Pro-gun supporters at a recent town hall meeting expressed their displeasure with the Liberal government’s plan to ban handguns by arguing with speakers and, in some cases, walking out.
The meeting on the possible federal handgun ban was held at St. Patrick’s Secondary School in Toronto, Sept. 23. The event was hosted by Julie Dabrusin, the MP for Toronto-Danforth and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for Beaches-East York.
Interesting discussion today at our event focused on reducing gun violence, co-hosted with @juliedabrusin. pic.twitter.com/fda4P4TuBS
— Nate Erskine-Smith (@beynate) September 23, 2018
Even though most of the hundreds of people in attendance supported a potential ban, the few dozens against it were clearly more vocal.
Some pro-gun members stood up and argued against some of the points being made by the guest speakers. Others left early, believing they were not being allowed to express their concerns.
“This was a waste of time,” one pro-gun supporter yelled at the panel as he walked out of the auditorium early.
Don Lindsay, from the Canadian Firearms Network, believes the problem with the rise in gun violence in Toronto is not because of the guns themselves, but rather the individuals committing the crimes.
“These people are choosing to behave like idiots,” Lindsay said. “No matter what colour they are or what community they come from, I think we have to come down on these people extremely hard. Banning my whole gun collection isn’t going to change anything on it.”
Lindsay also said meetings like this were meant to attack the pro-gun community.
One of the town hall’s guest speakers was Bill Blair, Toronto’s former police chief and the current Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.
Blair welcomed the diversity of opinions and encouraged the pro-gun community to share their perspective so they can work together to keep the city safe.
“I know their (pro-gun) advocacy is very strong,” Blair said. “I particularly would encourage them to share their ideas on things the government might consider to improve public safety, and to keep those guns away from the people that are committing crimes with them.”
I give full credit to Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau, @BillBlair & @RalphGoodale for beginning an active consultation on actually doing something about gun control. I believe this will have a positive impact on reducing gun violence in cities, including in the City of Toronto.
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) September 20, 2018
Despite the recent rise in crimes in the city, the minister believes Toronto is still one of the safest cities in Canada.
“Compared to other large urban centres across Canada, Toronto remains one of the safest and more livable cities anywhere,” he said.
However, Blair also thinks the spike of violence in the city should not be ignored.
In the coming months, the federal government will discuss a potential ban on all handguns.