Gun Violence, Hate Crimes

Gun-related and/or hate-related killings or concerns

Ottawa open to some bail reform

The federal government is considering legislative changes to deal with repeat violent offenders but Justice Minister David Lametti said February 2 that there are no easy solutions. He hopes to meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts after all premiers asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make bail less accessible in cases involving possession of loaded, prohibited or restricted firearms [node:read-more:link]

Renewed violence against Israel

A gunman killed at least seven people and wounded 10 others today in an attack on a synagogue on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a day after a deadly Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. Police, who described the dead shooter as a Palestinian, called it a “terrorist incident” but a Hamas spokesman said it was “a natural response to the occupation criminal actions.” [node:read-more:link]

Mandatory minimum sentences upheld

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that mandatory minimum sentences for convicted criminals who use firearms are constitutionally valid. In handing out its decision, the court was ruling on separate appeals (Docket Nos. 38438 and 39338) by two Alberta men sentenced for armed robbery. [node:read-more:link]

More U.S. mass shootings

The deaths of eight persons in a California mass-killing January 23 was the state’s third in eight days. Six persons died January 16 in a suspected gang-link shooting at a home and then on January 20, 11 died on a shooting at a dance club. The deaths boosted the U.S. total for the year so far to 39, eliciting what has become a predictable call for tighter firearms controls. [node:read-more:link]

Leopard MBTs for Ukraine

Unnamed German government sources say their government, subject to parliamentary debate January 25, is prepared to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The expected ratification would effectively free Canada and other NATO allies to ship their Leopards as well to bolster the country’s defences. [node:read-more:link]

NY firearms challenge rejected

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a request by a coalition of New York firearms dealers to shut down tighter controls on retail sales. The state’s Democrat-led legislature passed some of the laws last June; other were adopted in July after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home. [node:read-more:link]

Sore loser arrested in New Mexico

A failed Republican candidate said to be angry over his defeat in the last New Mexican state election, claiming it was “rigged”, was arrested January 16 in connection with a series of drive-by shootings targeting the homes of Democrat legislators and county officials. [node:read-more:link]

Six arrested in Ontario weapons cases

Two police operations in eastern Ontario across the St. Lawrence River from New York state have resulted in the arrests of six persons on firearms charges. In one case, the investigation leading to four arrests involved provincial, local and indigenous police services as well as the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta joins firearms lawsuits

The Alberta government has been granted intervenor status in six lawsuits filed in Federal Court against Ottawa’s ban on a range of “assault” weapons. Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro says the federal move “criminalizes hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Canadians . . . simply because the ‘style’ of the firearm was deemed to be aesthetically displeasing by bureaucrats.” [node:read-more:link]

Illinois targets semi-automatics

Illinois has banned the sale of many common semi-automatic weapons. Rifles that hold more than 10 bullets and pistols that hold more than 15 are banned, as are rapid-fire attachments and .50-caliber guns. People who already own such weapons will be able to keep them but must register them with police. Eight other states and the District of Columbia have already enacted similar bans. [node:read-more:link]

New York gun law upheld for now

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a firearms rights group’s call for the repeal of a New York which limits the right to carry concealed handguns outside the home. There were no public dissents from the bench but Justice Samuel Alito described the decision as procedural “rather than expressing any view on the merits” of the situation which still faces challenges in lower courts. [node:read-more:link]

“Ghost guns” a haunting threat

Police services across Canada last year seized an increasing number of 3D-printed “ghost guns”, so named because the lack of serial numbers make them untraceable. While the receivers which integrate components that enable guns to fire are illegal, the other elements can be bought without a Firearms Acquisition Certificate. “It’s cheap, it's accessible and its purpose is to evade the law,” says Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, adding that a parliamentary committee reviewing Bill C-21 draft amendments to the Firearms Act “is examining a way in which we can make it illegal.” [node:read-more:link]

Setback for U.S. gun controls

A U.S. federal court has struck down a federal ban on bump stocks, after-market devices which use semi-automatic rifles’ recoil to turn them into automatic weapons that fire continuously with a single trigger pull. “A bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act,” Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote in the majority’s opinion January 6. [node:read-more:link]

Police killings a call for action

Several major Canadian police associations want to identify the root causes of an “unacceptable wave of violence” after five officers were killed on duty in four months. “We are saying today what we are sure most Canadians are feeling: enough is enough,” the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police Association and the Toronto Police Association said January 6. Representing some 60,000 personnel, they said “everything will be on the table”, including judicial frameworks and a “growing and chronic” shortage of officers. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian cop killings “unprecedented”

The December 27 shooting death of an Ontario Provincial Police constable literally hours after he had completed probation and could patrol independently, has left many in the ranks devastated. Grzegorz Pierzchala was the fourth officer to be killed while on duty in Ontario this fall and the fifth in Canada since mid-September. “I've been in policing for 18 years, but certainly during my time I've never seen anything like this,” says Mark Baxter, President of the Police Association of Ontario. “It really has shaken our profession to the core.” [node:read-more:link]


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