On June 14, 2013, police displayed guns seized in a series of raids. There had be a dramatic increase in the number of guns obtained legally in Canada but then sold and used for criminal purposes. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press/file)

Gun control debate reignited by Toronto shooting rampage

Following the shooting spree that killed two people and injured 13 on July 22, 2018 in Toronto, city council asked the federal government to ban the sale of handguns and ammunition in the city. It also wants the government to consider banning the sale and possession of handguns and semi-automatic rifles among civilians.

This has renewed the debate between those for and against greater gun control in Canada. This country has much tougher gun control does than the United States, but looser regulations than countries like the U.K, Japan and Australia.

Gun control advocate Wendy Cukier says Canadians should stop comparing their gun law to that of the U.S. which has the highest number of gun-related deaths in the world.

250 gun murders in Canada in 2017

“In many countries, civilians are not allowed to have handguns at all. For example, the United Kingdom banned handguns 20 years ago,” says Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control and a professor at Ryerson University.

“Last year, Canada had about 250 gun murders, much less than in the United States which had about 10,000. But the United Kingdom had 27 gun murders. And that is fewer than we had…in the city of Toronto.”

Those in favour of a ban on handguns in Toronto say there is no reason to own this kind of weapon in an urban setting. Gun rights advocates say tougher rules would only hurt law-abiding gun owners and do nothing to stem the illegal trade of weapons.

A police source told CBC the gun used in the Toronto shooting came from the United States. (YouTube)

Half of guns used in crime are originally legally owned

Cukier says half the guns used in crimes that are recovered are found to have come from the United States. The other half originate from legal gun owners. In some cases, they commit the crime, sometimes they sell the guns illegally and about 7,000 guns per year are stolen.

The Canadian government is considering new legislation on guns, but Cukier says the proposed law is not strong enough. She will propose better controls over the sales of guns, more restrictions on handguns and military weapons, and better screening. Gun rights advocates will make their own representations and it promises to be a lively debate.

Details of Canadian gun law are outlined by Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control and a professor at Ryerson University. And she argues for tougher gun control.

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