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'River' of US guns also flows north of the border

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Underground gun trade

One of the Maine guns was used in a grisly crime in June 2007, when a drug deal went bad at an Ottawa motel. According to the Ottawa Police Service, a drug dealer fatally shot a drug buyer and wounded his own partner with the same bullet. The shooter and his wounded friend fled. The weapon, a handgun made in Ohio, was recovered nearby.

Though the serial numbers had been scraped off the weapon, forensics agents traced it back to a gun shop in Brewer, Maine, where a resident bought eight guns for Mr. Porter, but signed a federal form saying the guns were for his own use, according to court documents.

Paula Silsby, the US attorney for the district of Maine, won convictions against Porter and several Maine residents who helped him buy guns.

She says such "straw purchasers" should know that guns can be tracked. "I don't think that they appreciate, should the gun that they are buying for somebody else … be used and tossed at a crime scene, that it will trace back to them."

Another of the guns smuggled from Maine, a semiautomatic handgun, was recovered from a Toronto gang member who flashed it at a nightclub. The Maine guns were one trickle in what some say is a river of US guns flooding into Canada.

Damming the river?

Toronto Mayor Miller is pushing for a complete ban on handguns in Canada, and says he would also like to see more stringent gun laws in the US.

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