TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /CNW/ - This morning, victims' advocates, gun control advocates and women's organizations urged Toronto City Council to add their weight to the call on the McGuinty government to do all it can to preserve the Ontario gun registry data.
This week Toronto City Council will be voting on a motion introduced by Councillor Wong-Tam that contains a number of measures Council can take to promote gun control in Toronto.
While most Torontonians may think of handguns when they think of guns, there are more than 287,000 "non-restricted" firearms registered in the GTA alone. Most firearm-related deaths in Canada are caused by rifles or shotguns. These are also the type of firearms most often used in domestic violence and when police officers are shot on duty.
"We are asking the Ontario government to take every possible measure to protect the Ontario gun registry data. Quebec has shown leadership on this issue. Ontarians expect the same commitment to public safety from our government," said Heather McGregor, YWCA Toronto CEO. "Guns are an instrument of violence not just because they can be used to harm and kill. As women from across the country have told us, guns are also used to intimidate, subdue and control women."
"Mother's Day is just around the corner, one of the most difficult days of the year for those who have lost a child to violence," said Priscilla de Villiers whose daughter was murdered with a gun. "Gun violence can be prevented. Victims of violence want guns to be available only to properly registered and licensed gun owners. A safe community requires police to have all the tools to solve murders and bring them closure. The registry data can help trace rifles and shotguns to their last legal owners if they end up being used in crime. This data should not be deleted."
"In Toronto, rifles and shotguns are a substantial proportion of the guns recovered in crime while in smaller communities like York region they outnumber handguns two to one. Our research has shown that gun theft and the diversion of legal guns into illegal markets is a major source of illegal guns," said Wendy Cukier, President of the Coalition for Gun Control. "Without registration data there is no way to trace recovered guns back to their source and it is harder to prevent legal guns from entering illegal markets. Police associations have testified that destroying the data will hamper efforts to fight the illegal gun trade. We know that data from the registry is used thousands of times each year to help support police investigations and solve crimes."
"City Council has an obligation to work with our Toronto Police Service to ensure that they have the efficient policing tools to keep our streets safe. In the recent past, our city has been scarred with the moniker 'Year of the Gun' and we must not let history repeat itself," said Councillor Wong-Tam, whose motion will be debated by City Council this week.
For further information:
For more information, contact Sarah Blackstock, YWCA Director of Advocacy & Communications at 416-892-6845 or Melissa Wong, Constituency Assistant to Councillor Wong-Tam at 416-873-4372.