A judge in Ohio has weighed in on recent gun control measures put in place by the city of Cleveland. Do you believe your State Constitution allows individual cities to create extra-legal statutes and expand on state laws? Is the 2nd Amendment secondary to your city council?
Our SWAT Fuel Warrior of the Week has a question about CCW classes determining whether or not a firearms instructor is safe and professional. It’s a tough question, but we will address it.
Finally, three Canadians have been murdered in Toronto. No suspect is in custody. Who or what do you think the media is going to blame?
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Topics Covered During This Episode:
- Warrior of the Week: CCW Class Advice – How to survive your ccw class without being shot https://www.studentofthegun.com/blog
- PayPal is now available on StudentoftheGunGear.com. Hope you caught the PayPal sale that The Shipping Ogre sent out on Thursday last week. If you didn’t receive it, you aren’t on the list. Go to StudentoftheGun.com to get on the list!
- Judge upholds Cleveland’s gun registry, strikes down several gun law provisions as unconstitutional
- Three dead in Scarborough crossbow incident; case linked to suspicious package found downtown
- Time to examine access to crossbows
Use Code “SOTG2015”
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On June 18, 2016, James Baker, the owner of KayJay Gun Shop in Ohio, was killed after a student in a Concealed Carry training class had a negligent discharge. The bullet that killed Baker had passed through an adjoining wall and struck him in the neck.
In 2013, a firearms instructor in Lancaster, Ohio negligently shot a student during a concealed carry permit training course. Fortunately, the student was struck in the arm and survived.
So you don’t think I’m picking on Ohio, a California firearms instructor shot a student during a “gun safety class”. The incident was described as a “freak accident” and one person said “The gun accidentally went off.” It would seem that a live gun was grabbed by the instructor instead of a trainer.
Too Many Examples
The three incidents listed above occurred during the last year or so, but a quick Internet search will bring up numerous other news reports of students and/or instructors being negligently shot during controlled training situations. I wish it was difficult to find these reports, but sadly, there are far too many examples and we cannot just ignore them.
A common reaction to the report of someone being shot during a training class is to express sadness and sympathy for the wounded party or for the survivors in a fatality. We shake our heads, share the story with our friends, and say “Isn’t that terrible?” or words to that effect.
The question we should ask is, what can we or should we as members of the gun culture do differently in the aftermath of such an incident? Or, are we the clinical definition of insane, doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome?
A Cuyahoga County judge ruled that some of Cleveland’s new gun control laws violate the state constitution, but left intact a controversial gun offender registry that drew the ire of gun-rights groups.
Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland-Saffold ruled Monday that three of Cleveland’s laws enacted in April 2015 violated a state law that gives state legislators preemptive control over gun laws, including a provision that allowed police officers to confiscate guns.
The ruling came after Ohioans for Concealed Carry filed a constitutional challenge against the ordinance just days after it was passed by city council.
Jeff Garvas, president and founder of the concealed carry group, said that the ruling corroborates his organization’s claim that the ordinance was passed in the face of a prior Ohio Supreme Court ruling against the city six years ago.
“Her ruling cites three cases where the City of Cleveland passed ordinances that are unconstitutional,” Garvas said. “The City of Cleveland has been told three times now that they’re not allowed to do this, twice by the Supreme Court.”
Parts of the new gun ordinance that were upheld include:
- A rule that prohibits leaving a firearm where it can be accessed by someone under the age of 18.
- A provision that requires people who aren’t gun dealers to report the sale of guns or weapons
- The law that requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the city,
- A requirement that gun offenders self register with the city.
- A provision that requires police to be notified if a gun is found on school property.
- A ban on the negligent transfer of firearms to someone who is intoxicated or is a convicted felon (state law already prohibits reckless transfer).
- An increased penalty for failing to secure a dangerous ordnance, such as an explosive material or device.
The four provisions that were overruled:
- A new, stricter definition of automatic weapons.
- The prohibition of shooting a firearm within 500 feet of a park, playground, or recreation center.
- A provision allowing police to seize a gun from someone drinking, disturbing the police, threatening bodily harm or causing a disturbance or violence.
- A provision prohibiting the defacing of identification marks on firearms or the possession of defaced firearms a misdemeanor; it is already a felony under state law.
- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson boosted the ordinance when it was passed last spring, saying it would help keep illegal guns out of criminals’ hands.
Garvas said he isn’t concerned about many of the provisions of the law that were upheld and echoed City Councilman Zack Reed’s comments last year that the ordinance was meaningless and largely replicates laws that the state has already passed.
A Reed was the sole member of city council who voted against the new ordinance and equated the measure to giving a flu shot to a gunshot victim.
“Registration, even if it remains law, it serves no preventative purpose,” Gravas said. “All it is is keeping a record of people who committed a crime, and you can find that record already at the clerk of court’s office. All it is, is window dressing on an urban crime problem.”
City of Cleveland spokesman Dan Ball said the registry has been in effect since November and is incumbent upon convicted gun offenders registering themselves either after they are released from prison, or when they move to the city.
The brutal killing of three people in Scarborough Village and the discovery of suspicious package at a downtown condo building are connected, Toronto Police confirmed.
Shortly before 1 p.m., police and paramedics were called to what was initially reported as a stabbing near Lawndale and Argo roads in Scarborough.
According to Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone, officers located the “lifeless bodies of three individuals” on scene and took one person into custody.
One other person was injured as a result of the incident. Paramedics initially described the victim’s injuries as minor but police later confirmed they are serious in nature.
The victim, believed to be a male, is currently in hospital.
Meanwhile, a condo building near the city’s waterfront was evacuated sometime after 3 p.m. after a suspicious package was discovered.
The package was located at 218 Queen’s Quay, near Lower Simcoe Street, prompting an evacuation of the building.
At a brief news conference from the scene in Scarborough, Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone confirmed that the two incidents are linked.
“There is a link to that other crime scene at Queen’s Quay. My understanding to date is that it has been cleared at this point,” Carbone said Thursday afternoon. “We will follow up with the officers at 14 Division. If that information becomes relevant and there is a reason to release information to the media we will make it available at that time.”
It was not immediately clear how the two scenes are connected.
According to Det. Const. Hopkinson, a daycare centre located on the lower level of the condo building was also issued a shelter-in-place order.
A tweet by Toronto Police indicated that parents would be escorted into the daycare by officers to pick up their children.
Queens Quay was closed from Lower Simcoe Street to York Street for several hours as police conducted an investigation. Roads in the area have since reopened.
Witnesses described hearing screaming
One neighbour at the scene in Scarborough Village said that he heard screaming before the bodies were discovered.
“I didn’t hear any words, but they were just screaming in pain or (because) he’s sort of aggressive or something like that,” Jerome Cruz said. “Then I heard another middle aged man coming toward that screaming person and telling him to be calm, be quiet, things like that. Then I saw a lady coming out of the house running towards them.”
Detectives with the homicide unit are investigating.
There is no licence needed to own one.
No training required to shoot one. There’s no registry. No need to show identification or even write down your name.
Just put down your cash (between $300 and $1,300) and legally walk out of a sporting goods store in the GTA with a lethal killing machine called a crossbow.
Of course, they are designed to kill legally regulated wild game in appropriate hunting seasons. But like all weapons designed for something else, they can be commandeered for murderous purposes on humans, as Toronto experienced Thursday.
It’s not Toronto’s first crossbow-related slaying scene and one wonders how many more will be tolerated by the public, and those who govern, before there is a move to make them more difficult to buy and kept better track of.
Right now, cigarettes are a more onerous task to purchase. A trip on Hwy. 407 asks for more personal information.
Toronto Police were not confirming very much of what happened in this blood-curdling triple homicide in Scarborough where a crossbow was found and that later had them dealing with a suspicious package at a downtown condo building.
The whole thing is bizarre. Scary.
But this business of a crossbow being used went viral around the world because it sounded different. Still, it was not clear to me at deadline if a crossbow was fired in one or more of the three slayings, or if a bolt (arrow) with a sharp star head was plunged into people.
Forensics was trying to put all that together at the scene near Kingston and Markham Rds. Either way, there are three dead.
Talking to crossbow enthusiasts in the hours after this frightening incident, a few things became clearer. The weapon is not designed for quantity hunting but more quality.
“It’s all about the one shot,” a crossbow owner told me and Sun photographer Dave Thomas at the incredible Bass Pro Shops store in Vaughan. “You can reload if you are strong and fast, but the emphasis on this kind of hunting is the accuracy of your main shot.”
So for someone to have the opportunity to get off potentially three shots that all proved fatal is no easy task.
“They are very quiet,” adds Dave, who has used them for target shooting in the past. “There is no pop like with a gun, so it is conceivable a person could reload without detection.”
In time we will get a clearer picture of what happened. Police sources tell both myself and colleagues Chris Doucette and Terry Davidson that the investigative theory is the players in this disturbing scene are part of a family unit. But that has not been confirmed, and I have an open mind on where this ultimately goes. It all seems pretty strange.
No matter how it’s sorted, there are three dead and one in custody.
If homicide charges are laid, it will have been Toronto’s second triple homicide in 2016 — the first was by gunfire in Chinatown in the spring. It will also push Toronto’s 2016 homicide number to 47 — a shocking 12 more than the 35 at this time last year.
But none of that seems to be the focus. People want to know about the crossbow and bolts.
From all the people I talked with at Bass Pro Shops, crossbows are not a menace to society or a concern in the proper hands.
But in the wrong hands, there can be a whole lot of a carnage. Perhaps that is what happened in Scarborough.
Either way, authorities need to ask the question about how these weapons should be accessed before we see many more examples of how deadly they can be.
RULES FOR CROSSBOWS
When it comes to buying a crossbow in Toronto or across Canada, it turns out that bigger is better, legally speaking.
According to the Canadian Firearms Program as published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, crossbows with an overall length of 500 mm or less are prohibited across the country.
However, the program states that no licence or registration is required for crossbows longer than 500 mm and that Criminal Code provisions making it an offence to acquire a crossbow without a valid licence were never brought into force.
Here are more guidelines for crossbows, according to Paul Hunkin, from Al Flaherty’s Outdoor Store on Dufferin St. in Toronto:
Age and use restrictions:
You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase one. Crossbows may not be fired anywhere inside the boundaries of the City of Toronto.
Different types of crossbows that are available in stores:
There are only two types: Prohibited and non-prohibited. Prohibited are crossbows that are 500 mm in length or smaller, which can be held and fired with one hand, similar to a handgun. Both are classified as “firearms” for legal purposes.
Locations where crossbows are sold and how much they cost:
Retailers such as Al Flaherty’s, Canadian Tire, Sail, and Bass Pro Shops all sell a wide range of crossbows. Prices range from around $400 to well over $1,000.
Purpose of crossbows sold in stores:
Commonly used for a wide variety of hunting. The crossbow hunting seasons do not overlap rifle and shotgun seasons and typically run for a longer period, making them popular among hunters. Moose, deer, bears, and sometimes turkeys are hunted with crossbows.
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