Q&A: Founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement talks about rise in shootings

Scarborough resident Louis March founded the Zero Gun Violence Movement back in 2013 in an effort to eliminate gun violence in the city. CBC Toronto's Dwight Drummond recently talked to March about what he thinks needs to be done to address the violence.

Louis March started the movement back in June 2013 in an effort to eliminate gun violence in Toronto

Two police vehicles are parked on a street and a Toronto police officer talks to a resident in Scarborough after a shooting in a playground injured two young girls. (CBC)
A community in Scarborough is shaken after two children under the age of 10 were caught in the crossfire of a shooting at a playground on Thursday. 

Scarborough resident Louis March founded the Zero Gun Violence Movement back in 2013 in an effort to eliminate gun violence in the city. 

CBC Toronto's Dwight Drummond recently talked to March about what happened at that Scarborough playground and what he thinks needs to be done to address the violence. 
Louis March is the founder of Zero Gun Violence Movement. He started it nearly five years ago in response to a spike in shootings in the city. (CBC)

How is the community processing this and dealing with something as brazen as this shooting into a playground full of kids?

I know it was a shock to many people but for a lot of people living in those communities the level of violence and the brazenness of it is not a surprise to them anymore. These are children.

They're suppose to be talking about how they fell down and scratched their knee at school, but this is not what they're talking about. It's about survival, it's about being at risk at any time of the day, even in the playground. 

Do you think things have gotten worse or better in comparison to when you started the Zero Gun Violence Movement?

We're going backwards.

The reason we're going backwards is because from 2013 to 2016 we saw a 100 per cent increase in gun violence and homicides.

It's just that it was spread out. It wasn't concentrated, and it wasn't as brazen over the last couple of years.

We just had [a shooting] at Yonge and Dundas in broad daylight, so it's the brazenness of the shootings that should concern people, but [there are] a lot of other factors that are contributing to gun violence. 

What are those factors contributing to gun violence?

What we're seeing is the access to guns has increased, and it's not small guns, it's semi-automatics. 

When kids are still saying it's easier for them to get a gun than a job, we've got a problem. 

The age of the kids handling the guns now has declined dramatically. It's the young ones. It's teenagers. 

It's also the impact of social media in terms of glorifying and promoting this.

The political leadership, will and courage to address this issue is missing. We're not seeing any political will to do anything about this. 

We can't run around and tell people we live in a safe city when we know what's going on. 

What do we need to do as a community to try and stem this tide of gun violence?

We need to throw away all the old reports, analysis and data. Things have changed dramatically. 

We need to bring all the stakeholders back to the table, whether they're academics, whether they're police, whether it's media, whether it's family or support services or faith leaders. 

We need to take another look at this problem and what's really going on.

These people are making decisions to deal with this issue, and they don't know the magnitude of the problem. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Zero Gun Violence Movement tackles Toronto shootings

5 years ago
Duration 7:31
Dwight Drummond speaks to Louis March, the founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement.

With files from Dwight Drummond and Derick Deonarain