May 27, 2008 / 7:24 PM / 9 years ago

Proposed bylaw angers Toronto gun enthusiasts

<p>File image shows a woman using a handgun in the shooting range of the Shanghai Modern Military Sport Club in Shanghai February 28, 2008. REUTERS/Nir Elias</p>

TORONTO (Reuters) - Firearm enthusiasts slammed Toronto’s proposed anti-gun measures on Tuesday, which would see shooting ranges, gun clubs and firearm manufacturers banned from Canada’s largest city.

Toronto Mayor David Miller announced on Monday he will support staff recommendations contained in a new report that recommends restrictions on land use for the manufacture, distribution, assembly, warehousing and discharge of guns as part of the city’s move to reduce gun crime.

The report also calls for new zoning regulations that would eliminate recreational use of firearms, effectively terminating permits for gun clubs in Toronto.

Marc Porter, a member of the Forest Hill Revolver Club, who owns two target pistols, said Miller was “misguided in his quest” to rid the city’s streets of gun violence, adding that only athletes and hobbyists will suffer.

“I’ve been doing this for 31 years and we are not the problem. We are not training criminals; we are not offering criminals instruction,” Porter said.

Inspector Tony Cooper, Ontario’s acting chief firearms officer, said the clubs have not been a public safety issue

“It’s the mayor’s prerogative to do whatever he likes, but we have had no problem with those particular ranges,” he said.

In response to the criticism, Miller said the proposals were an effort by Toronto to “take care of our own house.”

“It’s been my duty to go to numerous funeral visitations of young men, and sometimes young women, who have been shot down on the streets of Toronto, and a number of those have been shot by guns stolen from local hobbyists,” he told Reuters on Tuesday.

In April, Miller launched an online petition for a Canada-wide handgun ban after two innocent bystanders were fatally shot downtown in January.

According to a city report, more than 1,200 Canadians are killed and over 1,000 are injured by firearms each year. In 2006, Toronto experienced the highest number of victims of firearm-related violent crimes in Canada.

Canada’s firearm-related homicide rate is six times lower than that of the United States, however it is three times higher than Australia’s and six times higher than that of England and Wales, according a 2006 Statistics Canada report.

Editing by Rob Wilson

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