After a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd on Danforth Avenue in Toronto on Sunday night, killing two people and himself, officials and political organizers have scrambled to address ways to curb the still rare but alarmingly more frequent instances of gun violence in Canada.
In Toronto, alone, the number of gun-related deaths this year is over 50% higher than that at the same time last year. According to Statistics Canada, violent crime is also increasing across the country.
While Canadians should address root issues of inequality at the heart of the rise in crime, bans on weapons are a good way to prevent the kind of weekly tragedies like those in the United States, where the wide availability of guns allows murderers to kills dozens of people at once.
This time, Canadian policy makers are considering a radical proposal that could have a huge impact on public safety: a nationwide ban on handguns. Since handguns are used in most gun-related crimes, such a ban could dramatically decrease the number of injuries and fatalities across the country.
According to The Globe And Mail, the Trudeau government is seriously exploring the impact of making handguns illegal in Canada. The Toronto City Council just implemented a handgun ban and is pressuring the federal government to do the same.
The announcement about a decision on the ban will likely not come until at least the end of August.
The prohibition on handguns will probably not affect police departments, though there's no word on a law enforcement exemption yet.
More troubling, perhaps, is the flow of illegal guns from the United States. Gun-smuggling is a lucrative business particularly in eastern Canada.
A crack-down on the importation of weapons would only increase tensions at the U.S.-Canada border, where a number of incidents involving more aggressive American policy and emboldened U.S. agents have made international headlines.