Cash For Guns Ignores The Real Problem

As published in the Canada Free Press

Toronto started a program to pay up to $500 for tips that lead to a seizure of an illegal gun. Toronto has been plagued by gun violence this summer with 41 of the city’s 61 murders recorded so far this year having been committed by use of a firearm.

The program consists of a $500,000 advertising campaign that will consist of billboards and radio spots telling the bad guys that they can make money by ratting on other bad guys who have guns. Let’s face it, not too many law abiding people have knowledge of who has a gun and who doesn’t. According to the powers that be, the taxpayers will not be on the hook for the ad campaign; media outlets have taken care of the tab. This of course is a good thing because we would hate to see the city get guns off the street at the expense of the councillors’ perks.

The cash for guns will be handled through Crime Stoppers who will pay up to $500 cash for a tip that leads to a gun being seized, the maximum amount being reserved for those guns that have been used in and can be linked to an actual crime. While there is really no downside to the program provided that there is truth in advertising and the taxpayers will not be on the hook for it, the actual good that will be accomplished is certainly debatable.

This is Toronto where we are cursed (or blessed, depending upon your point of view) with a left wing city council, an even more left wing Police Services Board and a chief of police who is determined to keep his job by not impersonating a real cop. One of the problems with the program is that it diverts attention away from the real problem — the bad guys that have the guns. Being able to get guns off the street without police having to go out and get tough with the bad guys makes the hearts on the left go pitter patter. After all the bad guys are not to blame — they are poor and mostly black and can’t help themselves. The last thing that we want to do is to increase police presence and impose meaningful sentences for gun crimes.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair hinted that the program may not be that successful when he said that if only one gun is removed from the street, lives will have been saved and it will be worth it. This is the same argument that the federal government makes about their beloved gun registry. The billions that were spent on the registry to make law abiding citizens register their long guns did absolutely nothing to stem the burgeoning gun crime; but, hey, if it saved one life, it was worth it. As good as that sounds society can not afford to implement costly programs to save one life. If they could Dalton would raise taxes and give us all our own MRI machine. We have the technology to build reinforced vehicles and could lower the speed limits so that no one would ever die in a traffic accident. But we don’t do that and we never will. There is always a tradeoff and the “saving one life” line is just what it is — a line.

The money will be paid for by Crime Stoppers so that the tips will be anonymous but obviously the tipster will have to reveal himself or herself in order to collect the cash. But even the anonymity of Crime Stoppers has not worked well in the past. When murders took place in front of 200 people, there were often no witnesses even though anyone in the crowd could have provided that information to Crime Stoppers without revealing their identity. Those on the left, who are now encouraging tips to be phoned in, are the same ones who were on a mission to blame the police for racial profiling. Now they are wringing their hands wondering why no one in certain communities is cooperating with the authorities.

Most of those who are in a position to provide information on guns are themselves gang members or those who are involved in illegal activities. There are easier ways to make $500 than by calling Crime Stoppers. On the plus side the program makes more sense than the David Miller and Bill Blair discussing where all the new basketball courts and community centres should go.

A letter writer to the Toronto Sun pondered whether people will now break into homes to steal guns so they can sell them to Crime Stoppers. Something to think about.

We need more police on the streets and tougher sentencing in order to stem the flow of violent crime. It’s unlikely we’ll get either of these things in the near future.

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work as appeared on, Men’s News Daily, The Drudge Report, and The Rant.