WBEZ | Under the gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Under the gun: Why the NRA's political tactics don't work in Canada http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-why-nras-political-tactics-dont-work-canada-90162 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090930_cr_923751_Supr_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The National Rifle Association is good at what it does. Good at mobilizing its members and good at lobbying Congress. Canadian groups trying to do the same thing are largely stymied in their efforts.</p><p>The NRA's political tactics just don't work in Canada, and it’s largely because of the way the governments of Canada and U.S. are structured.</p><p>Most don't think of the NRA as the “little guy,” but in Canada they are.</p><p>“This is the nerve center and this is where all our political work and grassroots activism stuff all happens from here,” said Tony Bernardo, the director of the Canadian Institute for Legislative Action, a gun-rights lobbying group fashioned in the mold of the NRA.</p><p>The NRA's political arm in the U.S. is also called the Institute for Legislative Action.</p><p>Bernardo says he coordinates with the NRA, relying on their expertise or supplying them with expertise when he can, in the same way that gun control advocates coordinate efforts across the border.</p><p>"Lobbying is not a deep dark mysterious exercise,” Bernardo said. “It's educative.&nbsp; A lobbyist is a teacher.”</p><p>Bernardo's group works out of a sparsely furnished six-room office in a one-story brick office park just north of Toronto.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Sixth in a series</strong></p><p>The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952">An everyday murder</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018">Getting a gun in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096">The Burden of being a gun owner in Canada</a></strong></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-keeping-us-guns-torontos-streets-90106"><strong>Keeping U.S. guns off the streets of Toronto</strong></a></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p></div></div><p>As a gun-rights advocate, he's got an uphill battle in Canada. For starters, he has a hard time getting his own base excited. “The problem we have in Canada is that of Pavlov's dogs.&nbsp; We've had restrictive handgun regulations in Canada since 1935 so all the shooters that are out there right now have never known anything different,” Bernardo said.</p><p>Then there's the fact that Canada's got a parliamentary form of government. In the U.S. the NRA can focus its attention on individual legislators, winning them over one by one.</p><p>In Canada, representatives have to vote with their party, or else they get kicked out of the party and can't run in the next election. For Bernardo, that means instead of exerting all his power on one legislator at a time, he has to convince a whole party that his policies make sense.</p><p>“It takes longer for things to happen.&nbsp; You educate a member of parliament, and that member of parliament passes that information to other members of parliament until basically you've got the party,” he said.</p><p>Convincing a whole political party is hard, and Bernardo is further hampered by federal spending limits. In a national election, advocacy groups, like a gun-rights group for example, can spend only C$150, 000.</p><p><img alt="Michael Bryant (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-05/Michael Bryant-280.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 362px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Michael Bryant (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)">Michael Bryant, the former attorney general of Ontario, made a name for himself by clamping down on gun violence. “Third parties, lobbyists, lobbies, in a Canadian election?&nbsp; Not a pivotal role at all.”<br> <br> He says the Canadian version of the NRA is limited in what it can spend on elections, plus they can't really buy influence with legislators because Canadian politicians don't raise that much money.<br> <br> Canadian law limits their spending to about a hundred thousand dollars per election, and that's for a seat in the federal parliament, the Canadian counterpart to Congress.</p><p>“Somebody supports me in my campaign by making a donation to my campaign of a thousand dollars which would be about the maximum that they could donate and they want to meet with me about an issue, obviously there's a pressure to meet with them because they supported me financially,” Bryant said.&nbsp; “Well there just aren't that many people in that category and there can't be that many people in that category because of the spending limits that are in place.&nbsp; In the United States, I can't imagine how many meetings have to be taken by congressman and senators by their donors because they have to spend so much time raising money.”<br> <br> Bryant says the Canadian spending limits mean there's not enough money for candidates to get on TV. “The level of debate that takes place is driven by information that's been filtered through the media as opposed to commercials with what I would say is misleading information,” Bryant said.<br> <br> Mike Quigley, a Democratic congressman representing the 5<sup>th</sup> district of Illinois on Chicago's North Side, said people are deathly afraid of the NRA.&nbsp; “I think the American public would like to see reasonable gun control legislation, middle ground but the NRA has this headlock on Congress that they have like no other lobbying group, put a stranglehold on thoughts about gun.”<br> <br> Quigley been pushing gun legislation and speaking out against the NRA.</p><p>“If anyone wonders that we occasionally have victories, no.&nbsp; This is total defeat, running from the battlefield.&nbsp; Republicans make no pretense of this.&nbsp; They're pro-gun but the democrats have run from the battlefield,” he said.<br> <br> Quigley says the NRA doesn't let politicians take the middle ground in the gun debate in this country. “They warn people, you're either with us a hundred percent or we're gonna tell people to be against you.”<br> <br> He says most races are so close that legislators don't want to risk losing a couple percentage points because they were targeted by the NRA, so they stay mum on even seemingly sensible gun control measures.<br> <br> Under the parliamentary system in Canada, members have to vote with their party so they're not vulnerable to this individualized pressure from lobbying groups, one of the reasons Bernardo has such a hard time getting political traction.<br> <br> Quigley can criticize the NRA because his urban liberal district isn't exactly the bread and butter of NRA membership.<br> <br> And he says the NRA has given up on him, but the director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, has set his sights on the congressman. “There's some people that just simply don't like firearms and they want to get rid of all of them and he's one of ’em, and we're after him.&nbsp; We're gonna go after ’em right in their own home district and we're gonna make it as difficult as possible for them.”<br> <br> Pearson says they don't want to give up any middle ground because gun control advocates want more and more middle ground and they never stop. “There is no compromising with these people because they always want to compromise on the compromise and pretty soon you have nothing left so we're not going to compromise,” he said.<br> <br> <img alt="Tony Bernardo (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-05/Tony Bernardo-280.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 406px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="Tony Bernardo (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)">The political fight is inextricably linked in Pearson's mind with freedom. Firearms protect the people from tyranny, and while there are downsides to firearms ownership, it's worth the price to ensure our freedom.<br> <br> Trying to counter the assertion that the NRA is eliminating the middle ground in the debate over guns, Pearson was asked if there was some sensible legislation to improve public safety that they could support.<br> <br> “See I think everybody in Quigley's district should have a 9-millimeter in their pockets.&nbsp; Now, why doesn't he meet us on the middle ground there.&nbsp; I want to meet on our middle ground, not his middle ground.”<br> <br> Back in Toronto, in his somewhat vacant office space, Tony Bernardo looks on the American gun debate with pleasure. “I'm really delighted to see that our American friends have seen through the lies that have been purported by the anti-gun groups.&nbsp; States are loosening firearms laws.&nbsp; They've recognized the fact that the two things, crime and firearms are not related to each other.”<br> <br> Bernardo says he'll keep pushing for gun rights, within the parliamentary system, with the spending limits. He's focused on the debate over rifles right now and will deal with Canadian handgun rights another day.<br> <br> He says you have to eat the elephant one bite at a time.</p></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-why-nras-political-tactics-dont-work-canada-90162 Under the gun: Keeping U.S. guns off Toronto's streets http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-keeping-us-guns-torontos-streets-90106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-04/Toronto Cops_Bill Healey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A few years ago, Toronto, Ontario had a spike in murders, and&nbsp;the public wouldn't stand for it. They demanded an end to the violence. One solution was a new police unit called TAVIS, which stands for Targeted Anti-Violence Intervention Strategies. We headed out on a Saturday night with the TAVIS unit as they try to get guns -- often American ones -- off the streets.</p><p>Saturday is the busiest night for policing but that's good news to a group of aggressive cops who are members of the TAVIS team.</p><p>These officers are being sent to the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city. They're not going to be getting cats out of trees. They're looking for guns.</p><p>Sgt. Mike Ferry's team is going to one of the most notorious areas in Toronto known by the main intersection: Jane and Finch.</p><p>“Tonight we're being deployed into the 31 division area,” Sgt. Ferry said.&nbsp; “I guess within the past few months there have been several shootings in the division.”</p><p>Jane and Finch is about 15 miles from the city center.</p><p>Jane runs north-south and is lined for miles with enormous low-income and public housing projects.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Fifth in a series</strong></p><p>The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952">An everyday murder</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018">Getting a gun in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096">The Burden of being a gun owner in Canada</a></strong></li></ul><h4>Photos</h4><p><a href="http://wbez.drupalgardens.com/content/photos-keeping-us-guns-torontos-streets#overlay-context=media-gallery/detail/21/101" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-04/tavis-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 180px; float: left;" title=""></a></p></div></div><p>There are also maze-like townhouse complexes that Sgt. Ferry navigates in the dark, slowly looking at all the residents while he sips coffee.</p><p>“We do have a very diverse representation of different cultures in these buildings,” Sgt. Ferry said.</p><p>This part of Toronto is a huge swath of poverty. Tourists are as likely to come here as they are to go to Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.</p><p>Many of the residents here are recent immigrants from all over, though large portions are from Africa and the Caribbean.</p><p>Sgt. Ferry drives around looking for potential trouble and running plates. Turns out, proactive policing involves a lot of checking plates.</p><p>“You're looking to see if the vehicles been registered properly, if in fact the person driving the vehicle is the registered owner, if the registered owner is licensed, if they're up on charges, up on bail, that type of thing should come back,” he said.</p><p>One of the teams pulls a car over in front of one of the large buildings on Jane and Sgt. Ferry rushes to provide backup.</p><p>The registered owner is a woman but there's a man driving. The driver doesn't have a license and the officers think he's giving them a fake name. Police Constable John Sianos tries to convince him to come clean.</p><p>&nbsp;“Well, you can have an extra charge of obstruct added or you can be honest with us,” Constable Sianos said.</p><p>“…The driver's been lying to my colleagues here about his identity.&nbsp; After an investigation we discovered who he was and there's some house arrest so he's breaching his conditions so he's arrestable.”</p><p>They arrest the driver and he's got a gun charge in his history, so Constable Sianos searches the vehicle and finds a whole lot of alcohol but no gun.</p><p>“It's exciting when you get one, it's good to get one off the street, or multiple off the street,” Constable Sianos said.</p><p>But the last time Sgt. Sianos got a gun in a car stop was six months ago. That seems like a long time given his unit’s mission.</p><p>&nbsp;“Our team has got one recently as recently as a few weeks ago,” said Sgt. Mark Hayward, also in TAVIS. &nbsp;When asked if he recently confiscated an illegal firearm, he responded: “Me personally?&nbsp; Not, geez, when was the last time I got a gun off the streets?&nbsp; It's been a while.”</p><p>Last year, the Toronto police pulled 715 illegal guns off the street.</p><p>By contrast, the Chicago Police Department seized 8,000 13,000 in a year.</p><p>A more grim statistic: The last time a Toronto police officer was shot and killed was in 1994. In that same time period, 19 Chicago police officers have been shot and killed.</p><p>On Jane street, the TAVIS team heads south to Chalkfarm, the name given to four enormous buildings near the 401, Toronto's main highway.</p><p>“It's known for its gang activity.&nbsp; It's known for high criminality,” Sgt. Ferry said.</p><p>Even though the residents of these buildings and neighborhoods are poor, and make no mistake, these are poor neighborhoods -- residents say the same thing: they feel safe, and they don't have stories of shootings and death.</p><p>One can't help but compare that to Englewood where almost every resident –young and old – can point just down the block to where friends or neighbors have died.</p><p>A group of eight officers heads into one of the Chalkfarm buildings. They check in with security. The officers go through the building to question people in the halls and run their id and make sure they live there.</p><p>Lots of residents say they don't like this kind of policing, they say they shouldn't have to be bothered by police when they're not doing anything wrong.</p><p>Later in his squad car, Sgt. Hayward muses on the balancing act they're trying to perform. “The goal is to keep these buildings safe, right, keep the community safe so.&nbsp; Unfortunately people don't walk around with signs saying 'I'm a good guy' or 'I'm a bad guy' or 'I live here' or 'I don't live here' right so it's incumbent upon us then to make those inquiries to find out.”</p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><script src="http://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script><script> new TWTR.Widget({ version: 2, type: 'search', search: '#ChicagoGuns', interval: 6000, title: 'Tweets on Under the Gun Series', subject: 'What people are saying about guns in Chicago #ChicagoGuns', width: 250, height: 300, theme: { shell: { background: '#8ec1da', color: '#ffffff' }, tweets: { background: '#ffffff', color: '#444444', links: '#1985b5' } }, features: { scrollbar: false, loop: true, live: true, hashtags: true, timestamp: true, avatars: true, toptweets: true, behavior: 'default' } }).render().start(); </script></div></div><p>“You know and we try to make it as quick and painless as possible, if the person lives there were not there to harass the residents, right?&nbsp; We don't want to alienate ourselves from the residents, right?”</p><p>Driving back to the station Sgt. Hayward radios the team to call it a night: “Okay guys, I guess that's the 5-5 and that'll be a tango.”</p><p>For the whole shift, this 11-member team logged three arrests and 50 contact cards with information on people they question.</p><p>Sgt. Hayward says that's a busy night and a good night. He says the contact cards are important. “You know we get two guys in a car, we'll do contact cards and then we link those two people together and one of them might be a gang-banger and the other guy is a suspected gang-banger, but we start stopping these guys enough together we have reason to believe now we can link them as part of that gang.&nbsp; That's how we track these gangs.”</p><p>Sgt.Hayward says his unit pulls a gun off the street every couple months. And for the guns they do get, Sgt. Hayward and many other cops point an accusing finger back at the U.S.</p><p>David Miller was mayor of Toronto in 2005 when the city had 79 murders in what was called the year of the gun. “When I was mayor, very broadly speaking, about a third of the guns used in crimes in this city came from the United States so there's a flood of guns over the border all the time,” Miller said.</p><p>The TAVIS police unit was one part of his administration's response to the violence. Miller proudly identifies himself as a liberal who would like to ban all handguns in Canada. He says the availability of American guns in Toronto is due to lax gun laws in the U.S.</p><p>“It is unbelievable to us that the Americans have allowed these laws which prevent law enforcement agencies from doing their job,” Miller said.</p><p>The former mayor says the U.S.is exporting crime and terror to Canada. “Americans need to examine themselves a little bit and say, you know what, this isn't just a debate about the NRA, this is a debate about our obligations as a country to our neighbors and friends, and people in Mexico and Canada are murdered all the time because of those lax gun laws with American guns, that's the truth, American handguns.&nbsp; It's the truth and it's a truth that needs to be confronted.”</p></p> Thu, 04 Aug 2011 09:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-keeping-us-guns-torontos-streets-90106 Under the gun: The burden of being a gun owner in Canada http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/5.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Canadians have to go through that lengthy process to get a gun, however they still aren't in the clear to carry or use it.&nbsp; Canada’s laws place stringent legal responsibilities on gun owners.</p><p>You have to go through a class, apply for a license, go through a waiting period, and the government calls your personal references to ask if they've ever known you to be violent, or whether you get violent when you've been drinking.</p><p>Joel made it through that whole process. He doesn't want me to use his last name because like almost all Canadian gun owners he doesn't want people to know he owns a gun.</p><p>“It's economics.&nbsp; When something is restricted and it's very hard to get something that has value, the value goes up which means it becomes very attractive to thieves,” Joel said.&nbsp; “My relatives for example, friends, they may know that I'm a shooter they have no idea where in the house my firearms are.&nbsp; No idea.”</p><p>If it gets stolen he could face criminal charges for unsafe storage.</p><p>“I will most likely end up with a legal bill in excess of $20,000. My firearms will be confiscated and I'll never be able to touch another firearm in this country. And the person who stole them, if ever found, will not get any kind of a sentence like that,” Joel said.&nbsp; “By the way, very, very, very few firearms are stolen in Canada, very, very few.”</p><p>Asked if the regulations are working and keeping the guns out of the hands, Joel replies with hesitation in his voice: “They probably are.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Fourth in a series</strong></p><p>The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952">An everyday murder</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018">Getting a gun in Canada</a></li></ul></div></div><p>He has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Canadian gun laws.</p><p>He follows them meticulously and thinks some are effective, but he also thinks the government over-regulates guns -- especially handguns -- resulting in some laws that he says are just stupid.</p><p>Target shooting with his handgun is actually a hobby he had picked up recently.</p><p>When he retired he tried golf and it wasn't for him.</p><p>“Target shooting is not unlike golf.&nbsp; The projectile is a bit different but the mental concentration and the physical control and the zen if you know what I mean are all very very similar and very very satisfying,” he said.</p><p>Joel leaves his home in a suburb just north of Toronto with a black duffle bag in hand. His 40-caliber Glock is in the bag, which he puts in his car. Joel can't just put the gun in his pocket and go to the range. There are very particular rules.</p><p>His gun has to be unloaded, trigger locked, locked in an opaque case, and the ammo is separate in its own locked compartment.</p><p>Joel walks into the gun store that serves as the entrance for his shooting range. “I call this the men's jewelry store,” Joel said.</p><p>He goes up to the counter to buy a box of ammo. Canadian law requires Joel to show the clerk his firearms license. Without it, Joel can't buy ammunition.</p><p>“[This] is an example of the kind of additional, thank you so much, paperwork I have to carry around,” he said.</p><p>The registration for his particular gun, and something called an ATT. “This is an authorization to transport a restricted or prohibited handgun and it allows me to take handguns from my house to my range, period.&nbsp; And from my range to my house, period.”</p><p>“Has this prevented a single crime?&nbsp; Has this piece of paper prevented a single crime?&nbsp; No.”</p><p>Chris Wyatt is the chief firearms officer for the province of Ontario. His office processes all the applications from people hoping to become gun owners.&nbsp; “The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that firearms ownership in Canada is not a right but a privilege.”</p><p>“Public safety's better served by knowing where all the firearms are and making people accountable for the ownership of their firearms,” he said.</p><p>Wyatt says the firearm is linked to the owner and that prevents legal gun owners from selling their firearms illegally.</p><p>“Well we're reasonable right, like, we don't say that you can't stop or you can't get gas or any of that stuff, nobody's gonna make an issue out of that but if you're now in a bar, here's my residence, here's my club but you’re not anywhere near those two places then you'd have some tough questions to answer.”</p><p>At a gun range just west of Toronto, Tony, who doesn't want us to use his last name, and his friends do a shooting sport called IPSC.&nbsp; “Okay, I think our gun laws are not that bad.&nbsp; Handguns have been registered in Canada for probably over 80 years.&nbsp; They've been registered for a long time.”</p><p>A shooter would run up the gun range and take 8 shots at different stations at targets that are partially hidden by hanging plywood.&nbsp;</p><p>The practice would have someone shooting through a window cut out of the plywood – similar to a paintball course.</p><p>As Tony leaves the range he packs his handgun into his range bag, as required by law.</p><p>“I have no problem that it has to be in a case and has to be locked up and unloaded.&nbsp; I have no problem with it at all.&nbsp; That seems like a reasonable thing to me.&nbsp; What I have a problem with is with the long gun registration it is a total waste of money,” Tony said.</p><p>While restrictions on handguns are pretty well accepted, the so called long gun registry is the front in the gun rights battle in Canada.</p><p>It's basically a debate over whether it makes sense to keep forcing all rifle owners to register their guns.</p><p>Tony says the registry costs too much and that money could be better spent on things like health care.</p><p>But what's so interesting is that Tony and other gun owners in Canada are debating the merits of different gun policies.</p><p>Here in the U.S., the national debate rarely gets that far.</p><p>It's usually about personal freedom and the role of government, not about what makes good gun policy.</p><p>But Tony says the debate in Canada isn't always governed by reason.&nbsp;</p><p>He says politicians often have knee-jerk reactions to violent incidents and they push gun legislation not because it makes sense, but because gun control is an easy sell in Canada and it makes them look good.</p><p>“It's like a piece of pie and every time you take a slice of the piece of pie it gets smaller and that's what politicians do.&nbsp; They start, they start nibbling away at it.&nbsp; They take this little thing away from you, they take this little thing away from you and next thing you know there's nothing left of it,” Tony said.&nbsp; “That's why in the U.S. and I agree with them in the U.S. that's why, the NRA is opposed to anything and I agree with them a hundred percent on that.”</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096 Under the gun: Getting a gun in Canada http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Students learn how to handle rifles in the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. (WBE" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-03/600-wide.jpg" title="Students learn how to handle rifles in the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" width="600" height="313"></p><p>Chicago and Toronto are the same size, but Toronto has a fraction of the murders.&nbsp; There are a lot of factors to consider when you question why that is, among them: poverty, gang activity, segregation, differing social safety nets –and the availability of guns.&nbsp; WBEZ looks at what it takes to get a gun in Canada.</p><p>The first step in legally obtaining a gun in Canada is taking the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and Test.&nbsp; The course is required to obtain a possession and acquisition licence. The course however, wasn’t mandated until 1991.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Third in a series</strong></p><p>LISTEN:&nbsp;</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483586-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-02/utg-3-gun-class110803rw.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><h4><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096">The Burden of being a gun owner in Canada</a></strong></h4><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952">An everyday murder</a></li></ul><h3>Photos</h3><p><a href="http://wbez.drupalgardens.com/content/photos-getting-gun-canada" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-03/promo2.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 175px; float: left;" title=""></a></p></div></div><p>Obtaining an PAL does not allow its owner unfettered access to firearms, but instead allows its bearer to obtain a “non-restricted” firearm.&nbsp; Non-restricted firearms are generally considered to be sporting rifles, shotguns or airguns.</p><p>Just west of Toronto, Sherrie Saduaskas teaches the federally mandated firearms safety course out of a local Royal Canadian Legion Hall in&nbsp;Burlington, Ontario, where she rents out the museum room –a long narrow room in the basement of the legion hall.</p><p>“If I’m going to have to pay rent I’d like to pay it in my community and help support my seniors,” she said. The Canadian Legion is an organization for war veterans, with legion halls like this all over Canada.</p><p>Canada’s stringent regulations require that the firearms test be administered by a designated instructor, who is approved by a province’s chief firearms officer.</p><p>Inside the hall, the walls are lined with black and white army photos, and plastic model airplanes hang by fishing lines from the ceiling.</p><p>During one class, Sadauskas has a couple dozen students, most of them young white men hoping to buy guns.&nbsp; She goes over the basics.</p><p>“This is Bull’s Eye 9 hearing protection, okay?&nbsp; Spend some money here, ay.&nbsp; Once you’re hearings gone –it’s gone,” Sadauskas said.&nbsp; She gives students advice about aiming up hills before showing a video about shooting on a fire range.</p><p>The hall is not exactly a firing range, where most would expect to take such a course. There is no shortage of loud noises however.&nbsp; Sadauskas has to keep her voice up because on the other side of the wall, just outside the museum room, a musician sings and plays his guitar along with prerecorded tracks while dozens of senior citizens move around a green and yellow tiled dance floor.</p><p>The dance is par for the course, but later Sadauskas also has to compete with a fireman’s pipe-and-drum band having a fundraiser upstairs. On other days, she has to keep her classes quiet so as to not interrupt nearby bingo games.</p><p>On the second day of class, Sadauskas has dozens of handguns and rifles lying on tables.&nbsp;</p><p>The PAL allows Canadians to own and operate “non-restricted” firearms. A “restricted” firearm generally refers to handguns, and requires a separate certification training course, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website.</p><p>Further, another class of weapons is categorized as “prohibited,” which includes automatic firearms, with the exception of those owning them prior to their prohibition.</p><p>The weapons on display at Sadauskas’ class are using dummy ammunition.</p><p>Each of the students rotates around, learning how to check and load each firearm.</p><p>“We’re going to first remove the cartridges.”&nbsp; A gun part is then dropped.</p><p>“Whoops.&nbsp; Now, okay, good point, that happened and that’s OK that that happened,” she said.</p><p>In addition to dropping parts of the guns, the students also end up accidently pointing the guns at themselves and each other.</p><p>After the class, students eat soup and sandwiches made by the ladies auxiliary at the veterans’ hall.</p><p>Ryan Smith explained how hard it was to handle a 9-millimeter handgun. “There’s three buttons on it, one releases the magazine, one’s a safety and one’s to lock the slide and you have no idea which one does what, right?”</p><p>“If you’ve never touched that gun before,” chimed fellow student Kyle Bartlett.</p><p>“Or you hit the safety off and all of a sudden you’re pulling the slide and it catches your hand, rips your hand open,” Smith said.</p><p>“Well even you look at that one guy, I mean he did finally get it but like he was having like muzzle, she kept going “muzzle direction,” because he was like screwing with it and he was just all over the place, right, like, that could be a bit of a bad scene.&nbsp; Like you know okay, he’s getting it driven into cause she’s on him for every step, hey, watch, oop, blup… you could see how if nobody was there doing that he’d blow himself away.&nbsp; Blow his head off,” Bartlett said.</p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><script src="http://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script><script> new TWTR.Widget({ version: 2, type: 'search', search: '#ChicagoGuns', interval: 6000, title: 'Tweets on Under the Gun Series', subject: 'What people are saying about guns in Chicago #ChicagoGuns', width: 250, height: 300, theme: { shell: { background: '#8ec1da', color: '#ffffff' }, tweets: { background: '#ffffff', color: '#444444', links: '#1985b5' } }, features: { scrollbar: false, loop: true, live: true, hashtags: true, timestamp: true, avatars: true, toptweets: true, behavior: 'default' } }).render().start(); </script></div></div><p>The people in this class will have to wait several weeks to find out if they pass, but even if they do, there are several more steps before they can actually get a gun.</p><p>They still have to apply for a firearms license, which like a driver’s license requires a photo.</p><p>There’s a 28-day waiting period for that and the government runs background checks and calls personal references to talk to them to see if they think the applicant can handle a gun.</p><p>But that still doesn’t allow the person to buy a handgun and bring it home. There’s a separate license required to take the handgun out of the store.&nbsp; The Authorization to Transport (ATT) is even required for person to a gun from one location to another in Canada – even to move a gun from a home to a firing range.</p><p>The whole process takes months, but for the most part the students in this class don’t mind the restrictions. In fact, they appreciate them.</p><p>“I don’t really consider it going through hoops.&nbsp; It’s a weekend, a couple hundred dollars,” said one student Paula.&nbsp; “For the responsibility of carrying around a firearm?&nbsp; I think that’s more than worth it.&nbsp; I would like to know that anyone around me who has the ability to use a firearm knows what the hell they’re doing and knows how to do it safely, and knows how to think of me and my family and not just themselves and I want to do this so I’m gonna do it,” she said.</p><p>The mindset is a stark contrast to that of the gun culture in the U.S., where such restrictions and hoops are the focus of vigorous opposition from the NRA.</p><p>Paula, who asks that we not use her last name, says she doesn’t mind that it’s going to be a while before she can actually get her gun.</p><p>“Doesn’t bother me, have to wait a long time to shoot a moose.&nbsp; Like, moose will be there in three weeks, moose will be there in a few months.&nbsp; I don’t need to shoot a moose today.&nbsp; I’ll be okay.”</p><p>Bob Roberts is an American who has been living part-time in Toronto since his daughter married a man from Toronto and moved there.</p><p>“You know, initially, coming from the states I thought it was a lot more inconvenient and maybe a little bit over, over-controlling,” he said.</p><p>Roberts is from Arizona where he says he always carries a handgun.</p><p>He owns eight tobacco stores Arizona and he says driving around with $40, 000 worth of smokes is dangerous because stolen cigarettes are so easy to sell.</p><p>He’s never been robbed, but his employees have been –many times.</p><p>“Twice at gun-point, once at knife-point, once at baseball bat point, and two or three times at threat of a gun.&nbsp; I’ve got a gun here but they never showed it,” Roberts said.</p><p>Roberts says as he’s spent more time in Canada his views on guns and guns laws have changed.</p><p>He never thought registration was a good idea because it was an infringement of his constitutionally guaranteed freedom and he didn’t see any upside.</p><p>“The fear of the NRA, and mine too formerly as well, were that it would be one step towards confiscation and once you know where every gun is, then it’s real easy for a government to come in and confiscate,” he said.</p><p>Roberts is a proud member of the NRA but he says sometimes the NRA is too focused on defending freedom and as a member he’d support more restrictions and registration requirements on firearms.</p><p>“I think we in the states have to balance a loss of freedom with the greater good which would be to eliminate the bad stuff that happens with unregulated firearms.&nbsp; Times are changing you know, and I might not have said that 10 years ago but I’ve really modified my personal belief on that.”</p><p>Roberts won’t be able to carry his handgun in Canada like he does in Arizona, but after finishing this class and applying for a firearms permit and going through the other steps, he will be able to legally own a handgun, but that ownership will still be heavily regulated by the Canadian government.</p><p><br> <em>--Bill Healy contributed to this report.</em></p><p><em><strong>Support for reporting on gun violence comes from a grant from John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice, with the Joyce and David Bohnett foundations.</strong></em></p><p><em><strong>Content is the responsibility solely of WBEZ.</strong></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Corrections &amp; Clarifications:</strong><br> A previous version of this article stated that the license to obtain a firearm in Canada is a Firearms Acquisition Certificate, which was an older and outdated certification to obtain a firearm. The new license is referred to as a possession and acquisition licence.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018 Under the gun: An everyday murder http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-02/promo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Children on a street in Englewood on Chicago's South Side. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/600-wide.jpg" title="Children on a street in Englewood on Chicago's South Side. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" width="600" height="246"></p><div id="audio-bar"><a class="listen wbez-player-listen" href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-02/utg-2-front-page.mp3" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Listen to this Story</a></div><p>Chicago and the city of Toronto, Ontario are the same size. In Chicago, about&nbsp; 450 people are murdered every year, most with guns. Toronto has about 60 murders a year.&nbsp; One reason is that murder is a big deal in Toronto, and if the number of gun murders there goes about 30--every new murder is big news, front page news. &nbsp;According to politicians and law enforcement officials there, the media attention keeps the city focused on solving gun violence. &nbsp;Gun violence in Chicago is so commonplace that when a 21-year-old named Shawn Carter was shot and killed recently, few people took notice.</p><p>When Shawn Carter died on May 12,&nbsp;the&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em>&nbsp;published a short story -- about 120 words -- noting his age, the time and location of the shooting and the block where he lived. The&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;story, citing a police department spokeswoman, said Carter was talking to two girls, and other men told him to leave her alone, sparking an altercation that ended in the shooting.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><h3><strong>Listen to Story</strong><br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483585-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-02/utg-2-front-page.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></h3><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Second in a series</strong><br> The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></li></ul></div></div><p>Justine Lawrence, Carter’s great-grandmother, said she contacted the media, but they wouldn’t change his statement. “I told them that wasn't true; they shoulda talked to me.”</p><p>“I wanted the truth to know it was not true what they had did.&nbsp; Shawn was not arguing with nobody. That guy was looking for somebody to kill.&nbsp; He was a gang-banger, and he been back over here shooting since then,” she said.</p><p>Lawrence adopted her great-grandson Shawn when he was four because Lawrence's granddaughter gave up all three of her children. Lawrence says her granddaughter just didn't want to be bothered with raising them.</p><p>Lawrence has been spending a lot of time at the home of her son’s ex-wife. “She looks out for me all the time.&nbsp; She like a daughter to me,” she said while sitting on the front stoop. “She always come and see about me, and like I fell and hurt myself, she fix me food and do, she's a good person, she helps anybody.”</p><p>The house is just across the street from her own home on the 6400 block of South Hoyne.</p><p><img alt="Justine Lawrence (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/lawrence.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 413px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="Justine Lawrence (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)">Lawrence’s power was recently cut off, which means no air-conditioning,&nbsp;so the 74-year-old spends time on the covered porch of this brick bungalow to escape the summer heat.</p><p>“He was kinda special kid,” she says while sifting through a folder. Filled with paper’s related to Shawn’s death, the folder contains a short newspaper article, the death certificate, funeral and burial papers and school photos.</p><p>“When he was born, he was a premature, didn't weigh that much and he was kinda slow on some stuff –you know –learning. Cause he went to school and he did good for a while. Then after he got into high school he couldn't keep up and he kinda felt bad about that, but he wasn't no bad person.&nbsp; You know, he wasn't like angry out here with this fighting and stuff.&nbsp; He wasn't like that.”</p><p>This isn't the first time Lawrence has buried a loved one because of gun violence.</p><p>In 1990, her son, Albert Washington Jr., was shot in the chest and killed and left in the parking lot of a public housing project on Chicago's South Side.</p><p>The murder didn’t get much more attention than Shawn's death. Lawrence said if they had had a march, or if the preacher had come out after Shawn's recent murder, then it may have gotten some press coverage.</p><p>“Even dogs get coverage,” she said referring to a recent news event.</p><p>“Three weeks ago a little boy had a puppy and he had autism, and this dog was helping him out and somebody stole the dog.&nbsp; I wanted, I prayed for them to get that little boy his dog back cause it was sad, you know?&nbsp; He had got used to this dog, they was trained special for this type of condition this little boy had, so that little boy, you know he didn't know no better so he missed his little puppy.&nbsp; Finally they caught up with who took the dog and they got his same little puppy back.&nbsp; So that was very important.&nbsp; So if a dog can get coverage, why my, a human can't get coverage?”</p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><script src="http://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script><script> new TWTR.Widget({ version: 2, type: 'search', search: '#ChicagoGuns', interval: 6000, title: 'Tweets on Under the Gun Series', subject: 'What people are saying about guns in Chicago #ChicagoGuns', width: 250, height: 300, theme: { shell: { background: '#8ec1da', color: '#ffffff' }, tweets: { background: '#ffffff', color: '#444444', links: '#1985b5' } }, features: { scrollbar: false, loop: true, live: true, hashtags: true, timestamp: true, avatars: true, toptweets: true, behavior: 'default' } }).render().start(); </script></div></div><p>Matt O'Connor, the Chicago Tribune’s editor of the courts and crime coverage, tried to explain the coverage of the deaths.</p><p>“What do we have in Chicago, like 450 murders a year at this point?&nbsp; News is, you know, something unusual.&nbsp; I mean, you just inherently, when you have that many murders, at least when we're talking about the newspaper, we can't cover every one of them.”</p><p>Sitting on the fourth floor newsroom at Tribune Tower, O’Connor explained how editorial decisions get made at the <em>Tribune</em>. And the paper is not alone in their coverage.&nbsp; WBEZ usually doesn’t cover individual murders.</p><p>One of the striking things about Toronto is that murder is a big deal and makes the papers.</p><p>And it was a combination of media coverage and an outraged public that forced city leaders to address gun violence more vigorously in recent years.</p><p>O'Connor says the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;covers every murder online, but to make the print edition, there needs to be something unusual.</p><p>“You know we look for young victims.&nbsp; Recently we had like an 87-year-old man shot on his front porch.&nbsp; Doesn't even have to be a murder, sometimes it can just be a shooting that catches our eye.&nbsp; But again, it's just, we're looking for something newsworthy about that individual story or maybe something broader that it shows us.”<img alt="The Chicago Tribune's Matt O'Connor (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-02/trib.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 224px; margin: 7px; float: right;" title="The Chicago Tribune's Matt O'Connor (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)"></p><p>O'Connor says they try to be analytical in their coverage. He says they stay away from sensational adage: “if it bleeds it leads."</p><p>He says they don't have the staff to cover every murder in-depth, and he says there's always some competition for news space in the paper in general, and page one in particular.</p><p>“We don't want all crime, you know, because that wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of Chicago.&nbsp; Business is trying to get on the front page, national, foreign, sports in a way, so there's all these competing interests.”</p><p>Back in Englewood, Shawn Carter's great-grandmother she says Shawn's killer later shot up their corner when kids and families were outside on their front porches.</p><p>She's had some contact with the detectives working Shawn's case and says she thinks Shawn's killer got arrested for shooting a little girl.</p><p>“I found out he was locked up, police say he was locked up.&nbsp; But the detective he thought he'd never get charged with Shawn's murder,” she said.</p><p>Lawrence says that's because the boy who was with Shawn when he was killed refused to point out the killer in a police lineup. She figures he's too scared to do it.</p><p>Whatever the case is, the violence continues in Englewood.</p><p>A couple weeks ago, on July 14, a man who lived one block from Lawrence was shot and killed around the corner.</p><p>The&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;ran a short news item on 30-year-old: Walter Brown.</p><p>They also did a short story on Gartania Prince, 24, of the 6100 block of South Wabash.</p><p>He was shot and killed that night, too.</p><p><em>--Bill Healy contributed to this report.</em></p><p><strong><em>Support for reporting on gun violence comes from a grant from John Jay College with the Joyce and David Bohnett foundations.</em></strong><br> <strong><em>Content is the responsibility solely of WBEZ.</em></strong></p></p> Tue, 02 Aug 2011 22:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952 Under the gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-01/TORONTO-CHICAGO-GUNS-2_WBEZ_RW.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It's been a summer of gun violence in Chicago. Non-stop shootings. Weekends with four or five murders, but that's nothing new. Just a long, hot summer in a big city, right?</p><p>Today we begin a week-long series comparing gun violence in Chicago with what goes on in another big city, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The two cities are the same size, but their gun violence rates are very different.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><h3>Series</h3><p>Listen to this Story:</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483584-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-august/2011-08-01/utg1.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p></div></div><p>We're going to spend a fair bit of time in Toronto this week with gun owners, police officers and politicians--to see what we might learn from our neighbors to the north. We begin in a poor community in north Toronto called Rexdale.</p><p>The Pro-tech media center is in a somewhat rundown strip mall.</p><p>It sits between a storefront medical office and a "Money Mart," the Canadian version of a currency exchange.</p><p>RODRIGUEZ: Center actually used to be a bar with some really shady people.&nbsp; There's actually a bullet hole in the window frame outside.</p><p>Inside, though, the walls are bright yellow, there's clean carpeting, and rows of computers for neighborhood kids.</p><p>A half dozen high-school-aged kids are in the back sitting around a conference table coming up with ideas for fake products for a commercial they're going to make.</p><p>One young man suggests 10% milk.</p><p>TEENAGER: It's like healthy ice cream.</p><p>TEENAGER: That's wrong.</p><p>RODRIGUEZ: They're going to quickly shoot it and then do a quick little edit so they can see basically, in short, the pre-production and post-production of video production.&nbsp;</p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><h3>By the numbers</h3><ul><li>Toronto and Chicago both have a little less than 3 million residents. Toronto has 60 murders a year. Chicago has 450.</li><li>There were 179 shooting deaths in all of Canada in 2009. Canada’s Population was almost 34 million people. There were 376 shooting deaths in Chicago in 2009. The population of Chicago was less than 3 million.</li><li>According to a Chicago Police Department annual report, in 2009 there were 461 murders and 160 clearances.</li><li>The Chicago police department considers a case cleared when an offender has been arrested, charged and prosecuted or when the police are ready to arrest someone but something outside of the department’s control prevents an arrest from being made. The clearance rate is 34.7%. In Toronto in 2009 the clearance rate was 58.1% but they had fewer murders to solve. They cleared a total of 36 cases.</li><li>The Chicago Police Department has more than 11,000 officers. Toronto has about 5,300.</li><li>In 1992 there were 940 murders in the city. 651 of those murders were committed with firearms. The department cleared 683 cases.<ul></ul></li></ul></div></div><p>Terrence Rodriguez runs the programs here.</p><p>He says this place was started to keep kids off the street.</p><p>They can just drop in and have something positive to do after school while their parents are still at work.</p><p>RODRIGUEZ: They're learning software that's professional, either is graphic design, web design, flash, or video production software.</p><p>I visited this media center because it was created with public and private money in this hard-up community for a very specific reason.</p><p>It was an investment meant to help counteract an explosion of gun violence in Toronto in 2005.</p><p>The local press dubbed 2005 "the year of the gun."</p><p>BRYANT: There was a real sense of anarchy, there was a sense of danger, there was a sense that so many were being killed in our streets that we needed the politicians to do something about it.</p><p>That's Michael Bryant.</p><p>In 2005 he was the Attorney General for the province of Ontario.</p><p>He was the top law enforcement official for the province, which includes the City of Toronto.</p><p>He says, every day, he was being attacked by the press.</p><p>BRYANT: Resign!&nbsp; They wanted me to resign, wanted me to come up with solutions, wanted me to stop making excuses.&nbsp; There was, you know, a level of, I think, understandable panic that we were no longer safe communities.</p><p>So here's the thing about Toronto's "year of the gun."</p><p>That year there were 79 homicides, 20 more than usual.</p><p>By contrast, here in Chicago which has the same population as the city of Toronto, we had 448.&nbsp;</p><p>And that was a banner year for Chicago; murders were lower than they had been in decades.</p><p>BRYANT: Let's put it this way.&nbsp;</p><p>Once again, Michael Bryant, the former attorney general of Ontario.</p><p>BRYANT: In Toronto, when you hit around 30 gun homicides in a given year, that's pretty much the media tipping point after which every single gun homicide is front page news, every single one.</p><p>Bryant laughs ruefully at the fact that Chicago has 450 murders in a good year, while in Toronto, a city of the same size, 30 murders had him fighting for his political life.</p><p>Wendy Cukier calls that situation a "terrible irony"</p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><script src="http://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script><script> new TWTR.Widget({ version: 2, type: 'search', search: '#ChicagoGuns', interval: 6000, title: 'Tweets on Under the Gun Series', subject: 'What people are saying about guns in Chicago #ChicagoGuns', width: 250, height: 300, theme: { shell: { background: '#8ec1da', color: '#ffffff' }, tweets: { background: '#ffffff', color: '#444444', links: '#1985b5' } }, features: { scrollbar: false, loop: true, live: true, hashtags: true, timestamp: true, avatars: true, toptweets: true, behavior: 'default' } }).render().start(); </script></div></div><p>Cukier teaches at Ryerson University in Toronto and is the president of the Coalition for Gun Control, which pushes for increasingly strict gun control in Canada.</p><p>CUKIER: Among industrialized countries, the United States, which has almost as many guns as people, has the highest rate of gun ownership, has the most resistance to gun control, and yet has the highest rate of carnage.</p><p>Here's how Cukier explains it: In countries where there is little gun crime, people are shocked into action when there is gun violence.</p><p>Meanwhile, Cukier says Americans are unfazed, or numb to gun violence because there's so much of it.</p><p>The "terrible irony" is that as a result, Cukier says, Americans don't demand an end to gun violence even though they suffer from it more than people in other industrialized countries.</p><p>To put it another way, the more violence there is, the less attention it gets.</p><p>Cukier compares Americans to a lobster in a pot of water that is gradually being heated.</p><p>CUKIER: When you're in the pot you don't recognize that you're going to boil to death.&nbsp; And it's just shocking, I think, to most people around the world that Americans do not realize that the conditions under which they live are comparable to conditions in developing and third world, post-conflict societies, that most people don't have to worry about their children being shot when they go to school.</p><p>We'll be back in Toronto throughout this week, riding with police and going to gun ranges, finding out more about Toronto's relationship with firearms, and the rules around owning and using them.</p><p>But... tomorrow... we'll look at what it takes for murder to make the front page of the newspaper right here in Chicago.</p><p><em>--Bill Healy for contributed to this report.</em></p><p><strong><em>Support for reporting on gun violence comes from a grant from John Jay College with the Joyce and David Bohnett foundations.<br> Content is the responsibility solely of WBEZ.</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 23:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879