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Opinion stories

KNIGHT: Gun crime explodes in our cities while politicians fire blanks

Police need to have the restraints removed and allowed to be proactive in their communities. They know where the problems are and they know who the bad guys are.

For much of the last year, we have been getting nothing but lip service from our politicians about the rising problem of gun crime in our cities. This year alone there have been 395 shootings in the city of Toronto alone.  

On the day before Halloween three gunmen, driving in a black sedan, stopped and entered an apartment building on Clearview Heights and fired about 20 shots into a crowd of teens wounding five. The gunmen, in their late teens or early 20’s wearing hoodies, then fled in their getaway car. That no one was killed is a miracle. 

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told the media it appeared to be a targeted shooting.

Does anyone really think that a handgun ban, as proposed by Toronto Mayor John Tory would have had the slightest bit of difference in an incident such as this?

Not to be outdone, after a spate of shootings on the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he would impose a handgun ban if he could. Another genius. The DTES is the most crime-infested square mile in Canada and home to North America’s largest open-air  drug bazaar.  

Meanwhile, Vancouver Chief Adam Palmer said at this year’s Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police conference that Canada doesn’t need any more legislation or restrictions in our gun laws. Maybe Stewart should go talk to his Chief and get educated and find what’s really needed. 

In Winnipeg this week, police executed a search warrant on a house that yielded a massive gun seizure including 73 guns, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, body armour and explosives. The seizure included an AK-47, a .30 calibre Browning machine gun and a German made MG15 machine gun. None were legal, some had serial numbers altered or were otherwise modified. It is not known if he had an AR15 which the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has promised to ban.

But perhaps the best example of the uselessness of our gun laws occurred this week in Toronto. Ali Showbeg, 38, was arrested by Toronto Police, searched and put in the back of a police car. Police car video shows the suspect, who was already subject to a lifetime ban on possessing firearms, struggling to get something from his pants. 

He comes up with a handgun and drops it to the floor which attracted the attention of the officers. Chief Saunders at a later press conference, said the gun had been secreted in a type of magnetic holster that the police had not encountered before and that seems to be how the officers missed it in their search.

The bottom line is these people are all criminals. They don’t give a fig what law is passed. They get their weapons on the black market and that is the source of gun violence in our cities. The chattering classes can cluck their tongues all they want and talk about banning this or that, but it won’t do a thing. 

If our politicians really want to do something about gun violence they need to focus on meaningful sentences for committing a gun crime. As the Showbeg case demonstrates, a court-imposed ban, even for life, has no effect. Probation on top of probation on top of probation is useless. To get the guns off the streets, we need to get the criminals off the streets and that means meaningful prison time. 

Taking away police actions such as carding achieves nothing and exacerbates the problem. Equally, specialty anti-violence squads such as TAVIS in Toronto should be immediately restored. 

Police need to have the restraints removed and allowed to be proactive in their communities. They know where the problems are and they know who the bad guys are. Vacuous politicians flapping their gums, virtue signalling and getting in the way is not helpful.

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