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While Ottawa may be debating on whether to let municipalities ban firearms, Toronto can’t do much alone.
According to the Toronto Star, the Toronto City Council was tasked in finding a way to deal with the “gun problem” in the wake of a surge in homicides. They suggested that Trudeau ban the sale of handguns in Toronto, and believe in a nationwide ban on the same. However, the means to reach their end appear to be weak.
As City Council, they can only legally lobby senior governments. That’s all.
A report that highlighted this conclusion, which will be sent to Mayor John Tory’s office on Thursday, states, “The regulation of handguns and ammunition is within federal jurisdiction, with implementation responsibilities delegated to provinces.”
The report also notes, “Within the current legislative framework, there is little jurisdictional room for the city to act without conflicting with or frustrating the current federal and provincial regulation of firearms and ammunition.”
If Toronto and other municipalities are given authority to ban handguns and assault-style weapons within their borders, the report adds, “it would likely be done through a delegation of authority from the federal government to the province. In turn, the province would authorize municipalities to make the decision to ban these firearms within their boundaries.”
In August of 2018, Premier Doug Ford vehemently rejected the idea of banning handguns. “There’s a lot of legal, responsible handgun owners. We have to refocus all our resources going after the bad guys, not the good guys,” he said.
Wendy Cukier, a prominent gun control advocate, said nationwide bans on the most dangerous firearms makes the most sense, rather than different rules for different cities.
“Our position has always been that strong federal legislation is what is required—the evidence is that the success of local efforts to control guns is mixed at best,” said Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control and a professor at Ryerson University.
Cukier further noted that gun ban opponents talking about criminals versus law-abiding gun owners ignores the fact that previously legal guns are used in murders, suicides and mass shootings. “The evidence is fewer guns, fewer dead people,” she added.
Marco Mendicino, the Eglinton-Lawrence Liberal MP, said his colleagues are urging cabinet to be bold. “Every member of Parliament from Toronto that I know is engaging the government, including Minister Blair and (Public Safety) Minister (Ralph) Goodale, to take decisive action,” he said.
Nicolas Johnson, a gun rights advocate and founder of thegunblog.ca, claims banning firearms will do nothing in making Torontonians feel safer. He believes the regulations in place are fairly strict in preventing gun-based violence.
“You could take all the guns from every federally licensed gun owner and I don’t imagine it would change anything about (criminals) shooting kids in schoolyards or a Danforth-type shooting,” he said.