Thursday, December 08, 2005

Banning handguns might not stop gangs, but most murders aren't committed by gangs anyway!!!

Right Wingers are going to complain that banning handguns will do nothing to stop the urban gang violence in Toronto. While I don't agree 100% with that assessment, the point they make does have validity, so I for one am going to concede that point and move on to the real reason banning handguns is a good policy... most gun deaths are NOT gang related!!!

Here are some stats:

Stats Can: “Each year, there are about five times more suicides involving firearms than homicides committed with firearms.”

1996 figures “More than 1,000 Canadians die every year from gunshot wounds, most of them by their own hand. In 1996 the total firearm deaths amounted to 1,131, of which 815 were suicides, 45 were accidents and 156 were homicides.”

You’re much more likely to die by a gun because of suicide and accident, than homicide.
Also, most of the homicides are NOT gang related. Most gun homicides are domestic disputes which end in a death because someone has a gun.

“The evidence indicates that potential murderers are usually not persons engaged in premeditated homicidal acts, but rather, participants in family quarrels, arguments between acquaintances, brawls, clashes of personality, and so on. While such disturbances precipitate violence, they neither require a death for their resolution nor usually result in fatal consequences for those involved. It is unrealistic to assume that people involved in most murder cases are so determined to kill that in the absence of guns they will either seek to achieve their purpose with any available alternative or deliberately evade whatever restrictions may be enacted." (“Guns and Violence,” pp. 13-14)

In other words, most domestic homicides involving guns wouldn’t have been homicides at all if there hadn’t been a gun present, and you are FAR more likely to kill a family member with your gun than to kill anyone else.

It’s also interesting to note that in cases of domestic homocide using handguns, the murderer was only violating a gun law at the time of the killing in 22% of cases!!!

So, while gang violence gets all the headlines (and the Liberals will probably sell this as helping with that, which I admit it probably won’t) suicides and family on family murders are a MUCH bigger problem in reality. And in the case of domestic violence with handguns, 78% of perps hadn’t violated any gun law at all, until the moment they killed their family member (usually their spouse).

Banning handguns might not make Toronto any safer for pedestrians. But it probably will save lives. And as far as I'm concerned, saving the lives of innocent people is a good reason to ban handguns, even if gangsters will still have illegal guns.

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Halden said...

I agree, just because these laws might not stop or even slow the gang violence or use of illegal guns it does not mean the law is ineffective in stopping some violence related to legal guns. If we reduce gun violence by only 1% with this legislation I think it would be worth it.

wonderdog said...

You're mixing some apples with your oranges, Kitch.

You're talking about total firearms deaths, of which handgun deaths are only a small proportion.

If you want to take this line of argument, you need to use the number of domestic murders, suicides, etc. involving handguns. Otherwise, you are making an argument for a broader firearms ban.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


I take your point. The only stat I have at hand is rather old (1993), but extremely disturbing. It is from the Canada Firearms Centre (LINK) which indicates that in domestic HANDGUN murders, the shooter had broken a gun law in only 22% of cases.

In the other 78% of cases, everything was legal until the trigger was pulled.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Also wonderdog, from the same report:

Handguns accounted for 15% of domestic gun homicides in their survey. But I don't know how 15% compares to the ownership rate of handguns compared to other guns.

joe lamerde said...

How much have firearm offences decreased in the UK since handguns were banned? o They didn't. They almost doubled. (National Post, October 28, 2005)

What percentage of gun crimes are committed by lawful registered handguns in Canada? Where police have detailed firearm information, 84% of homicides were committed with unregistered firearms and four of every five (79%) accused persons did not possess a valid firearms license. (Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statisics)

How much has Canada's homicide rate risen in the past year? 12% (Statistics Canada)

What are the sentences for the trafficking in illegal firearms, including assault rifles? � Minimum sentence of only one year

How many unfilled RCMP positions are there currently in Canada? 1,059 (Tabled in Parliament on November 14, 2005 by Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan)

What happened to Canada's Ports Police, which once patrolled and protected against gun smuggling? Dismantled in 1997 by the Liberal government

What powers do Customs officials have to fight gun smuggling at our borders? No powers of arrest

Did Mr. Martin's Bill C-82, introduced on November 25, 2005, propose to toughen violent gun crime penalties?No

Did Mr. Martin's Bill C-82, introduced on November 25, 2005, propose to toughen penalties for serious drug offences?
How many illegal firearms are there in Canada, according to federal government agencies? They have no idea

TonyGuitar said...

How stupid do They think we Canadians are? Handguns are already effectivly banned. When the police hear of a hand gun... any handgun, they swarm.

What more can legislation do? Huummpff!

Canadian Liberals put up a valiant struggle, however....

Liberal Party, = Canada's miracle! Is it magic that a political party can be up to it's armpits in quicksand and still have real hopes of winning an election?

Or, is it simply that 98% of Canadian voters are absolutly asleep at the wheel?

Even Buzz Hargrove may not be aware of the over 200 rip-off scams by the Chretien and Martin Libranos governments.

What branch of organized crime does Buzz belong to anyway? A Martinite?...Amazing! Payola? C'mon Paulie, fess up. What island off Barbados are you giving to Buzz?


Ted L. Nancy said...

Dear Lord,

Maybe we should evaluate the proposal in terms of its actual proposal. By that I mean, Martin made the pitch in an area that's suffered from gang related shootings. It's being sold as if it will make the streets safer for 'us' from 'others'.

So, wonderdogs comments notwithstanding, is it appropriate to sell a law publicly for one reason, then, when pressed on it, switch to a different reason? At the very least, Martin would have to step back up to the plate, perhaps even that same neighbourhood, and say "not really gonna help you guys, but if you think about offing yourself after your family members are killed by gangs, this will make it harder for you to do that."

Hmmm, I think that's a speech just begging to be written by blogboy.



Anonymous said...

[quote]in cases of domestic homocide using handguns, the murderer was only violating a gun law at the time of the killing in 22% of cases!!![/quote]

I took a look at the Government study and of the 15% of domestic homicides that were committed by handguns, less than half were legally owned. Scan down the study and it breaks it down.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Well anon,

I haven't had time to check that, but I'll just point out that this is the EXACT quote from the study, which I paraphrased in the original post: "Handguns were used in 15 percent of the incidents. Prior to committing the homicide the accused was violating a gun law or regulation by possessing a firearm in 22 percent of the incidents."

So I don't know what further break down you're alluding to (though I trust you that there's something, I just haven't had time to look), but that pretty clearly states to me that the study found that the killer was violating a gun law in only 22% of the domestic homicides committed with handguns.

Anonymous said...

I'm not too knowledgable about the restrictions placed on hand guns, but when it says "More than one-half of the handguns used, however, were not in the legal possession of the accused prior to the incident" does that mean they could have obtained the guns legally at some point, but then failed to use them responsibley or failed to meet some requirements later? If hand guns were not allowed to be bought in the first place, would those numbers be lower?