Canada: "Air-pistol shooting spurs calls for ban"


July 15, 2003, 08:25 AM
from the CP via Canoe shooting spurs calls for ban

Boy hit in face in drive-by incident

TORONTO -- As a five-year-old boy remained in hospital yesterday with an air-pistol pellet lodged near his brain, safety and gun-control groups renewed calls to have the realistic-looking firearms banned in Canada.

Two adults and a 17-year-old who cannot be named appeared in court yesterday, charged with various offences after a pellet shot at the boy hit his right eye during a half-hour shooting spree Sunday. The shots were fired from a moving car near Exhibition Place as crowds were leaving the Molson Indy auto race.

The court put a publication ban on identities of the boy and any witnesses, as well as any information that could disclose their identities.

The boy's condition was upgraded from critical to fair yesterday afternoon, and doctors said the boy has retained vision in the eye and will not require surgery to remove the pellet at this time.

"We debated about removing the bullet, but we think at this point it's much safer for him just to leave it in place and to treat him conservatively and with close observation," said Dr. James Drake, a neurosurgeon at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. "And as long as he doesn't develop any complications then we'll just leave it where it is."

Drake said the pellet broke into four fragments, which are lodged in the centre of the boy's brain near some "very important blood vessels." He did not comment on whether the boy suffered any brain damage or memory loss, but did say his condition was "very stable."

Police said a number of shots were fired from two pellet guns as a crowd of spectators left the Molson Indy.

The shooting spree included shots fired at signs and other objects, with one striking the boy. A 27-year-old man was also shot in the forearm and was being treated yesterday in hospital, police said.

Jake Joseph Mercure and Stephen Collins, both 18, were charged with aggravated assault and various weapons offences. They were remanded yesterday until their bail hearings Thursday.

The 17-year-old also made a brief appearance in youth court.

Emile Therien of the Canada Safety Council called the shooting a "brutal, despicable act," but one that is not isolated. Therien's group, in fact, asked the federal government to ban fake guns -- such as air, pellet and starter guns, and guns which just look like real pistols -- several years ago, but to no avail.

"They're as easy to buy as comic books," Therien said from Ottawa.

Research by Therien's group shows fake guns are recovered in crimes nearly as often as handguns. Each year, more than 50 children under age 18 require hospital care for air-gun injuries, he added.

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Bob Johnson said city cops respond to about a dozen air-gun calls every summer. "It's not a huge problem," he said.

No Winnipeggers have been seriously hurt in any air-gun shootings this year.

Copyright © 2003, CANOE

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July 15, 2003, 01:56 PM
What bunch of brainless spineless ninnys. Sometimes I wonder how the sheep manage to get through the day without breaking down into a quivering mass of fear-soaked jelly.

- Gabe

July 15, 2003, 03:54 PM
The ninnies are already out in full force on this one up here; what none of them have bothered to say is that what these *********s were doing is ALREADY illegal, so they're saying the equivalent of "Well, if we pass a law making mureder REALLY illegal (and this time we mean it), then people won't kill each other anymore." I HAVE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE, and soon.:banghead:

July 15, 2003, 04:28 PM
Germans own millions of air-guns and anyone who's at least 18 years old can buy one. Yet there doesn't seem to be a problem with air-guns over here. In what respect could Canadians be different?

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