Letters to the editor by Sporting Clubs of Niagara members

Dec. 30, 2012 - The Standard

Fewer mass shootings when there was less gun control

Columnists Joe Warmington and Tim Denis both claim the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School was caused by insufficient gun control. Why then were mass murders like this almost unheard of 40 or more years ago, when gun laws were much less restrictive than they are today? From 1946 to 1968, when most of the country had essentially no gun control at all, there were just two mass shootings in the U.S. So far this year, there have been seven.

We have experienced the same disturbing trend in Canada. Between 1946 and 1974, a period when gun control was almost non existent by today’s standards, there was not one single mass shooting in this country. Since then, by my count, we have had nine. In the old days, we had strong social controls but little gun control and mass murders were rare. Now we have lots of gun control but few social controls and mass murders occur with sickening regularity. Personally, I like the old system better.

John Orth

Welland Tribune March 18, 2010

re “ "Federal long gun registry a 'cost effective' public safety tool" March 16

I find it ironic Peter Malachy Ryan ( "Federal long gun registry a 'cost effective' public safety tool" March 16) accuses MP Candice Hoeppner of misrepresenting the cost of the long gun registry when he does exactly the same thing. What Auditor General Sheila Fraser actually said was that the direct cost of licensing Canada's two million gun owners and registering seven million guns was $946 million. She did not, however, include the indirect costs such as paying the salaries of local firearms officers, costs which would never have been incurred had the ill conceived registry not been put in place.

When the indirect costs are included (as well they should be) the cost of the registry easily reaches $2 billion if not more.

Ryan states that the majority of the cost was for licensing rather than firearm registration. The problem with this argument is the government already had in place a perfectly satisfactory licensing system (the Firearms Acquisition Certificate) that was, in fact, more cost effective and efficient than the system that replaced it.

His argument that guns "... are designed with one purpose, which is to kill ..." must come as a major shock to the hundreds of thousands of Canadian target shooters (including Olympians) who use firearms to do nothing more dangerous than put holes in pieces of paper or break clay disks.

Similarly disingenuous is his contention the long gun registry is needed because it "... allows the RCMP and the Canadian government to hold the U.S. to account for the amount of smuggling and gang traffic that occurs from weapons coming over the U.S. border." This is a classic canard. Virtually all the firearms smuggled in from the U.S. are easily concealed handguns, not long guns and the registry of legal handguns will continue to exist. And how well is that handgun registry working? Turns out over 90% of all handguns used in crime aren't registered anyway.

Ryan further questions why the Conservatives don't want Canadians to secure their own weapons or protect public safety. I guess he missed the fact the Conservative firearm strategy continues to include safe storage regulations, mandatory safety courses and continuous eligibility screening of firearm licence holders.

The comment that "Law abiding gun owners would do well to support the registry to differentiate themselves from criminals who don't register their weapons or get a licence," is quite bluntly, disgusting. Law abiding gun owners have taken safety courses, safely stored their firearms, paid for licences and submitted to intrusive and insulting questions on licence applications to possess their guns. Now, just because they don't agree with the registry Ryan has the gall to equate them with criminals who use "...such things (guns) for dangerous or ill conceived reasons."

And how he has the nerve to blame the failings of the registry on all political parties rather than just the Liberals is beyond comprehension. Allan Rock, the architect of this financial disaster, was warned in 1995 the cost would exceed $500 million. He scoffed. Opposition MPs proposed over 100 amendments to Bill C 68 (the Firearms Act) to make it more palatable to gun owners. The Liberals defeated every one of them.

Firearm homicide totals are almost exactly the same as they were in 1991 before the government wasted $2 billion of our tax dollars. And despite Ryan's claims the registry is now built and is more cost effective than the 1990s, government import/ export numbers prove there is at least one unregistered gun in the country for every registered one.

His contention police use the registry "... 8,000 to 10,000 times a day ..." is pure misdirection. Gun registry checks are done automatically no matter what the offense. Get stopped for speeding the police check the gun registry. The truth is, in the entire country there are only about 20 legitimate firearm inquiries a day. That works out to less than one for every 1.5 million Canadians.

Gerry Gamble

The St. Catharines Standard, September 18, 2008

Liberal leader is poorly informed on firearm issue

Re: Dion targets Harper on gun control, the Standard, Sept. 9.

It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. However, I guess nobody told Liberal Leader Stepane Dion as this article points out that if elected he plans to ban semi-automatic assault rifles.

Besides demonstrating an incredible lack of knowledge on the subject (for example, there is no such thing as a semi-automatic assault rifle - by definition an assault rifle is fully automatic), Dion also apparently never checked his own party's previous dismal record of preventing firearm homicides by banning specific firearms.

In 1995, the Liberals banned more than 550,000 small calibre, short barrelled handguns using the argument (completely without evidence by the way) that it would decrease handgun homicides. The result: handgun homicides rose from 50 per cent of the Candian total of homicides in 1995 to 66 per cent in 2006, and the total number of firearms homicides did not decline.

And the bargain price of this little scheme - more than $2 billion of tax payers money that could have gone into health care, increased policing, women's shelters or any of a dozen other endeavors that would have actually saved some lives.

Yet Dion now thinks another firearm ban will produce a different result. If he is so poorly informed on this issue, one can only shudder to think of the damage he could do if he had to decide where to put our soldiers in harms way, negotiate with other world leaders, or worse, be the custodian of our tax dollars.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Windsor Star, January 9, 2007

No need for customs officers to be tested

I am confused by customs union president Marie Claire Coupal's statement of relief that the government will be administering psychological screening to customs' firearms trainers. The people she feels need this screening are not only her fellow citizens, they are her co-workers and members of the union she sought to lead. Surely she must have been sufficiently confident in their mental stability before now. I think what may be at work here is the oddly Canadian (and historically speaking recent) notion that being near firearms or even mentioning them can somehow turn people -- even seasoned law enforcement officers -- into maniacs. How sad. The content of our national character in the last century was so strong that we took millions of farm kids, shoved rifles into their hands, gave them some brief training and then sent them off to rescue Europe. It was a task at which they excelled -- twice.

What has happened since then? Why are people like Coupal now so suspicious -- even of their co-workers? Are Canadians really so untrustworthy now, or have we just been brainwashed about the supposed danger of guns?

John A. Gayder, St. Catharines

The Globe and Mail, November 6, 2006

Banning Guns

It might surprise Roci Freeman (Ban All Firearms -- letter, Oct. 5) to learn that several countries currently have complete bans on firearms. Perhaps the writer would like to move to one of these enlightened states so here are a few to choose from: the People's Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea. The writer seems to think the government knows best what rights and possessions I should have. I prefer to think that choice should be mine. The measure of a civilized country is not what the government decides you can or can't have. It's the degree to which the government trusts its citizens (armed or not).

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Calgary Herald, June 5, 2006

Registry flawed

Guns - Re: "World is watching gun registry's fate," Kris Kotarski, Opinion, May 27.

Kris Kotarski's article is so fraught with misinformation it is hard to determine where to begin.

The claim that the registry tells the police if a firearm is present at a residence is outlandish. No police officer with a shred of logic would trust the information from the registry to determine the presence of a firearm at a call.

One need look no further than the Mayerthorpe tragedy or the shooting of Const. Valerie Gignac to disprove this seriously flawed contention. One of the auditor general's chief criticisms of the registry was that the information in it couldn't be trusted.

Kotarski never explains how keeping track of the firearms of Canadian hunters and target shooters is remotely connected with the world trade in illicit firearms.

He says other countries are looking to emulate Canada's registry.

I didn't realize there was a great world demand for a horrendously expensive, inefficient firearm registration system that has never been proven to make citizens safer.

Contrary to being the envy of other countries, the registry's implementation has made us a laughing stock -- the country where a gun control system with a 500-times cost overrun failed to protect anyone.

That is nothing to be proud of.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Windsor Star, May 10, 2006

Const. Atkinson remembered: Gun registry futile

James Swann's letter, Like Losing Part of a Family, May 8, conveyed a genuine heartfelt message right up until he slid in the phrase "... I hope this incident can sway Conservatives to see the downside to getting rid of the gun registry."

At the risk of politicizing a tragic occurrence, it is an event like this that points out the futility of the gun registry. The government would be much better served by providing police with the ways and means of catching, convicting and punishing these low-lifes, or even better, preventing such abhorrent behaviour rather than following the previous Liberal government's strategy of harassing law-abiding citizens and controlling inanimate objects. We can see how well that worked.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, November 21, 2005

Best gun control is stiff penalties for gun crimes

Re: Stiffening penalties for gun crimes good move, The Standard, Nov. 14.

Legitimate gun owners have always said this was the way to go. Time will tell if Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's strategy means exactly that, or if it will be just another smoke screen to attack law-abiding firearms owners.

The previously enacted and highly acrimonious Firearms Act contained only five pages of sentencing for actual gun crimes, yet contained 120 pages of Byzantine regulations aimed squarely at target shooters and sportsmen.

A central feature of the Act was the now infamous gun registry. It hasn't worked and the ten years since it was enacted have proven to be costly in lives, money, and public relations between the gun-owning public and the police. Now that everyone is finally in agreement that those who commit misdeeds with firearms are the ones that should pay the penalties, can we expect the same unanimity for rolling back the ineffective, insanely expensive and insulting Firearms Act?

John Gayder, St. Catharines

National Post, July 11, 2005

Re: Gun registry works, letter from Roy Cullen, July 7.

You can almost smell the desperation when politicians find it necessary to take the time to write rebuttals to newspaper editorials and this latest gambit by Liberal MP Roy Cullen is no exception.

His numbers sound impressive, for example, the refusal of 14,000 firearm licences. He fails to note, however, that many of those were for paperwork infractions like non-signed applications or portions incorrectly filled in. In fact, even ex-Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino was threatened with licence refusal because he had simply listed "Italy" as his place of birth instead of the name of the village where he was born.

Cullen's statement "Police, customs officers and other public safety officials use the Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO) service approximately 2,000 times every day" is just as misleading. The "other public safety officials" he notes are simply clerks at the Canadian Firearms Centre verifying transfers between law-abiding citizens, a task that wouldn't even exist if the firearms registry hadn't been created.

Perhaps most telling is his manipulation of numbers to prove his point. For example, given that there are about 20 firearms-related spousal homicides a year, the 8 per cent reduction he so boldly touts equals about 1.5 spousal homicides, a drop so small it could just as easily be attributed to good weather or the Canadian Olympic hockey gold medal win.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The St. Catharines Standard, May 14, 2005

Martin doesn't surprise me

Nobody should be surprised anymore at the continued shameful treatment of veterans by Paul Martin. He comes from the same party who deliberately stalled giving benefits to veterans who were mentally disabled by war and pensions to our brave Merchant Mariners until most of them had died from old age. Remember his gaffe when he twice referred to D-Day as the invasion of Norway?

Perhaps the biggest insult to our veterans has been the many laws the liberals have enacted in their nearly two decades in power which have made Canada less Canadian and more like the countries we asked our vets to defeat; journalists arrested, censuses including information on racial origin demanded, obscene tax rates levied, lists of gun owners compiled, financial transactions scrutinized and national identification papers proposed. All nice and legal in the eyes of the liberals because they had the most votes in Parliament.

The liberals should be well known and remembered by one and all at the ballot box for giving what the people from the Holland our vets liberated call stank voor dank, which means "stink for thanks."

John Gayder, St.Catharines

Kitchener Waterloo Record, May 21, 2005

Dear Editor;

I was extremely disappointed to see my gang omitted from Frances Barrick's otherwise excellent article entitled "Taking stock of region's gangs; Nine street groups are tracked by police". (KW Record, Page A1, May 21/05)

Unlike the "Slingers" and the eight other KW area gangs mentioned in the article, my group was deemed to be such a threat that every police service now staffs an entire branch just to track our one single faction. Further proof of the fear generated by us is the fact that the federal government has already spent $2 billion dollars tracking us and will spend at least $60 million each year in perpetuity trying to keep tabs on us.

The name of my baneful crew? We go by different names, a few of which are; "The Deer Hunters", "Skeet Shooters", "Collectors", "Target Hitters" and "Duck Baggers". Aren't you glad so much is spent on us instead of mere street punks? Why weren't we mentioned?


John Gayder
(a law abiding Canadian gun owner)
St.Catharines, Ontario

The Winnipeg Sun, May 3, 2005

Dick Tracy Not Needed

Re: Police need help finding stolen firearms (Staff, May 1). Seems to me that this is a no-brainer for the police and they won't even need Dick Tracy to crack the case. They simply have to wait till the thieves apply to register the stolen guns and then nab them. Isn't that $2-billion gun registry making us all feel just a little safer tonight?

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

EDITOR: Safe as a house on fire.

The Windsor Star, March 21, 2005

Alberta's position on gun laws not relevant

R. King, Linking Gun Registry To RCMP Killings Misguided, March 16 destroys his own argument for supporting the firearm registry in his first sentence when he correctly states that, criminals don't register stolen guns. Since James Roszko didn't register his guns, how could Alberta's failure to support the gun registry, which obviously only includes non-criminal guns, in any way contribute to the deaths of the four RCMP officers?

Since criminal guns are unregistered, and therefore untraceable, how does R. King propose that "all provinces support the registry, and get these prohibited weapons out of the hands of individuals?" Maybe the Liberals should have spent some of the $2 billion wasted on the firearm registry to teach the police how to read minds, since that is the only way they will know which criminals have firearms.

As an obvious supporter of the firearm registry, King's last statement, "the time has come to get the politics out of the firearms issue" is particularly outrageous. It was Liberal politics that gave us the registry in the first place, as they conveniently ignored the fact that there was not a single example anywhere in the world where registering the firearms of law-abiding citizens has ever decreased crime.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Ottawa Citizen, March 09, 2005

Smacks of hypocrisy

Re: Firearms registry couldn't have prevented killings, opponents say, March 4.

I was astounded by the glib response of Sophie Roux, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Professional Police Association that supports the Firearms Act, to the accusation that the law does nothing to prevent such heinous crimes.

Her comment that "We can't go there," smacks of the worst form of hypocrisy. How many times after a shooting have we seen this group, the Coalition for Gun Control and some police chiefs, such as Ottawa's Vince Bevan, tripping over each other as they run to the microphones to extol the virtues of more gun control.

But when the shoe is on the other foot, all that is said is: "We can't go there." Well, maybe we should. If we did, we would discover that the $2 billion spent to license and register honest Canadians who don't commit gun crimes could have paid for an extra 4,000 police officers for 10 years.

Perhaps then there would have been enough officers available to track down and arrest known criminal Jim Roszko. If he had been in jail, the public would not be anguishing over the deaths of four fine young men.

How many more good people have to die before the Liberals admit the folly of the current Canadian gun-control system and replace it with something that actually saves lives?

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

online@eveningtimes.co.uk November 22, 2004

Dear Editor;
Licensing, banning and controlling knives? You must be kidding! Assuming that these measures work (which they won't) what will be next? Similar crackdowns on golf clubs, cricket bats, billiard cues, Tizer bottles, chairs, trouser belts and fists? I suggest a prohibition on assaultive behavior - but wait, that was already a law 200 years ago. Then how about real jail time for offenders?

Incredulous in Canada,
John A. Gayder
St.Catharines, Ontario

The Ottawa Citizen, May 12, 2004

Crime statistics don't justify gun registration policy

Re: Gun control is working, May 8.

While letter-writer Eric Houde is entitled to his opinion, it would be nice if he didn't have to creatively massage his "facts" in the process. To set the record straight, the "rigorous licensing of owners" he touts didn't take effect until January 2001, long after firearm homicides had started to decline (a trend that actually began in 1975, predating all firearm licensing). He confuses the issue by including firearm suicides and accidents in his data to make the decrease seem larger. The prominent firearm homicides at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and the Just Desserts restaurant in Toronto were the driving force behind the new laws, not suicides or accidents. In fact, firearm homicide totals have been remarkably stable since the late 1980s, predating by nearly 15 years both the new licensing scheme and long-gun registration. While he correctly notes that the use of long guns in homicides has decreased since the late 1980s, significantly he fails to explain how the decline can be attributed to the gun control program given that mandatory licensing didn't come into effect until 2001 and long-gun registration was not required until 2003.

With a minimal decline in firearms homicides and rising suicide totals (not just gun-related), how can a $2-billion start-up cost and $80 million a year in perpetuity for licensing and registration be seen as "a good investment"? Now that really would be "rocket science."

John Orth, Jordan, Ont.

The Hamilton Spectator, May 11, 2004

RE: 'A most offensive poster; Girls with Guns' (letter, May 8) Let me see if I get this right. Cold- blooded murders with illegal guns occur weekly on Ontario streets and I don't see one word written to The Spectator by this letter writer. But when eight female police officers (who openly carry guns daily as they perform their job protecting the public) attempt to raise money to cure a disease which kills 5,000 women a year, he is moved to condemn them as "Rambos" and their actions are "offensive." The letter writer needs to get his priorities straight. These women are doing a very good deed using the tools of their trade and only the most narrow-minded would condemn them for it.

I've already ordered my poster.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Toronto Sun, May 07, 2004

I HAVE just one question about the story "Pellet gun shooter gets 18 months" (May 6): What happened to the Liberals' vaunted minimum 4-year sentence for the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime? Honest gun owners face more jail time for simply failing to register a firearm, while someone who shoots a 5-year-old in the face gets a slap on the wrist. This is what $2 billion for gun control has bought us under the Liberals. Please, someone save us from these clowns.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Editor (Someone? How about millions of voters?)

The Ottawa Citizen, May 04, 2004

Liberals out of touch on gun registry

Re: Voluntary gun registry idea irks MPs, April 30.

MP Marlene Jennings's comment summed up nicely how out of touch she and the Liberal party are with the mood of most Canadians. Responding to a proposal for a voluntary firearms registration, Ms. Jennings said, "The overwhelming majority in every single province want compulsory gun registration."

It's obvious Ms. Jennings has no grasp of what the term "overwhelming majority" means. Since December 2002, four separate polls (two by Ipsos-Reid and two by JMCK Communications) have shown national support for the gun registry ranging from 37 per cent to 43 per cent. In January, an Ipsos-Reid-Globe and Mail-CTV survey that asked "Is it time to scrap the Canadian gun registry?" garnered nearly 27,000 responses, 71 per cent of which said "yes." Just as surreal was Ms. Jennings comment that "the gun registry ... is vital for police to track illegal firearms that are used in crime." This statement ignores the obvious fact that illegal firearms aren't included in the registry.

The firearms registry is the poster issue for Liberal waste and corruption that a real "overwhelming majority" of Canadians is fed up with. It's unfortunate that Ms. Jennings and her Liberal colleagues are too busy living in their fantasy world to realize it.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Ottawa Sun, April 29, 2004

Letter of the Day

One finds it difficult to sympathize with Police Chief Vince Bevan and his plea for more money to fight Ottawa's growing gang problem.

For years Chief Bevan has been one of the biggest cheerleaders for that $2-billion white elephant called the firearm registry. It smacks of the worst type of hypocrisy for him to champion the registry and the millions of dollars it wastes yearly with no discernible benefits and then complain that the government is underfunding the Ottawa police force.

When it comes to money everyone needs to set priorities, and this is no exception. If Bevan wants more cash let him ask for it out of the registry's $100-million annual budget. It's wasted money anyway, so no one is likely to notice the difference.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

(Or he could just tell the feds the Ottawa Police Service is actually an advertising agency ...)

The Hamilton Spectator, March 17, 2003

Hefty sentences would help muzzle the gun madness; Bill that backfired

Every time I open the newspaper I read about more shootings and killings, notably in Toronto. This is ironic, considering that we have one of the most stringent and expensive firearm regulation systems in the world. Unfortunately it is also a complete failure.

Most of these shootings are committed with unregistered handguns. None of them have been or ever will be registered under the new laws brought in by Bill C-68 or by the old system. It is a simple fact that gang members, hoodlums and drug dealers don't register their guns and have no problem getting them, either by theft or by smuggling them across the border.

The second problem, as noted by Toronto police chief Julian Fantino, is that while most of these offenders are already well known to the police, they pass through the justice system like it was a revolving door. Judges seldom apply the maximum penalties and sentences are plea-bargained down to lesser charges, thus having virtually no deterrent effect. In addition, two or more convictions at the same time usually result in sentences which are served concurrently instead of consecutively, effectively letting the guilty commit crimes which end up being freebies.

The $1-billion firearms act is a farce, a complete failure and waste of taxpayers money.

Police forces could benefit dramatically from the money currently being spent on the firearm registry and, if the courts would start applying lengthy mandatory sentences for gun crimes, a growing problem could be rapidly brought under control.

Bodo Eichhorn, St. Catharines

The Toronto Star, March 13, 2004

Miller clueless on fighting gun crime

Re Jobs for at-risk youth urged, March 10.

If anyone needs proof positive that Mayor David Miller doesn't have a clue about fighting gun crime in Toronto, they need only look at his inane comment that he'll ask Toronto-area mayors to get their police forces to conduct security checks in all gun clubs and gun stores. Someone should tell Miller that, thanks to the federal Liberals, 90 per cent of gun dealers have been driven out of business and few of the ones that remain sell handguns. The murder of a clerk at Ontario Sporting Goods two years ago, during a brazen daylight robbery, shows the lengths criminals will go to to obtain guns. And since virtually no gun clubs store firearms on-site, one is hard-pressed to see the logic of wasting precious police time harassing law-abiding gun owners and vendors while the flow of illegal firearms continues across the border unabated.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The National Post, March 05, 2003

Guns and women

Re: Guns and Registries, letter to the editor, March 3.

Letter writer Don Munro makes me wonder if he has ever actually looked at the statistics on spousal homicide. On average, about 30 Canadian women per year are killed with firearms, about 15 of which are domestic homicides. Meanwhile, some 130 men per year are firearm homicide victims. If he is correct and the $1-billion-plus firearm registry has "everything to do with women feeling safe in their own homes" and "little to do with 'bad guys' doing crime," then the Liberals have duped us even worse than we thought.

For a doctor -- who surely has seen firsthand the decimation of the health care system due to government underfunding -- to advocate that money spent on a firearm registry money is a good investment for the well-being of women (or anyone else, for that matter) is irresponsible beyond belief.

Lastly, while even a small number of spousal homicides is undeniably tragic, the documented fact that medical mistakes by doctors kill between 4,000 and 10,000 Canadians a year gives me rise to think that Dr. Munro has some serious problems with his priorities.

Physician, heal thyself.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Calgary Herald, March 03, 2004

Policy flip-flop

Re: "Policy Misfire," Editorial, Feb. 15.

Kudos to the Herald editorial board for acknowledging that the registration of long guns is a bad idea on many different levels. The funny thing is, when I wrote Wayne Easter with the same concerns about the gun registry during his tenure as helmsman for the program, he wrote me back, telling me it was a great program and that pretty much everything was going swell with it. In his defence, other Liberal MPs told me the same thing. To now hear that he was asking the prime minister to dump it behind the scenes leaves me wondering how much a letter from a politician can be trusted.

John A. Gayder, St. Catharines

The Globe and Mail, February 03, 2004

Sensible gun laws

It is entirely understandable that the families of those slain in 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique want to prevent further tragedies like those that have befallen them, and gun control can play a part in doing that (Dead Wrong On Guns -- letter, Jan. 31). However, the one thing the current controls are not is, ironically, summarized in one of the words found in Suzanne Laplante Edward's own letter -- "sensible."

The measures contained in the law are far from sensible. In addition to being vastly expensive beyond their supposed utility, they have alienated law-abiding hunters, target shooters and collectors. To everyone's detriment, Canada remains mired in the now 10-year-old gun-control debate. We cannot move forward on this issue until it is recognized that wanting prudent gun control, while at the same time objecting to the poorly written Firearms Act, are not mutually exclusive.

John A. Gayder, St. Catharines

The Toronto Sun, January 28, 2003

Letter of the Day

So Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant wants to create a "Green-Beret style" anti-gang unit to combat gun use. How this will differ from the existing Toronto gun squad is unclear, but in theory, at least, it's a laudable idea.

Unfortunately, Bryant then had to fall off the logic wagon by announcing one of the key strategies would be enforcing tougher gun storage on gun shops and gun clubs. Someone should tell him that thanks to his Liberal buddies in Ottawa, 90% of gun dealers have been driven out of business and few of those who remain sell handguns. The murder of a clerk at Ontario Sporting Supplies in Vaughan two years ago, during a brazen daylight robbery, shows the lengths to which criminals will go to obtain guns. An extra lock on a safe is unlikely to deter them. And since very few gun clubs store firearms onsite, one is hard pressed to see how these edicts will in any way dent the illegal gun trade.

Bryant's problem is that he seems more interested in the publicity a problem can garner (remember the replica handgun photo op at Queen's Park?) than in solving it.

One must question his vendetta against legal owners of firearms while he refuses to pressure his Ottawa friends to implement lengthy and mandatory jail terms on those who use firearms in the commission of crimes. Wouldn't generate enough media coverage, I guess.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Editor (A-G Bryant may be in favour of gun control, but is that a vendetta?)

The Hamilton Spectator, January 28, 2004

An overpriced firearms act that has woefully misfired

RE: 'Cop's gut feeling? More and more guns' and 'Assault rifle in schoolboy's hands triggers 'the greatest fear one can have' (Jan. 26)

Both these stories point to one conclusion: the Liberal's billion-dollar "Firearms Act" that was to make Canadians safer is a complete fiasco. Yet this is not much of a revelation given that 90 per cent of it was directed at law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals.

A billion dollars would have put 2,000 more police on the street for 10 years. It would have hired even more customs inspectors who could check more suspect packages like the one containing the AK-47. Instead we got a wildly overpriced, incomplete and inaccurate firearms control system which lists Grandpa Joe's duck gun but doesn't keep track of people with firearm prohibitions against them. Few crime guns enter Canada legally yet funding for stronger border controls is instead sucked up paying the salaries of Ottawa bureaucrats and paper-pushing clerks at the Canadian Firearms Centre in New Brunswick.

And instead of it getting more economical it is estimated that the registry will cost over $100 million in perpetuity unless someone in government has the courage to say "enough!" and pull the plug. But it's not Paul Martin who has called for, you guessed it, another efficiency study. Perhaps we could use a few of those to send someone to find that most elusive of creatures -- a politician with a backbone.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, January 21, 2004

Wasteful federal gun registry should be scrapped

The time has come to scrap the Gun Registry. A recent online poll conducted by The Globe & Mail which asked "Is it time to scrap the Canadian gun registry" showed the following results: Out of 26,841 votes cast, 19,102 (71%) said "Yes" while only 7,739 votes (29%) said "No".

This is a clear sign the public is finally realizing that the Firearms Act is not working. With a $1 billion already spent and another $300 million needed to upgrade the computer system it is clear this fiasco has got to stop.

In addition, for readers who don't know, parts of the firearms registration has been privatized, something the Liberals vowed would not happen. But like so many of their promises, this one was broken too and vital personal information will now be accessible to $10 per hour clerks.

Meanwhile, murders in Toronto continue unabated, mostly with unregistered handguns. Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino has stated that the Registry is a complete failure and more and more police forces are following in agreeing with him.

For the people of St.Catharines, the $1 billion wasted on this fiasco could have bought approximately 55 four plex hockey arenas or 17 medical centres.

Where do you think the money should be spent?

Bodo Eichhorn
St. Catharines

The Toronto Sun, January 05, 2004

RE "STREET wars - gun violence is way up" (Rob Lamberti, Dec. 31):

Will the Sun please send a copy of this article to Prime Minister Paul Martin, former justice minister Allan Rock, Deputy PM Anne McLellan, the Toronto Star, Dalton McGuinty, Wayne Easter, David Austin of the Canadian Firearms Centre, Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and any other do-gooder who starts blathering on about the "culture of safety" the the billion-dollar Firearms Act is supposed to be providing for Canadians? Continued increase in gun violence is proof positive that badly needed money that could go into health care, mental health counselling, more thorough Customs inspections and more police on the street is completely and utterly wasted on a firearms registry that has vilified duck hunters, target shooters and gun collectors (none of whom appear to be involved in Toronto gun violence) simply to satisfy a Liberal feel-good publicity campaign.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Editor (Would any of them bother to read it?)

The Waterloo Region Record, December 31, 2003

Gun plan hasn't helped

I was shocked by the Dec. 29 article, Toronto Police Cite Gang Links In Two Homicides. Wasn't it exactly this type of gun violence that we were promised would be severely curtailed by the Liberals' firearms registry which, despite its huge cost, was going to improve public safety?

Well, there is good news for Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino and the Toronto police force.

I am pleased to report that Prime Minister Paul Martin has decided that the firearms registry, which is apparently having a deterrent effect on gun crime, (although I'm not sure where) will continue despite its gigantic cost overruns.

Martin apparently knows a good, effective program when he sees one and the registry is obviously more useful in fighting violent crime than the 2,000 extra police officers who could have been put on the streets for 10 years with the $1 billion the registry has cost so far.

Well done, Mr. Martin!

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Toronto Sun, December 27, 2003

RE MARK Bonokoski's column. "Gun registry mess goes back 70 years" (Dec. 17):

Back when the Toronto "guns and gangs" task force was created, I applauded Police Chief Julian Fantino for understanding what the federal Liberals could not - that it was criminals and not deer hunters who were at the root of gun violence. I had visions of the task force staking out illegal clubs and booze cans or infiltrating smuggling rings to help keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. I imagined that legitimate firearms enthusiasts were to be left alone for once. Now it comes to pass that in a short time the police seem to have abandoned this course and are now letting the error-ridden federal gun registry develop their leads for them. Of course, the registry can only direct them to deer hunters and target shooters who have complied with the registry requirements, and automatically diverts them away from those criminals who never ever will register - but are the very source of Toronto's shootings. How many drug dealers and gang-bangers were arming themselves for their next confrontation while the so called "guns and gangs" task force were chasing down a World War II rifle legally registered to a licensed owner?

Ted J. Valliere, St. Catharines

Editor (But why blame the police for a stupid mistake by the feds?)

The Toronto Sun, December 13, 2003

RE "COPS hope raids will provide clue in killing" (Dec. 12):

I was shocked to note that along with the extensive list of weapons seized during the arrests of the alleged 18 Buddha gang members there was no mention of confiscated gun licences or firearms registration slips. And I have to assume it was just an oversight on the part of the police not to mention how valuable the billion-dollar gun registry was in helping to pinpoint the felons who were subsequently arrested. I expect to see an updated report shortly that will rectify these omissions. I also hope Paul Martin is paying attention to this as I am sure he will want to invest several hundred million more dollars into this vital crime-fighting database.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Editor (If Martin doesn't, deputy PM Anne McLellan might)

The National Post, December 6, 2003

Shooting holes in registry logic

It's obvious that desperation is setting in at the Canadian Firearms Centre when Solicitor General Wayne Easter has to write a letter to the editor to defend it. Or perhaps it is because it's hard to discover a newspaper letter, column or editorial in favour of the registry.

The facts are these: MP Garry Breitkreuz has repeatedly been proven correct in his criticisms of the registry, from the gigantic cost overruns to the issuance of licences with the wrong photos on them to the hiding of vital information from Parliament.

Meanwhile, Mr. Easter and his predecessors (Allan Rock, Anne McLellan, Martin Cauchon) have consistently been proven wrong regarding the cost, efficiency and usefulness of the registry.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if just once a Liberal would say "We made a mistake." But don't hold your breath. It appears Mr. Easter and company prefer to pump taxpayer money into a corpse that has no hope of revival rather than spend it rectifying problems -- such as underfunded health care -- that might actually save the lives of Canadians.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Hamilton Spectator, December 5, 2003

Therien picking out the wrong target; Pellet guns

RE: 'High time feds muzzled pellet guns' (letter, Dec. 3)

It would be nice if, just once, Emile Therien of the Canada Safety Council would spend his well-paid time doing something other than fear mongering. His latest diatribe, this time against pellet guns, is a new low in chasing a safety hazard windmill. His statement that "realistic-looking toy guns and replica firearms comprise up to 40 per cent of guns seized by some police departments" is patently misleading.

Toy guns and replica firearms are not even "guns" as none fire projectiles. And pellet guns are not "fake guns" as Therien contends. If used in a criminal manner (as in the case of the Santa who was hit with a pellet) they are legally considered firearms and the perpetrator could conceivably be charged with attempted murder.

His statement that "... air guns that can fire a pellet at speeds faster than the legal threshold in Canada's firearms law are on the market" is again deliberately confusing.

In fact, any air gun whose velocity exceeds the legal limit (500 feet per second) is legally considered a firearm and can only be purchased by a firearm licence holder.

Let me close by asking why he is wasting his time and position writing about pellet guns -- which are almost never lethal -- instead of warning readers about the dangers of automobiles, poisons, baby rattles and ladders, which kill thousands of Canadians each year.

If this is the best Therien can do, the Canada Safety Council isn't getting its money's worth out of him.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Winnipeg Free Press, November 17, 2003

Legislation stems lawsuit mania

Thank you for your editorial (Responsible act, Nov. 10), a refreshingly accurate assessment of S. 659, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. American anti-gun organizations, largely stymied from enacting more restrictive firearm legislation by a relatively pro-gun Congress, Senate and president, are now stooping to blatant distortions of the truth to maintain their agenda.

In fact, my only disagreement with your editorial is the comment that "The proposed law would give the industry immunity from lawsuits brought by victims or the families of victims of crimes or accidents resulting from the use of guns." This is not entirely accurate.

If a person was injured or killed due to faulty design or construction of a firearm the manufacturer could still be sued. If a retailer violated one of the hundreds of regulations set out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), they would similarly be fair game for a lawsuit.

The law is designed to prevent frivolous litigation that has already cost firearm manufacturers tens of millions of dollars fighting over 30 such suits that have been brought against them in the past five years. It is worth noting that not one lawsuit has been successful but the firms still had to pay the legal fees.

It is little wonder that a key supporter of the bill is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Imagine the costs to industries and the public if a person could sue General Motors because a family member was killed in a crash with a Chevrolet, General Electric could be sued because someone burned their hand on a GE stove or the Winnipeg Free Press could be sued because someone got a paper cut from the Saturday edition.

Despite the hysteria and distortion from the anti-gun camp, this is good legislation that is badly needed to put the brakes on the lawsuit-crazy environment that has evolved in the United States and, to a lesser degree, Canada.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Charlottetown Guardian, November 10, 2003

Heavy police presence no longer the exception


To your editorial comment that "...the photo of a police officer with a machine gun on the wharf was simply too much. It was a case of federal and provincial officials overreacting to what was still a peaceful protest."

I can only say "Welcome to the club." In the past few years, the trend of armed RCMP overreaction to peaceful protest has become the rule rather than the exception. Witness the pepper-spraying of students in British Columbia for no reason other than they were (peacefully) protesting.

And you should consider yourself lucky that only one machine gun was in evidence. In 1995 and 1998, I attended the pro-gun FED UP rallies in Ottawa. These were two of the largest public demonstrations in the history of the country, drawing a total of some 35,000 people to Parliament Hill. There were no incidents of any sort, no arrests were made and the grounds were left cleaner than when we arrived. And how did the RCMP react to these peaceful protests? They stationed snipers on the rooftops of adjacent buildings. Not only that, they denied doing it until an Access to Information inquiry by Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz, which proved it, forced them to admit that they had, indeed, checked out these weapons the day of the demonstration.

Isn't it a sad commentary that the RCMP and their Liberal bosses in Ottawa are more willing to suppress the peaceful activities of their own citizens than they do the actions of terrorists at home and abroad?

But maybe this shouldn't be a surprise. After all, it's a lot safer to intimidate fishermen, students and duck hunters than it is terrorists. They aren't likely to shoot back.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Province, November 10, 2003

Law won't change use of dangerous weapons: Talking Point: Machete sales

I hope columnist Mike Roberts is kidding in his column when he says, "It's time the full force of the law was brought to bear on the sale and ownership of machetes . . ." If he's serious, apparently he has learned nothing from that billion dollar boondoggle called the firearm registry, which has done absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence in Canada.

Since the beginning of time humans have invented implements that can inflict injury or death. If machetes are controlled (how about serial numbers and a machete registry), does Roberts think violent youth will not find a substitute? Hammers, axes, baseball bats, chains, straight razors, a gallon of gasoline, a fishing gaff hook can all do a pretty good job on the human body.

What a refreshing change if, for a change, someone suggested we focus our attention on the users of the implements instead of assuming that by controlling inanimate objects we can control human behaviour.

But I guess in Canada, home of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and Faint Hope Clause, that would be too much to ask.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Moncton Times and Transcript, September 04, 2003

Refusal to prosecute in line with opinion

To The Editor:

Some comment is necessary on the reactions from various groups regarding New Brunswick's decision not to prosecute gun owners who have not registered their guns.

Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control may decry the decision as "extremely irresponsible," but it should be noted that New Brunswick has simply followed the lead of six other provinces in refusing to waste scarce financial resources on a feel-good scheme that cannot be proven to have saved one life or prevented one crime. The Environics poll that Cukier refers to which supposedly shows widespread support for firearm registration ambiguously combined safe storage provisions and firearm safety training (both of which gun owners support) with gun registration, so its results are questionable at best. She conveniently omits two other recent polls (by Ipsos-Reid and JMCK Communications) both of which show support for firearm registration in the 40 per cent range, not exactly a ringing endorsement of its acceptance by the Canadian public.

And the statistics from Rosella Melanson of the New Brunswick Council on the Status of Women on spousal firearm homicides (14 in 13 years) hardly presents a strong case for spending a billion dollars on the firearm registry either. While each of the 14 deaths is without a doubt tragic, statistically women are at no greater risk of dying from a gunshot than they are from a fatal bee sting allergy or drowning in the family swimming pool. And I won't even bother with breast cancer deaths as they are so disproportionately huge as to be incomparable to gunshot deaths.

Wouldn't it be nice if just once alarmists like Cukier and Melanson would abandon their sacred cows like gun control and devote the energy to issues that really put women at risk.

Maybe then we would all be better off.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, July 18, 2003

Gun owners are still angry with Chretien

Regarding your article, "Gun control protest sputters in Fredericton (July 16), a few comments are in order, as your article creates the impression that people do not care any longer about this issue.

Last week, the gentlemen from CUFOA and their "rolling protest" passed through the Niagara Region and met with some members of "The Sporting Clubs of Niagara," a pro-firearms political action group with more than 4,500 local newsletter subscribers.

CUFOA specifically requested that we not widely advertise their arrival due to the difficult logistics of organizing a large rally on short notice (we only knew a few weeks in advance), a somewhat flexible schedule which could not guarantee their arrival at a given time and place and the vagaries of attendance during the summer holidays.

Having run three previous rallies that have drawn 700, 800 and 2,100 attendees respectively, we could easily have produced a large turnout, but this was not the intent or desire of the CUFOA members. I believe it is fair to assume that their strategy or situation did not change from Ontario last week to New Brunswick this week.

Let me assure you that the issue of illogical firearms control in Canada has not diminished. However, now that the Liberals have, despite all good advice to the contrary, finally put the system in place (it only took nine years and a billion dollars so far), the opposition strategy has moved from widespread public protest (which, according to your article, you have previously observed) which the Liberals ignored, to legal (eg. the CUFOA rally and the Nunavut court challenge) and passive resistance. I personally know dozens of people who simply did not and will not register their firearms.

Do not, however, confuse the decreased visibility with diminished anger.

However, with the failure of an appeal to common sense, firearm groups have simply moved on to other less visible strategies.

The very fact that the police refuse to arrest these self-avowed law-breakers testifies to the lack of support and shaky legal ground that underpins most aspects of the Firearms Act.

GERRY GAMBLE Membership Chair The Sporting Clubs of Niagara St. Catharines, ON

The Hamilton Spectator, July 16, 2003

Blame the assailants

RE: 'Easy pellet-gun access astounding' (July 15).

This Spectator editorial argues that air guns aren't considered firearms and aren't subject to Canada's Firearms Act. In fact, air guns are considered firearms when used to commit a criminal offence, as in this case.

And The Spectator's argument that air guns "have the capacity to do as much damage as a real gun," is ridiculous. Serious injuries are fairly rare and usually involve the eyes, while fatalities are virtually non-existent. Compare that to the lethality of real guns in that shooting gallery called downtown Toronto.

And a person must be 18 to purchase an air gun, which scares me a lot less than the carnage that 16- and 17-year-old drivers, licensed or not, cause annually.

The bottom line is simple: Three low-lifes seriously injured a five-year-old boy for kicks. Whether they used an air gun, slingshot, peashooter or their hands is immaterial. They did it and, maturity and responsibility aside, maybe the lash isn't a bad idea. It makes a lot more sense than railing against an inanimate object.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines.

The National Post, July 04, 2003

CA shoot-out

Your editorial makes the same mistake gun owners have been making for years -- that by being "reasonable" you will somehow sway Ontario urbanites to empathize with the plight of law-abiding gun owners.

For the past nine years, firearm organizations have successfully debunked the anti-gun myths perpetuated by the Coalition for Gun Control and their ilk, but to no avail. Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz was laughed at when he predicted the cost of the firearm registry would exceed a billion dollars.

The laughter stopped when the Auditor-General confirmed his warnings. Yet, most Liberal MPs, brain dead to the last, continue to support the registry and Eastern Canada continues to support them.

Even as insurance companies deem gun owners "not an identifiable risk group" we hear pleas like yours that this event "plays right into the hands of those who want to stereotype the Alliance as a bunch of redneck Yosemite Sams."

As Neville Chamberlain learned, appeasement of bullies never works and appearing "reasonable" to try and appease the Liberals or urban Ontarians who have already stereotyped the Alliance is a waste of time.

Gun owners are fed up with being picked on by the uninformed and an event like this is a logical culmination of that frustration.

They should blast away, and heartily. The Liberal logo deserves no less.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Chronicle-Herald, June 24, 2003

Twisted logic

Dear Editor:

Don Bragg's letter ("What's the problem?" June 17) requires a reply. Even the Liberals admit there are at least 2.5 million gun owners in Canada, so Mr. Bragg's comment that "all this wind from a few gun lobby groups . . . " greatly understates the number of people unhappy with this law.

While we may register "cars, children, dogs," etc., it should be noted that, unlike guns, you won't be sent to jail if you fail to register any of these.

And Mr. Bragg's twisted logic seems to equate drinking and driving and robbing convenience stores with Uncle George having an unregistered duck gun in the closet. Perhaps he can explain how, unlike the first two, Uncle George is putting the public at risk?

Isn't it ironic that the same police and courts that Mr. Bragg thinks can control crime are being hampered in their effectiveness because they lack funds and their time is occupied with fool's errands like chasing down the 'paper criminals' created by the gun registry.

The billion dollars wasted so far on registration could have put 2,000 more police on the streets for 10 years. Apparently, in Mr. Bragg's world, spending it making Uncle George fill out government forms makes more sense.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Hamilton Spectator, June 14, 2003

Gun registry didn't stop him; Wayne Lewis

RE: 'Long, violent history didn't stop release of man in murder-suicide' (June 7).

It took convicted criminal Wayne Lewis just 72 hours after being released from jail to get an illegal handgun and kill his former girlfriend.

This case is sickening for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it's further proof that the $1-billion federal gun registry is an utter waste.

The gun lobby has been right all along: violent criminals are not deterred by legal requirements to get licences, register their guns or store them safely.

Since the beginning of the gun registry fiasco, those who opposed its high costs were repeatedly told, "If it saves one life, it will be worth it."

Would any of those same people please explain to Ellisse Phillips's two-year-old daughter why her mommy wasn't one of them?

John A. Gayder
St. Catharines.

The Winnipeg Sun, June 05, 2003

Respect Must be Earned

In the article Police museum best kept secret (June 1), retired staff sergeant Jack Templeman said of policing in the past that "people were more likely to help you in those days than criticize and complain."

In deference to Sgt. Templeman, who perhaps was policing when common sense prevailed, I have to say this.

When police complain about lack of funding while the Canadian Police Association continues to support a useless billion-dollar gun registry that does little but harass law-abiding citizens, is it any wonder people criticize and complain?

I am personally aware of at least two cases in which people's homes were broken into and their safely stored guns stolen. Instead of the result being compassion from the investigating officers, it was threats to lay charges against them for unsafe storage.

Respect must be earned, even by the police. While there are many fine officers on Canadian police forces, those who practise political patronage or use their position to harass crime victims will earn all police (even the good ones) the respect those actions deserve, and that is none.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

Editor: There is no justification for disrespecting all police officers.

The Montreal Gazette, May 19, 2003

Most media coverage is anti-gun

I detected a slightly snide tone in Peter Hadekel's May 16 column on the National Rifle Association joining artists and other liberal groups in opposing relaxed rules on media ownership in the U.S. Love it or hate it, the NRA has a valid point. Most media coverage in the U.S. (and Canada, for that matter) is notoriously anti-gun.

A study by the U.S.-based Media Research Centre found that of 653 firearms-related stories that received TV coverage between 1997 and 1999, 257 advocated gun control whereas only 36 opposed it, and the rest were neutral.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, of the approximately 280 newspapers that carried a story last year about a shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, only four even mentioned that the shooter was apprehended by two other students who retrieved guns from their cars and restrained the perpetrator until the police arrived.

Whether one is pro- or anti-gun, the bottom line is that people have the right to expect balanced media coverage, and when it comes to firearms, balance does not exist.

With all the influence the various media have today, it is extremely unhealthy to allow a few organizations to manipulate them. This situation does not do the general population any good and should be prevented as much as possible.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Toronto Sun, May 19, 2003

BRAVO TO Julian Fantino for telling it like it is. As police chief, Fantino is a refreshing change from the apple polishers in jurisdictions like Ottawa who stampede to support a useless gun registry but fall mute regarding the lack of progress on a national DNA database. While the federal Liberals happily blow $1 billion-plus to register Uncle George's duck gun, they don't seem to care a whit about tracking the sexual predators in our midst. And where is the Coalition for Gun Control? Always quick to hit the streets with their "If it saves one life" mantra when a gun is used, we hear not a word from them on this issue. Then again, I guess a campaign to register sex offenders doesn't get them the headlines that gunfire does. Can anyone spell "hypocrite"?

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

Editor's Comment (Sure. C-H-R-E-T-I-E-N)

The Toronto Star, May 16, 2003

Sex offenders registry needed

The gruesome abduction and dismemberment of Holly Jones should not have happened with the sophisticated technology we have today. Instead of wasting $1 billion on the federal firearms registry without showing any results for it, this funding should have gone to implement the national sex offenders registry. All pedophiles and their DNA would be accessible by all police forces nationwide and their whereabouts available to all communities. Aren't our children worth it?

Bodo Eichhorn, St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, March 10, 2003

Gun registration ineffectual

The Article "Mother of slain Teenager champions gun registry" left me sad and frustrated. Sad because of a tragic death and frustrated that Karen Vanscoy has chosen to expend her energy supporting a useless and horrendously expensive firearm registry.

Given the facts of the situation (a young offender with no firearm licence and a stolen gun murders her daughter) it mystifies me that she has chosen to "champion" the one thing that would have done nothing to prevent her daughter's murder.

Since her daughter's killer is probably already back on the streets, why doesn't she champion reform to the joke called the Young Offender's Act? Why isn't she demanding that some of the billion dollars be spent hiring more police (who perhaps could have tracked down the stolen gun before it was used).

Unfortunately I think Ms. Vanscoy's repetition of tired catch phrases lifted directly from "Coalition for Gun Control" propaganda answers these questions. Anti-gun groups are shameless about exploiting tragedy to advance their agenda, and this, sadly, is no exception.

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, March 8, 2003

Although I have a great deal of sympathy for Karen Vanscoy on the loss she has suffered, her victimhood is no license for irrationalism. The gun used to kill her daughter was an inanimate piece of steel. It did not steal itself, float through the air, aim itself at her daughter and then pull it's own trigger.

The person responsible for the death of Jasmine Vanscoy was a criminal, yet of the one hundred and twenty five pages of the Firearms Act she champions, only five deal with increased punishment for people like him. The rest are filled with complex regulations aimed at target shooters and hunters.

Gun owners did not enact the inadequate young offender legislation with which her daughter's killer had been previously coddled with. Nor did they stack the courts with Judges who are unable or unwilling to deter crime by giving strong, meaningful sentences to the violence prone. Gun owners do not administer this country's leaking parole system or cutback prison capacity.

Violent crime is a great concern to everyone. Gun owners included. But by again endorsing a strategy that unfairly blames and oppresses, Ms Vanscoy continues to alienate over 7 million responsible gun-owning Canadians who would have heartily endorsed her otherwise noble goal of reducing violence.

John A. Gayder

Montreal Gazette, February 7, 2003

Gun registry warning against ID cards

Your Feb. 6 story "national identity cards would help curb fraud: Coderre" indicated that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre thinks national identity cards will enhance our privacy. One need only look at the job the Liberals did on the federal gun registry to see how laughable his comment "I'm a big fan of privacy. I believe that we should protect our privacy" really is.

How well did the government maintain privacy in that project? For a cost overrun 500 times the original estimate, the government: allowed gun-registration envelopes with owners' names and addresses to be thrown into a publicly accessible dumpster; issued hundreds of gun licenses with the wrong photos or no photos on them; lost track of thousands of people with firearm prohibitions against them; and agreed to turn the registry and all its confidential information over to a private company staffed with clerks getting paid $9 hour.

If this government has been completely unable to ensure the privacy of a fairly small number of gun owners, it is sheer lunacy to even consider that it could maintain the integrity of a national ID card system.

Forget identity thieves. We're in much greater need of protection from this bunch of bumbling boobs.

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines, Ont.

Montreal Gazette, January 5, 2003

Gun law illogical

Elizabeth Nevarie's Jan. 3 letter, "Punish those who evade gun registry," demonstrates once again the appalling lack of logic on the part of individuals trying in vain to justify the firearms registry.

With regard to Nevarie's analogy with car registration, anyone can purchase a car without registering it or having a driver's licence. The only limitation is that it not be operated it on public roadways.

In addition, the vast majority of car accidents and deaths are caused by registered vehicles driven by licensed drivers. Obviously, licensing and registration has been unable to stop motor-vehicle mishaps. So will how registration have an impact on the use of dangerous firearms? The fact is, it won't.

Just as there are reckless drivers, so, too, are there reckless firearm users. The problem is, most of them are criminals who will ignore the law anyway, and thanks to the $1 billion wasted on the firearms registry, we now have even fewer resources for the police to use to catch them.

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines, Ont.

The Toronto Star, December 18, 2002

Gun registry a poor memorial

Re: Gun registry on target - Dec. 13.

Although I am sympathetic to their loss and respectful of their mission to prevent further violence, I question the wisdom of those who still cling to the Firearms Act after all the evidence against it. Spending more than $1 billion, alienating legitimate gun owners, bringing disgrace upon Parliament by ramming the law through and then ignoring contrary reports about its costs has not been a proper way to "create a lasting memorial" to the 14 young women slain at the École Polytechnique.

John A. Gayder, St. Catharines

The Calgary Herald, December 17, 2002

How it works

Re: "Armed men invade N.W. home," Dec. 15.

The hoods responsible for the home invasion you described in your story should be easy to track down. The handgun they used belongs to a class of firearms that has required registration for 60 years. By law, it cannot be transported without a permit that strictly limits the time, type of activity and routes that must be taken while in possession of the firearm. All the police need to do is get the victim to identify the firearm from a catalog and then see who was authorized to transport that model of firearm during the time of the crime.

Isn't that what we spent $1 billion -- and will continue to spend $60 million a year -- on?

John A. Gayder
St. Catharines, Ont.

The Toronto Star, December 7, 2002

Firearms registry a total failure

Re: Parliament mugged

Editorial, Dec. 5.

It seems that the Star, while finally admitting that the Liberals' federal gun registry is a financial scam, continues to be in denial about its total lack of effectiveness in accomplishing its stated goal, public safety. Has the federal gun registry decreased criminal firearm use in this country?

There were more firearm homicides in Canada in 2001 than in 2000. Handguns, which have required registration since 1934, are by far the weapon of choice for firearm homicides in Canada. Toronto has seen a 50 per cent increase in handgun killings over the lastfour years.

Gun control activist Wendy Cukier bragged before its introduction that the federal gun registry would make women safer from abusive spouses.

There was a 32 per cent increase in spousal homicides from 2000 to 2001. Are women feeling safer now?

If you had a billion dollars to spend on public safety, which would do more good: a combination of more police on the streets, more anti-violence counselling, more suicide prevention hotlines and more women's shelters; or a firearm registry for Uncle George and his duck gun?

The Star picks number 2. I suspect most reasonable Canadians want number 1.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines

The Hamilton Spectator, December 7, 2002

Firearms Act aimed at the wrong target

RE: 'Government mishandling shouldn't end gun registry' (Dec. 5).

It is becoming pathetic to watch the how low the Justice Department and gun-control advocates, including The Spectator, go in their attempts to rescue Canada's Firearms Act. They blame part of its high cost on gun owners and the provincial legislators for fighting it and being unco-operative at every turn. The Spectator calls them "critics seeking any excuse to end gun control."

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon even stooped so low as to say that opponents of the registry "do not believe in safe communities."

This is extremely insulting and simply not true. Gun owners don't like the criminal misuse of firearms any more than the next person. Had the Firearms Act been an effective, properly focused and affordable law, honest gun owners and the provinces would have been the first ones to support and participate in it.

The auditor general recognized this when she observed that much of the problem with the Firearms Act is rooted in the institutionalized ethic at the Justice Department that sees any form of gun ownership as "a questionable activity" requiring the tightest regulation possible.

The harsh words from Cauchon and The Spectator demonstrate what the Firearms Act had already proved in writing: Liberal-style gun control is based exclusively on dismal prejudices against a large portion of the Canadian public who are otherwise honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens who choose (dare?) to own firearms.

The saddest result of all this is that by unfairly making honest gun owners the primary focus of the current law, they may have forever alienated or radicalized a large body of them.

If it's not too late to bring them back to trusting the Justice Department, we need to replace the current mess with laws that are properly aimed, effective and affordable.

John A. Gayder, St. Catharines.

The Toronto Sun, November 7, 2002

HOORAY FOR Mayor Mel! I applaud his call for Florida-style gun controls here in Canada. In Florida, trustworthy citizens of proven good character can receive permits to carry concealed pistols after passing strict training courses. The predictions that people would be shooting each other over parking spaces never materialized. Fewer than 3% of the eligible population ever actually apply and receive concealed weapon permits. After enacting this program, Florida's rates for rape, robbery, home invasion and other violent crime fell by almost half.

John A. Gayder

St. Catharines

Editor's Comment (We'll say it again: Putting more guns on the street isn't the answer)

Montreal Gazette, October 25, 2002

Canada no model of disarmament

Steeve MacAuley's rebuttal of John Griffin's assertion that there are as many guns per capita in Canada as the U.S. oozes with "balderdash" itself (Letters, Oct. 21, "Guns per capita higher in U.S.").

To use statistics from the Coalition for Gun Control is about as logical as asking the mafia how many laws it has broken. In both cases, expect a very low number.

In the mid-1970s, the Liberals commissioned a study to determine exactly how many guns Canadians possessed. The answer was around 17 million, with over 100,000 more imported annually up until 1998 (when the Firearms Act stifled much of the legal gun trade), bringing the number to about 18-19 million. With about 30 million people in Canada, this averages to just under 0.65 firearms per person. It doesn't quite equal the 0.82 guns per capita in the U.S., but it sure doesn't make us disarmament central, either.

While the U.S. might have a higher firearm murder rate than Canada, it is interesting to note that although handguns only make up about 6 per cent of the guns in Canada, recent Justice Department statistics show that they are used in over 60 per cent of firearm homicides. This despite that handguns in Canada have required registration since 1934.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines, Ont.

The Hamilton Spectator, October 17, 2002

Should we also ban knives?

RE: 'Guns: They should be banned' (Oct. 16).

This letter writer argues that no one in a civilized country requires a gun. Since there have been cases of police and soldiers murdering innocent people, should we insist that they, too, be disarmed? Or is it only the average citizen who shouldn't have the right to self defence?

And the writer's solution to terrorism in the U.S. is for Americans to revise their constitution and disarm the very people who are being terrorized.

While the writer doesn't agree that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," he says that, in the "wrong hands" (which I assume belong to "people"), guns are the tools of murder. Perhaps I missed the story where a gun killed by pulling its own trigger.

The writer also contends that "weapons are the tools of murder" and therefore should be banned. My understanding is that just as many people in Canada are stabbed to death as shot; would the writer agree that we ban knives as well? I'm sure he owns and uses knives without harming anyone, just as 99.99 per cent of all firearms owners use guns without harming anyone.

Gerry Gamble, St. Catharines.

The Toronto Star, September 13, 2002

Guns might have saved passengers

Re Sky-high shootouts, Editorial, Sept. 12.

We trust pilots to fly giant, multi-million dollar machines, but assume them to be incapable of learning to handle a firearm in a confined space.

Since many pilots learned to fly in the military, they already know how to use in combat situations. In fact, they have far greater training than the average RCMP officer. And so what if they would need to practise? Most police only requalify with their once a year, yet we trust them with guns every day.

And let's get off the air marshal kick. It will never work because of cost. Even with the U.S commitment to more air marshals, only one flight in 1,000 has one. Terrorists should like those odds.

Finally, cockpit doors can be reinforced to prevent entry, but what does the pilot do when the terrorists start slicing up passengers and flight attendants, fly faster and hope to land before everyone in the passenger area is dead? Most reasonable people would be much happier to have an armed flight-crew member emerge from the cockpit to help than an unarmed one cowering in a secure cockpit while terrorists slit their child's throat.

If you weren't so paranoid about guns, you would admit that they are certainly a reasonable alternative to having an F-18 shoot down the airliner to solve the problem. I just wish you could ask the passengers on the four planes that were hijacked if they would have preferred armed air crews. You wouldn't like their answer, but who cares? They would still be alive.

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, June 27, 2002

One cannot compare firearms to automobiles

Emile Therien asserts that guns are more dangerous on a "per use" basis than cars (We need more gun control, Letters, June 20). He has made this claim again and again, over a period of years, in letters to virtually every newspaper in the country -- as if repeating something 1,000 times could make it true.

To see clearly why this type of comparison is meaningless, consider a debate that raged back and forth in the pages of a major Canadian newspaper several years ago regarding the relative safety of cars and transport trucks.

The first writer stated it was clear trucks were safer, since cars were involved in 20 times as many accidents. A second letter noted this ratio was hardly surprising, since cars outnumber trucks by 30 to one. On an accident-per-vehicle basis, cars were therefore safer. A third writer suggested we should be comparing accidents per vehicle mile. Since a truck typically logs more miles than a car, use of this unit would prove trucks safer. To this, someone else responded that accidents per passenger mile was the proper way to measure, and cars were safer.

Finally, the last writer argued (correctly, in my opinion) that since cars are intended to carry passengers and trucks to carry freight, a direct comparison is not possible. Trucks can only be compared to trains, and the proper unit of measurement is accidents per ton mile.

What has this to do with guns? Simple. If a statistically meaningful comparison of two things as similar in form and function as cars and trucks is not possible, then how can Therien pretend to be able to perform this type of analysis on objects as different as cars and guns?

John Orth

The St. Catharines Standard, June 26, 2002

Getting rid of firearms completely is unreasonable and unworkable

Upon reading Ban guns from Canadian soil, I first thought Alderman W. Peter Randall was poking fun at Emile Therien of the Canada Safety Council, who regularly trots out misleading or biased statistics to advance his anti-gun agenda. When I realized he might be serious, the "Twilight Zone" theme started playing in my head.

Yes, let's disarm the police. because "Randall's Law" banning all guns will solve the crime problem. How he will disarm criminals remains something of a mystery, however. We do know that being "severely punished under the criminal code" brings nasties into line. Just ask Clifford Olsen.

By the way, Britain, whose unarmed virtues Randall extols, is in the middle of such a serious crime wave that the majority of city police are being armed and violent crime involving guns is up some 40 per cent in the last two years.

And Randall apparently doesn't oppose hunting, just hunting with guns. Everyone knows bows and arrows aren't dangerous. Self-defence is all right too, in Randall's Utopia. Sure, bash that carjacker's brains in with a baseball bat. Just don't shoot him. That would be uncivilized.

Unfortunately, Randall fails to explain how a baseball bat or hockey stick upside the felon's head fosters the "legacy of peace and love we can leave our children." Details, details.

If Randall wrote this letter just to yank gun owners' chains, then I say well done. You got us rednecks good. But if he's serious (and I fear he is), I am much more concerned about an elected official with an irrational fear of inanimate objects than I am of any policeman, hunter or target shooter.

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, July 3, 2001

Licensing hammers will prevent violent crime

The Standard story describing the recent wave of hammer related crime (Hammer used in three recent store robberies, June 25) should have every caring Canadian clamouring for only true solution to this plague of violence: Hammer control.

Since the dawn of time these barbaric tools have left a wide path of murder and destruction. They are a throwback to Neanderthal times and a symbol of male supremacy. Clearly, there is no place for them in a civilized society. If making the following suggestions into laws saves just one life - they will have been worth it.

All hammers must have a number stamped on them and be registered. First time buyers must take a course and submit to a barrage of intimate questions about their love life and medical history before they can get a hammer. Current owners, regardless of past experience, will have to pass a test to show they are safe users. Hammers made with light weight fiberglass handles (assault hammers) and small, easily concealed hammers should be banned immediately and confiscated from owners without compensation. The police should be given special powers to allow them to search homes for hammers without a warrant.

Maybe only licensed carpenters and contractors should be allowed to own hammers. No doubt some "handyman" and "do it yourself" types will grumble about the new hammer controls, but who cares? They are just a bunch of cheap, thumb-banging, butt-crack-showing amateurs who obviously don't care about the epidemic of violence their tools are responsible for.

If the crazy rules and unfair stereotypes in this letter are nonsensical and offensive to you, please pause for a moment to consider that virtually identical laws and tactics have been thrust upon honest Canadian firearms owners. Many people, especially in the media, never miss a chance to depict firearm owners as insensitive, plaid wearing, beer drinking buffoons who drive nothing but pickup trucks equipped with gun racks. This is wrong. Putting the shoe on the other foot proves it.

John A. Gayder
St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, June 19, 2001

Gun safety isn't the problem

In his rebuttal letter Failing to prevent a tragedy is ridiculous (The Standard June 8), David Michels claims to not be an anti-gun activist. If he is telling the truth, then the best that can be said for him is that he has unwittingly joined the legion of dupes that the anti-gun forces periodically manage to muster by distorting the truth to achieve their ends.

The current safe-storage laws which gun owners currently must obey have been in place since 1991. Included in these laws are the requirements that firearms must: 1) have a trigger lock on them, or 2) be stored with the bolt removed, which "common sense" would indicate makes firing the gun impossible, or 3) be stored in a secure room or container to which only licenced individuals have access.

Thus, MP Michael Bryant's revelation about an epidemic of unsafely stored guns is nothing but a canard, a cheap publicity stunt designed to lure support from the uninformed public with scare rhetoric about safety or the well-being of children.

So congratulations, Mr. Michels. Bryant got you to perform exactly the way he wanted.

And just for Michels' further information, gun owners in Canada have, in comparison to other "dangerous" activities (including driving) an impeccable record. Accidental shootings in Canada have declined more than 80 per cent since the 1930s (a trend which began long before the advent of trigger locks). Gun owners can obtain $1 million of liability insurance to cover them while engaged in shooting activities for five dollars a year. Let's see Michels or Bryant get that for any activity they take part in, bar none.

Now, if we can just get politicians to act as responsibly and citizens to think for themselves....

Gerry Gamble
St. Catharines

The St. Catharines Standard, June 6, 2001

Proposal to expand trigger lock legislation is ridiculous

In 1982 , the Liberal party under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, an admirer of things with a Marxist twist, undertook to revise the government away from the British form to incorporate features of the American form. This was done without instituting the checks and balances of the American system, leaving Canada with a parliamentary dictatorship. The social engineering engendered by this system goes on to this day through a process referred to as political gradualism, sort of a death by a thousand cuts. This type of activity prompted one philosopher to observe that freedom is seldom lost all at once.

In typical Liberal tradition, Michael Bryant, provincial justice critic, is attempting to make his contribution to political gradualism by proposing to expand trigger lock legislation, making already unreasonable legislation ridiculous to the point of outright harassment.

The Americans recognized that the right to bear arms was synonymous with freedom and democracy. The truth of this philosophy was irrevocably demonstrated in the first chapter of 'The Great Reckoning' by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. They outlined how throughout history democracy took root and survived only in those countries where the serfs and peons had weapons which provided offsetting power to the ruling classes. Power equates to freedom and democracy. The primary reason dictators of all stripes have banned weapons is that they fear offsetting power.

It would appear the Liberal party's primary concern is power at the expense of democracy and freedom, based on their legislation and activities at the United Nations.

James T Houlden
St. Catharines

The National Post, October 19, 2000

Gun Secrets

In an effort to bail out its rapidly failing gun owner licencing scheme, the federal Liberal government has, for the past several months, held a fire sale on the possession-only firearm licence, reducing the cost from $45 to $10. But government ads only tell gun owners they need a licence to possess their firearms and buy ammunition and downplay the fact that with a possession-only licence gun owners cannot: be given a firearm by a friend or relative or receive one as a gift, inherit firearms from anyone (family included), or replace firearms that are stolen, lost, destroyed or damaged. Gun owners are also not told that if they have a valid Firearms Acquisition Certificate, it is automatically invalid when they receive their possession-only licence. Thus, they lose the ability to acquire firearms for the length of time left on the certificate (in some cases as much as four years).

Gun owners who are tempted by this government "loss leader" should think long and hard before jumping on this supposed bargain. As with everything this Liberal government has done regarding firearms, it is not in the best interest of gun owners, or taxpayers in general, for that matter.

Gerry Gamble,
St. Catharines, Ont.,

The St. Catharines Standard, August 19, 2000

Gun licensing wastes taxes

Justice Minister Anne McLelland is spending taxpayer's dollars in an endeavour to make things easier for law abiding gun owners to obtain application forms for their gun licenses. Since I fit into this category, I decided to call the 1-800-phone number she advertises on TV.

After some time and a minor test of my patience, I was rewarded with the opportunity of speaking to a real human. I informed the voice at the other end of the line that I was requesting a copy of their gun license application form as advertised on TV. Stunned silence greeted me. The voice then replied that she could not send me the form because it would take them six to eight weeks to get it to me.

Can you imagine, six to eight weeks? Goodness me, McLelland has promised us our licenses within 28 days of applying for it.

Secondly, the voice informed me to go to the local post office because all post offices have them.

I dutifully complied. The postal clerk looked at me in shocked consternation and proceeded to tell me she hasn't any. Further to this, she said she has never seen them. They ordered them after I had been there, and they arrived within a week.

In retrospect I think that McLelland should quickly get her fanny into gear and repeal this asinine law that is costing Canadian taxpayers several hundred million dollars. This is an unjust corrupt law that is loved only by criminals and those who have a police state attitude.

Al Look
St. Catharines

The Toronto Star, August 19, 2000

Banning guns is one bad idea

As an active law enforcement officer, I would like to register my professional frustration with Yvonne Blackwood and The Star for publishing her recent column (Disarm civilians, let hunters rent, Aug. 10) about banning civilian ownership of firearms. When a respected member of the community, like a banker, and a major Canadian newspaper openly discuss the proposed merits of an outright ban on firearms, people previously written off as paranoid cranks can credibly claim that their conspiracy theories were right all along.

The column made my job harder and more dangerous for many reasons. The primary effect of ideas like Blackwood's is to drive a wedge between the law enforcement community and the citizens they serve - many of whom own firearms for sport or out of historical appreciation. In extreme cases, ideas like Blackwood's encourage the formation of dangerous militias of the type seen in the United States.

An outright ban would result is less respect and co-operation from a large segment of the public - and bombings and assassinations from extremists.

I don't know what the definitive solution to gun violence is, or even if it truly is the widespread problem that some people say it is. I do know that strong sentences for the misuse of firearms are more effective than infuriating law abiding citizens. The day I am ordered to round up firearms from people who have committed no crime will be the day I hand in my badge.

St. Catharines, Ont.

The St. Catharines Standard, March 11, 2000

Candians use handguns to settle issues every day

Nowhere do Canadians show their determination to prove themselves different from our neighbours to the south than in the area of firearms policy. The belief that Canadians don't use or even want guns for self-defense as much as "those Americans" has become an almost unassailable piece of Canadiana.

This notion of Canadian pacifism is at best a gross oversimplication, or at worst a cleverly crafted falsehood designed to steer public opinion away from looking at the benefits of gun ownership.

In response to a tragic and extremely well publicized shooting in America, a recent editorial in the Standard ("Easy access to pistols carries a heavy cost," March 2) advised Americans to get over their "adolescent infatuation with handguns," and their "myth of the gunman who settles his difficulties by resorting to violence." But Canadians use handguns to settle and prevent disputes every day - by proxy.

The guns worn on the hips of police are both working tool and symbol of the supremacy of the forces of good. Thankfully, even though usually left in their holsters all day, pistols continue to radiate peace by providing a deterrent to evil-doers.

Interpersonal skills, "verbal judo" programs and cultural sensitivity training are important and useful accessories - but only up to a point. Words alone can fail for a combination of reasons. Ultimately, the only thing that can absolutely guarantee that goodness and right will prevail is the normally unspoken threat of superior force represented by the pistol.

Without firearms in the hands of the just, our society would be at the mercy of any brute with the biggest club or superior strength.

John. A Gayder
Rondelle Place
St. Catharines

The following letter appeared, in a somewhat edited fashion, in the Jan. 09 2000 Toronto Sun.

Dear Sir:

I was disgusted by your ignorant response to the letter by Dr. Jules Sobrian in the 01 02 00 issue of the Toronto Sun. While Dr. Sobrian tried to pose a logical argument using facts your brilliant response was to disregard his comments and insult him instead. While I know you will not publish this letter I want you to know that your comments were uncalled for and in very poor taste.

Your concept that there are good guns (eg. long guns) and bad guns (handguns and automatic weapons) is just as flawed as trying to establish that there are good cars and bad cars. The difference is not the instrument but the people who wield it.

Just so you are aware (although I doubt by your comments that you want to be confused by the facts) Canadians have been unable to legally purchase automatic weapons since 1977. That fact aside, there has never been a homicide committed by a legally owned automatic weapon in Canada despite the fact that several thousand of them are still in private hands, the owners having been grandfathered in 1977. So much for the danger they pose.

The Ontario Handgun Association has about 10 000 members yet I doubt that any of them ever killed anyone with their legally owned handguns.

While you may not want to accept the fact that gun ownership deters crime, several exhaustive studies say otherwise. I refer you to the book "More Guns - Less Crime" by Dr. John Lott of the University of Chicago. His findings showed exactly what Dr. Sobrian was trying to say, that firearms in the hands of honest, properly trained citizens deter crime. If fact, Dr. Lott did not even own a gun when he did his study but bought one after his study showed the positive results of gun ownership.

Your "armed camp" comment is likewise uninformed. Many states like Vermont and New Hampshire have very nonrestrictive laws regarding citizens carrying firearms (in fact, Vermont allows any citizen who is not a convicted felon or mentally unstable to carry a concealed firearm) yet their crime rates are so low they put Canada to shame. And before you say that is because they have no big cities let me comment that that is the point exactly. Big cities breed crime problems. How many people who commit shootings at Toronto after hours clubs (you know the ones I'm talking about) legally own the guns used, hold Firearms Acquisition Certificates or belong to target shooting clubs. None is probably a good guess.

I used to find the Sun editorial comments to be a breath of fresh air in the stink of the Toronto media atmosphere. Obviously this is no longer the case. >From now on if I want to read sarcastic journalistic drivel devoid of logic I'll just read the Star. At least the editorial staff there makes no pretext about being rational, analytical or impartial. They wear their "nanny state" mentality clearly on their sleeves with no illusion about being anyone's "other voice".

Gerry Gamble
The Sporting Clubs of Niagara

The St. Catharines Standard, Dec. 10, 1999.

Imagine having these rules for car ownership

Paul Wintemute's letter (Cost of gun registry is justified, The Standard, Dec. 2) comparing guns to cars is an interesting one. Since cars are as dangerous as firearms - and cause far more deaths per year, let's see how car owners would feel if they had to live under rules similar to those affecting gun owners:

These are just a few analogies of the rules and conditions legitimate gun owners are subject to, and the list gets seemingly longer every day. Wintemute may want to live in a society in which everything is governed by a million rules, but most people don't. If he requires so many rules to behave himself, I suggest he move to China or Cuba. They have lots of rules there.

John A. Gayder

The St. Catharines Standard, December 10, 1999.

Gun registry won't hinder criminals, so why have it?

If the letter from Paul Wintemute "Cost of gun Registry is Justified" (The Standard, Dec. 2) is indicative of the best arguments that can be made for the registry, its opponents are wasting their time arguing against it. They can just let anti-gun advocates like Wintemute do the job for them. As he agrees that the registry won't stop criminals from getting guns, why is it so important?

His statement "if violent and mentally unstable individuals can be prevented from obtaining a firearm, then those incidents of gunplay that involve random killings may be reduced" demonstrates how incredibly oblivious he is to any firearm ownership requirements. Since 1978, individuals applying for a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) underwent a local police and OPP security check before a FAC was issued. Those with a history of criminal activity or mental instability were denied a FAC. Thus, these individuals never had legal access to firearms in the first place.

How will registering inanimate pieces of wood and steel do any better? Wintemute's car owner - firearm owner analogy is both tired and flawed. In fact, legitimate firearm owners would love to have the same restrictions placed on them as car owners. Car owners can drive cars on private property with no licence whatsoever, can buy as many cars as they want without a licence, and can buy the biggest, most powerful cars that exist with no limitations at all.

My compliments go to the Standard editorial staff for having the courage to put logic ahead of knee-jerk emotion in their recent analysis of this topic.

Ted Valliere