TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - The Coalition for Gun Control (the Coalition) launched a national and hard-hitting advocacy campaign today in Toronto urging Canadians to let the federal government know that they want an immediate ban on civilian ownership of handguns and military assault weapons. The national advocacy campaign, titled Trigger Change, aims to encourage Canadians to go online and use their voices as ammunition to help pass gun control legislation.
To stress the urgent need for action, a 13 ft tall bullet sculpture shaped like an exclamation mark was temporarily displayed next to the city's iconic TORONTO sign.
Stacey King, the mother of three young children, ages five, seven and nine, who were shot while playing at an east-end park's playground in Toronto this past June says, "My girls were playing in the park near our home when they were shot. Thankfully they survived, but our lives have been changed forever. Mothers of children that have been shot do not want prayers or flowers. We want gun control. It's clear to me and I hope it will be clear to you. Canadians have a choice to make: our handguns and our military assault weapons or our children. We need to act before it's too late."
The rise in gun violence is not unique to Toronto, but rather is part of a larger, even more troubling Canadian trend. From 2013 to 2017, the country's firearm-related crimes increased by over 40 per cent.1 Handguns currently account for nearly 60 per cent of shooting homicides,2 while an increasing proportion of crime guns that have been traced, are coming from within Canada as opposed to the U.S.
According to Wendy Cukier, President of the Coalition for Gun Control, "I have been working on this for almost 30 years. We have missed opportunities to take decisive action in the past. In 2006, there were around 300,000 legally owned handguns, now we have almost 1 million. We are reaching a tipping point from which there is no return."
Young Activist Meagan Trush, who lives in Toronto but grew up in a rural area outside Thunder Bay, Ontario where hunting and fishing are popular ways to spend a weekend, says, "It's part of the reason I'm even more convinced that no one needs a handgun or military assault weapon. You don't use a handgun to shoot deer, and you can't hunt partridge with an AR-15 –these are guns designed to kill people. Our tolerance in Canada of owning those types of guns for hobby has led to their proliferation, which creates more risk that they'll be used to hurt people, both now and for future generations. We need more than words. We need action. I hope that this campaign is the start of a new movement to prioritize the safety of our communities."
The bullet sculpture installation kicks off a national integrated media campaign aimed at keeping gun control in the public eye and is supported on social media, in cinema, and with a series of high-impact billboards around the GTA. All communications include a call to action, directing viewers to visit TriggerChange.ca, where Canadians can sign a formal House of Commons e-petition to ban the sale of handguns and assault weapons, contact their MP, and share their support online.
1Statistics Canada, "Firearm Related Violent-Crime, 2009 to 2017" August 27, 2018
2Statistics Canada, "Firearm Related Violent-Crime, 2009 to 2017" August 27, 2018
SOURCE Coalition for Gun Control
For further information: on the Coalition for Gun Control, please visit guncontrol.ca