The Post editorial board: How did a demagogue like David Miller become the mayor of Canada's biggest city?
Posted: May 27, 2008, 3:36 PM by Marni Soupcoff
Let’s see if we have this right. Toronto has a problem with young gang members using smuggled handguns to kill one another in rave clubs and warehouses — and in order to fight this trend, mayor David Miller wants to … take away target pistols from Olympic shooters and close down law-abiding gun clubs.
Mr. Miller’s logic is so bizarre, it’s hard to know where to begin to dismantle it. He either completely misunderstands the causes of crime in his city — or, worse, he is cynically redirecting public anger from criminals to law-abiding gun collectors and target shooters. Whichever the case, Torontonians ought to be outraged.
Brandishing a report from city bureaucrats that claims “up to” 40% of gun crimes in Toronto are committed using firearms stolen from their rightful owners — RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police estimates are closer to just 10% — Mr. Miller said shooting sports are a “hobby … that creates danger to others.”
The mayor’s choice of language is telling: He insisted many of the crime guns used in his city “are stolen from so-called legal owners.” But there is nothing “so-called” about the legal status of rightful owners. They are law-abiding Canadians — unless of course you are a spin-doctoring politician out to demonize them.
As usual, the mayor is too timid to take honest action necessary to curb gun crime, namely beefing up police in neighbourhoods where most of the crimes occur. That might get him labelled “insensitive” or even racist, and that would never do. So instead, Mr. Miller has latched onto gun owners as convenient whipping boys, knowing that in our urbanized culture most voters cannot understand the allure of shooting sports.
In short, Mr. Miller is counting on the public’s ignorance about guns to give his useless proposals the look of a real effort to tackle crime. His recommendations, though, will do nothing to prevent murders, shootings and other gang-related violence. Nor will they prevent the influx of illegal handguns from the United States, which are the weapon of choice in almost all violent Canadian gun crimes.
In Britain, after the tragic elementary school shootings at Dunblane, Scotland in 1996, all private handgun ownership was banned and all handguns confiscated. Even England’s Olympic shooters, for a time, were forced to shuttle across the Channel to France for practice. Since then, though, New Scotland Yard and the Home Office estimate that the inventory of illegal handguns in Britain has expanded by 3 million. Gun crime has nearly doubled. And many cities now have more gun crime than comparable U.S. cities. Police refer to Manchester as Gunchester.
And Britain, remember, is an island — and all its neighbours have tough gun-control laws. If even the UK cannot keep guns out despite a universal prohibition, what chance has a single city such a Toronto, whose criminals have easy land access to the United States and its guns?
Municipal gun control is useless. In cities where handguns are banned or severely restricted — Chicago, Washington D.C., London, Tokyo and others — gun crimes remain common. As they do in Toronto, criminals in these cities merely go underground, or to a neighbouring jurisdiction, and buy an illegal weapon. Only in New York, which implemented much more aggressive policing in the early 1990s, has gun crime fallen significantly.
Instead of following New York’s lead, though, Toronto Mayor David Miller is intent on replicating the failure of Britain. In the process, he threatens the enjoyment of reputable gun hobbyists without any chance his ideas will do a thing to stop shootings in Toronto. Can someone please tell us how this ignorant demagogue became the mayor of Canada’s biggest city?
Gun owners are threatening to fight back and have started a website. Toronto has been agonizing over its serious losses in the last few years in the tourist trade and has spent a lot of money trying to "re-brand" itself and market itself to the United States. The gun-owner lobby is threatening to take out anti-Toronto ads in the U.S. That is a real threat (considering the number of 2nd amendmenters) and if I were a business in Toronto in the tourist industry I would be all over this windbag Miller like white on rice to find a different phoney issue over which he could blow smoke out his ass.
I don't own a gun but I love to see the little people push back against the bullying Toronto city council, led by this self-righteous horse's ass.