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Letter to Minister Ralph Goodale on Bill C-71

June 4, 2018

To:       Minister Ralph Goodale
           House of Commons
           Ottawa, Ontario
           K1A 0A6

Re:  Strengthening Bill C-71

Dear Minister Goodale,

In 2012, the Harper Government weakened Canadian gun control in detrimental and costly ways. It ended the firearms registry and destroyed 6 million records of ownership. The harmful results came as no surprise to those of us who fought for public health and safety.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and we have been seeing a sharp rise in gun violence. Since 2012, the number of shootings has almost doubled. 2005 was dubbed "Year of the Gun" with 359 shootings and 359 victims. We have surpassed those numbers in both 2016 and 2017. 2018 has already seen over 160 shootings in Toronto and I share many residents' concerns that this year will see a record number of gun crimes and a return to the "Year of the Gun".

I am also concerned by the many instances of gun violence against women involving legally obtained firearms. Too often women are harmed or killed by partners with histories of violence, instability and cruelty. Each time a life is lost and a history of police interactions is revealed, we have failed each other as a community. We owe it to our neighbours and families to ensure that those who have records of violence and harm are provided with the resources they need to overcome their past behaviors and not look the other way as they purchase guns.

Handguns used by criminals are now sourced more within Canada than smuggled across the border from the United States. Gun suicides have increased. Gun homicides have rebounded for the first time in 20 years. While your government's Bill C-71 makes some improvements, more needs to be done to address gun-related violence and crime in Canada.

If only three changes that are made to Bill C-71, I would ask that you do the following:

  1. Strengthen licensing provisions for those who are a threat to themselves or others;
  2. Reintroduce 1977 provisions for gun sellers to allow police easy access to sales records;
  3. Strengthen transport provisions for restricted firearms to limit transport outside of direct transfers between their place of storage and approved destination.

I strongly believe these are reasonable requests addressing real issues and real acts of violence. I am asking you today to ensure that Bill C-71 takes the concrete and necessary steps to help prevent needless loss of life and injury. Canadians from coast to coast are depending on the federal government to do the right thing. I am adding my voice to this important request.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kristyn Wong-Tam

Councillor, Ward 27

Toronto Centre-Rosedale