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Influx of smuggled guns make it easy to get one in Toronto: crime specialist

Toronto police seized 132 handguns in the first three months of 2018, a 65 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. CITYNEWS

President Donald Trump may be concerned about Canadians smuggling shoes over the border, but according to renowned crime specialist and author, James Dubro, footwear should be low priority when it comes to border security.

According to Dubro, it’s incredibly easy to obtain a gun on the streets of Toronto, and up to 50 per cent of them are smuggled across the border.

“I think the biggest threat to Canadian security vis-à-vis guns is the proximity to the United States,” he told CityNews.

“Obviously the United States is a gun happy nation as we all know…and it’s so easy to get guns, there’s hundreds of thousands of gun shops, you can buy them online.”

Dubro says criminals are “endlessly resourceful” when it comes to smuggling guns into Canada

“They look for vulnerable spots in the border and develop routes, one is through native reservations,” he said, adding that gangs are also known to rob gun collectors.

According to statistics CityNews obtained from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), there was a marked spike in gun seizures in the Greater Toronto Area between 2016 and 2017.

In 2016, border agents in the GTA seized just two guns. A year later, they seized 112.

Despite the spike, Dubro says agents are waging an uphill battle.

“You can only spot check these things, you can’t check every piece of mail or everything crossing the border, it’s just impossible.”

“There’s no way of stopping it,” he added.

The end result is more guns on the streets of Toronto, many of which are used in brazen shootings that have made headlines over recent weeks.

“You can get (a gun) anywhere downtown,” Dubro ominously stated. “The fact is anyone on the streets who is in crime can very easily get a gun in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.”

According to the CBSA, the most guns seized in 2017 (235) came from the southern Ontario region.

That doesn’t surprise Dubro.

“I remember a few years ago I was doing a story about a hit-man in Hamilton. I interviewed him in jail, he went to jail for three murders. I asked him where he got his guns. He said ‘that was very easy, I went to Niagara Falls (New York) went to a gun shop, bought about ten guns, stuffed them in my trunk and took them across the border.”

Courtesy: The Canadian Border Services Agency
Courtesy: The Canadian Border Services Agency
Courtesy: The Canadian Border Services Agency
Courtesy: The Canadian Border Services Agency