After more than a 30-year fight for stronger gun laws
Canada's Coalition for Gun Control, an alliance of more than 200 organizations and founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre, applauds the announcement of new firearms legislation.
"Bill C- 71, passed in 2018, filled some of the most egregious loop holes previously created by the Conservatives. This proposed law represents a significant step forward, putting in place important measures to reduce gun violence and reinforcing Canadian values because there is no 'right to own' guns in this country. For too long, a vocal minority has hijacked the public agenda about gun control and we have seen the impact of the Harper years in the proliferation of handguns, the escalation of gun violence and hate motivated mass shootings, most often with legal firearms. This proposed law will strengthen screening processes for gun licenses with a particular focus on risk factors associated with domestic violence, but also suicide and hate crimes. It will support the ban of certain semi-automatic military style assault weapons such as the AR 15 and Ruger Mini 14, which are not reasonably used for hunting, but are designed to efficiently kill people. As the families of Polytechnique Montreal have emphasised, we need to ensure it is effective and does not allow manufacturers to circumvent its intent. The game changer is the proposed national ban on the sale and importation of handguns which will stem the flow of these guns. Legal handguns are a significant source of handguns used in crime and are the guns most often used in mass shootings. Canadians want them banned."
Wendy Cukier, President of the Coalition for Gun Control and Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University
"The proposed phasing out of private handgun ownership, is a major step forward and shows that the Government has been listening to the voices of victims. For too long, and particularly since 2015, the number of handguns in private hands has grown, and too many of these have been stolen or diverted or used by license holders causing death and injury. This legislation will stop growing that part of the problem, and taken with other measures announced today, make the Danforth Families feel that public safety is being addressed."
Ken Price, father of July 22, 2018 Danforth Avenue Shooting Survivor Samantha Price
"I have been calling for a ban on handguns for 25 years and, as a mother, its been horrifying to watch Canada move backwards, with the dismantling of many of our gun controls. So much emphasis in recent years has been placed on gangs and guns. And while it may be true that smuggled guns are a big part of the problem, my life was destroyed by the pull of a trigger of a handgun that had been legally owned. As a nurse, I also see the importance of strong gun laws from a health and safety perspective. I know they can help prevent people who are a risk to themselves or others from getting access to guns. And our gun laws also reinforce our values which put a priority on community safety not "gun rights."
Karen Vanscoy, Mother of 14-year-old, Jasmine, who was Murdered by a 17-year-old Acquaintance with a Handgun Originally Stolen from a Gun Store Break-in
"I have lived with the impact of hundreds of deaths, every one a tragedy. Victimization is not equally distributed - most of the children in our community know at least one person who has been shot and killed - that is not true in other neighborhoods in Toronto. Organizations like United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere (UMOVE) have called for a ban on handguns for more than 20 years - yet during that time the number of legally owned handguns has almost tripled. Most of the people in my community support stronger gun control as part of the solution regardless of the vocal opposition."
Reverend Sky Starr, a pastor, a therapist, and founder and executive director of Out Of Bounds, with a mandate to healing the trauma inflicted by gun violence has worked for more than twenty years counselling and supporting victims of gun violence and their families in the Jane Finch are of Toronto.
"NAWL applauds the Liberal government for tabling national firearms legislation that, among other important measures, addresses the heightened risk of gun violence for victims of domestic abuse and others seeking protection orders. While provinces are free to reinforce any provisions of this new federal law – they do not have the constitutional authority to undermine them, and NAWL calls on police and government authorities at all levels to work collaboratively to ensure the safety of individuals, families and communities endangered by the lack of effective gun control in Canada."
Tiffany Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Women and the Law
"This is a without a doubt a gendered issue. Guns figure prominently in violence against women and increase the likelihood women will be killed. Most often the guns used are legally owned. Women are a much higher proportion of victims of gun violence than they are perpetrators and they are far more likely to support strong gun control measures. This new proposed legislation goes a long way to strengthening controls over screening for gun license owners and provides mechanisms for removing guns from people who are a risk to themselves or others or are subject to protection orders. It also, is a big step forward in banning assault weapons and stemming the proliferation of handguns which have been used in too many cases of violence against women including some of the worse mass shootings we have seen in this country."
Heather McGregor, CEO of the YWCA Toronto has supported the Coalition's work from its inception
"As someone who has worked in the frontlines of women's shelters, but also led legal response and reform, as well as worked to implement state protections obligated at the international level, I can tell you that the patterns of gun violence against women are common across jurisdictions. And, unfortunately, so are the politics of denial. Watching the destruction of our laws piece by piece over my career was a grim reminder of how quickly the pendulum can swing backward. Frontline, the presence of guns is our first indicator that fatal intimate partner violence is a high risk. A vocal minority has tried to change the Canadian discourse to an American one of gun rights. We know that for every woman who is killed many more are threatened. We also know, the terrible irony that where there are more guns, notably in rural communities, there is more opposition to gun control, but there are also much higher risks to women and their children. For those who feel today their privileges have been scaled back, I would remind them that this is not the same as being stalked, threatened and killed by the person who is supposed to love you."
"Strong regulation of all guns, including a ban on handguns and assault weapons, is an essential element of ending gender-based violence and enhancing public safety in the broadest sense. This new legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction, as evidence shows that it will reduce femicide, amongst reducing other preventable death and injury. Achieving our ultimate goal of ending violence in Canada requires smart policy action like this, as well as a well-implemented and well-funded National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence."
Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women's Foundation
"I grew up in northern Ontario where hunting is a way of life. But, I know that all guns, are potentially dangerous and should be regulated. Handguns which in my mind, serve no legitimate purpose and should be banned. We need to put the priority on keeping our children safe. Losing Aidan was unbearable. I hope with this announcement other families won't have to go through what we went through.
In 2005, Elaine Lumley's only child Aiden, a 20 years old university student, was gunned down outside a Montreal nightclub.