There have been 90 homicides in Toronto in 2018 (Dec. 6, 2018) which breaks the 1991 record of 89 homicides in the city over a one year period. Toronto Mayor, John Tory, recently remarked to CTV News that the homicides that have occurred this year “is not something anyone, including me, can accept.” He went on further to say that he’d hope that government would support law enforcement by dealing with the guns debate to help the number of gun-related incidents decrease.
For the top toronto criminal lawyer and most people, this begs the question of what is truly causing, one of Canada’s largest cities, to see such violence. Who or what is really responsible for the violence and what can be done after Toronto’s deadliest year on record.
The causes are up for much debate among the public, law enforcement, and government officials. Whoever comments on the violent statistics and their cause, determines the kind of answer you get in return.
Here is where the debate goes.
- Gang Activity – Authorities in Law Enforcement Agencies are blaming a record-breaking homicide count to an uptick in gang activity in Toronto. Toronto Police Cheif tells CPTV24 “When we look at who is causing the violence, especially the gunplay, it is street gangs.” In response to these stats, Ontario officials approved a $25 million dollar budget (to be used over a 4-year period) to support police and courts in the fight against gang-specific resources.
- Gun Possession – It’s no secret that Canadians carry firearms. In fact, there is an effort underway to restrict firearms which will be discussed more in depth below. Chris Lewis, the former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, told CTV “… government efforts to stem the flow of illegal gun importations from the U.S. would make a difference to public safety. We live next to a country with a huge, unprotected border, largely, that has more guns than people, hardly any gun laws, and that’s where the majority of the guns are coming from.”
- Social Causes – As Canada evolves over time, social issues play a roll in violence which speaks to struggling individuals who are desperate or have a lack of resources to survive or thrive. Research is beginning to show how specific social assistance programs are failing Canadians and taking a toll on their health and well-being.
The Bigger Gun Law Debate
A Liberal gun law proposed in March of 2018 has added heat to the discussion on violence taking place in Canada and specifically, Toronto. The new law targets more than 2-million legal federal firearm carriers. The law would increase the tracking of license holders, increase restrictions on holding onto the license, increase restrictions on the ability to purchase firearms, restrict the selling and transporting of firearms and even increase their confiscation. The new gun law passed in the House of Commons and now awaits a second reading.
Arguments For The New Gun Law
The government promotes the new gun law as “legislation that prioritizes public safety and is practical for firearms owners.”
- Law enforcement backs many aspects of the new law equating gun violence to the record-breaking homicide rate.
- At its most basic level, access to guns places more people at risk to violence than less access to guns.
Arguments Against New Gun Law
- The government has not informed legal gun owners how they would be directly impacted by the new gun law. The vagueness of the law causes concern.
- Gun owners believe the government is using the gun law to win the next political election. Not to keep Canadians safer.
- Grandfathering would no longer be allowed under the new law.
- Gun owners believe the new law will only invite more restrictions to gun ownership through more confiscations and even firearm bans.
- Gun law allows the government to “track” and “trace” gun owners and impedes on their rights to privacy.
There is no clear remedy for Toronto’s increased violence statistics from either government, tasks forces, law enforcement or citizens. The solution will surely be found when all parties can work together on a bipartisan level to protect the citizens of Toronto so they can live a violent free future.