Calgary

Calgary councillor plans motion to ban handguns in city

A Calgary councillor says he will introduce a motion to ban handguns after the federal election, citing a need to respond to shootings in the city over the past year.

George Chahal says there have been over 60 shootings in city so far this year

Responding to the dozens of shooting in the community over the past year, Coun. George Chahal says he would introduce a motion to ban handguns after the federal election this month. (Robert Short/CBC)

A Calgary councillor says he plans to put a motion in front of council asking it to ban handguns after the federal election, citing a need to respond to shootings in the city over the past year.

Coun. George Chahal held a news conference with federal Liberal candidate Kent Hehr, who was injured decades ago as a bystander in a drive-by shooting, leaving him as a quadriplegic.

Chahal said there have been over 60 shootings in Calgary this year — many of them in his ward — and said he supported a national handgun ban. 

"This is a crisis facing our communities across this country. We have to tackle all aspects of this issue, and that means we have to go eliminate these from use," Chahal said.

As part of their platform, the Liberals have said they would give local governments the ability to "further restrict" or ban handguns.

Hehr, who is the Liberal candidate for Calgary Centre, was injured as a bystander in a drive-by shooting, leaving him as a quadriplegic.

Thursday marked the 28th anniversary of that shooting, and Hehr said more had to be done to keep guns away from criminals.

"Our goal as politicians is to allow people to live vibrant lives. How can they do that if they are living in fear?" he said.

Coun. George Chaha, left, speaking with federal Liberal candidate Kent Hehr, said Thursday a motion to ban handguns would potentially include increased resources to support law enforcement and prosecution. (Scott Dippel)

"We have failed at all levels of government. Our first responders are faced with ongoing challenges with drug distribution, consumption and associated violence," Chahal said.

"This is a systemic problem that factors in a lack of economic and social opportunities, easy money, and a lack of early intervention."

Chahal said his motion would potentially include significant Criminal Code changes and increased resources to support law enforcement and prosecution.

"I hope that these measures would include prevention strategies that would deter youth from getting involved in crime," he said.

With files from Scott Dippel

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