Committee hears arguments on gun club measures
Gun enthusiasts voiced their displeasure on Tuesday over Toronto Mayor David Miller's plan to shut down the two gun clubs on city-owned facilities, while opponents and the police board threw their support behind the proposal.
In his latest bid to tackle the problem of illegal guns, Miller has proposed closing the clubs, including the 40-year-old Scarborough Rifle Club.
Some gun owners fired off at an executive meeting at city hall, saying closing the clubs won't reduce the number of gun crimes. They noted many Olympians and athletes train at the facilities.
"Closing us down would do absolutely nothing to solve the crime problem," said Peter Krause, vice-president of the Scarborough Rifle Club.
"We shoot target rifles, single-shot target rifles. There's no handguns in that club whatsoever."
However, the Toronto Police Services Board supports the mayor's push for better gun control measures.
"We need to take every possible action to clamp down on opportunities for the illegal circulation of firearms," said Alok Mukherjee.
Audette Sheppard's son Justin was 19 years old when he was shot to death in 2001. She formed UMOVE (United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere), and supports any move to get guns off the streets.
"The only people who need to have guns are the police and the army," she said. "I think they should get rid of guns. Let them find another sport."
Miller, who has been long been fighting for a national handgun ban, says closing the clubs will make communities safer.
The mayor reiterated his call for a national handgun ban after the fatal shooting of bystander John O'Keefe, who was killed while walking on Yonge Street in January by a legally registered weapon.
Closing the gun clubs is one part of a strategy to address gun violence. Other ideas include more support programs for youth and developing a system to track handgun use in the city.
Late Tuesday, a spokesperson for the mayor told CTV News the executive committee will likely vote to support the recommendations, but with an amendment that the gun clubs will be able to exist if they are relocated to private property.
Final approval must be made before city council as a whole.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness