Thursday, December 08, 2005

Innocents Shot = A Photo Op Opportunity for the Liberals

Sheila Copps is not a Liberal.

Studio 2 on TVO is a great source of information you hear nowhere else.

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Speaking of Studio 2, its Ottawa panel had a good discussion on Paul Martin's handgun proposal. The build-up started last night with media announcing that Martin would have a big announcement about gun crime this morning, and so today all eyes were on the Liberals for once instead of the Tories. There were several parts to their solution to gun crime; the one that got the most play was the handgun ban.

Handguns are already restricted and have been so for decades. According to Global National, 90 percent of gun crime in Vancouver happens with guns smuggled over the Canada-USA border, and although gun crime with rifles has dropped 60 percent since registration was brought in, handgun crime has risen 17 percent. So what's changed with handguns? They're no easier to purchase and keep than before.

Sheila Copps on Studio 2 let us in on how the Liberal caucus reacted when this idea was brought up many years ago, and the problems they foresaw if the government banned handguns outright. Basically, it would cause problems for places like the War Museum, for target shooters, for some of our athletes, with little gain to show for it. Also, the provinces are the ones who would enforce it and thus are the ones who would decide on the nitty gritty details. We would have one heck of a patchwork of "bans." The Liberal caucus back then rejected the idea (apparently some would have walked out if it had gone ahead -- imagine!). And so why would Paul Martin think that there would be any different reaction now, especially given how much some hate the gun registry? He knows there wouldn't be.

This is the most blatent political grandstanding I've ever seen. Blatent because it is transparently obvious to anyone in the know, whether a handgun owner, a Studio 2 watcher, or political hacks, that he cannot bring a handgun ban in. It won't fly; it won't even get off the ground. This is worse than buying our votes with tax dollars. It's buying our votes on the backs of Toronto's gun victims. It's false sympathy wrapping up his cynical voter manipulation, and it will solve nothing.

As much as that angers me, what gets me more is that the one step that would probably make a big difference he's not doing: raising the minimum sentences for using guns in a crime. OK, he's raising it, doubling it in fact, from 1 year to a whopping 2. Big deal. The cowards will be out before Christmas if caught and back to terrorizing their neighbourhood. How about no bail, and 10 years, no parole, for being in possession of an illegal gun? How about 25 years for using a gun in a crime, no parole? How about true life, not parole after 25 years, but permanent incarceration for murdering someone with a gun? Now they won't be so cocky, and at least the neighbourhood can be less terrorized.

The surge in gun crime has complex reasons behind it. It cannot be solved with a photo op and a promise Martin knows he cannot keep. We need real analysis by all levels of government working together with input from the community and the police and international experts on gun crime in order to understand the problem fully. And when we understand the problem fully, we will know what the solution ought to be.

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2 comments:

Ogilvie said...

I absolutely agree. Why are the Liberals so reluctant to toughen policing and sentencing? They'll do anything and everything rather than crack down on criminals.

talk talk talk said...

I don't know, but once they killed the deficit, they seemed to become reluctant to do anything about anything but talk, recycle promises, and talk some more.