CALGARY – Calgary councillor George Chahal and the Liberal’s Kent Hehr held a joint conference Thursday morning to address gun violence in the city.
"I’m considering bringing forward a notice of motion to Calgary city council, working with the Calgary Police Service and other orders of government, to ensure that we have the appropriate policies moving forward including significant criminal code changes and resources to support law-enforcement and prosecutions," said Chahal. "I hope that these measures would include prevention strategies that will deter youth from getting involved in crime."
Chahal hopes to bring a motion to council after the federal election
Police investigated more than double the amount of shootings in Calgary this summer compared to the same time last year, with most taking place in the city’s northeast.
Chahal says of the 64 shootings reported in the city from January until end of August, 25 (39 per cent) happened in Ward 5. He says the city needs to take a multifaceted approach to tackle the high numbers.
"We need to focus on illicit gun sales and cross-border smuggling," said Chahal. "Furthermore, just as we have done with the tobacco industry and now with the pharmaceutical industry, gun manufactures, lobbyists and retailers need to be held responsible where they have been complicit in the irresponsible and illegal trafficking of handguns and restricted firearms."
Chahal also acknowledges that a significant number of gun owners are law abiding citizens and it’s unfortunate they bare unnecessary scrutiny.
The topic of gun violence has also been addressed recently on the campaign trail. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau reiterated his party’s gun control plan which would give power to cities to ban handguns.
It’s a very personal issue for Hehr who’s seeking re-election in Calgary Centre. Hehr was the victim of a drive by shooting in Calgary in 1991 that left him a quadriplegic.
Hehr supports Chahal’s potential motion to ban handguns and calls it admirable. "We as politicians should have as our number one priority as safety and communities and there is no doubt that handgun violence not only in this city but across the country is on the rise."
Dr. Josh Ng-Kamstra of Canadian Doctors for Protection From Guns also participated in the announcement.