MONTREAL — The Canadian government should ban the type of semiautomatic rifle used by a gunman who killed a student and wounded 16 others at a Montreal college nearly two years ago, a coroner said in his report on the shooting released Thursday.
Quebec Coroner Jacques Ramsay also recommended that health and education officials have wider access to federal and provincial gun registries to check if a student or hospital patient might be carrying a gun.
Schools must also fine-tune emergency plans and communications, Ramsay said.
Gunman Kimveer Gill stormed onto Dawson College's downtown campus on Sept. 13, 2006, fatally shooting student Anastasia De Sousa and wounding 16 others before killing himself.
Gill obtained a short-barrelled Beretta CX4 Storm rifle legally before his rampage, the coroner said in his report. Ramsay said assault rifles that have ammunition clips behind the trigger should not be available to the public.
Ramsay said Gill, who had had a few drinks before the rampage but was not intoxicated, fired 72 times with the rifle and six times with a handgun. De Sousa was hit about 10 times in the front and back.
Ramsay said Gill suffered from psychological problems such as recurring anxiety, hypersensitivity and depression. He threatened to commit suicide in 2004 and took between two and seven drinks per day.
Fragile mental health
Ramsay wrote that Gill's mental health had been "fragile" since he was 18 years old.
"I do think at the bottom of it there is the despair of a young man," he said.
The report said Gill wrote on his blog that he wanted to storm the school on April 20, 2006, seven years to the day after student gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School near Denver, Colorado before killing themselves.
But he was delayed while he waited for the delivery of another .45-caliber handgun. In the meantime, Gill wrote he was growing suspicious of his parents and was even prepared to kill them if they uncovered his plot.
The report was released on the heels of Quebec's new gun-control legislation, dubbed Anastasia's Law in tribute to De Sousa.
The law, which went into effect Monday, gives Quebec some of the strictest gun control laws in Canada.
It bans the possession of firearms in schools, day care centers and on public transportation.
Ramsay, meanwhile, said he spoke with the families of Gill and De Sousa before releasing the results of his investigation.
"Their lives have been shattered," he said. "Definitely, the people that were around Kimveer Gill never saw it coming, that's very clear to me."
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