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Messages on construction boarding are part of a makeshift memorial after a mass shooting on Danforth Avenue in Toronto on Sunday.Chris Helgren/Reuters

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Banning guns

Banning handguns in Canada is not a new proposal (Ottawa To Mull Handgun Ban: Goodale, July 25).

As The Globe and Mail reported during the 2006 federal election campaign, “Liberal Leader Paul Martin will pledge today an outright ban on handguns as a way of combatting increasing gun violence in Canadian cities. Today’s policy announcement is to show that handguns will no longer be welcome in Canada, a Liberal source said. Mr. Martin will argue in Toronto that the only way to stop the recent rash of slayings and gang-related violence is to ban handguns and choke off the supply.”

When Mr. Martin did make this announcement, I was with him in Toronto.

With the election of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in 2006, this proposal, not surprisingly, was not enacted – in fact, the long-gun registry was dismantled. Elected officials should act on this now before other innocent people are gunned down.

Roy Cullen, former MP, Etobicoke North, 1996-2008, Vancouver

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I support the proposal to ban handguns but feel compelled to point out that it won’t solve the problem.

Handguns are readily available in the United States and are smuggled into Canada in large numbers. I understand that anyone who wants one can obtain a handgun with the serial number filed off in Metro Vancouver for $400 cash, for example.

For a handgun ban to be effective, it will be necessary to find a way to stop the flow of illegal handguns across our border with the United States.

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver

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Denise Balkissoon’s column is spot on (All The Other Answers Come After Fewer Guns, July 25).

Why on Earth does anyone need a .38 Special or a Glock of any calibre? Handguns are not meant for hunting or sport or competition. They are meant to kill people, as effectively as possible.

I know this country has a serious problem with addressing mental health issues. I also know that there are many societal inequities contributing to gun violence. Those have to be addressed. But in the meantime, as she so articulately points out, let’s start with getting rid of these guns.

Paul F. Farley, Tottenham, Ont.

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Ms. Balkissoon says banning guns is “the place to start.” But gun crime is merely a symptom of the desperate reality of life in the poorest parts of our city. Sadly, the underlying cause of gun crime (poverty) doesn’t make the news until bullets fly. Even more sadly, the powers that be still refuse to make the change required to address the poverty, even as the bodies pile up. At least the flying bullets and piling bodies force us to consider the poverty.

Ban the symptom (guns) only after the cause (poverty) has been addressed. Otherwise, it never will be.

Chris Rapson, Toronto

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Another mass shooting, another time that people will treat the situation only as a legal one, rather than one with sociological and psychological roots as it truly is.

As we ignore the true causes, and treat shooters only as criminals who need to be incarcerated, we ignore the chance to study the problem and come up with solutions. Have we studied the previous killers to find out what made them do it and how to prevent it next time? Or do we just lock them up and await the next occurrence, ignoring what we could have learned from the previous killers?

We focus on health and treatment of illness deeply and continually, as we should. We study germs, viruses and bacteria, and then find the antidote, the medication or the procedure to treat the illness, and give the physicians, biochemists and others the credit they deserve in saving lives.

It is about time we treat these mass shootings as a public health issue, as it truly is, and involve and develop proper health professionals (not the police) to work with these people sociologically and psychologically before they kill, to save lives of the innocent.

Lawyers and judges do not prevent shootings.

Bruce Hutchison, Ottawa

Too many atrocities

With all due respect to Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan’s call for the federal government to declare Dec. 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day, in my opinion it’s a very bad idea (MP Calls for Commemoration of Nanjing Massacre, July 24).

Given the number of atrocities being perpetrated around the world, and the escalating rate at which they are occurring, if we were to designate a commemorative day for each one worthy of it, every day would be Atrocity Day in Canada.

We would become the world’s repository for unsettled grudges; and it is impossible to commemorate without taking a side, or at least appearing to.

To remember atrocities is important. To commemorate them is dangerous.

Michael Fox, Stratford, Ont.

Get the booze flowing

It’s disappointing that our elected provincial leaders haven’t been able to figure out new rules on how alcoholic beverages can be moved between provinces (Premiers Fail To Agree On Alcohol Imports, July 21).

I would have thought that all that brain power and ego could have resolved such an issue. Apparently, not. What are the odds they’ll be able to solve more important and pressing issues facing interprovincial relations?

Richard Horodyski, Thornbury, Ont.

60 years of audiobooks

Your article on audiobooks expressed wonder at the recent rise in their production in Canada, as if this was some new phenomenon (How Canadian Voice Actors Are Cracking The Booming Audiobook Market, July 12).

My fellow volunteers at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind – some 150 of us in Toronto, and a further 75 or so in Montreal – were highly amused to read this. We, with an average tenure of close to 20 years, have been producing such books, originally in cassette form, then in CDs, and now in digital format, for more than 60 years. Since 1980 alone, we have produced and distributed more than 16,000 audiobooks, and continue to do so at the rate of about 500 a year – and at no cost. We donate our time.

Admittedly, these books have restricted circulation, to those with visual or physical impairment, but they are now available to these people through the library system and postal service.

Simon Curwen, Toronto

chicken to cross border

Re U.S. Fast-Food Chain Chick-fil-A Expanding In Canada, July 25:

If the U.S. fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is moving here to Canada, they’ll have to get the spelling right. Chick-fil-Eh, yes, much better.

Eleanor James, Toronto

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