Canada’s proposed gun control laws only a first step

Published On June 26, 2018 | By ajeffrey | Crime, News

Toronto experienced a tragic 48 hours last weekend as Toronto Police Services responded to four fatal shootings in that time. (Michael/Flickr)

Andrew Jeffrey

Governments at every level are working to curb this year’s rise in gun violence after a particularly dangerous Toronto weekend where four fatal shootings happened within a 48-hour period.

Toronto Police has seen an increase in the number of shootings this year. Police reported 199 shootings as of June 25, an increase from 170 shootings by this date in 2017, and 87 at this point in 2014.

Each level of government has faced questions on rising gun violence in Canada’s largest city, and many advocates are pushing for stronger measures to restrict gun sales.

“To curb the number of shootings in Toronto, the best thing that we can do is building safeguards into these regulatory and legislative frameworks that will prevent these guns from ending up in the hands of people who mean to cause harm to themselves and others,” Meagan Trush, Coalition for Gun Control spokesperson said.

But many critics feel the proposed legislation to address gun violence doesn’t go far enough to fully address the issue.

The federal government passed new firearms control legislation in Bill C-71 last week and is to be referred to the Senate this fall. The bill enhances Canada’s background checks for those seeking a firearms license by taking into account an applicant’s entire history. It will focus on criminal, mental health, addiction and domestic violence records, rather than just assessing an applicant’s last five years.

The legislation also requires retailers to keep records of all firearms inventories and sales.

But Trush wants to see amendments that would allow the police easier access to records that can trace firearms sales, as they’re able to do in the United States. These regulations used to exist in Canada, until legislation under past governments relaxed firearm provisions.

“C-71 is an important first step, but in my view does not go nearly far enough,” Trush said.

“In order for police to gain access to that information, they would require a warrant, which can delay their access to potentially life-saving information,” she said.

Other local community groups advocate for a broader scope on how to address gun violence in Toronto communities by directly engaging with those impacted by shootings.

The Zero Gun Violence Movement is a city-wide collaboration between organizations working to reduce gun violence through education, advocacy and engagement.

Louis March, the founder of this Toronto-based movement, called the dominant narratives in politics and media about gun violence in Toronto “self-serving,” arguing politicians at all levels aren’t engaging enough with the communities impacted by gun violence in Toronto.

Young residents in communities are experiencing worsening gun violence in Toronto have told March it is easier to get a gun than a job. This has strengthened the movement’s belief that stronger initiatives to curb inequality and aid employment, along with stronger tracking of firearm sales and resales, will have a stronger effect to prevent gun violence, he said.

To the Coalition for Gun Control, legislation under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in 2012 and 2015, and gun culture seeping in from the United States have amplified Canada’s firearm regulation problem. The Conservatives’ relaxed controls on prohibited and restricted weapons and dismantling of the long-gun registry worsened Canadian gun control, Trush said.

“Certainly, Members of Parliament, we are hearing that they are under significant pressure from the gun lobby in Canada,” she said. “The type of information being kept and the access to that information on the part of law enforcement is nowhere near what is required to make this an effective tool for public safety.”

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8 Responses to Canada’s proposed gun control laws only a first step

  1. Kevin Kalynchuk says:

    Bill C-71 is not a first step at all to solve the problem of gun violence in Canada. Does anyone honestly think the people committing these heinous acts apply for a firearms license or even care what firearms regulations are in place? The Gun Control Lobby and the Politicians might want to think about that. Sure you can impose all the regulations you want on people who apply for firearms licenses but what is the plans for the ones, who are the real problem, that do not? The Gangs. Maybe if the media stopped irresponsibly reporting on the “gun violence” and started being responsible reporters and calling it what it really is which is gang violence people might suddenly address the real issue.

  2. Andy J says:

    Maybe the writer should do a little research before parroting decitful misinformation. The firearms act allows inspection of store firearms records without a warrant or court order. The balance of illegal firearms are smuggled from the USA just like the 60 pistols seized that came form Florida last week. By far the vast majority of people who commit homicide in Canada do not have a license to own firearms.

  3. Maabuss says:

    The Long Gun registry did precisely NOTHING for public safety, and, somehow, it managed to consume 2 BILLION dollars per year. For a fucking registry. You guys are spreading false information to the public. Furthermore, the recent firearm violence has been, as admitted by police forces, the direct result of GANG ACTIVITY, which C71 does NOTHING to address. All C-71 does is target law abiding firearm owners in some misguided effort to appease social justice warriors.

  4. Marc says:

    What kind of garbage is this?

  5. Marc Jampolsky says:

    Can you please provide evidence that shows that legal owneru In Canada cause a disproportionate amount of crime?
    Cab you show any evidence that crime involving legal owners, using their firearms is anything more than a rounding error in crime statistics?

  6. Marc Jampolsky says:

    Can you please provide evidence that shows that legal owners in Canada cause a disproportionate amount of crime?
    Can you show any evidence that crime involving legal owners, using their firearms is anything more than a rounding error in crime statistics?

  7. Carl Hospedales says:

    I posted this on the City News Toronto FB page after watching video news Report: “Former gang member on how guns infiltrate communities”.

    This video is proof as if proof was really needed about the gun violence in Ontario and the other major cities in Canada.

    The majority of Criminals and Gangs DON’T obtain their firearms through regular legal channels they have to steal and or smuggle to get their firearms. They DON'T go through the MANDITORY firearms safety training and pass the firearms examination to obtain a firearms licences PAL/RPAL (Possession Acquisition Licence / Restricted Possession Acquisition Licence), criminals DON’T register their firearms, they DON’T apply for ATT (Authority to Transport) or ATC (Authority to Carry). Those who legally hold a PAL/RPAL have gone through the training and examination and the 5 year background check, also continue to have the backgrounds checked daily by the RCMP for criminal and domestic violence offences. They are security checked more regularly than the POLICE and the politicians who are responsible for this bill C71. So the question one has to ask is, whom are these new regulations (C71) targeting? Are they increasing Public Safety? As is being portrayed by the Liberal, NDP politicians and want to be politicians (Anti Firearms Lobby Groups), who have limited understanding of the cause of gun violence and limited to zero knowledge of current firearms regulations in Canada.

    Or is it something more nefarious… Such as being unwilling to address the real cause of the gun violence for political gain, or worse still just sheer ignorance and or stupidity.

    The other question is, why are members of the general public allowing themselves to be lead blindly, being spoon-feed political propaganda. In the same manner the German population were manipulated in the late 1930’ and 1940’s.

    As a final note, how is it when a drunk driver kills or injures other people the driver is held accountable for their actions and not the vehicle, yet when someone is shot, the firearm is blamed for the violence, so where is the logic in this thought process.

  8. Emmanuel Tjoe-A-Long says:

    For a more objective view of your topics above, you should probably read the materials presented from both sides of the argument. Both the gun control groups and the legal firearm owners groups agree on one thing; C-71 does nothing to curb gangs and guns. Thugs (gang members) do not buy guns from stores and do not register them with the RCMP.
    Please have a look at these two sites:

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