Trudeau says he's looking abroad for ideas on curbing gun violence

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today his government will look at best practices in other parts of the world for ideas on how to tackle gun violence in Canada.

Asked about a handgun ban, PM refused to rule it out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, pays his respects and places flowers at the fountain at the Alexander the Great Parkette, near where people were gunned down and injured from the recent Danforth shootings. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today his government will look at best practices in other parts of the world for ideas on how to tackle gun violence in Canada.

Speaking in Toronto after the funeral service for 18-year-old Reese Fallon — who was killed in a July 22 mass shooting in the city's Greektown — Trudeau praised the community's strength and resilience in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"People need to be safe and we need to take the right measures to do that," Trudeau said.

"And we're looking at things that have been done around the world, things that have been done in other jurisdictions, looking at the best evidence, the best data, to make the right decisions to make sure that we are ensuring our citizens, our communities are safe into the future."

The shooting has reignited the debate over gun control across the country. Last week, Toronto city council approved a motion urging the federal government to ban handgun sales in the city, and calling on the province to outlaw the sale of handgun ammunition in Toronto.

Asked if his government is considering a ban, Trudeau would not rule anything out.

"We're looking at a broad range of things. We're going to make the right decision for the long term, not just the short term," he said.

PM pays respects to victims

Trudeau paid his respects and placed flowers at the fountain at Toronto's Alexander the Great Parkette, near the spot where people were gunned down and injured more than a week ago.

Fallon graduated from Toronto's Malvern Collegiate Institute last month and was weeks away from starting nursing studies at McMaster University in Hamilton. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont. was also shot dead in the same attack.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses questions about a possible handgun ban after attending a memorial for one of the victims of last week's mass shooting in Toronto 0:58

Thirteen other people are still recovering from varying degrees of injuries suffered when Faisal Hussain, 29, fired into restaurants and storefronts along Danforth Avenue.

Conservative public safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus said the Official Opposition will wait to see details of a possible handgun ban, but said he supports measures that target criminals, not the property of law-abiding sport shooters.

Handgun ban 'complex'

"As the Liberals themselves have suggested, a handgun ban would be a complex legal endeavour and even their own MPs have doubts that such a move would work," he said in a statement.
 
"It's lazy government to ask all Canadians to follow new laws, while the real work is in targeting and going after criminals. That means strengthening penalties for gun crime and keeping known gang members behind bars, two areas where the Liberals have failed."

Hilary Peirce, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said the government has taken "multiple actions" to tackle gun and gang-related violence since taking office, including:

  • A national summit that brought together officials from provinces, territories and communities, as well as police and border agencies.
  • Funding for new gun and gang prevention initiatives, effective law enforcement and community partnerships.
  • Bill C-71, which imposes tougher background checks and cracks down on illegal handguns.

Peirce said the government is also considering other reforms, including a possible requirement for medical professionals to disclose whether potential buyers of firearms suffer from mental illness, stronger storage rules, regulations around advertising for firearms, and enhanced flagging systems for bulk purchases.

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