Toronto will ask Ottawa to ban the sale of handguns within city limits, days after a teen and a young girl were killed in a mass shooting on the Danforth.
City council had already been scheduled to vote on a series of gun-related initiatives Tuesday night, but the issue took on a new urgency after the shooting on Danforth Avenue claimed the lives of 10-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto. Thirteen others were injured.
In a vote of 41-4, council approved a motion to urge the federal government to forbid the sale of handguns in the city and for the province to outlaw the sale of handgun ammunition in Toronto.
In a speech to council just hours after the shooting, Mayor John Tory said there is a growing problem of people improperly acquiring guns that were originally purchased legally. Gun deaths have accounted for 29 of Toronto’s 58 homicides this year — compared to 17 fatal shootings at this time last year.
“There are too many guns around the city. That’s a fact,” Tory said on Breakfast Television on Wednesday.
“I asked the question ‘why do people in the City of Toronto need guns?’ The laws provide for them to have them, I understand that — there are law abiding people who follow the rules and fill out the papers. But you have to ask yourself the question, why do we need guns?”
Tory said the federal government needs to consider banning handguns in Toronto.
“It’s they, the federal government, who has to consider it, together with what I proposed yesterday, which was the toughening of existing laws on things like gun trafficking, and making it a little more difficult for people who have had mental issues or domestic violence involvement to get a gun permit,” he said.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Tuesday in Ottawa that the Trudeau government will look at proposals already before lawmakers to see what changes can be made.
“I said that we would be prepared to consider their arguments, and we will do that,” he said. “We’ll examine the proposal to see if it can be effective.”
Council also agreed to implement more stringent measures to prevent someone who has suffered from mental illness or been involved in domestic violence from obtaining a gun.
Other motions called for more resources to crack down on gun trafficking, the immediate hiring of 100 police officers and the installation of 40 new closed circuit surveillance cameras.
As politicians discussed the city’s gun problem, residents of Toronto’s Danforth community continued Tuesday night to mourn the victims. A fountain in the Alexander the Great Parkette has become one of the main places for people to leave flowers, candles and messages.
With files from News Staff