Hand Guns Bah! (That’s “Ban”)

From CANOE:

A shooting outside a Scarborough school yesterday should turn the attention of federal politicians on the campaign trail toward a ban on handguns, Toronto’s mayor said.

Calling the shooting at Bendale Business and Technical Institute “unacceptable,” Mayor David Miller said the city, police and school board were not to blame.

“Why should Torontonians, children in this case, be faced with the kind of threats they’re seeing when the federal government could take real action?” Miller asked. “That’s why we’re calling for a national handgun ban. It’s about preventing crime by getting the guns out of the hands of the thugs who use them.

From Global – Report:

Federal party leaders also reacted to the shootings — which killed two in Toronto and one in Calgary and put three others in hospital — as gun violence threatened to explode as an election issue.

NDP leader Jack Layton pledged to introduce a comprehensive program to empower cities to eliminate handguns, except for those in the hands of law enforcement officials. “We’ve got to make sure the funding is there for the police officers that are required,” he said.

He added a new NDP campaign promise to invest $1.45 billion in child-care would also tackle the root of the problems that lead to gun-related crimes.

The Conservatives released a new TV ad yesterday featuring leader Stephen Harper saying he was “determined to crack down on crime.”

Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has not made a handgun ban an election pledge, but has vowed to ban military assault weapons from civilian use.

From James Laxer’s blog:

Everyone who has thought about the issue knows that a complete ban on hand guns will not end gang violence in Toronto and in other large Canadian cities.

But it’s an essential step to take.

Both Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty are calling for such a ban. They have the support of NDP leader Jack Layton who wants the cities to have the power to enact such a ban.

Read the rest here

What does Stephen Harper say?  He says tougher sentences for crimes involving guns.  He scores in the negative integers for intelligence.  We’ve known for years that sentence length has little deterrant effect (At best, results are mixed.  See this [download pdf]).  Or none.  Can’t C/conservatives read?  Geez.  One study even noted a 3% rise in recidivism rates for offenders who were given longer sentences.

Then, there’s always this:

Crowded maximum- and medium-security facilities are holding inmates who are more violent, more addicted to drugs and more likely to suffer from mental illness than in the past. Yet fewer are getting the rehabilitation programs they need.

“Some of them leave more violent and more addicted to drugs than when they walked in the place,” says Jason Godin, Ontario president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. “That’s pretty scary for the Canadian public.”

Recidivism rates, perhaps the best measure of the prison system’s effectiveness, show at least 40 per cent of inmates are convicted of a new offence within two years of leaving jail.

The Conservative government is considering a major reform of the system, but hasn’t announced its plans. What it has done is push through new “tough on crime” legislation most criminal justice experts warn will further strain the prison system without reducing crime.

The Tackling Violent Crime Act increases the number of gun-related crimes that automatically result in mandatory minimum sentences, increases the jail time to be served for those crimes and designates as a dangerous offender anyone convicted of three violent or sexual offences, jailing them for as long as they’re considered to be an unacceptable risk to society.

Legislative committees studying incarnations of the act repeatedly heard experts comparing these provisions to U.S. laws that resulted in spiralling costs and rates of incarceration, with little impact on crime.

Officials at Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) acknowledge the changes will increase costs and further crowd prisons.

Read the rest here

Oh C/conservatives can probably read.  They just don’t want to believe what they’re reading.

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