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Thousands of sport shooting enthusiasts attend the three day Tactical and Competitive Shooting Sports Show in Mississauga, Ont. on Friday, September 6, 2019. In today’s letters to the editor, readers debate the politics of Canada’s assault-weapon ban.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

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Both sides

Re Assault-rifle Ban Criticized On Both Sides (May 2) and Trudeau Says Legislation On Municipal Handgun Bans, Border Security Coming (May 4): As a 77-year-old target shooter, gun collector and hunter who is an active member of two registered gun clubs, I again cringe as, once more, added restrictions are applied to law-abiding gun owners. Will the new ban reduce gun crime? I think not.

Canada shares the longest undefended border with the largest manufacturers of guns in the world, with the easiest gun-purchase arrangements in the world. It’s been reported that thousands of firearms are smuggled into Canada and sold at inflated prices to fuel criminal economy and gun crimes.

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Stricter border measures should be imposed, and the criminal use of guns should be prosecuted to the fullest. Practical measures should be taken, not feel-good restrictions that likely won’t reduce crimes.

Doug Martin Haliburton, Ont.

I believe that banning assault rifles is a small step forward, and that the government will abdicate its responsibility if it does not address the greater problem of handguns. However, what I find more surprising is the stern condemnation of the ban flowing from Conservatives.

Peter MacKay, Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, among others, all seem compelled to stand up for what they call the rights of legal gun owners. Given the impossible task of citing a single constructive purpose of such weapons in the hands of civilians, one should question the political wisdom of a position that can only appeal to a tiny minority of Canadians.

Mark Roberts Gananaoque, Ont.

Re Where Do We Go From Here? (Letters, May 4): A letter writer states that "anybody who likes guns is likely not going to vote for Justin Trudeau anyway.” I don’t like assault-style or semi-automatic guns, or handguns of any type, and I don’t like Justin Trudeau. I agree with a ban on all such weapons, but I still won’t vote for him.

Mike Priaro Calgary

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In my opinion, this new law will further divide rural Canadians from their urban counterparts, and will do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Like the gun registry that preceded it, I find that the assault-weapon ban merely provides an illusion of security.

If evidence-based policy is good enough for pandemic response, health care and other matters, why does it not seem good enough for gun control? I write this not as a gun owner – I’m not, never have been – but as a concerned citizen.

Stephen Potter Ottawa

The latest gun legislation must be quite good. Nether side likes it!

David Chalmers Toronto

Get out

Re It’s Time To Change The Message: Go Outside, But Stay Safe (May 4): Columnist André Picard’s suggestion to close streets and allow public use of parks to a fuller extent is spot on. With necessarily limited choices, regular physical activity is one of the most accessible ways we can cope with the unprecedented stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Exercise has mood benefits that can last for weeks.

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Instead of vilifying those who head outdoors, let’s rely on the science promoted by public-health leaders such as Dr. Bonnie Henry. Like Calgary and New York, let’s expand the number of separated or fully closed roads for pedestrians and cyclists. Let’s encourage people to use parks instead of fining them for sitting.

Municipalities should open more public spaces, especially in urban areas, as we make our way down this long and winding – and sometimes car-free – road.

Alina Michalska Ottawa

Columnist André Picard points out that healthy seniors are suffering terribly from the lockdown, and getting outside for fresh air will help. He also suggests children should be let back onto playgrounds and possibly back to school. For us seniors with young grandchildren, I would be willing to bet money that what we most long for is to hug, kiss and play with them. With the proposed measures, I can’t see that changing at all.

Frank Foulkes Toronto

Better, safer

Re How Cargill Became The Site Of Canada’s Largest Single Outbreak Of COVID-19 (May 2) and Cargill, Union At Odds On Plant Reopening (May 4): If ever there was a production line that needed a complete redesign, it should be those commonly seen in meat-processing plants. With today’s knowledge of robotics, it should be possible to process meat with little, if any, human intervention.

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While the initial investment would be substantial, a system concentrated on humane killing of animals, laser-controlled dissection and easy-to-clean machinery would be a huge improvement for an industry that seems tainted by cruelty, dangerous work conditions and low pay.

Of course, the transition could be subsidized by government, possibly aided by large fast-food companies.

Colin Lowe Nanaimo, B.C.

Fork in the rivers

Re Fort McMurray Grapples With Twin Crises (April 30) and Fort McMurray Cleans Up From Flood On Anniversary Of 2016 Wildfire Evacuation (May 4): Why on Earth was Fort McMurray allowed to rebuild the burnt out town site on the same floodplain after the wildfires? I remember reading a lengthy article on this subject in The Globe (Fortress McMurray: After Decades Of Building On The Floodplain, A City Moves To Protect Itself From Its Capricious Rivers – June 17, 2019). It is galling for me to see this kind of redevelopment go ahead, then see it fail again in a predictable flood.

Then local authorities, who seemingly ignored good advice, expect help from all levels of government. What is worse is that these governments are likely all too willing to assist, again. Will we ever learn?

John Wilson Regina

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Re Less Than Half Of Canadians Heeding Advice On Wearing Masks While Shopping, Poll Shows (May 4): Here, I’ve found no masks or gloves left to buy. Instead, I wear my winter leather gloves (although now it’s too hot) and I followed a DIY YouTube video, lining my homemade mask with a vacuum cleaner’s N95 bag cut square.

A photo of someone helping themselves to a premade mask is definitely from another world and time for me. Send those supplies this way. Signed, a masked senior who looks ridiculous.

Cathryn Robertson Bowen Island, B.C.

Off to the races

Re Survival Of The Unicorns (Report on Business, May 2): It seems the tech sector and the bureaucracy have both adopted a new operational model during this pandemic: “Move fast and fix things.” Let’s make this the new normal.

Alan Ball New Westminster, B.C.

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:

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