The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Archive for March, 2010

From: Canadian Press, March 23, 2010, Six men face 546 charges over guns stolen in break-in in Toronto in February

Posted by cgccanada on March 31, 2010

TORONTO — Police have laid 546 charges against six men after guns were stolen from the apartment of a lawyer and shooting enthusiast in downtown Toronto during a break-in last month. Toronto police said Wednesday an Uzi sub-machine gun and 10 handguns were recovered as officers from Toronto and Peel region conducted searches last week. Police also seized a pistol unrelated to their break-and-enter investigation. Dwight Longmore, 21, of Brampton and Calvin Clarke, 24, of Toronto, are charged with break and enter and various weapons offences. Desmond Espeut, 23, of Innisfil, Robert Thelwell, 29, of Brampton, Fortunato Zappone, 32 and Steven Hunter, 24, both of Toronto are charged with various weapons offences. Police say about 30 guns were stolen from the fourth-floor apartment of lawyer and avid gun collector Calvin Martin while he was in hospital in February. Officers seized about 170 firearms and some ammunition from his residence for safekeeping following the robbery. At the time of the break-in, Supt. John Tanouye said all of the guns were legally owned and stored and Martin – a past director of the Ontario Handgun Association – had permits for all of the weapons. The guns and ammo were stored in a locked room but the thieves broke into the safes.

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WINDSOR STAR – MARCH 29, 2010, LETTER: Gun registry saves lives BY PRISCILLA DE VILLIERS

Posted by cgccanada on March 30, 2010

TO RESPOND: letters@thestar.canwest.com

Re: Long-gun registry, March 19. Contrary to Candice Hoeppner’s comments, the inquest into the suicide of my daughter’s killer concluded that the licensing of gun owners and registration of rifles and shotguns might have saved both her life and that of Karen Marquis of New Brunswick. Six other inquests, each examining different circumstances, also recommended the need for comprehensive controls on all firearms that screen gun owners for risk factors of violence and suicides and register firearms to their legitimate owner, holding it accountable and avoiding diversion to the illegal market. By playing to the gun lobby, the Conservatives are disregarding public safety. In its unanimous decision in 2000, the Supreme Court stated that registration cannot be severed from licensing and, together, these measures “both tightly linked to Parliament’s goal of promoting safety by reducing the misuse of any and all firearms.” Every public safety group, medical association and individual who cares about the safety and security of others also stand firmly behind the law. As a mother who has lost a beloved daughter to a suicidal predator, I know grief, but I also know that although it is too late to save Nina, we must learn from the preventable deaths of so many innocent victims and do everything possible to save others. Lives have been saved by the registry. Eliminating it will put lives in danger. PRISCILLA de VILLIERS, Burlington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscilla_de_Villiers http://www.caveat.org/

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EDMONTON JOURNAL – MARCH 28, 2010, LETTER: Victim’s mom supports gun law

Posted by cgccanada on March 29, 2010

TO RESPOND: letters@thejournal.canwest.com

RE: “Gun registry couldn’t prevent mother’s grief, Tory MP says,” The Journal, March 21. Contrary to MP Candace Hoeppner’s comments, the inquest into the suicide of my daughter’s killer concluded that the licensing of gun owners and registration of rifles and shotguns might have saved both her life and that of Karen Maquis of New Brunswick. Six other inquests, each examining different circumstances also recommended the need for comprehensive controls on all firearms that screen gun owners for risk factors of violence and suicides and register firearms to their legitimate owner, holding it accountable and avoiding diversion to the illegal market. By playing to the gun lobby the Conservatives are disregarding public safety. In its unanimous decision in 2000, the Supreme Court stated that registration cannot be severed from licensing and together, these measures “both tightly linked to Parliament’s goal of promoting safety by reducing the misuse of any and all firearms.” Police organizations across this country stand firmly behind Canada’s gun control law as the registry helps criminal investigations and officer safety. Every public safety group, medical association and individual who cares about the safety and security of others also stand firmly behind the law. As a mother who has lost a beloved daughter to a suicidal predator, I know grief, but I also know that although it is too late to save Nina we must learn from the preventable deaths of so many innocent victims and do everything possible to save others. Lives have been saved by the registry. Eliminating it will put lives in danger. Priscilla de Villiers, Burlington, Ont.

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from 1.2 ORILLIA TIMES AND PACKET – MACH 25, 2010, Elimination of the long-gun registry start of slippery slope By Tom Mcauley

Posted by cgccanada on March 26, 2010

TO RESPOND: newsroom@orilliapacket.com

With much discussion again about eliminating the long-gun registry, many believe that since the Association of Police Chiefs (a political organization) supports it, then it must be a good thing. They say that it makes their work easier. As much as I respect and support the efforts of police officers in tackling crime, one of the things they are not tasked with doing is ensuring your rights are protected. Similarly, the job of policing would also be much easier if they were allowed to stop anybody anywhere and search them without warrant in their car, home, workplace or on the street. Phone calls could be monitored, personal mail opened and read, computers searched on a regular basis, and people held for questioning for as long as the police feel like. I don’t think Canadians would stand for such a police state although the police chiefs could still say “it makes our job easier.” I would have expected the so-called “progressive” elements in politics to stand up for all civil rights of Canadians, not just their pet issues. But sadly, that has not been the case. Elimination of the gun registry because every diminishment of the rights and freedoms of some is a stepping stone in reducing the rights and freedoms of all Canadians. Tom Mcauley, Winnipeg

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from CTV: Gun use in robberies registers steep decline in ’08

Posted by cgccanada on March 25, 2010

The Canadian Press
CTV
Date: Thursday Mar. 25, 2010 10:16 AM ET
OTTAWA — A new study says the use of firearms in police-reported robberies has declined precipitously over the past decade.
Statistics Canada reports firearms were used in 14 per cent of robberies in 2008, compared with 20 per cent a decade earlier. The agency says the types of robberies have changed, too, as commercial robberies have declined and robberies at residences and in public transit facilities have increased.
Canadian police services reported about 32,000 robberies in 2008, accounting for seven per cent of all violent crimes.
The police-reported robbery rate was down 10 per cent from 1999, with most of the decline occurring between 1999 and 2002.
Police-reported residential robberies, often referred to as “home invasions,” increased 38 per cent between 1999 and 2005, and stabilized since.
The vast majority of robberies were committed by young men – almost nine in 10 of suspects in 2008 were male and nearly two-thirds were between the ages of 12 and 24.
Money was the most common item reported stolen (37 per cent of all robberies), followed by personal accessories such as jewellery (18 per cent).
Electronic devices such as cell phones, personal music devices and computers – items that can often be sold for a quick profit – were next at 15 per cent.
The report says three provinces – Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba – have driven the overall decline in the rate of police-reported robbery over the past decade.
Between 1999 and 2008, the rate fell 30 per cent in Quebec, 22 per cent in British Columbia and 20 per cent in Manitoba.
Robberies increased in all of the remaining provinces, with the largest increase reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, where it more than doubled, yet remained well below the national average.
Western Canada, particularly Manitoba, recorded the highest rates of police-reported robbery in the country. This is similar to the pattern for overall violent crime rates.
The highest rates in cities were reported in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Edmonton. The only cities in Central and Eastern Canada with above-average robbery rates were Montreal, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Halifax and Hamilton.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100325/firearms_robberies_100325/20100325?hub=Canada&s_name=

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from: CTV, March 18, 2010, Senior Mountie backs gun registry; Toews calls it wasteful

Posted by cgccanada on March 22, 2010

OTTAWA — The No. 2 Mountie came out in favour of the embattled federal gun registry Thursday — even as his political boss affirmed the government’s desire to abolish it.  Deputy RCMP commissioner Bill Sweeney told the Commons public safety committee the long-gun registry helps both police officers and citizens.  “I believe that there’s compelling evidence that the registry promotes officer and public safety,” Sweeney said. “That’s a personal opinion.”  The veteran officer said the RCMP was working with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police on a position paper on the registry that may soon be presented to a cabinet committee.  Minutes earlier, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews denounced the system for tracking long guns, ushered in by the Liberals, as a waste of money.  “We don’t believe it’s an effective use of taxpayers’ money and we are committed to seeing the abolition of the long-gun registry,” he told MPs on the public safety committee.  A Conservative MP’s private member’s bill to dismantle the long-gun registry has passed second reading and will be studied by a Commons committee.  Since its inception in the 1990s, the registry has been the focus of controversy — derided by some as a needless intrusion into the lives of law-abiding gun owners and lauded by others as a worthy tool for police who use it daily to glean valuable information.  Toews says the more than $1 billion spent on the registry would have been better earmarked toward putting police officers on the street.  The minister recounted his years as an opposition MP, listening to the Liberal government tell him how the registry’s costs “were spiralling out of control.”  “Was that an effective use of money? No,” Toews said.  “RCMP officers, in my opinion, have much more important things to do than harass my farmers and my hunters in my constituency when they have .22 rifles and .303s and shotguns that they use almost as tools.”  Toews said while the government doesn’t back the registry, it supports effective licensing of gun owners. It also plans to continue registration of restricted firearms such as handguns.  A federal official told The Canadian Press the Conservatives plan to announce Friday a one-year extension to an amnesty that effectively gives owners of unregistered, non-restricted firearms more time to sign them up.  Toews said there’s a difference of opinion among police on the value of the long-gun registry — a point Sweeney acknowledged.  Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber suggested that “in an era of finite and sometimes scarce resources,” money now devoted to registering guns could be better spent.  “Could those scarce resources not be better deployed to promote what you said in your words, officer safety and public safety?” he asked.  Sweeney stuck to his position that the registry is worth the price.  “There’s always opportunities to reinvest money in other ventures, but I believe that that money is well invested.”

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From thestar.com: Men charged in theft of 53 guns, including Uzi, from apartment

Posted by cgccanada on March 19, 2010

Thandiwe Vela Staff Reporter

A series of raids across the Greater Toronto Area has netted 11 of more than 50 guns stolen in a downtown apartment burglary in February, including an Uzi sub-machine gun.

Five men now face 546 charges in the break-and-enter investigation with police now appealing to the public for help recovering the remainder of 53 guns stolen from the Isabella St. apartment, near Yonge St. and Bloor St. E..

The Uzi, 50 handguns, and two shotguns were stolen from safes in the apartment sometime between Thursday, Feb. 18 and Sunday Feb. 21, said police.

On March 11, Toronto police officers along with the Gun and Gang Task force and Peel region police executed a series of search warrants seizing the Uzi, 10 handguns, and a pistol unrelated to the Isabella St. break-in.

Police say the guns were stolen from the fourth-floor apartment of lawyer and avid gun collector Calvin Martin while he was in hospital in February.

Officers seized about 170 firearms and some ammunition from his residence for safekeeping following the robbery.

At the time of the break-in, Supt. John Tanouye said all of the guns were legally owned and stored (emphasis mine)Read more

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From TORONTO STAR – MARCH 14, 2010 LETTERS: A long gun claimed life of OPP officer, Column, March 12

Posted by cgccanada on March 15, 2010

TO RESPOND : lettertoed@thestar.com

The tragic death of OPP officer Vu Pham shows we need more gun control not less. MPs will soon vote on scrapping the gun registry because of “costs.” The start-up costs were expensive, but upkeep is cheap and saves lives. Deaths from gun use in domestic violence and suicides are way down since the introduction of the registry. What price do MPs place on human life? Bill Chadwick, Newmarket

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From thestar.com: A long gun claimed life of OPP officer

Posted by cgccanada on March 12, 2010

On the day OPP Constable Vu Pham was shot by a rifle-toting gunman, Conservative MPs were deflecting questions from the opposition about their bill to kill the long-gun registry.

On the day Pham’s wife and children lost a devoted husband and father, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told the House of Commons that the rifle registry is “waste of Canadian taxpayer money.”

On the day Pham was killed while responding to a “domestic” call, Helena Guergis, Minister of State for the Status of Women, rose up in Parliament to boast of the government’s “leadership on domestic violence.”

Two days later, the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president of the powerful gun lobby, would tell his members in an online piece titled “Standing Guard,” that Canada’s abolishing the gun registry is “proof that freedom will ultimately win out.”

On that same day, Candice Hoeppner, the Manitoba Conservative MP who last May introduced the bill to kill the registry, would write, in an opinion piece published by the London Free Press, “The long-gun registry is a massive Liberal policy failure and it needs to end. It makes no sense to force law-abiding individuals with firearms licences to register their long-guns. It makes no sense to believe the registry will prevent a gun crime from taking place.”

Read more…

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From CBC News: March 5, 2010, Accused in Nunavut Mountie killing testifies. Jury to begin deliberating next week

Posted by cgccanada on March 8, 2010

A Nunavut man accused of shooting an RCMP officer two years ago says he meant to scare the Mountie away, not kill him. Pingoatuk Kolola, 39, testified in his own defence Friday during his first-degree murder trial in the Nov. 5, 2007, death of Const. Douglas Scott in the remote hamlet of Kimmirut. Scott, 20, was investigating a drunk-driving complaint in the Baffin Island community when he was shot in his RCMP truck. In his opening statement to the Nunavut Court of Justice jury, defence lawyer Andrew Mahar emphatically said his client did fire the shot that ended the Mountie’s life. But Mahar said the 11 jurors must decide whether Kolola intended to kill Scott, which would make the difference between first-degree murder and manslaughter. Kolola then moved to the centre of the packed Iqaluit courtroom and was sworn in as the only defence witness. Crown prosecutors called 20 witnesses, including family members, friends and RCMP experts, to testify last week. The court has already heard that Kolola drove recklessly around Kimmirut the night of Nov. 5 after arguing with his common-law wife, then drank some alcohol. Court also heard that Kolola took the couple’s eight-month-old son with him as he drove his employer’s truck around the community until it became stuck at a nearby construction site. In the witness box, Kolola testified he took his .30-06 rifle with him that night with the intention of killing himself out of anger and distress. With the truck hung up at the construction site, Kolola said he had started walking home when he saw an RCMP vehicle approach. Kolola said he had his baby in his left arm and the rifle in his right arm when he fired the rifle in the direction of Scott’s truck — but at “nothing in particular” — to “scare him away.” But over several hours Friday afternoon, Crown prosecutor Susanne Boucher picked apart Kolola’s testimony, asking him why he would fire a warning shot at a police vehicle if he wanted to be left alone. Boucher argued Kolola could have fired his rifle anywhere else but at the RCMP truck’s passenger window had he intended to frighten the officer away. She then asked Kolola why he would approach the police truck after firing the shot, knowing an armed officer was inside the vehicle, if he had never intended to kill. Kolola, who mostly kept his head down and answered “Yes” or “No” during much of the questioning, said he went up to the truck because he did not see any movement inside. Mahar did not re-examine Kolola afterwards, so Justice Robert Kilpatrick has sent the jury home for the weekend. On Monday, the court is to hear closing arguments and the judge’s instructions.

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