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Virtue Signaling With Taxpayer Dollars: Toronto’s Gun Buyback Program

Toronto’s ongoing epidemic of gang violence is the excuse for an expensive government program to buy “unwanted” firearms. It’s stated goal is to remove guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens, not from criminals.i

Nobody here today, including in particular, me,” Mayor John Tory said in his press conference, “is going to suggest this represents an answer that is going to cause gun violence to disappear in our city.”ii

The City of Toronto will pay $200 for rifles and shotguns, and $350 for handguns, in a program that runs from April 26 until May 17, 2019. 

“The program aims to reduce the number of firearms in the city that could fall into the wrong hands and endanger someone’s life. By turning over the firearm, you ensure that the firearm will never be stolen for a criminal purpose.”

This self-apparent admission that drug dealers, gang members and other violent criminals will not turn in their guns was also admitted by Brampton City Councillor Charmaine Williams prior to the defeat of her motion to pay $100 per gun last month.

We know gang members won’t hand in their guns,” Williams acknowledged.iii

Toronto’s program is expected to cost $500,000 taxpayer dollars if they are able to match numbers turned in during the last amnesty held over a decade ago.

“One less gun off the streets, one less gun that is turned in through this program is one less gun that is available to people who will commit the kind of violent acts that we’ve seen taking place in our city.”

The CSSA believes a half million dollars would be better spent on programs to divert young people away from a life of crime. Those programs are effective, but they don’t give politicians the opportunity to issue flashy press releases and host grandstanding photo ops.

Like many gang diversion programs across the nation, funding for the Peel Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) ran out at the end of 2018 and has not been reinstated. 

“That PAVIS funding was key to us, and it really, really made a difference,” Peel Police Chief Chris McCord said.iv

McCord also explained he has no evidence these “buy back” programs are effective, but as always, a lack of evidence didn’t stop Toronto’s John Tory from moving ahead with a dumb idea. 

“One less gun off the street is a success. We need the help from the public in order to move towards this success.”v

Reality Check: Tory doesn’t want guns “off the street.” 

John Tory wants them taken out of the gun safes of ordinary, law-abiding citizens and dumped into a police-sanctioned gun smelter. 

How about the guns possessed by drug dealers, gang members and other violent criminals?

Neither Mayor John Tory nor his expensive gun buyback program aim to take those guns “off the street.”

 

 

Sources

i https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/buyback/

ii https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sh78Yqab8s

iii https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/03/18/brampton-councillor-wants-city-to-pay-100-for-each-firearm-in-cash-for-guns-plan.html

iv https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/03/28/brampton-council-rejects-cash-for-guns-scheme-in-favour-of-addressing-root-causes.html

v https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/04/26/mayor-police-chief-to-announce-gun-buyback-program/

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