Ottawa

Downtown councillor calls for handgun ban

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury is calling for an outright ban on handguns in Ottawa after yet another shooting in the ByWard Market. 

Coun. Mathieu Fleury says he's 'met with too many families' of shooting victims

Markland Campbell, 41, was shot and killed on Friday night in the ByWard Market. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury is calling for an outright ban on handguns in Ottawa after yet another shooting in the ByWard Market. 

Ottawa hip-hop artist Markland Campbell, known as Jahiant Jahh, was fatally shot around 9:30 p.m. Friday. Donald Musselman, 18, has been charged with second-degree murder in Campbell's death.

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.

The idea of banning handguns has come up in both Toronto and Montreal.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury wants the city to send a message to the federal government about gun violence. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

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."

Supt. Chris Renwick says Ottawa police welcome any initiative to address gun violence, but pointed out many guns used in crimes are stolen or unregistered. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

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. 

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?"

About the Author

Krystalle Ramlakhan is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I., Winnipeg and Iqaluit.