Sunday, January 08, 2006

Gangs targeting gun owners' homes, police warn

The usual Conservative response to any gun control initiative, and the proposed Liberal hand gun ban, is to say you’re only persecuting law-abiding citizens; they’re not the criminals. And I don’t think they are criminals, but their guns can easily fall into the hands of criminals. That’s the problem, and why they need to be banned.

There was more evidence to bolster that case in the Toronto Star this morning : Street gangs zero in on gun owners. Here’s an excerpt:

Gang members are actively gathering intelligence on legitimate gun collectors who have been targeted in recent years, leading police to warn owners to be careful about who they confide in about their weapons.

No amount of security is going to stop determined thieves from breaking into gun safes, says Inspector Dave McLeod, head of the Toronto police's urban organized crime squad. "We know they are gathering intelligence on gun owners, but we don't yet know exactly how they are doing it," McLeod said.

The article points out guns reported stolen by a Toronto gun collector have already been used by criminals in the recent spent of gun violence plaguing the city. That’s scary, and exactly why we need to get rid of handguns. I lived in rural B.C. and I have no problems with the long rifles used for hunting and what not. But you don’t shoot a deer with a magnum.

I don’t buy the other popular Conservative gun control counterpoint: criminals don’t follow the law, so a hand gun ban is useless. This article shows that argument is false, the handguns of law abiding citizens are one of the places criminals get their guns, and if the border is tightened to cut back the flow from the U.S. they’ll look to this source even more.

But there’s an even more obvious reason why it’s a stupid counterpoint: criminals don’t follow any law, that’s why we call them criminals! By that logic, why do we have any laws at all then?

Anyway, to quote Chris Rock “You know what you need? We need some Bullet control!”

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wonderdog said...

I hate to interrupt your fantasy with some facts, but the rate at which stolen guns are used in crime is vanishingly small. Your assertion that this is a pressing reason to ban them is false.

Doing perhaps ten minutes research before regurgitating the content of a news story is always a good idea.

I hope you apply a higher standard to your technology writing.

A BCer in Toronto said...

When researching I tend to lend more credence to sources like the head of the Toronto police force's urban organized crime squad then I do to people named 'wonderdog.'

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder why, if the LPC's hand-gun ban is such a positive and, apparently, necessary policy, it allows provinces to opt out of it.

wonderdog said...

Oh, nice try, "Jeff." But you might have looked to a source beyond the article you were reading, mightn't you?

You might have looked for actual information on the rate at which stolen guns are used in crime. And had you looked for that information, you might have found that the supposedly compelling case for a handgun ban ain't so compelling after all.

Instead, you actually stand behind what you've written and claim you've done your research. Apparently you don't apply a higher standard to your "professional" work....

Anonymous said...

You're right, let's ban handguns. So I expect you'll be in the street protesting PM PM's lack of a plan to ban them? I mean, his plan still allows exemptions for collectors and sport shooters, and lets provinces opt out, something that may even weaken the present laws. His plan won't ban handguns. I'll see you out there, sign in hand, right?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Wonderdog, I'm not sure why you felt the need in both posts to bring the personal insults rather than just raise counterpoints, it's unnecessary. I've resolved this new year not to feed the trolls, but I'll set that aside for a moment.

Speaking of research, as you did, I never actually said stolen guns were a major source for criminals. I said it was A source, one that the police say gangs are turning to more, and one that if/with the border tightening one that could become more attractive. With the debate happening on a hand gun ban, I fell that's relevant.

On the wider issue of solving gun violence I don't think this is THE solution. I think it's one piece of a much larger puzzle. I don't think there is one silver bullet, if you'll forgive the pun.

Personally, I'd like to see more attention paid to the issues of poverty that seem to create an environment that helps fuel this violence.

Anyway, if you'll excuse me now I've got to get back to not researching things. :)

marc said...

Hoplophobes are the same everywhere: Ban guns and crime will go away, then we can all join hands and sing "kumbaya". All the research one needs to acquire to debunk the anti-gun vitriol is available, try Cato and Fraser institues for starters. But I'm sure the fear mongers among you have already dismissed them outright as biased and subjective. There are human monsters out there who will kill with a knife if a gun isn't available, who will kill with their hands if a knife isn't available. The availability of a gun makes no difference. Banning guns is a feel-good tactic, nothing more. Hoplophobes are the same everywhere, and as with any phobia, they need to stop reacting emotionally, and start thinking.