Toronto city councillor Mike Colle is introducing a motion that would ask the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to suspend the liquor licence of bars where gun violence happens frequently.
Colle said he was prompted by multiple instances of gun violence in his ward, Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence, including last week when there was a shootout outside a bar on Marlee Avenue near Glencarin Avenue.
One man was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
The motion defines “gun bars” as bars where gun violence has occurred, bars where police have found guns or bars known to be associated with gun crimes.
“I’m just trying to fix one small part of it. These bars which condone, sometimes essentially tolerate, gun-related behaviours or people who carry guns in and around their premise.” Colle said. They “run the police ragged and the police can’t close them down.”
Colle adds the Alcohol and Gaming Commission laws can fine you if you have too many peanuts at the bar, but yet they can’t suspend a licence if a shooting occurs at a bar.
He adds a motion will come to city council next week and is supported by Mayor John Tory. Colle says it’s for the protection of those who work at these bars, and for those who go to these places.
“Please put some power in the hands of the community or the AGCO to at least suspend the license of these bars that flaunt the laws and tolerate gun activity.”
Colle criticizes the changes announced in the provincial budget that will allow people to drink in bars at 9 a.m. and tailgate before games.
“What about the danger of guns and bars that is part of the problem,” Colle said. “Please put some power in the hands of the community or the AGCO to at least suspend the license of these bars that flaunt the laws and tolerate gun activity.”
When asked about bar owners who may have no idea that gun violence might happen at their establishments, Colle said he is not talking about places where there has been one incident.
He said he wants to focus on bars where there have been multiple shooting occurrences.
“A bar owner should at least have an awareness of what’s going on at their premises.”
Colle said he wants to do his little part to stop some of the gun violence.
“I don’t want to get into banning guns, because that’s impossible. It’s never going to happen.”
Toronto city council passed a motion last year calling for a handgun ban in the city following the Danforth shooting in July.
Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair recently wrapped up consultation on a potential gun ban that found Canadians have widely diverging views on banning handguns and assault-style firearms.