Tory reiterates calls for city-wide ban on handguns
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 8:29AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2018 1:24PM EST
Mayor John Tory is stepping up his advocacy for a city-wide ban on handguns as a deadline to submit feedback to the federal government on the idea looms.
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair is looking into a possible ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada on behalf of the Liberal government.
As part of those efforts a website was set up last month to solicit feedback from residents but the deadline for submissions through that site is tomorrow.
In a statement issued on Friday morning Tory encouraged residents to participate in the process, noting that he continues to believe that a handgun ban would reduce gun violence in cities.
"We know the vast majority of Toronto residents support a handgun ban. It is more important than ever for their voices to be heard as the federal government considers taking this important step that will save lives," he said. "We have seen an increase in gun violence across Canada, including right here in Toronto. We must do everything possible to limit access to guns – that includes cracking down on gun trafficking across the border from the U.S. and banning handguns here at home."
Tory began advocating for a handgun ban following a rash of deadly shootings in the city this past summer and in August he sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting that he enact the legislation required for such a ban.
Speaking with reporters at an unrelated event on Friday morning, Tory said that while he “respects the fact” that there are law-abiding citizens who own handguns, something must be done to cut down on the availability of guns on the street.
“Part of the problem is that people can legally buy handguns; in fact they can buy 10 and what is happening is that people are buying 10 handguns perfectly legally, filling out the paperwork and then trafficking them to criminals,” he said. “If you ban the sale of handguns in Toronto then I think what you will do is at least make a contribution to those guns not falling into the wrong hands.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has previously spoken out against implementing a ban on handguns and has instead called for limiting parole and bail opportunities for gang members who are repeat offenders.
Tory told reporters on Friday that he believes there should be changes to bail laws as well but he said it shouldn’t be an “either or choice.”
“There is a real problem with the supply of handguns on the streets of Toronto,” he said. “Fifty per cent of those guns are coming from outside the country and 50 per cent are coming from inside the country and I think we have to do everything we can to deal with those ones that are Canadian-sourced and stop the flow of guns into the hand of criminals.”
Tory’s comments on Friday comes less than 24 hours after police Superintendent Ron Taverner held a press conference to lament a number of recent shootings in the northwestern corner of the city, noting that he was “pissed off” with the level of violence.
Taverner reiterated those remarks earlier on Friday morning, telling CP24 that there is a “disturbing trend where there are innocent people who have no contact with police being shot.”
CP24 did reach out to Bill Blair’s office for comment on Friday and was told that in addition to the online portal, the minister has conducted eight in-person roundtable sessions in four locations concerning a potential handgun ban and has also met with a “a range of experts and stakeholders from across Canada.” A spokesperson for Blair said that a report on the result of the consultations will be made public in early 2019.