How do guns make their way onto Toronto streets? What role do gangs play in the rise in shootings in the GTA? And how effective can policy promises, police, and community action be in battling violent crime?
As federal parties launch their plaforms and city hall debates its budget, the Star is launching a new series, Loaded Questions. Starting Wednesday, Oct. 9, we will look behind the rhetoric and tell you what we know — and don’t know — about guns and gangs in Toronto and the GTA, the problems, and the potential solutions.
As of Oct. 1, Toronto has seen 342 shootings in 2019, the highest year-to-date number since at least 2014. There have been a number of proposed solutions to the growing problem:
- In the meantime, some Toronto councillors have pushed to increase programming for at-risk youth, saying that will address the roots of the issues.
- Combatting crime has also become major platform issue for the federal leaders. On the campaign trail, the major parties have released details about their approaches to gun control. The Liberals announced plans to ban the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle if elected. The party — alongside the New Democrats and the Greens — would also support more restrictions on handguns, including removing federal barriers to allow municipalities to ban handguns, as requested by Toronto mayor John Tory and leaders in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have promised to repeal parts of C-71 — recent gun legislation that enhanced background checks, among other changes — and have come out strongly against a handgun ban, saying it penalizes legal gun owners.
What do you want to know about guns and gang activity in Toronto? Share your thoughts in the conversations below, or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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