Montreal and Toronto call for handgun and assault weapons ban
Handgun and assault weapons ban – On July 22nd, after two people were killed and thirteen others injured when a gunman opened fire on Danforth Avenue in the Greektown district of Toronto, Toronto City Council adopted a motion just two days later, calling on the Federal government to ban all privately owned handguns and assault weapons – and on the Ontario Provincial government to ban the sale of ammunition in the city. And now the City of Montreal will join them with its own motion, also calling for a nationwide ban on handguns and assault weapons.
On Monday August 20th, the Chair of the Public Safety Commission, Alex Norris, will put forth the motion at a Montreal City Council meeting, requesting the Federal government also reinforce Bill C-71’s gun control legislation by prohibiting weapons which are now legally available for private possession. Mayor Valerie Plante supports the motion and if it is approved, it could have a significant influence on the Trudeau government to include the bans in the Bill, which is now before Parliament and a priority on the legislative agenda for this autumn. Montreal is no stranger to gun violence, with the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre and the 1992 Concordia University and 2006 Dawson College shootings.
On a Provincial level in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford appears to have taken another stance on the matter, rebuffing the motion put forth by Toronto’s City Council, stating at the beginning of August that ‘there are many legal and responsible handgun owners.’
Federally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several ministers in his cabinet have not closed the doors on the idea of the bans, stating to reporters while in Fredericton, NB last Sunday – where another gunman, with a valid firearms license, opened fire killing two police officers and two civilians, “We were pleased to put forward gun legislation that is going to make our communities safer. Do we need to take further steps? Do we need to go a little further? These are things we are talking to Canadians about, we’re talking with experts about and that we are reflecting on.”
Next Tuesday August 21st, the government will be holding a 3 day Federal cabinet retreat in Nanaimo, BC and the issue of gun control is expected to be debated.
Although Canada has far less deaths caused by guns than in the United States (one is more likely to be shot to death in the US than to die in a car accident in Canada) we continue to see a rise in gun related deaths. There are many voices being heard across Canada saying it is time to bring forth stricter legislation in order to achieve the goal of securing the safety of all Canadians. Where do you stand on this issue? Are Canada’s gun control laws as they stand now sufficient – or are they not enough?