Gun buy-back program is deeply flawed.

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Toronto police and politicians would like to get guns off the streets. Quite correctly, the thinking is that reducing the number of guns in the city will reduce crime.

In response to this, Toronto Police are currently operating a gun buy-back program that will continue until May 17. The idea is to pay cash ($200 – $350) for guns so that they can’t be used in criminal acts. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Could such a program reduce the number of guns in criminal hands? Sadly, not the way Toronto’s doing it.

Residents wishing to participate are asked to call police to come to their residence and pick up a surplus weapon(s). Criminals having second thoughts about a life of crime are not likely to do this. Since the program is targeting legally held guns, the only people likely to participate are collectors and owners who want to make a bit of extra cash.

Sadly, the vast number of guns in the wrong hands will remain where they are, untouched by the program.

If the City and Toronto Police are serious about getting guns out of criminal hands, they need to hold a gun amnesty. Other police forces have done this; there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

As it stands, the current buy-back plan is laughable.

Council to ask AGCO to yank licences after shootings

City Council will ask the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to pull the liquor licences of establishments that have “been the scene of gun violence or where patrons have been in the possession of handguns or where the police have found handguns on the premises”.

Frances Nunziata said that his measure is necessary because

They’re open all night, it turns into a booze can or it turns into an after hours club, and they party on the streets and the next thing you know there’s guns and there’s gun violence….

They suspend their license for two or three weeks, and then they reopen….

People are afraid to walk down the street when they have that amount of violence.

Start video at 1:24:00 if it doesn’t do so automatically.

I’m pretty sure none of this is true. I come home pretty late on Friday nights, and I often ride my bike from strangling class. Of course, I’m not everywhere all the time, but I’ve never once seen a party on the streets. (Nor have I seen guns or gun violence).

The data, such as they are, back me up. There have been two shootings in Weston in 2019. Neither happened after hours. One happened in broad daylight, outside a convenience store—perhaps we could pull their lottery-tickets?

Nunziata’s efforts to clamp down on gun violence should be applauded. But this is neither a real effort nor clamping down. It’s a waste of time.

Worse, it’s an embarrassing slander against our town. Nobody wants to live in a place like she describes—but her riding is nothing like she describes it.

If Nunziata were serious about preventing crime and keeping kids safe, she could have funded after-school programs at libraries.


Jury selection to be repaired

Readers with excellent memories may recall that jury selections in York South–Weston were among the most broken in the city.  Far more white people than visible minorities are selected for jury duty because the juror’s lists are drawn from property registries, leaving out “renters, boarders, students, seniors, spouses who are not named on property titles, transient and low-income people, Indigenous people and those unable to afford property in a red-hot real estate market. ”

The Toronto Star investigated, and found that 95% of York South–Weston residents were not on the jury list.

That will soon change. The Star writes that Ontario is abandoning property registries as the source of jurors; instead it will move to the OHIP database, starting in 2020.


And in other lousy news

The police are looking for a man they allege sexually assaulted a woman in the elevator of a building near Weston and Lawrence.

On Friday, the police say a 27-year-old woman entered an apartment building and “was followed inside and onto an elevator located by an unknown man.” When the doors closed, he sexually assaulted her.

The man is described as “20-30, short black hair, approximately 5’3” – 5’5”, thin build, wearing a light-coloured blue jean vest, navy blue hooded sweater with two small white designs on the left side of the hood, light-coloured pants and black sneakers.”

Photo from police
Photo from police

Two arrests in daylight shootout

Toronto police have arrested two men and are searching for two more suspects following a daylight gunfight Tuesday morning.

Recovered gun. Photo from police.

According to the police, two pairs of men encountered each other at the nearby variety store and got into an altercation. They exchanged gunfire before fleeing. One of the escaping cars ran head-first into oncoming traffic on Jane, and was involved in acollision. The occupants in the bystander’s car received minor injuries. The suspects fled on foot, and one firearm was recovered nearby. The other pair of suspects fled in dark-coloured car.

Cosmo James, 34, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, several firearms offenses, and four counts of breaching his of prohibition. James has a lengthy criminal history.

Nathaniel Grant, 34, has been charged with firearms offenses and four counts of breaching his prohibition. Grant, too, has a substantial criminal history.

The police are searching for Dwayne John and Malik Christie, both from Toronto.

Dwight John. Photo from police
Malik Christie. Photo from police.


Shooting on Jane

There was a brazen daylight shooting on Jane this morning. According to the CBC, the occupants of two cars involved in a collision “exchanged gunfire”. News Talk 1010 says that there was only one shooter.

The suspects fled, and the police searched the neighbourhood. One person was found with injuries likely caused by the crash.

The students at Chaminade were put in “hold and secure”, and the students at Memorial were kept inside.