Gun posers caught on film
By Dana Borcea
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 14, 2006)
Police have laid weapons charges for the second time in a week after receiving tips from local photo labs about teens posing with guns.
The latest arrests resulted from a call to police on Jan. 6 after a clerk noticed images of someone handling and posing with a firearm, police said.
After identifying individuals in the photos, police set up surveillance outside a central Hamilton residence.
Police said they saw a woman get out of a taxi on Thursday, enter the residence and come out carrying a long, black bag.
Officers stopped the taxi on the central Mountain and found a loaded AR-15 military assault rifle inside the bag.
The two occupants of the car were arrested and face numerous firearms-related charges, including possession of a restricted weapon, careless transportation of a firearm and defacing a firearm serial number.
The 18-year-old woman and 17-year-old male were both known to police.
The two were in custody yesterday awaiting bail hearings.
Head of the guns and gangs unit, Detective Sergeant Ted Davis, would not elaborate on the details of the photos that led police to the accused but said that only the 17-year-old male posed with the gun.
"It's one ugly weapon," said Davis about the semi-automatic model of the restricted rifle. "I've never seen one on the street before."
Davis added police have not linked the latest arrest to the Jan. 5 arrest of a 19-year-old male who faces numerous charges in connection to a stolen sawed-off shotgun. A tip from a photo lab sparked that investigation as well.
Davis said his unit had never before received calls about people posing with guns in photos.
"Thanks to the co-operation of the community, we've been able to get two lethal weapons off the street," he said.
Hamilton police spokesperson Sergeant Michael Webber described the photos as a "trophy scenario" and speculated they were taken to "brag to friends and colleagues with."
Ryerson University professor of justice studies Wendy Cukier said mugging for the camera with guns is nothing new.
"There's always been a lot of posing and displaying associated with guns," said Cukier, who's also president of the Coalition for Gun Control. "And it's certainly not the exclusive domain of young gang members. Just look at any gun magazine where you see proud men posing with guns as their trophies."
Cukier added current headlines may be prompting community members to contact police more readily about suspected gun crimes.
She also drew an analogy to copies of DVDs circulating Toronto that depict pistol-wielding youths jostling for camera time.
Describing the DVDs, a Toronto police spokesperson said he has noticed a change in the nature of gun violence in that city.
"What we're seeing here that is new is the readiness of young people to use guns to settle seemingly trivial disputes. And in addition to the hard-core, organized criminals, we're seeing a lot of wannabes, people posing and people trying to get credibility."
They're probably surfing ARFCOM too!
UGLY?! That son of a bitch!