The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

From: NATIONAL POST – SEPTEMBER 22, 2009, Police follow paper trail to 400 unregistered guns

Posted by cgccanada on September 25, 2009

Sorting dusty files and scrolling through outdated databases, Toronto police have tracked down 400 unregistered guns they say could have fallen into the hands of criminals. Project Safe City, launched in March, takes aim at gun owners who have let their registration lapse. By following old fashioned paper trails and knocking on doors, police are tracking down anyone who has previously owned a registered firearm. By combing through gun registries, dating back to well before the current registry system was put in place in 1995, officers compiled a list of 17,000 possible cases in which someone may be in possession of a weapon that’s registration has expired. “I can guarantee you here today there are 400 guns that won’t be crime guns,” said Superintendent Greg Getty, from Organized Crime Enforcement. Insp. Getty said Project Safe City has not diverted resources from other projects, including those focused on keeping guns from crossing at the border. He said this project was focused on cutting down the number of weapons that could be stolen from Canadians and used in a crime. He said 30 per cent of “crime guns” are domestic, many stolen by criminals. “At some point all of these firearms have been legally registered,” he said. “As the result of confusion, as the result of registration revocation, as a result of license expiration, the person or persons have become in illegal possession of these firearms.” Supt. Getty said that police have followed up on 5,000 leads, knocking on the doors of citizens who may have an old handgun stashed in the basement of stored forgotten in a closet. He estimated that as many as 4,000 more unregistered weapons could still be in the city. He said police did not lay any charges, although a criminal investigation could have been launched if someone had failed to comply. When contact by police, those in possession of an unregistered firearm had the option to either surrender it for destruction or turn it over until its paperwork had been updated. There are currently 2.3 million firearms legally registered in the province of Ontario. Police suggest that those who have let registrations lapse are also more likely to be less vigilant in keeping them secure. In the 259 shooting incidents in Toronto so far this year, 135 people have been injured and 23 people have died from their injuries.  “I think we’ve created a safer situation. This is very much an anti-violence measure. This is very much intended to prevent crime and make our city safer,” Chief Bill Blair said today. Chief Blair said while the number of injuries has reduced slightly from recent years, the prevalence of shooting is much higher. “When you have 259 occurrences where some fool has discharged a firearm inside the city of Toronto, every one of those was a potential tragedy.”

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