The government’s new minister in charge of organized crime reduction says Ottawa is open to considering banning the sale of handguns in Toronto to help tackle gun violence in the city.
“I think it’s important that we be open to every consideration,” Bill Blair told The House.
Toronto city coun. Joe Cressy filed a motion in council this week asking for the federal and provincial governments to step in and ban handguns and ammunition sales. Council overwhelmingly supported the motion.
It came just days after two young girls were shot and killed when 29-year-old Faisal Hussain opened fire in the city’s Greektown neighbourhood. Thirteen others were injured.
The city has seen about 230 shootings so far this year, and gun deaths have accounted for 29 of Toronto’s 58 homicides in 2018.
Mayor John Tory said he didn’t see why anyone in Toronto, besides law enforcement, needed to own a firearm.
Blair, a former Toronto police chief, said the federal government is committed to talking to municipalities and provinces about the best way to reduce gun crime across the country.
However, banning one type of gun won’t fix the problem entirely.
“I know its complexity,” Blair said. “A ban in and of itself is not the entire solution.”
A ban doesn’t address issues like organized crime, because gang members are already not obeying the law Blair explained. He added that introducing another piece of policy won’t target the crux of the issue.
The minister said to reduce gun violence you have to target the supply and demand, including reaching out to youth going into gangs to halt the behaviour before it starts. Many of the illegal guns on Canadian streets can also be traced back to the U.S.
n March, the Liberal government tabled Bill C-71, new gun legislation which includes provisions to “enhance” existing background checks for those seeking a firearms license.
The bill also proposes changes to how vendors document the sale of firearms. If passed, retailers would be required to maintain adequate records of all inventories and sales.