TORONTO — Anti-gun violence activists in Toronto weighed in on recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
“I can’t imagine,” Louis March, founder of the Zero Gun Violence, said. “I can’t imagine.”
“The government would have to step in and really examine what took place,” he said. “What was broken, why did it happen? There would be a public outcry. We don’t want to be like America.”
He said gun violence is an issue in the city, but what separates Canadian and U.S. statistics is the magnitude of the violence. Weapons like AR-15s are federally prohibited in Canada, and March said many of the shooting victims and families he has dealt with are victims of handgun shootings.
“A mass shooting to us is one or two,” said March.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 in the United States, 10.6 people per 100,000 died from gun violence, while in Canada, 2.1 per 100,000 died.
Dr. Jooyoung Lee, associate professor of sociology and faculty member at the Centre for the Study of the United States, said Canada is not a utopia when it comes to gun violence and its laws to prevent it, but the U.S. could benefit from mirroring some of its measures.
“Guns are too easy to get in the United States,” Lee said. “And a lot of the injuries and deaths that we hear about could have been prevented if there were more common-sense laws in place,” said Lee, who pointed out the gun licensing process in Canada that requires letters of recommendation, background checks and months-long waiting periods.
Activist March said sharing a border with a nation like the U.S., which has a patchwork of gun laws on a state-by-state basis, complicates gun violence issues in Canada.