Give cities power to ban hand­guns: NDP

PressReader - Tke Channel - Give cities power to ban hand­guns: NDP
• Fed­eral NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh is urg­ing the prime min­is­ter to im­me­di­ately give cities the lee­way to ban hand­guns.In a lengthy let­ter Thurs­day to Justin Trudeau out­lin­ing a long-term ap­proach to tack­ling crime, Singh says sim­ply ad­ding more polic­ing is not a so­lu­tion to gun vi­o­lence in cities.That’s be­cause some mea­sures, such as street checks and card­ing, have am­pli­fied dis­trust be­tween po­lice and racial­ized com­mu­ni­ties, Indige­nous peo­ples and those strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness.In­stead, he says al­low­ing cities to ban hand­guns would help mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties deal with the fact that many gun crimes are com­mit­ted with le­gal guns.“The fed­eral govern­ment should not stand in the way of mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers who know their com­mu­ni­ties best, and want to ban these weapons to keep their res­i­dents safe,” he wrote.Singh also wants the govern­ment to spend $100 mil­lion a year, start­ing next year, on ef­forts to com­bat gang vi­o­lence — a target the Trudeau govern­ment has pledged to reach after 2022. He says this fund­ing should fo­cus on preven­tion, es­pe­cially look­ing at youth gangs, bul­ly­ing and cy­ber­bul­ly­ing.He also wants more re­sources for the Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency to cur­tail cross-bor­der weapons smug­gling.In the wake of a deadly shoot­ing in Toronto last month, Toronto city coun­cil passed a mo­tion urg­ing the fed­eral govern­ment to for­bid the sale of hand­guns in the city and for the prov­ince to out­law the sale of hand­gun am­mu­ni­tion in the city.The fed­eral govern­ment has said it’s con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways to crack down on hand­guns, in­clud­ing giv­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties the abil­ity to do so.Bill C-71, in­tro­duced late last win­ter, would ex­pand the scope of back­ground checks on those who want to ac­quire a gun, strengthen record-keep­ing re­quire­ments for sales and re­quire pur­chasers to present a firearms li­cence.But the govern­ment has said it is also ac­tively ex­plor­ing ad­di­tional mea­sures, in­clud­ing pos­si­bly chang­ing some of the clas­si­fi­ca­tions of firearms that would ef­fec­tively re­move some of them from the com­mer­cial market.On Thurs­day, Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale’s of­fice said the govern­ment is look­ing at a broad range of ideas based on mea­sures that have been most ef­fec­tive around the world.“The re­cent shoot­ings in Toronto are sense­less tragedies and re­minders of the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of gun vi­o­lence and crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity in our com­mu­ni­ties. When it comes to keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties safe from gun vi­o­lence, we are open to all op­tions,” said Goodale’s spokesper­son, Scott Bard­s­ley.“The truth is there’s a grow­ing prob­lem with gun crime, es­pe­cially in Canada’s largest cities. This is a dan­ger­ous trend, and we must stop it.”The Lib­er­als in­sist they have made this is­sue a pri­or­ity, point­ing to the na­tional sum­mit it hosted in March on guns and gangs and pro­posed leg­isla­tive changes to gun own­er­ship laws con­tained in Bill C-71, which has not yet been passed.“Com­mon-sense gun con­trol that keeps as­sault weapons and il­le­gal hand­guns off our streets can and will save lives,” Bard­s­ley said.Fed­eral Conservatives are tak­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach to any move by the govern­ment to­ward ban­ning hand­guns.In a state­ment is­sued last week, Con­ser­va­tive pub­lic safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus said his party would pre­fer to tackle gun vi­o­lence through mea­sures that “target thugs and crim­i­nals, not tak­ing away prop­erty from law- abid­ing sport shoot­ers.“As the Lib­er­als them­selves have sug­gested, a hand­gun ban would be a com­plex le­gal en­deav­our,” Paul-Hus said.“We know that when­ever the Lib­er­als at­tempt to curb crime with new gun laws, they al­ways end up tar­get­ing law-abid­ing firearms own­ers in­stead of gang mem­bers and other crim­i­nals who use guns to com­mit vi­o­lence.”As for the NDP, Singh is urg­ing Trudeau not only to look at short-term mea­sures on gun con­trol, but to also speak out more loudly against hate crimes and racist con­fronta­tions that have emerged “be­cause of mis­in­formed re­ac­tions to gun vi­o­lence.”The root causes of vi­o­lence — such as poverty, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, gaps in men­tal health ser­vices and a lack of af­ford­able hous­ing — must also be ad­dressed to re­duce the preva­lence of marginal­ized in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties, he said.

Fed­eral NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh wants the fed­eral govern­ment to spend $100 mil­lion a year, start­ing next year, on ef­forts to com­bat gang vi­o­lence.

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