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Toronto mayor assails US gun laws after fatal downtown shooting spree

[JURIST] After a fifteen year-old girl was killed and six bystanders were injured Monday in a random shooting spree on a busy downtown shopping street, Toronto Mayor David Miller [official website] said Tuesday that weak US gun laws are partly to blame for a recent surge of violence in Canada's largest city. The shooting death was the 52nd gun-related fatality this year in Toronto. That's almost twice as many as last year, although with a municipal population of three million people, that still averages a rate of only 1.73 gun-related deaths per year per 100,000 people, much lower than the US 2002 national average of 10.3 gun-related deaths per year per 100,000 [AAP statistics]. Miller said of the killings, "It's a sign that the lack of gun laws in the U.S. is allowing guns to flood across the border that are literally being used to kill people in the streets of Toronto." Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin [official website], who has already pledged a nationwide handgun ban [JURIST report] if re-elected in January, has said that over half of all gun deaths in Canada are committed using illegally-imported US firearms. On a visit to Canada in October when Martin raised the issue of US guns coming onto Canada illegally, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice parried criticism by insisting that "There are problems on both sides of the border that can cause the smuggling of guns" and saying that US authorities were cooperating with their Canadian counterparts [CNEWS report] to stop the practice. AP has more.

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