November 17, 2014

The Answer to Criminals with Illegal Handguns is… More Laws for Criminals to Ignore?

MPP-Mike-Colle-says-more-laws-for-criminals-to-ignore-is-the-answer
MPP-Mike-Colle-says-more-laws-for-criminals-to-ignore-is-the-answer
Ontario Liberal M.P.P. and Deputy Government Whip, Mike Colle, doesn’t like criminals driving around with guns. Frankly, who does?
Unfortunately for us, the answer to the problem – any problem – for a politician is always the same: create more laws for criminals to ignore.
This is precisely what Mike Colle proposes with Bill 24, Prohibiting Driving with Unlawful Handguns Act, 2014 – An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and the Civil Remedies Act, 2001 to promote public safety by prohibiting driving in a motor vehicle with an unlawfully possessed handgun. (http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/41_Parliament/Session1/b024.pdf)
He wants to create more laws prohibiting criminals from driving around with illegal handguns even though doing so is already a crime.
The bill’s Explanatory Note starts off with this statement:
The purpose of the Bill is to promote public safety and suppress conditions that lead to crime. The Bill adds a new section 172.2 to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, which makes it an offence to drive on a highway in a motor vehicle in which there is an unlawfully possessed handgun.
While his bill’s intended outcome is perhaps laudable, his premise is not. Amending the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to include new crimes is pointless, redundant and a waste of the Ontario Legislature’s time, energy and resources.
Why?
The Criminal Code of Canada, through Section 94, already makes it a crime to occupy a vehicle, moving or not, with an illegal firearm inside it.
Unauthorized possession in motor vehicle –
 
            94. (1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), every person commits an offence who is an        occupant of a motor vehicle in which the person knows there is a firearm, a prohibited      weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any     prohibited ammunition, unless
 
(a) in the case of a firearm,
 (i) the person or any other occupant of the motor vehicle is the holder of
(A) a licence under which the person or other occupant may possess the firearm, and
(B) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, an authorization and a registration certificate for it,
 (ii) the person had reasonable grounds to believe that any other occupant of the motor vehicle was the holder of
(A) a licence under which that other occupant may possess the firearm, and
(B) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, an authorization and a registration certificate for it, or
(iii) the person had reasonable grounds to believe that any other occupant of the motor vehicle was a person who could not be convicted of an offence under this Act by reason of sections 117.07 to 117.1 or any other Act of Parliament;
The answer to criminals and guns is not to create more laws for them to ignore. The answer is to enforce the laws against criminals possessing illegal firearms. Creating an Ontario-specific crime that duplicates Section 94 of the Criminal Code of Canada is pointless (and probably ultra vires) unless, of course, your primary motive for passing such a law is so you can be seen to be doing something useful instead of actually doing something useful.
Please contact your local Ontario M.P.P. immediately and urge them to stop wasting the legislature’s time and resources by duplicating laws that already exist.

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