Ontario Justice Ministers Call On Federal Government To Get Tough On Gun Crime

    McGuinty Government Urging Full Federal Funding For Additional Police

    TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - In a meeting with their federal counterparts
today, Ontario's justice ministers will outline the need for greater federal
involvement in the fight against gun crime in Ontario.
    Attorney General Chris Bentley and Minister of Community Safety and
Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci will meet with Ministers Rob Nicholson
and Stockwell Day to seek:
    -   Tougher gun laws, including a ban on handguns
    -   Full federal funding for the 2,500 additional police officers
        promised nationwide
    -   Increased anti-gun smuggling security at the Canada-US border.

    Bentley and Bartolucci will also express disappointment in the federal
government's extension of the long gun registry amnesty for a third
consecutive year. The amnesty rejects police advice on gun safety and
circumvents parliament by ignoring existing gun laws. Under the amnesty,
owners of non-restricted firearms (i.e. rifles and shotguns) are protected
from criminal liability for being in possession of unregistered firearms and,
in certain cases, for being unlicensed to possess firearms. Ontario strongly
urges the federal government to continue to properly maintain the firearms
registry in its present form in order to better protect and support police who
access the registry thousands of times a day.


    "The Federal government was elected on a promise to put 2,500 more police
officers on Canada's streets, but have committed less than half of the
funding," said Bartolucci. "It's only fair that the Federal government match
our 1,000 additional police by fully funding 1,000 more."
    "Passage of Bill C-2 is a good first step, but there's more work to do,"
said Bentley. "Let's take the next step and get serious about decreasing the
availability of handguns. We need to ban handguns and stop the flow of guns
across our border."


    -   The McGuinty government has put 1,000 more police officers on Ontario
    -   Since 2003, the government has hired more than 220 new Crown
        attorneys, including 72 Guns and Gangs Task Force prosecutors and six
        new anti-gun smuggling Crowns.
    -   With almost 194,000 registered handguns in Ontario, there are
        thousands of opportunities for theft and misuse.


    Learn more about the McGuinty government's $68 million comprehensive
strategy to fight gun crime in Ontario.



    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Sheamus Murphy, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the
Attorney General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210; Laura Blondeau,
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Minister's Office,
(416) 325-4973; Anthony Brown, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7772

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