Yesterday we saw a tragedy unfold as 29-year-old Faisal Hussain shot up some shops on streets of Toronto, Canada. (Of course, his family is devastated and insists this is a case of mental illness rather than terrorism… perish the thought.) They hadn’t even finished treating all the wounded when Tonronto Mayor John Tory was asking questions such as, why does anyone need a gun at all?
That was clearly setting the stage for his next move. Not long after, Tory was making his case to the public and declaring that the mass shooting was reason enough for a total ban on guns. (Washington Times)
“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” he said, going on to claim that total disarmament would be worth it if it prevented a single mass shooting.
“I know answering questions like this won’t fully eliminate tragedies like this, but even if we can prevent one of these incidents, then in my view it is a discussion worth having and having very soon,” he said.
Washington, D.C., had a similar total ban on handguns, but it was struck down in 2008 by the landmark Heller decision on the basis that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
Even before Sunday night’s rampage, blamed on a Toronto man named Faisal Hussain, the city had seen in recent weeks a spike in shootings.
In case you were wondering, gun laws in Canada are nearly nonexistent compared to any large, U.S. city. They do require registration for handguns and certain other firearms and everyone wishing to own one needs to obtain a license, but they traditionally haven’t gotten carried away with it. Their gun crime rates, while on the rise recently, still only amounted to 2,465 “criminal violations involving firearms” (that’s not just killings or even shootings) in 2016. And let’s face it… a figure like that barely adds up to a bad month in Baltimore or Chicago.
Canada was looking at adding some new layers of gun laws earlier this year, but they were mostly discussing additional screening for those with histories of violence or mental illness. Much of the nation’s population is rural with a long history of hunting and shooting, so firearms are largely an accepted part of the cutlure, though they don’t technically have a constitutionally enshrined right the way Americans do. A recent study indicates that more than one in five households in Canada owned at least one firearm.
So how do you suppose Canadians will react to Tory’s call for a complete ban and confiscation of all firearms? It might go over well enough in Toronto (and even that’s a serious maybe) but I imagine the country as a whole isn’t quite ready to drink the Koolaid at those levels. We’ll keep an eye on the story as it develops, though. Without a constitutional right, Canadians are at the whim of their government when it comes to such things and they have been electing increasingly liberal leaders of late. A national gun ban could very well be a bridge too far in that trend, however.