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Always the same. Crime spree. Be careful what you wish for. Gun ban Bill Blair's foolishness. Blair, as useless as a knitted condom. This fool never stops lying. Very encouraging. Not about guns RCMP commissioner report Changing tunes Great firearms salesman. One bad apple. Manitoba on board. Business booming. Knew this along. What is expected from idiots.
The continuing political focus on reducing gun and gang violence in Canada is, at least statistically speaking, a fight to reduce the frequency of offences that already represent only the tiniest fraction of the crimes committed in this country. Any broad claim that our streets are unsafe isn’t supported by the facts.
In 2018, there were 651 homicides in Canada, representing less than 0.2 per cent of all violent crimes. Of those homicides, 259, or about 40 per cent, involved a firearm, and one in 10 was gang-related. Both numbers represented a decrease from the previous year.
Even the number of crimes in which a firearm is present is low. Of the roughly 2.1 million police-reported crimes of all types in Canada in 2018, the perpetrators were packing heat in only 7,477 of them (or about 3 per cent of all violent crime).
It’s also worth remembering that the crime rate in Canada is lower now than it was in 1980. The country is less dangerous on that score. And yet governments of all political stripes are talking up the threat of gun and gang violence.
Ottawa is in the midst of spending $327-million over five years “to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.” The Liberal government also plans to ban some semi-automatic rifles, and to work with provinces to implement a partial ban on handguns in urban areas.
This week, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said forthcoming gun-control legislation will include “red flag” provisions that allow courts to order the removal of firearms from legal owners deemed to be at risk to themselves or others.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford last month made a dramatic show of announcing new funding for police in Peel Region to fight gun and gang violence.
“We’re coming for you, we’re going to find you, we’re going to catch you and we’re going to lock you up for a long time,” he grimly warned gang members.
The push by politicians to show toughness is a response to two different things: a series of deadly mass shootings; and localized spikes in deadly urban gang violence.
Both have unsettled the public. Murder rates “are considered benchmarks for levels of violent activity both in Canada and internationally," as Statistics Canada put it. And in this country of late, the killings have come in bunches.
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In Toronto in 2005, the so-called “year of the gun," the number of gun homicides in the city doubled from the year before. Many shootings were gang-related, but some of the victims were random innocents caught in the crossfire.
A second wave of equally deadly gun violence in 2007 prompted an provincial inquiry into the roots of youth violence and crime.
Since then, gun violence and gang-related shootings have dropped across the country, but have continued to rise in Toronto. In 2019, the city saw 490 shootings, in which 248 people were injured and 44 died. That broke the previous record of 428 shootings, set just the year before.
The country has also suffered through horrific mass shootings, including (but not limited to) the Quebec City mosque massacre in 2017 that killed six people, the rampage in Fredericton that killed four people, including two police officers, in 2018, and the attack on bystanders on Danforth Avenue in Toronto 2018 that killed three.
Hence the current tensions in Canada. The unsettling rise in gang violence and shootings in (mostly) Toronto, combined with a series of unrelated mass killings, has left the public jittery and governments desperate for politically palatable solutions.
But other than the welcome possibility of partial firearm bans, which could help reduce mass shootings and gun suicides, we have yet to see or hear anything that addresses the complex issue of urban gang violence.
History has taught us that this is not just a policing issue, or just a gun issue, or just a crime issue. It’s all of these, and a lot more. It’s not something that can be fixed by spending more money on a narrow set of priorities, or by talking tough at a news conference.
The fact is, some racialized communities in our cities have been living with deadly gun violence for years. They need long-term, considered help, not grandiose political posturing designed to appease a broader public that only intermittently becomes aware of the painful reality they live with on a daily basis.
Blair's mandate letter was released by the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, along with those for each member of cabinet.
His other marching orders include:
EDMONTON – While awaiting the court’s decision on whether the Quebec’s government legislation purporting a provincial firearms registry is constitutionally valid, the province has gone ahead and released their draft regulations for if the courts rule in their favour.
The Quebec Firearms Registration Act passed in 2016 but it is currently held up in court as Canada’s National Firearms Association is challenging it on constitutional grounds.
“These draft regulations are very concerning,” says Sheldon Clare, president of the NFA. “These are even more onerous then the ones that were within the wasteful and ineffective federal long-gun registry that it aims to replace. If our court challenge is successful all of this should go away, but if it isn’t make no mistake: the Quebec government is coming after hunters, farmers, and sport-shooters.”
In addition to the requirements that were part of the failed federal long-gun registry, Quebec gun owners will be required to provide additional information, such as the usual storage location of firearms.
“The only justification for that requirement is to facilitate an eventual seizure of firearms by law enforcement officers. This is more evidence that the Quebec government views all gun owners as ‘would-be criminals,’” adds Clare.
Another concerning aspect of the regulations is that individuals and businesses who wish to transfer non-restrictive firearms will now be required to verify that the proposed transferee remains eligible to hold their firearms licence – meaning they will not be able to rely on their firearms acquisition licenses but have to contact the Canada Firearms Program or the Chief Firearms Officer to make such a transaction.
“The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) is in no way capable of handling such a task, they are not set up to do that – this will not work. Businesses will suffer because of this, not to mention private sales and gun shows that operate outside of business hours when the CFP is open. It will become even more complicated and time consuming, if not impossible, to buy or sell firearms under these regulations.”
Though Quebec Public Safety Minister previously assured firearm owners that there would be no engraving required, the Quebec government is now insisting that an additional ‘unique firearms number’ be marked upon every firearm.
The only way to do that is through stamping, engraving or laser etching.
“Not only is the Quebec government targeting firearms owners, they are also breaking their word to us. Not only will this be costly for gun owners, but it will also be a logistical nightmare with over 1.2 million firearms existing currently that will have to be marked over a very short period of time,” added Clare. “Needless to say, gunsmiths are not currently equipped to perform such a large number of marking operations over a short time.”
All of this may be for naught if the NFA is successful in their court challenge against the Quebec government. The parties were in court in the beginning of this month and the ruling is expected within two months time.
Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users.
Egg in thier faces.
Red-faced RCMP officials have apologized to a Delta firearms firm and its owner after a headline-making 2008 raid supposedly to stop gun trafficking to gangsters.
On the eve of a lengthy civil trial over the incident Monday, the federal government settled out of court and, as part of the agreement, the force issued a rare exonerating letter over the bogus operation.
“I write on behalf of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to apologize for the search of the Silvercore Advanced Training Systems Inc. (“Silvercore”) premises in Delta, British Columbia, the seizure of Silvercore firearms inventory and records, the wrongful arrest of Travis Bader, and the prosecution of criminal charges against Travis Bader and Silvercore, which were ultimately stayed by Crown counsel,” Inspector Janis Gray said.
“I have conducted an exhaustive review of the police file and all of the evidence and circumstances surrounding the search, seizure, arrest and charges, and I have concluded that there is no evidence that either Silvercore or Travis Bader ever committed any criminal offences.”
Two Surrey RCMP Constables, David Clarke and Michael Everitt, provided with information by Canadian Firearms Centre officer Jeff Harrison, were behind the misguided operation.
The centre is responsible for administering the Firearms Act and the Firearms Registry, handling all licences and authorizations as well as the registration of restricted and prohibited firearms.
The police and firearms officer claimed they were only doing their duty in the investigation, reputedly triggered by an attempt by Bader’s father to register a restricted handgun.
“A letter of apology from RCMP brass confirming my innocence takes some of the sting out of the long delay, and we look forward to resuming our relationship with the RCMP and its members,” Bader said.
He started Silvercore in 2003 after roughly a decade of providing training in firearms and safety to police officers, sheriffs, corrections staff, Canadian Border Security guards and others.
As well as offering courses and training, his firm did gunsmithing and bought and sold firearms.
In the course of his business, much of it with law enforcement, Bader was authorized to possess, store and transfer restricted and prohibited firearms as well as regular guns.
Still, in May 2008, the RCMP raided the Delta company’s facility in the 7100-block of Vantage Way, alleging it was connected to guns that ended up in the hands of criminals.
According to police, decommissioned guns that could be easily reassembled and returned to working order were finding their way into the wrong hands.
Bader’s father, Gordon, is a retired 30-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department and was an instrutor with Silvercore.
The former ERT sniper and past director of the anti-gun-control lobby, the Responsible Firearms Owners Coalition of B.C., Gordon Bader was also a firearms instructor at the Justice Institute of B.C., which trains police officers, and a gunsmith at the Vancouver Police Museum.
Both father and son said at the time the accusations were rubbish.
Still, Travis added the “confusion, the anger, the embarrassment” were nearly unbearable.
The Mounties painted the arrests and the raid, during which hundreds of guns were seized, as a response to what was then a murderous spree of gang violence around Metro Vancouver that had claimed 31 lives.
Still two years later, one of the officers involved, Clarke, was charged with dealing drugs, theft of police property, breach of trust, and possession of a number of illegal restricted weapons.
All criminal charges against Silvercore and Bader were stayed on March 19, 2010, by Crown attorney Todd Buziak.
“From my review of the entirety of the information provided to me, I can advise you that neither Travis Bader nor Silvercore Advanced Training Systems Ltd. were involved in any criminal wrongdoing,” Buziak wrote in a letter after the charges were dropped.
All Firearms Act charges were stayed in May 2010.
“I think that everyone will understand that a letter of apology from the RCMP is a precious commodity and the settlement sum is confidential,” Bader’s lawyer Jason Gratl said.
The force has not yet responded to a request for explanation.