By Emily Senger - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
The Pixels for Pistols program is bringing in a lot of firepower and dishing out cameras in return
Winnipeg police are trading guns for digital cameras. In a program dubbed Pixels for Pistols, anyone who turns in a working firearm to police gets a Lumix DMC-FH8 digital camera and a gift certificate for photo classes, both donated by Henry’s, a Canadian camera chain. As an added bonus, anyone who surrenders a gun during the four-week amnesty period won’t face criminal charges for possessing an unregistered firearm.
This isn’t the first gun amnesty in Canada. Under the now-defunct federal long-gun registry, gun owners were immune from criminal charges for possession of unregistered non-restricted rifles and shotguns, but the federal government certainly wasn’t handing out cameras. And the cameras seem to make a difference.
In 2008, the Toronto Police Service offered its own Pixels for Pistols program. It was deemed a success, netting 1,897 guns, 304 non-firearms (including pellet and replica guns) and 1,486 boxes of ammunition in just over a month. During that program, a surrendered gun was good for a Nikon Coolpix P60, and there was a bonus—a higher-end Nikon Coolpix S52—for a handgun, machine-gun or assault rifle. The program was repeated in Halifax in 2009, when police collected more than 1,000 weapons.
Winnipeg’s gun amnesty is off to a strong start, says Sgt. Geordie MacKenzie. By the fifth day of the month-long program, Winnipeg police had already collected 105 non-restricted firearms, seven prohibited weapons (mainly old handguns) and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. During Winnipeg’s last gun amnesty in 2010, there was no incentive involved and police collected 300 guns in a one-month period. “If, in three or four days, we’re at what took half a month last time, clearly the incentive must be what the difference is here,” says MacKenzie.
By Colby Cosh - Monday, July 16, 2012 at 1:39 PM - 0 Comments
Expect more to come
The judicial revolt is spreading. On July 6, Ontario Court Justice Paul Bellefontaine became the province’s second judge this year to balk at the Conservative government’s mandatory-minimum sentences for gun crime, introduced in 2008. Jeffrey Mazin, the lawyer defending the accused, had a tough job. Over four occasions last year, his client, Christopher Lewis, sold a total of 53 g of crack cocaine to an undercover cop. Lewis, then 20 years old, was willing to own up to being a drug dealer. But the high-stakes gun charge thrown into the indictment, Mazin thought, was a little over the top.
It was a little over the top for a simple reason: there was no gun. Section 99 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to transfer or to “offer to transfer” a firearm to another person unless one is an authorized gun vendor. Lewis admitted that he had been talking tough and had offered to sell the policeman a “four-fifths”—a .45-calibre handgun. But he never actually had access to a gun, and the detective’s testimony confirmed that whenever the date of the proposed sale came up, Lewis made some excuse for not producing the goods. This happened over and over. The accused simply wanted to prolong his lucrative commercial relationship with an increasingly formidable crack buyer.
The minimum sentence for a Section 99 offence under the 2008 Criminal Code amendments is three years—no exceptions. But despite Lewis’s admitted drug offences, Mazin was able to convince Justice Bellefontaine that it was ridiculous to give a man three years in jail for the admittedly illegal non-sale of a non-gun. The argument was relatively easy to make, thanks to February’s ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy in the unforgettable case of Leroy Smickle.
By Brian Bethune - Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Book by Paul Barrett
It’s the iconic gun of our times. More American cops and more American spree killers carry a Glock than any other handgun. It’s the weapon Seung-Hui Cho used to murder 32 people at Virginia Tech; the gun Saddam Hussein had in his hidey-hole; the gun that football player Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg with; the gun Jared Loughner fired at Gabrielle Giffords and many others a year ago. And the gun Giffords herself owned. How a weapon made by an unknown curtain-rod manufacturer in Austria in 1980 reached these heights is part wild business story—the true interest of the author, an editor at Bloomberg Businessweek—and part cultural history.
When Gaston Glock learned the Austrian army was seeking a new handgun, he went to work unhampered by any firm opinion as to how a gun should look or what it should be made of. He emerged with the Glock 17. Crafted in part of lightweight plastic, with a large magazine (17 bullets) and only 36 parts, the pistol would still fire after being dropped from a helicopter or lying in snow overnight. Its preference for efficiency over style was nicely captured by novelist David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest: “one ugly and all-business-looking piece of self-defence hardware.”
Its timing was impeccable too. The Glock arrived in America in the late ’80s, just as law enforcement agencies were in a panic about being outgunned by drug gangs. Hollywood and hip hop helped glamorize it: “As we groove down the block, Dre, pass the Glock,” rapped Snoop Dogg in 1992. Then there was the eye-popping business story. Marketing campaigns involving Gold Club strippers, money laundering, tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions are not exactly unheard of in the arms industry. But the company’s brief history also includes a crooked financial adviser who attempted to assassinate—with a mallet, not a pistol—Gaston Glock, now a billionaire. For an Austrian gun, it’s a very American story.