VOTE: Do you think a handgun ban in Toronto would be effective?

Doug Ford on handgun ban

As Toronto continues to move forward to combat gun-related violence, city council and the provincial government remain divided on the specific actions that should be taken.

On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford publicly discussed that he is against the city council-requested ban on the sale of handguns in Toronto.

I wouldn’t support a ban on handguns,” Ford said. “We have to refocus all our resources going after the bad guys, not the good guys.”

A motion put forward by Councillor Joe Cressy calls on the provincial and federal governments to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in Toronto, which passed on a vote of 41 to four. This was put forward shortly after the deadly handgun attack in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood, which left two dead, in addition to the shooter.

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, now the federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, told The Canadian Press the latest shootings are of “significant concern for Canadians.

“We are quite prepared to look at how — in certain parts of the country perhaps — greater restrictions might be implemented. But in addition to that, you have to recognize that in and of itself is not the sole solution,” Blair said to The Canadian Press.

As part of Ford’s argument to continue to make handguns available for sale, the premier used Chicago as a example of city with the proposed ban that still suffers from a high number of shooting. But the U.S. city hasn’t had a handgun ban since 2010.

“You look at Chicago…and they have a ban and guess what, last week they had 72 shootings, 72 or 76 shootings,” Ford said.

Official opposition leader, the provincial NDPs Andrea Horwath, took to Twitter to condemn Ford’s statements against a handgun ban in Toronto, calling his defense “wrong.”

Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat also responded to Ford’s comments, saying handguns “should have been banned long ago.”

Handguns in Canada are classified as  “restricted” or “prohibited” firearms. Restricted firearms require an individual to complete an additional safety course, the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC), and the firearms are usually used for target practice or target shooting competitions. Individuals can only possess prohibited firearms if they held a valid registration for the gun when it became prohibited, which the Firearms Act refers to this as being “grandfathered”.

The Ford government has announced that Toronto will receive $25 million in provincial funds, over four years, for gun and gang reduction efforts. 

“Organized crime that starts in Toronto ends up spilling into Ottawa and other centres,” Ford said. “Fighting guns and gangs will remain a top priority.”

But is this investment enough? Does the province need to take a stand against handguns to help combat the increase in gun-related violence? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.