Competitors unfairly associated with gun violence in the GTA when the true problem is gang violence
Two award winning teenaged sports shooters have been told that they are no longer welcome as sporting rifle ambassadors at the Ontario Summer Games and told they must not appear on stage at the World Record Camp Games’ due to the, “untimely shootings that have taken place in Scarborough and the City recently”.
“We have great sympathy for the victims of recent gun violence and their families who are left to cope with the loss, and support every reasonable measure that can be taken to stem the violence on our streets. However, by banning these two young recreational shooters from their official duties as ambassadors at the Ontario Summer Games, the organizers are suggesting that there is a relationship between legal, law abiding recreational sport shooting and recent shootings, which is ludicrous”, said Greg Farrant, OFAH Manager of Government Affairs & Policy. “Given the fact that sporting rifle and skeet shooting are two of the events at the Summer Games; given the fact that we are on the eve of the Olympic Games in London, where shooting sports are medal events; and given the fact that both Susan Natrass and Linda Thom, two of Canada’s best recreational sport shooters have brought honour to Canada in the past by their performance at the Olympics and World Championships, the stench of hypocrisy in this case is overwhelming. When recreational shooting at a sporting competition for young athletes is in some way equated with the use of illegal guns on the streets of Toronto and other major centres across North America, Summer Games officials have clearly crossed the line of political correctness”.
There are roughly 450,000 trained, legal, law abiding licensed hunters and more than 200,000 recreational shooters in the province at any given time. Every year, thousands of men, women and youth complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and the Hunter Education Course sanctioned by the federal and provincial governments.
“What should have been a thrilling and enjoyable experience for these young athletes has been tainted by a decision that has no foundation in logic, and smacks of bureaucracy in action. Instead of celebrating their successes, and recognizing their achievements on behalf of the province and country, they are being vilified for something completely unconnected to what they do. Recreational sport shooters and hunters are not the culprits here. The vast majority of crimes committed with a gun involve illegal handguns obtained on the streets by unlicensed, untrained and uncaring individuals intent on settling scores. Both the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, co-sponsors of the Games, should be focusing their efforts on ways of addressing street violence, supporting stiffer penalties for crimes committed with a gun, and working with the federal government to stem the flow of illegal guns into this country instead of engaging in punitive measures that do nothing to address the problem”, said Farrant.