Toronto

Toronto council wants Ottawa to ban sale of handguns within city limits

Council voted for a number of measures Tuesday evening to combat rise in gun violence

Posted: July 24, 2018
Last Updated: July 25, 2018

Mayor John Tory said he supports banning the sale of handguns and ammunition in the city of Toronto. (Nick Kozak/Canadian Press)

Toronto will ask Ottawa to ban the sale of handguns within city limits, days after a teen and a young girl were killed in a mass shooting on a bustling street in Greektown. 

City council was already scheduled to vote on a series of gun-related initiatives Tuesday night, but the issue took on a new urgency after the shooting on Danforth Avenue claimed the lives of 10-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto. Thirteen others were injured.

In a vote of 41-4 on Tuesday evening, council approved a motion to urge the federal government to forbid the sale of handguns in the city and for the province to outlaw the sale of handgun ammunition in Toronto. The motion was put forward by Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina.

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Mayor John Tory said in a speech to council hours after the shooting that there is a growing problem of people improperly acquiring guns that were originally purchased legally. Gun deaths have accounted for 29 of Toronto's 58 homicides this year — compared to 17 fatal shootings at this time last year.

"Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?" the mayor asked.

Council also approved several other proposals for enhanced surveillance measures and more robust youth programming, as well as community violence prevention strategies.

Among other things, council decided to:

Tory also put forward a motion calling on the federal government to strengthen existing laws against gun trafficking and said he supported stiffer sentences for firearms traffickers. That motion also passed.

WIth files from Nick Boisvert and Lauren Pelley