QUEEN’S PARK — Deputy Leader Sara Singh is renewing the Ontario NDP’s call for a ban on handgun and ammunition sales in Ontario’s urban areas following a spate of shootings over the long weekend in the Greater Toronto Area.
With media reports placing the number of people shot as high as 17, gun violence touched several parts of the city during the August long weekend, including the downtown core, Etobicoke and North York. According to a Globe and Mail report, Toronto is on track to record more people shot this year than last year, on the heels of increases each of the last three years.
“Gun violence is tearing families apart, ruining lives and ending in a violent death for so many,” said Singh. “How many families will face the devastation of burying a loved one before we start taking real action?”
The NDP has been fighting for municipalities’ right to be able to ban the sale, possession and use of handguns and ammunition within densely populated urban areas and municipalities. Doug Ford has ruled out such a ban — but Singh said the NDP has no intention of giving up.
“The Liberals let Ontario families down by doing nothing and letting the problem of gun violence grow,” said Singh. “Doug Ford’s Conservatives are making things even worse by cutting programs that helped youth at risk of gang involvement.
“We have to do everything we can to tackle gun violence. We have to get serious about addressing the root causes of gun violence, including poverty and a lack of opportunity that disproportionately impacts racialized and low-income communities. And along with effective resourcing and support for policing and the justice system, a ban on handgun and ammo sales in urban areas is a part of the solution we’re going to need to stop the devastation. We can’t look at one part of the solution and refuse to do it because it’s not the whole solution.”
Vulnerable young people, including low-income and racialized youth, have fewer opportunities to participate in education programs after the Conservatives slashed their funding by $25 million last fall.