After living in the Greater Toronto Area for many years, I have found myself becoming an active and engaged member of my community. It has been brought to my attention that the City of Toronto is considering a handgun ban. Upon conducting extensive research on the situation, I have concluded that a ban on this particular firearm, would prove to be an ineffective solution to gun violence. Thereby, for the wellbeing of the city’s people, I strongly urge the government to explore superior solutions to combat this arising issue.
According to a recent article by Hopper (2018), a handgun ban would not further criminalize the possession of the specific firearm. All handguns are already restricted in Canada. They are only authorized to be fired at a registered gun range and transported at the RCMP’s discretion. Therefore, with or without the ban, any person in a Canadian city in possession of a handgun, is likely to be a criminal. Even licensed gun owners in Canada would not risk the potential confiscation of their entire firearm collection, bringing a pistol to a hunting trip. Secondly, Hopper (2018) noted that even if the ban had potential to reduce crime, it would take long before the effects would be felt. In 1997, the United Kingdom prohibited private firearms ownership after a massacre of 16 children at a Scottish primary school. The following year, crimes involving firearms, increased. In between 1997 and 1998, there were 12,805 firearm related offences in Wales and England. By the years 2001 and 2002, the offences rose to 22,401. However, the long term rate of British gun related crime eventually decreased, with handgun crime now amounting to half of what it was beforehand. This particular situation highlights the potential inefficiency of a handgun ban. We, the citizens of the Greater Toronto Area need a quick and reliable solution to gun violence. We cannot impose an ineffective ban and then wait for another person to lose their life. We must take action. I urge you to think about the safety of your family. We do not have the time to wait for a solution to work, we need one now.
Focusing more time and resources into improving policing and social services to reduce gang activity, would result in fewer gun related crimes and a decreased crime rate. Gang related firearms homicides have been ever present within Canada. In 2016, the police have announced 141 gang related murders, 45 more than the year prior. The largest increase in gang related firearms homicides was recorded in Ontario, with most of them taking place in Toronto. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, told the National Post that he is not opposed to banning guns for the benefit of public safety. However, McCormack continues to state that the majority of Toronto’s gun shootings are gang related and a quicker and more reliable solution would be to create policing programs to guide the younger generations away from gangs.
Although I believe alternative solutions are more effective and ethical, it is still crucial to acknowledge the perspective that is in favor of the ban. To simply put, handguns have been a prominent contributor to homicides in Canada. According to von Scheel (2018), there were 130 handgun homicides in Canada in 2016. Handguns were responsible for nearly a quarter of all homicides and over half of firearms related homicides that year.