Yesterday Paul Martin’s Liberals made campaign headlines with a plan to ban handguns in Canada. The Jane-Finch neighborhood in Toronto has been the target of a series of shootings recently, and the issue of gun control plays well to Canadians.
I grabbed a couple of numbers out of a very large list of gun statistics published in the Citizen this morning:
- 7.1 million registered firearms in Canada
- 172 gun related homicides in Canada in 2004
- 112 committed with handguns
71 gang-related homicides in Canada in 2004
70.4 percent of gang-related homicides committed with a gun
- 20.7 percent of non-gang related homicides committed with a gun
The highest concentration of gun violence is amongst gangs. 50 out of the 70 gang murders last year used guns, and 32 of those murders were carried out with hand guns.
In the best case, assuming that the homicides committed with a handgun would never have occurred in any other way, 112 lives might be saved by the Liberal ban. Mr. Martin is proposing to spend $590 million dollars to accomplish this.
Wouldn’t that money be better spent on the root cause of this violence? Rebuilding the ghettos of Toronto? Better policing at the border? Programs to target organized crime?
The facts are that Canada doesn’t have a gun violence problem. The UK, which has sweeping bans on guns of all kinds, experienced 9974 gun related homicides in 2002 — a rate close to 125 deaths per million people annually. Here in Canada, we experience about 5 deaths per million.
The gun registry we have today is doing it’s job. There’s no need for an outright ban on handguns. The existing restrictions work just fine.
The people who’s children are dying on the streets of Toronto are being used as a campaign prop by the Liberals. What an outrageous and cynical act!