What can Toronto city council do to curb gun violence?

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Rob Ford wants to get tough on gangs.

In response to a brazen Monday night shootout at a public event in Scarborough, Toronto's mayor issued a statement, Tuesday,  saying  it's "time to take action against the spineless cowards" causing violence on city streets.

Ford has reason to be concerned.

Over the past several weeks, incidents of gun violence have marred Toronto's reputation.

There was a shooting at the Eaton Centre on June 2 that left one man dead and another fatally wounded.

Later that month, a man was shot dead on a crowded patio in Little Italy where patrons had gathered to watch a soccer game.

And, on Canada Day, a man was shot in the chest after the close of a fireworks show.

While the mayor didn't offer any specifics about how to combat the gun violence, others on Council have.

[ Related: Scarborough shooting played out on Twitter ]

City councillor Adam Vaughn wants to "have a conversation" with his colleagues before the next city council meeting in October about funding for Toronto Community Housing, about adding youth workers in vulnerable communities, and looking at police staffing levels.

"We have fewer officers on the street, and fewer people patrolling than at any time in my life, in particular in the last two years," he told the National Post.

Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam says that the city needs the province and the federal government to "step-up."

"I think that we need to double our resolve and as a city work with our upper levels of government to do everything we can to remove the illegal guns off our streets.," she told Yahoo! Canada News.

"We need to ensure that we have stricter gun controls, not more relaxed. The federal government is going in the opposite direction. And we want to ensure stricter gun control. We want to ensure that the long-gun data is actually going to be retained and the fact that they're rushing to destroy this data is a mistake."

[ More Political Points: Aboriginals go to the polls amid controversy ]

Wong-Tam also suggested that Council move forward on a proposed 'bullet ban'.

The ban proposal, which would essentially bar the sale and storage of ammunition within the confines of the City of Toronto, currently sits with Ford's executive committee.

"There are really little to no reason whatsoever for bullets to exist in the possession of Torontonians unless they're going to be shooting or hunting for game," she said.

"We don't do that in this city. They do that out in the rural areas so that's where they can keep their bullets."

According to Global News, the shooting in Scarborough was Toronto's 142nd shooting in 2012. (up 34 per cent compared to this time last year)

More concerning for Ford and his council, however, is, that of 28 homicides in Toronto this year, close to half have occurred in a public place.