YWCA Toronto Statement on Gun Control
May 1, 2020
YWCA Toronto applauds today’s announcement by the Prime Minister banning 1,500 models of military-grade assault weapons effective immediately. As a founding member of the Coalition for Gun Control, YWCA Toronto has advocated for a national ban on handguns and assault weapons for almost 30 years.
While the federal government’s announcement today is a step in the right direction, we firmly believe that handguns must be eliminated as well. Handguns are designed for killing and should not be readily available in cities or in rural communities. Additionally, the federal government must address the social determinants of gun violence, such as poverty and inequality, in order to enhance the safety of all Canadians.
“Banning assault rifles is a much-needed step in the right direction, especially during a pandemic when gun sales have risen. But any weapons ban that does not include a ban on handguns misses the mark. Handguns figure prominently in domestic violence and are used to threaten and kill women. They are also implicated in other forms of community violence,” says Heather McGregor, CEO of YWCA Toronto. “You cannot reduce gun violence and the loss of life without a complete and total ban of handguns and without addressing the structural conditions that lead to violence such as poverty, racial and gender inequality, and barriers to mental health services.”
Gun homicides and shootings in Toronto have actually increased in 2020 compared to the same period last year. While illegal handguns are usually implicated in these shootings, it is important to note all illegal weapons begin as legal firearms. Only a federal handgun ban will reduce the availability of these illegal weapons in communities across Canada and decrease their ease of access.
We commend the Prime Minister on the action taken today but call for additional steps to ban handguns and address the precursors to violence.
For More Information
Heather McGregor, CEO, YWCA Toronto, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-961-8101 x312
Jasmine Ramze Rezaee, Manager of Advocacy, YWCA Toronto, email@example.com, 416-797-9648
About YWCA Toronto
YWCA Toronto is the city’s largest multi-service women’s organization. We are committed to ending poverty, violence and systemic oppression faced by women, girls and gender-diverse communities.