Seeking a solution to gun violence

Toronto activist Louis March had some disconcerting news for the Canadian Senate when he testified before its Standing Committee on  National Security and Defence last Monday.

It was Family Day in Canada, a public holiday, but March, the founder of the  Zero Gun Violence Movement, had taken the long ride to Ottawa along with two other Toronto community activists to let the Committee know how bad the gun situation in  Canada’s largest city has become.

The Committee was studying  Bill C -71, legislation to tighten Canada’s firearms law, and surely, the well-informed senators would have had the statistical information about gun homicides in Toronto. Those figures, of course, are easy enough to obtain.

But do they tell the full story? Do those who sit in the Red Chamber realize how easy it is to get a gun in Toronto?

Well, March who works closely with communities impacted by gun violence, told the Committee how easy it is. He said that the young people are saying that it is easier for them to get a gun than a job.

And we no  reason to doubt the veracity of that statement.

Unfortunately, this particular piece of news did not make headlines in the Canadian press.. In fact, what March said  to the Senate Committee passed unnoticed in  mainsteam media.

But we believe that it is important enough an issue to  give it the attention it deserves in The Caribbean Camera. There are many in our own  community who are dying because of gun violence.

There were other serious concerns raised at the Senate Committee meeting which also deserve special mention.

Evelyn Fox of Toronto whose son was killed by a stray bullet in 2016, noted the impact of gun violence on a particular community.

She told the Committee that “one act of violence, one bullet that took one person’s life, affects hundreds of people.”

Fox  pointed out that “we have hurting communities that see this on a regular basis, that are dying inside. There are little kids suffering from PTSD and have no impulse control, and what happens is the cycle keeps going and going, ”

When will it end? we keep asking. And are we any closer to a solution to the problem?

Fox , like so many other activists, spoke out in support of  Bill C-71.

We are pleased to note that a former gang leader also testified  before the Committee.

To tackle the problem of  gun violence, he suggested ” long-term funding through social economic programming, dealing with mental health, dealing with things on a grassroots level.”

His suggestion cannot  be discounted. He too has important insights to share with all those who are looking for a solution to the  scourge of gun violence.

We hope that the Committee recognizes this.

March is calling for a”  more robust and intelligent gun administration policy.” And not for the first time. We  also hope that the Senate is paying attention to what he  had to say.

And in the final an analysis, let us not forget the solution to the problem of gun violence has to be community-driven.