TORONTO — Toronto NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth), Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest), Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre) and Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches—East York) will table legislation Thursday to crack down on the smuggling of illegal handguns into Ontario.
The MPPs were joined Thursday morning at a virtual press conference alongside Ken Price from the Danforth Families for Safe Communities, and Omar Abdelgawad, a Regent Park community member
“Thousands of families across Ontario have mourned loved ones tragically and needlessly lost to gun violence. There are many innocent victims whose lives will never be the same, who have suffered life-long injuries or deep emotional trauma, because of illegal guns on our streets,” said Tabuns. “Our bill is a concrete way to start stemming the flow of illegal American-made handguns that are used for gun and gang violence on our streets.”
The bill proposes Ontario follow an approach taken by the Mexican government, which is currently engaged in litigation against American manufacturers that it alleges are involved in practices that result in guns being smuggled into Mexico. In 2018, approximately 70 per-cent of all guns seized by the Toronto Police Service were sourced from the United States of America.
“Too many families in communities across Toronto and Ontario have been devastated by gun violence, and each year the problem seems to get worse,” said Morrison. “This bill would help save families and victims the anguish and life-altering impact of gun violence by giving Ontario more tools and power to stop the flow of illegal guns from the source.”
The bill requires Ontario’s Attorney General to investigate and initiate legal action against American gun manufacturers who are alleged to be facilitating the flow of handguns out of the United States into Canada. The Attorney General would be required to consult with experts and affected communities to develop a legal strategy to stop the entry and sales of illegal handguns in Ontario.
“The root causes of gun violence are complex, and the NDP has long pushed the Ford government to invest in addressing these root causes, which include poverty, affordable housing and youth opportunities,” said Begum. “There’s more work to be done to address these critical social causes of violence on our streets, but we also need to work to stop the bloodshed by stopping the flow of guns.”
“This bill is just one part of a larger strategy to address gun violence and its root causes, especially poverty, systemic racism, and lack of opportunity for young people,” said Berns-McGown. “We also need to have all the tools at our disposal to stop illegal handguns from coming here and to keep our communities safe. It’s critical to have the legal means to stop American gun manufacturers in cases where it has been proven that their actions contribute to the violence on our streets.”
Video clip from the press conference: Video clip