How to stop the shootings
I continue to be shocked at the lack of attention being focused on the extent to which the gun lobby has eroded effective controls in Canada.
While Bill C-71 may be a step forward, it falls short of what most Canadians believe constitutes effective controls. People from across Canada joined the March for Our Lives with students in the United States.
Among their demands, a ban on the civilian possession of the AR-15, a gun used in the Parkland, Fla., shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. While they were marching to strengthen American laws, many were blissfully unaware that the AR-15 is sold as a restricted weapon in Canada.
Similarly, many assume that handguns are virtually banned in Canada, even though the number of legally owned restricted and prohibited weapons — principally handguns and assault weapons — has more than doubled in the last 10 years and now exceeds more than 1 million.
Canadians’ rights to safety should outweigh the interests of recreational users and collectors of weapons. The silence of the majority has allowed the gun lobby to hijack the legislative process and prevent parliamentarians from introducing the laws we want and deserve.
Ward M. Eagen, Port Dalhousie, Ont.
Once again, Toronto police union president Mike McCormack is calling for more officers to be hired amidst a spate of gun violence. How often when on the road do we see police “guarding” construction sites, road repairs or movie shoots?
Several weeks ago my wife and I saw seven police at the entrance to High Park with a barrier across during the cherry blossom bloom. We thought that something dreadful had occurred in the park. Nope! Nothing wrong. The police were merely socializing.
It seems to me that we have plenty of police in Toronto. Perhaps if they were better deployed our problems would diminish.
John Morton, Toronto
How many more lives have to be lost before we realize that Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders isn’t doing his job?
The ever-mounting homicides are clear indicators to me that Toronto is painfully understaffed for police in many neighbourhoods. Mayor Tory is not much better, as he hasn’t taken action on this serious issue either.
If this were Mississauga in days gone by, former mayor Hazel McCallion would have long disposed of Saunders and not stood for such poor police work in her city.
Jack Fowler, Brampton
Canada has now become a safe haven for criminals. Naive laws, weak judges and unfit politicians have enabled the criminals even further.
Toronto is a revolving door for thugs and murderers enabled by a system that spends millions of tax dollars to defend and nurture these pests. I can recall our boast that Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Not anymore — Toronto now has more homicides per capita than New York City!
The only way to stop these murderers is to introduce harsher sentences and ignore the people who think that the “system” is to blame.
Taij Chand, Toronto
The current spate of gun violence in Toronto will lead many to stigmatize the city as unsafe.
In Toronto today, the fear of crime has far greater potential to destroy neighbourhoods than crime itself. Those residents who are afraid to walk on Toronto’s streets are “prisoners” in the truest sense of the word. And, of particular concern, they will end up creating the very thing they fear — abandoned, dangerous streets. This must never be allowed to happen.
Emile Therien, Ottawa
The time is long past for carrying a firearm in Toronto to become a serious crime, not a slight misdemeanour.
Carrying a firearm should carry a non-negotiable sentence of 10 years in prison with no parole and no acceptable defence.
George Duffy, Richmond Hill
More shootings in Toronto and more loved ones gone forever.
The families who have lost someone at the hands of these criminals — who don’t care who they shoot, including children in a playground — will never see their loved one again.
Bring back “carding” and stop the killing. Show respect, compassion and caring, which will not bring back their loved one, but it will show the thugs they do not have control of Toronto.
Bev Northeast, Goodwood, Ont.
I have worked with at-risk Black youth in New York City and now in Toronto.
In the 80s, the big criticism of the NYPD was their absence in “the ghetto.” They were accused of letting Black people kill each other during the crack epidemic. Giuliani came in and changed everything. He stepped up policing practices, including “booking” practices (a.k.a. “carding”) and suddenly New York became a safe city.
We were onto this in Toronto. So why did we stop?
Glendon Rayworth, Etobicoke
Toronto is rapidly becoming the modern day equivalent of the Wild West’s O.K. Corral. Hardly a day goes by without reports of another shooting on downtown streets, in children’s playgrounds or housing complexes.
Now we hear that Mayor Tory is “damn mad” about gun violence in the city. This begs the question — where was he when the Toronto Police Service’s hands were tied by red tape in conducting street checks and in allowing a sharp reduction in the number of police officers patrolling our rapidly growing city?
I suggest he focus his anger on a mirror.
Barry Francis, Toronto
I suspect Mr. Trump would not find the problem very complicated.
The solution would be simple: anyone in Toronto caught in possession of an unlicensed gun goes to jail for a year, no ifs, ands or buts.
“What about their human rights?” will scream the bien pensants. What about the rights of the majority, the ordinary law-abiding Torontonians who expect to walk the streets safely?
Roy Smith, Whitby