Liberal MLA David Swann has released the following statement on gun violence and proposed federal legislation on gun control:
Gun violence is a public health and safety issue, not just a criminal justice issue. It causes direct loss of life and injury as well as far-reaching emotional and mental health issues.
I stand with the Coalition for Gun Control in their call for a more comprehensive strategy. I applaud the Federal Government Bill for taking steps such as an improved screening process and stricter record keeping requirements for gun retailers. However, the federal government needs to consider other actions including:
- More rigorous screenings, including more routine licensing checks and interval reassessments.
- Banning of assault weapons capable of automatic function and sniper rifles.
- Regularly updating the prohibited and restricted lists consistent with the advice of police experts.
- Launching a national awareness program to highlight the risks associated with firearms in suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries
- Reinstating evidence based approaches which consider firearms in the context not just of street crime but domestic violence, suicide, and injury.
- Increase public awareness by providing open and transparent access to data on guns and gun ownership, firearms death and injury.
- Establishing a system to track all gun sales and eliminate the loop holes that allow secondary sales with no accountability.
- Harmonize reporting of fire arm injuries across Canada.
We must take comprehensive action including education, access to data and the health impacts on Canadian citizens if we are to fully address the harms of gun violence in our society.