police Boards, and the Canadian Police Association all publicly support the Firearms Act. Dr. Mukherjee feels that this should carry more weight with policymakers and the public than it currently does. Dr. Mukherjee thinks that there is a direct parallel between gun control, crime, and quality of life. With gun control measures in place, fewer domestic disputes turn deadly, and fewer mentally ill individuals gain access to firearms and use them during psychotic episodes.  In addition, a reduction in gang violence results (which is a significant problem in Toronto), and even rare situations, like guns being pulled during bouts of road rage, decrease. In other words, gun control correlates with safety, and when individuals and communities are safer, there is an increase in quality of life.  In fact, although the Police Services Board supports the Firearms Act, they think that it should go even further to protect society. Among the changes the Board believes need to be made to the Firearms Act are stricter enforcement measures at the borders, and clearer marking of stolen firearms. By marking seized firearms that may lack serial numbers, the government and police would have a clearer idea of the total number of guns in Canada. Additionally, the current loophole that allows manufacturers to slightly alter a firearm and market it to the public as a new model not needing to be registered (because the list included in the legislation it out of date and contained no measure to regularly update it) needs to be corrected… more

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Guns in The News: Monday August 3, 2009

Posted by cgccanada on August 4, 2009

1. Advocacynet, July 31, 2009, An Interview with Cindy Cowan, Interim Place

A few days ago, I spent time talking with Cindy Cowan, the Executive Director of a shelter for abused women called the Interim Place. The Interim Place has been in operation for twenty-seven years, providing shelter, support, counseling and advocacy for abused women and their children; they are committed to a philosophy of feminism, anti-racism and anti-oppression. Cindy has been working with victims of domestic violence for over twenty years, and has been with the Interim Place for three. When I asked her if she thought the money put towards implementation of Canada’s Firearms Act would have been better spent on social services for abused women, as many opposed to the Act have argued, her answer was no. Spending money on ‘patching women up’ is not the solution to ending domestic violence, according to Cowan. While providing funding for shelters and other resources to help women who have been domestically abused is a necessity, developing and passing legislative policies (such as the Firearms Act) to prevent abuse from ever taking place works to eliminate that necessity. Violence against women is a very serious gender-based human rights violation, and obstructs equality between men and women. Thus, investing money into the implementation of policies like the Firearms Act is vitally important in aiding victims of abuse, and combating a serious women’s rights issue... more

2. Kelowna.com, August 1, 2009, Update: Two men taken into custody over report of handgun

On July 31 the Kelowna RCMP received a report of two males in a white car who appeared to be handling a handgun. They were seen driving towards the Bennett Bridge. The vehicles was quickly spotted by the RCMP and they intercepted it as it travelled onto the bridge. The driver of the vehicle willingly pulled over while on the bridge and the two male occupants were taken into custody. Seized from the vehicle were two replica handguns and a long rifle. The two males are being investigated for possible charges relating to the possession of these firearms. A civilian report to police of a passenger in a car driving down Harvey Avenue in a white Toyota with a gun in his lap led RCMP to pull over a car on the Bennett Bridge.

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