In response to a shooting on December 10, 2009 (and I'm sure others), Chief Government Whip Mike Colle (Liberal MPP Eglington-Lawrence) has thought it was about time illegal guns were banned from bars with the introduction of Bill 238. That's right, we're paying our Provincial representatives to debate the merit of an amendment to the Liquor License Act making licensed bars responsible for ensuring preventative measures are taken to ensure unlawful guns (weapons) make their way into the establishment. This includes: CCTV, metal detectors, presence of 'appropriately' trained security guards, and/or cooperation with the local law enforcement.
Without stating the obvious (the weapons are already 'unlawful' and shouldn't be on anyone's person anyways), and recognizing the intent of this Bill (I'm going to make my Constituents know that I care about their safety), I can't help but wonder if we're developing our political representation which does 'make-work' or reactionary legislation projects. The 'using a sledgehammer to kill a fly' phrase fits very nicely into this particular Bill. Colle is responding to recent shootings in Toronto, and appears to feel that added measures are required to the Liquor License Act to remove the danger from bars. I am concerned about any unintended consequences that could come from such legislation. On the surface alone, it would appear that the bar owner is at fault for preventing a punk from bringing in an illegal firearm into his/her establishment...thereby making the bar owner liable for any potential civil liabilities.
Without taking away the seriousness of individuals who choose to carry illegal weapons, I can't help think that the particular Bill is going to change anyone's particular actions: "Hey Bob, after we rob the store up the street, let's say we go to the bar and down a couple of beers?" "Yeah Joe, that's a great idea...but we'll have to leave our guns in the car. It's illegal now to bring them in." Somehow, I don't think that conversation is going to occur!
While I'm all for restricting illegal firearms, I'm somewhat dismayed that honest folks are being held hostage in the process. If a bar owner is supporting illegal firearms in his/her establishment, then nail the sucker...but don't make the majority of honest working bar owners held accountable for thugs who may happen to walk in to their establishment. After all, I doubt owners are lining up to start a bar with the intent of attracting the ill-repute of their community.