R. Jeanette Martin
David Miller unloads on why his campaign to ban handguns has become a personal crusade
Mayor David Miller tells NOW why he's launched a campaign for a federal ban on handguns.
I'm doing this for the families of those killed by gun violence. Every single time I go to the visitations, a mom asks me to do everything in my power to stop it. I've looked a lot of moms in the eye, and I take this very seriously. When I heard deputations from families at City Hall hearings, I just couldn't keep the tears out of my eyes. I put my head down so people couldn't see.
A GUN BAN'S JUST THE START
We can't have this discussion separate from social justice development strategies. If you just get rid of the guns and don't deal with social justice, where are you? If you deal with social justice and you can't reassure people in neighbourhoods that they can be safe, you can't get anywhere either.
We started with a plan: we hired more police for the streets, then more community workers, then made the call for a federal handgun ban. We need real change. A young person from Jane-Finch who has never been down to Bay Street is disconnected from that part of society. That's what we're trying to solve with our neighbourhood partnership. Then there are the neighbourhood action teams and the work we're doing in priority areas to bring hope and jobs to young people. There are lots of stories of people making changes in their own lives. Crime is down in Toronto in every category in the last two years. What hasn't been dealt with is guns.
SO MUCH TO GAIN
I find it puzzling that Canadians think we have gun laws. The collector law is outrageous. You can own as many guns as you want. That's literally crazy. The gun lobby are like climate change deniers. They say that in England when gun laws were enacted, crime got worse. It's not true.
There's a direct correlation between how strict your gun laws are and how dangerous your society is.
When handgun laws are weak, there are significantly more domestic assaults, significantly more murders, significantly more suicides, significantly more accidental deaths. That's a fact. This has been proven again and again in public health studies all over the world. A gun makes a situation that is bad a tragedy. Always.
WHO ARE WE ANYWAY?
A handgun ban is a moral statement of who we are: do we value safety or do we value this incredibly dangerous hobby? Some people think handguns are designed for sport. They're not. They're designed to kill.
One of the things that makes us proud in Toronto is that we're prosperous and we're equitable and we're a city of social justice. And that we're safe - that's one of our core beliefs. We're not a gun-owning, gun-toting society. But, in fact, because of the laws, we really are.