U.S. mayors look to Toronto as partner against gun violence

A coalition of mayors working to crack down on illegal guns in the United States may soon include Toronto Mayor David Miller.

Acoalition of mayors working to crack down on illegal guns in the United States may soon include Toronto Mayor David Miller.

Byron Brown, Miller's counterpart in Buffalo, hasrequested Miller be allowed to join the coalition.

The move comesasToronto grapples with its latest fatal incident of gun violence — a brazen afternoon shooting over the weekend that left one man dead and three others wounded. No arrests have been made in the case.

The mayors say they're fed up with weak state and federal gun laws, which they blame for the growing violence and deaths in their cities.

At the urging of mayors, the state of New York recently introduced legislation to ban the sale of guns in pawnshops.

The mayors are alsolobbying for the repeal of a four-year-old federal law that prevents local officials from using federal gun-tracing data to crack down on irresponsible gun dealers or manufacturers.

Miller, who has long said illegal guns streaming across the border from the U.S have fuelled gun violence in Canada, applauded the coalition's moves and said Ottawa must take heed of the mayor's warnings.

"The federal government has to start speaking up with the United States," he told CBC News Sunday.

"Their lack of common-sense gun control means that guns flood across our border and are used in crimes here, and it's time to put an end to that."

Both Miller and the Ontario government called for a ban on handguns after 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot and killed in a Toronto school last month. The Conservative government promptly rejected the call.

'We can fight and win'

Browncitedonepawnshop in a tough, crime-ridden neighbourhood of his city as an example of the problem.

Twice last year, thieves broke into the pawnshop and stole the guns, which were never recovered. The shop used to sell all kinds offirearms — including assault rifles and semi-automatics — until police recently confiscated the remaining stockafter the repeated thefts.

"We think by partnering on these issues, we can crack down on this illegal transmission of guns," Brown told CBC News.

"We can make Buffalo, other American cities and the city of Toronto even safer and make it even more difficult for illegal guns to get into our communities."

Brown acknowledged he and his colleagues are up against a formidable opponent — America's well-financed and influential gun lobby. But over the past year, the coalition of mayors has grown from a handful to more than 200 from more than 40 states.

"I believe we can fight and win," he said.