Toronto Danforth Attack: Thoughts as Anti-Gun Campaign Heats Up — A man shot 2 people to death and injured 13 others on July 22 along Danforth Avenue in Toronto. The attacker died of gunshot wounds fired by himself or by police, we don’t know. Here are some personal reflections on the attack and what lies ahead for federally licensed gun owners.

Things Are Getting Warm

  • Canada’s gun owners are getting slammed, and it’s about to get worse.
  • Hostility spiked in the mass media and social media in February after the Parkland shooting in Florida.
  • Then the Canadian government proposed Bill C-71 in March to confiscate more guns and further restrict federally licensed firearm owners, while promoting the move as crime fighting.
  • Thugs, Murderers, Mental Cases: Government members of parliament are accusing us of being “thugs,” potential murderers and having “mental issues.”
  • They’re now under even more pressure to “do something” about “gun violence” as criminal shootings in Toronto and other places rise.
  • Stabbing homicides in Toronto are soaring even faster, but nobody cares.
  • For years many executives at gun clubs and hunting or shooting associations across the country have laid low in the hope they’d be left alone. I’ve lost track of how many members have told me their execs or board are refusing to inform members about Bill C-71 under the excuse that the club isn’t political.
  • Those executives are wrong. Vote them out. Then host an open house.
  • Bill C-71: Toronto’s Adam Vaughan and other prominent MPs are working to beef up Bill C-71.
  • “Domestically Sourced Guns.” Police across the country are pushing the line that PAL holders are supplying guns to gangs. And of course their base year is 2012, when the Conservatives stopped the so-called Long-Gun Registry. Check out this article from today, or just Google “Canada domestically sourced guns.”
  • Ban “Sniper Rifles.” Think you’ll be spared because all you care about are hunting shotguns or bolt-action rifles? Wrong.
  • They want to ban your “sniper rifle.” Check out this doozie by a government PR advisor in last Thursday’s Toronto Star. Handguns and semi-auto black rifles? Obviously. And short-barreled (aka “sawed-off”) shotguns are popular with outlaws, too.
  • We are going through the most ferocious campaign against gun owners in years, maybe a generation, and it’s just getting started.
  • It’s time to stand up and get loud.
  • Update: 18 hours after I published this article, this happened: Toronto Asks Feds for Canada-Wide Ban on Handguns, Semi-Autos

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders

  • Cool under pressure. Insane pressure.
  • I saw him in person for the first time at the press conference he ran with Mayor John Tory a couple weeks ago. He appeared focused and friendly.
  • He runs the city’s largest department by expenditure, a service of more than 5,000 officers, hostile labour union officials who constantly undermine him, an often-hostile media.
  • At today’s press conference, he was again the emblem of composure and good cheer in the face of tough questions about one of the worst massacres in the city’s history.

Toronto Mayor John Tory

  • I voted for Tory in 2014. If the mayor stops defaming firearm owners, I may vote for him again in October’s election.
  • “I’ve said for some time that the city has a gun problem, in that guns are far too readily available to far too many people,” Tory said Monday, as quoted on Global News. “You’ve heard me ask the question of why anybody would need to buy 10 or 20 guns, which they can lawfully do under the present laws. And that leads to another question we need to discuss: Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?”
  • It’s concerning anytime someone blames a whole community of good people for the actions of a few outlaws. That’s collective guilt and shaming and there’s no place for it. (You can read my quote in iPolitics.)
  • When anyone equates gun owners with criminals, they’ve defamed and insulted more than 2 million men and women across Canada.
  • Here’s an easy fix: specify that you’re talking about violent criminals, or the illegal use or possession of firearms.

Don’t Film Massacres

  • Note to self: If I hear gunshots outside my window, move away from the window and the gunshots.
  • Assess if I’m an actual or potential target, and whether to escape or counterattack.
  • It’s nice to watch the video footage the next day, and I do enjoy studying armed attacks and defences, but filming a murderer in action is risky.

More Gear?

  • Van attack. More than 200 shooting attacks. And that’s just Toronto. Other cities and regions are also seeing a jump in violence and break-ins.
  • How long before honest people start carrying protective gear, with or without permission?

Bad PAL Holders

  • A reporter on Monday asked me to speculate: How would it portray the Canadian shooting community and gun-rights movement if the Danforth attacker had a PAL?
  • It would suck. Nobody wants to be associated in any way with people who do wretched things.
  • That’s the way I feel about violent criminals. They belong to a different world, one I know nothing about. They have nothing to do with me or my community or my life.
  • If someone decides to break every law and moral code to go on a massacre, in no way should that taint the officials who approved the licence or the millions of lawful and safe firearm users in this country.
  • We didn’t question the motives or legitimacy of drivers after the Toronto van attack in April. Why question the motives or legitimacy of hunters and shooters after a gun attack?
  • Out of millions of safe and responsible hunters, recreational shooters and competitors, there is a tiny, isolated handful of licence holders who break the law and become violent outlaws or assist them.
  • Policing criminals is a downstream approach, a last resort. What we need to do is address the individual and social causes of crime way upstream.
  • In the meanwhile, the faster the police can stop the few bad apples, the better.
  • Update 24 July, 20:13 Toronto time: Attacker didn’t have a PAL, National Post reported, citing an unidentified source.

Where Does Responsibility Begin?

  • Where does our responsibility for each other, our family and our community begin and end?
  • If we know someone is on the razor’s edge, with or without a PAL or guns, what’s our duty to tell the cops, or the doctor?
  • How about that hunting buddy who’s loaded while loaded? Do you just hope that nothing bad happens, or do you stop him?
  • Media reports say the family of the Danforth attacker knew their son “had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life.” (Statement below)
  • Many people struggle without violence or killing.
  • Many questions remain.
  • Update 24 July, 19:55 Toronto time: Toronto Sun: Furey: Meet the Spin Doctor Behind the Hussain Family Statement

Statement From the Danforth Attacker’s Family

Source: The Canadian Press via CityNews Toronto

Statement from the family of [F. H.], who died after shooting 15 people, two fatally, in Toronto on Sunday night:

“We are at a terrible loss for words but we must speak out to express our deepest condolences to the families who are now suffering on account of our son’s horrific actions.

“We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth.

“Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life. The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful. Medications and therapy were unable to treat him. While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end.

“Our hearts are in pieces for the victims and for our city as we all come to grips with this terrible tragedy. We will mourn those who were lost for the rest of our lives.

“Hussain Family”

Related Information Published Monday

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The most important part of gun rights isn’t “gun,” it’s “rights.”