June 23, 1994 For Immediate Release
"MEDIA BIAS ON GUN CONTROL ISSUE"
Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville, was deeply concerned about a recent article, published by The Fraser Institute, which surveyed selected major daily newspapers across the country and national newscasts of both the CBC and CTV networks. The Fraser Forum article said, "Of the various proposals to curb violent crime, gun control emerges as the single most-discussed issue in all news outlets examined. In debating the arguments for and against stricter gun control, most news organizations gave almost unanimous support. Gun control was given twice as much attention as stricter penalties or more enforcement."
"Canada has a crime problem, not a gun problem. What Canada needs is more crime control, not more gun control," said Breitkreuz. "Most of the media have their blinders on when it comes to providing balanced reports on crime. The truth is that there is no law that will stop criminals from acquiring guns by illegal means. What we must ensure is that criminals who illegally import, sell, and possess guns or use firearms in the commission of a crime will be severely punished," he declared.
Even the Auditor General of Canada agrees that there is no statistical basis for the existing restrictions on law-abiding gun owners and Reformers agree with his recommendation for an immediate evaluation of existing gun control laws before considering even more stringent restrictions. Eighty-six percent of crime handguns confiscated in the Province of Ontario were smuggled into Canada. "Even a total ban does not deter criminals. The murderer in the "Just Desserts" killing in Toronto used a sawed-off shotgun which is already prohibited. What are we going to do prohibit it even more," asked Breitkreuz. "We can't stop the smuggling of drugs and we can't stop the smuggling of guns. What we need is to strictly enforce the laws and impose severe, automatic penalties for all gun crimes," he demanded.
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Breitkreuz has helped establish an interim position on gun control which has the support of Reform MPs. The real debate and vote on the issue will take place at the Party's National Assembly to be held in Ottawa this October. Resolutions on gun control have been tabled at the last two membership assemblies.
Breitkreuz was also proud to second a Private Member's Bill introduced by Val Meredith, MP for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, BC calling for tougher penalties for existing gun laws and a number of new firearm offenses under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Meredith's bill, if adopted, would:
(1)Expand the present offence for using a firearm in the commission of an offence by including replica firearms.
(2)Increase the penalty for a first firearm offence from the current 1 to 14 years to 5 to 14 years and for a second offence from the current 3 to 14 years to 10 years to life imprisonment.
(3)Require that all sentences for subsequent firearm offenses be served consecutively.
(4)Implement a new offence for theft of a firearm with a penalty of 3 to 14 years.
(5)Implement a new offence for the unlawful importation of a firearm for the purpose of selling it or using it in the commission of an offence with a penalty of 3 to 14 years.
(6)Implement a new offence for any person who sells a firearm, other than by the process required by law, is deemed to aid in any offence later committed by the purchaser using the weapon.
"Making public safety the number one priority of the criminal justice system and getting tough on criminals who use guns will help solve the problem of violent crime - getting tougher on law-abiding, responsible firearm owners, as the Liberal Government is proposing, will not," informed Breitkreuz. "The media have a responsibility and obligation to inform Canadians of all the facts regarding the criminal use of guns. If Canadians knew how tough the existing firearm laws are they would start to seriously question the judgement of the Minister of Justice. He should know by now that criminals do not obey the laws - only law-abiding citizens do," he concluded.
For more information please call:
Yorkton:- (306) 782-3309
- (800) 667-6606
Ottawa:- (613) 992-4394