Mammoliti: Toronto needs more guns

Mammoliti: Toronto needs more guns

Graffiti not quite to Giorgio Mammoliti's taste (Image: Alfred Ng from the Toronto Life Flickr pool)

Giorgio Mammoliti’s now-standard gripe about Toronto’s proliferation of graffiti and posters quickly turned bizarre this week when he said he’d like to see bylaw officers armed with guns. We expected the rhetoric in defence of such a drastic move to be equally drastic—“Ours is becoming a city filled with violent, amoral thugs and gangsters!”—but instead, all we got was this: “Our city is becoming a city filled with illegal posters.”

Bylaw officers enforce municipal laws (licensing, snow shovelling), as opposed to criminal ones, and Mammoliti is suggesting that they be given “some teeth”: increased fines, powers of arrest and, of course, firearms. “I think people will stop painting graffiti or putting up posters if the fine is high enough,” he told the Sun.

While getting shot may be a “high enough” if somewhat disproportionate fine, we’re wondering if Mammoliti has done his research here. Putting up tags and graffiti are covered by the Criminal Code, not city bylaws (which deal only with removal). In other words, the people enforcing those laws already carry guns. But perhaps they need more? Anti-vandalism SWAT teams? Helicopters that would make it easy to pick off graffiti artists from afar?

If this exaggeration seems ridiculous, consider this: even Rob Ford called Mammoliti’s idea “outrageous.”

Arm bylaw officers: Mammoliti [Toronto Sun]
Mammoliti shot down for aiming to arm bylaw officers [Toronto Sun]