Hamilton should ask Ottawa to ban guns in the city, mayor says

Hamilton's mayor says he wants to ask Ottawa to ban the sale of handguns in the city, much the same way Toronto council did after a deadly shooting there.

The city looked into a ban in 2015 but learned it was out of its control

This gun, Hamilton police say, was found in an early-morning traffic stop on Burlington Street East in March on a Brampton man driving with a suspended license. . (Hamilton Police Service)

Hamilton's mayor says he wants to ask Ottawa to ban the sale of handguns in the city, much the same way Toronto council did after a deadly shooting there.

Fred Eisenberger says he agrees with Toronto's move to ask the federal government to ban guns within city limits. He'd like a similar action for Hamilton.

"I've been saying all along I think this is an essential thing to do," Eisenberger said Thursday. He plans to reach out to Toronto mayor John Tory to see how he can help.

A ban "doesn't solve all the problems, but certainly it would go a long way to prevent access to guns that ought to not be used in these unfortunate events."

Toronto voted on a series of gun-related initiatives after two people were killed and 13 injured in a shooting on Danforth Avenue Sunday.

The city has lit the Hamilton sign to show solidarity with Toronto after a deadly shooting incident. (Mike Kukucska)

Toronto council approved a motion Tuesday to urge the federal government to ban the sale of handguns there, and for the province to outlaw the sale of ammunition.

Eisenberger inched toward a similar move in 2015 after a brazen daylight shooting in the central lower city, among other incidents.

He learned that was in the federal government's control, he said. But he wants to bring it up again and pass a motion similar to Toronto's.

"Does that mean guns will disappear altogether? I suspect not," he said. "But having less guns on the street is an improvement no matter how you do it."

Eric Girt, chief of Hamilton Police Service, wasn't sure how effective it would be.

There are already laws that restrict the possession and transport of handguns, he said. Anyone using a handgun to commit crime probably wouldn't care about an additional law.

"The problem is guns are coming in illegally from the States, so when you're in possession of one, you're probably in trouble already," Girt said.

"I wouldn't discount anything. If it reduces the prevalence of handguns, that would be great," he said.

As for whether a ban would achieve that, "I don't know if that's been demonstrated yet."

Hamilton Police Service has a year-long gun amnesty, he said.

That means anyone who wants to surrender unwanted firearms or ammunition can contact police, and officers will arrange to collect it.

Eisenberger says he'll reach out to Toronto mayor John Tory to see how Hamilton can help. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

About the Author

Samantha Craggs

Reporter

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca

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