Addressing gun violence - Banning handguns in the City of Toronto

Our city is still reeling and collectively grieving after the senseless act of violence on The Danforth just over a week ago. As we come together to mourn and remember those affected, we must commit to tackling gun violence.

We need a comprehensive plan that includes investing, not cutting, mental health supports for those in our community. We also need stricter gun control - Toronto streets are no place for handguns. I was proud to move a motion that City Council endorsed calling on the Province and Federal government to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in Toronto, which the Federal government has recently indicated it will closely review.

As we work to protect and comfort neighbours in the immediate aftermath of violence, our work to build stronger neighbourhoods long term must remain our focus. Youth employment, strong mentorship, social development plans - all are part of building strong and safe neighbourhoods. My motion at the July Board of Health meeting to significantly increase investment in our Youth Violence Prevention Plan, Community Crisis Response Program, and Community Crisis Response Fund was approved, and given final approval at last week’s City Council meeting.

In addition, I was pleased to vote in favour of proposed $30 million investment into community violence prevention programs, including expanding the Pre-Charge diversion (piloted in Ward 20), additional youth mentorship, and more.

We need a comprehensive plan to combat the root causes of violence in our communities, in addition to getting handguns out of Toronto. Our work last week was an important step in that direction.