Mayor Tory explains shifting position on handgun ban

Tory Mayor John Tory once said a handgun ban would be an “empty gesture” and a poor substitute for tighter border security.

Now, Tory is pushing for just such a ban as part of a slate of measures, that includes more police resources and community child and family programming, which he argues will reduce gun crimes in the city.

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “2hScog1dZjw”, “pn_video_1492”, “”, “”, {“is_mobile”:””} ); } )();

“I don’t think you can be bound by ideology or even by what you’ve said in the past on this. I think you have to look at circumstances as you find them,” Tory told the Toronto Sun.

“I think in this case, we have a problem that has become more complex and has become one that is more perplexing for us in terms of how to deal with it. If you said to me, ‘Am I now willing to take a look at the notion of the banning of handguns in the City of Toronto?’… I would say, ‘Yes, I am.’”

In 2008, Tory was quoted in the National Post saying that the real problem was guns coming over the border, and a handgun ban wasn’t the answer.

On pace for a record number of shootings and gun-related murder this year, Mayor John Tory and city council are pushing for a ban on handguns and the sale of ammunition in Toronto. (Getty Images)

“I just think that this kind of thing where you’re taking people who are engaged in legal behaviour — it’s an Olympic sport, for heaven sake — it’s not like it’s something where people are just doing it sort of in their backyards,” Tory said at the time.

“And I just think that they should be focused much more heavily with the federal government and everybody else, on the border issue.”

When former mayoral opponent Olivia Chow suggested a handgun ban in 2014, Tory was still opposed.

“What Ms. Chow doesn’t seem to understand is that criminals and gang members don’t obey the law,” Tory said, according to a report in the Toronto Star. “Calling for such a ban isn’t leadership. It’s an empty gesture.”

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “Xtep_D-BsOk”, “pn_video_435494”, “”, “”, {“is_mobile”:””} ); } )();

What’s changed since then is the way guns are getting into criminals’ hands, Tory said.

Toronto Police have told him – in writing – that about half of handguns used in crimes are from domestic sources now where in the past it was about 10%, he said.

“Now it’s 50-50, that’s what they tell me,” Tory said. “If (people) want to quibble, they should quibble with the police, not me.”

Legal purchasers are filling out the required paperwork, buying a number of guns and then selling them on the illegal market, Tory said.

Why would a legal gun owner do that when it might be traced?

Tory said he’s asked the same question, and has advocated for much tighter tracking of legal guns to ensure they’re kept on the right side of the law.

“But you get to the stage at some point where you say actually you know what, it may be just easier and more effective just to say they’re not going to be in the City of Toronto, rather than say we will let someone buy 10 guns and then go and track them,” he said.

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “LQTfGAcHtUo”, “pn_video_957870”, “”, “”, {“is_mobile”:””} ); } )();

Since Toronto’s request to the federal government to ban handguns within city limits, Montreal has also called for a city-wide ban, he notes.

Similar bans in Australia and the U.K. were also established to positive effect, and were a motivating factor in his evolving position on handgun bans, he said.

Tory said most residents who approach him on the issue agree with his view that nobody needs a handgun in Toronto, except in limited circumstances like for police or certain security positions.

However, some people have raised the issue of legal target shooters who wouldn’t dream of using their weapons to break the law, he said.

“Many laws impact on the lives and activities of perfectly law-abiding citizens but we have to pass the law in the greater public interest,” Tory said.

[email protected]

( function() { pnLoadVideo( “videos”, “8Ukex9OAzCs”, “pn_video_812760”, “”, “”, {“is_mobile”:””} ); } )();

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies