Downtown councillor calls for handgun ban
Coun. Mathieu Fleury says he's 'met with too many families' of shooting victims
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury is calling for an outright ban on handguns in Ottawa after yet another shooting in the ByWard Market.
I've met with too many families that have been faced with tragic deaths.- Coun. Mathieu Fleury
The shooting occurred at a time when the popular downtown entertainment district market was bustling, with many people crowding nearby bars to cheer on the Toronto Raptors.
While he acknowledged the city doesn't have the jurisdictional authority to enforce a handgun ban, Fleury said council can still send a message to the federal government.
"I'm just putting forward an option because frankly, I've met with too many families that have been faced with tragic deaths," said Fleury, whose ward includes the ByWard Market.
Young men 'brazenly' carrying handguns
Ottawa police Supt. Chris Renwick said he welcomes any initiative to address gun violence, but said legally owned, registered weapons aren't the problem. Rather, stolen or smuggled guns are often used in crimes, he said.
"Our problem here are high-end handguns in the hands or in the waistbands of young men involved in criminal activity," Renwick said. "We are still seeing young men brazenly carrying handguns on their person or in their vehicles or having access to them."
There have been 31 shootings and three gun-related homicides in Ottawa this year, Renwick said.
Coun. George Darouze, who represents the largely rural ward of Osgoode, responded on Twitter to Fleury's call for a handgun ban.
Tougher sentencing and steeper penalties are better deterants for criminals. Anyone using a gun to break the law isn't going to register it!!!! <a href="https://t.co/jrYTJdZ9gO">https://t.co/jrYTJdZ9gO</a>—@GeorgeDarouze
In an interview, Darouze chastised his colleagues for "going the easy way" instead of focusing on the real issues surrounding gun violence. He suggested supporting tougher laws to deter gun violence, not a ban.
"Let's attack and target the issues," he said. "Let's talk about how we're going to police our city and keep it safe."
City councillors aren't MPs, Darouze said, so they should focus their energy on supporting police instead of making promises that won't solve the problem.
Fleury said he realizes people use guns for sport and hunting, but said he's looking at the problem from an urban perspective.
"I come at it from a very narrow point of view, absolutely, but I also have been one of the councillors who's faced most situations relating to gun shooting," he said. "I see the other side, but at some point we need to come together as a collective and see, how do we prevent these types of incidents from happening?"