Mayor David Miller wants to close recreational shooting ranges in Toronto, along with giving the city power to block gun manufacturers and wholesalers from opening new plants or warehouses.
“Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city,” Miller said of sport shooting yesterday, amid debate on a possible gun bylaw.
Canadian Olympic pistol shooter and downtown resident Avianna Chao begs to differ. She says if Miller gets his way, it could mean an end to her sport — and it won’t make the streets one bit safer.
Miller wants to terminate leases with two gun clubs that have shooting ranges on city property, one on an upper floor at Union Station, the other at the Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre.
Chao, who will head to Beijing this summer to compete for Canada at the Olympics, began shooting at Don Montgomery and knows the Union Station range intimately.
“That’s my current primary training location,” Chao said yesterday. “When I heard about this city proposal today it just absolutely knocked the wind out of me.”
The gun debate erupted on a day when provincial Attorney General Chris Bentley and Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci were writing to their federal counterparts, seeking co-operation on curbing firearm violence.
“As you know, the people of Ontario continue to have serious concerns about the threat posed by guns and gun-related crime in our communities, particularly on the streets of downtown Toronto,” Bentley and Bartolucci wrote in a five-page letter to federal Attorney General Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.
At the same time, city staff released a report calling for a bylaw that would allow the city to restrict or prohibit the making and wholesaling of firearms in Toronto.
Only police and the military should be allowed to operate firing ranges, the report says, calling for an end to the gun club leases.
Recommendations would apply to all firearms, including rifles and shotguns.