Should we conduct checks for crossbow sales?

Now that we know this week’s alleged killer of three people in Scarborough had a serious criminal record, is there interest to learn how he obtained the crossbow and bolts?


Is it the same as someone accessing a steak knife, tire iron? Or is this horrific carnage shining a light on something we may want to try to curb?

Three people are dead and first degree murder suspect Brett Ryan, 35, has made his first court appearance. We have learned that he was the “Fake Beard Bandit” who was convicted of robbing banks in 2007-08.

None of the latest allegations against him have been proven in court.

The three victims, covered by a court-issued publication ban, are not the first killed by crossbow bolt. But there seems to be no previous case where three have been killed by this kind of hunting equipment.

Nothing can be done to bring them back. But there’s knowledge to be gained.

Now that we see the kind damage a crossbow bolt can inflict, it’s worth noting that it is easier to purchase a crossbow than it is to print the names of the victims of one of their arrows. Ontario has many rules but none for obtaining a crossbow or bolts.

Such a lethal product can be purchased with less red tape than gaining a waiver to coach a minor hockey team or volunteering at your child’s school.

With those, you need criminal background check clearance. With buying a crossbow, you don’t need anything but money.

No licencing, training or identity needed in a city where even renting a movie requires I.D.

Pointing this out in Friday’s column upset some hunting enthusiasts who were citing how knives, golf clubs, baseball bats, cars or blenders can be deadly in the wrong hands.

While none of those things are designed to kill, a crossbow is.

When a bolt goes into a hunted animal, the steel tip rips a massive hole in its mark.

The question is would it have made any difference if a person looking to obtain one was asked to provide a police clearance form or I.D.?

But after losing three Torontonians in an usual manner, a conversation about this can’t hurt?

Reasonable? Or too restrictive?

“Any object in the hands of a person can kill,” Heidi Bergman said in an e-mail to me. “By (this) logic, we should regulate tools, cutlery, sporting equipment such as bats and hockey sticks, etc?”

Adds Jamie MacMaster: “No licence is required for a crossbow ... or a butcher knife.”

In a world of terror and rising violent crime, is it ever wrong to try to prevent future deaths? Is asking for a person’s name before selling a deadly weapon count as violating a persons rights and freedoms?

Sadly, the three people on the deadly end of these crossbow bolts will not have the opportunity to offer their opinion!

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