Danforth shooting survivors, Toronto mayor welcome new Canada gun legislation
A new federal bill that would essentially make it impossible to buy, sell, transfer, or import handguns anywhere in Canada is being welcomed by Toronto residents directly impacted by the July 2018 mass shooting on Danforth Avenue.
Scarborough resident Ali Demircan, who was one of the last people to see 18-year-old shooting victim Reese Fallon alive that fateful evening, was at Parliament Hill as the bill was tabled Tuesday.
In a statement provided to CP24, Demircan said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino and their team have done the right thing by taking leadership on a serious global issue.
“(On May 30), our government show(ed) us as Canada we have rule of law. The rule of law ensures citizens are governed equally and fairly by the law and not by anyone or anything else,” said Demircan, who was grazed by a bullet during the shooting and remains deeply affected the trauma he experienced.
“Our government (was) brave enough to show (the) strength of Canadians against gun lobbies."
Speaking to CP24 Tuesday afternoon, Ken Price, whose now-21 daughter Samantha was shot in the hip during the tragedy, said the Liberals’ proposed gun control legislation is both a “long-time coming” and representative of an “evolution in terms of people’s attitudes towards guns.”
“Most Canadians want more gun control measures taken,” he said, adding they also want more community resources devoted to addressing the root causes of gun violence as well as more action taken to control guns at the border.
“The reason we support this announcement is that it is a combination of all those things,” said Price, one of the founders of Danforth Families for Safe Communities (DFSC). This group, which consists of about 20 family members, victims, and area residents directly impacted by the shooting in Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood, has been advocating for meaningful steps to address gun violence, including a national handgun ban.
He said Bill C-21 makes gun control groups like his feel heard, adding what’s at stake is the “private ownership of a very dangerous product,” one that when iy goes “awry becomes devastating to families.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory has also expressed his support for this new legislation, which contains some of the strongest gun control measures introduced in Canada in more than 40 years.
“Gun violence is a national problem requiring national solutions. Toronto City Council has been clear that it supports a national handgun ban,” said Tory, who called the proposed national handgun freeze a “major step in the right direction.”
In a May 30 statement, he said this new legislation must, however, be “accompanied by tougher border measures, tougher penalties and investments in anti-violence programs.”
“I have long advocated for tougher gun laws, increased penalties for those engaging in gun violence, and investments in young people to help address the roots of gun violence,” he said.
“The answers to combatting gun violence are fairly straightforward: We need to stop the flow of illegal handguns across the border, we need tougher sentences and bail conditions for those caught with illegal guns and engaging in gun violence, and we need to invest in kids and families here to address the roots of gun violence.”
Aside from implementing a national freeze on handguns, Bill C-21 removes firearms license from those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, increases penalties criminal penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking, gives law enforcers more tools to investigate gun crimes, and strengthens border security.
This new “red flag” law, as its known, would also enable courts to require individuals who are considered a danger to themselves or others to surrender their firearms to law enforcement. For their safety, the identity of those who apply for this process would be protected.
The federal government is also taking steps to require long-gun magazines to be permanently altered so they can never hold more than five rounds and ban the sale and transfer of large capacity magazines.
Enhancing gun control was one of the Liberal Party of Canada key election promises in 2015.