Toronto Mayor David Miller is taking his campaign to ban handguns to the Internet, asking people across Canada to sign an online petition.
He unveiled his video, now airing on YouTube and the city’s website, after family and friends of those killed by gun violence appeared before the executive committee yesterday making impassioned pleas for action.
People spoke of loved ones lost, lives cut short and the grief of those left behind.
Friends of John O’Keefe, who was an accidental victim in a shooting on a January night on a Yonge St. sidewalk after he left a bar to go home, told the pain and suffering of his 9-year-old son.
“As a result of a single gunshot, Iain will never see his dad again. He never got the chance to say goodbye, or give him a hug, or tell him how much he loved him,” said Jennifer Allen, reading a letter from Iain’s mother Teresa Kaufman.
In a statement yesterday, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day noted handguns are already banned in this country except for a few legitimate purposes, a category that includes police officers, target shooters and approved collectors. Miller wants to see the ban extended to target shooters and collecters.
Even though the municipal government does not have the power to prohibit handguns within its borders, Miller insisted that the city can turn up the pressure to influence the federal government to declare an outright ban on handguns except for law enforcement officers.
“People heard an extraordinary testament by those whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence,” Miller told reporters. “I think those stories are so powerful no government can ignore them.”
At Queen’s Park, Attorney General Chris Bentley said he hopes the online petition will spur results.