Last weekend, the movie Joker opened in thousands of theatres across North America, and police and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. were on their guard in case an active shooter seized on the opportunity. Good thing we don’t have to worry about that in Canada, right? But what if I told you though that Canada wasn’t even in the Top 40 of countries with the lowest rate of firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people?
Now you may be thinking that while the news is full of a lot of gang shootings and other violence, you probably didn’t realize the problem was that bad. Of course, when it comes to violent gun crime, it’s not. Of the 13,168 total gun deaths between 2000 and 2016, 75 per cent of them were suicides. Another 240 Canadians each year are hospitalized because of the accidental discharge of a firearm, and 13 annually are killed because of accidental shootings.
In other words, we have a big problem with guns, and while it may not be to the scale of the United States and their epidemic of mass shootings, it’s bigger than we’d probably like to admit. Having said that, gun control is a highly controversial here in Canada, just as it is in the U.S. On the one side are gun owners wanting access to firearms for recreation or safety, and on the other are people looking for more strenuous regulations for the sale and use of firearms.
On the side of the latter is the Coalition for Gun Control. Founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, the Coalition has been working towards the goals of licensing all gun owners, creating a cost-effective system to track gun sales, and banning all hand guns and military-style weapons. To get there, they have the support of more than 200 health, crime prevention, victims, public safety, women’s and community organizations from across Canada.
Dr. Wendy Cukier is a spokesperson and president for the Coalition of Gun Control, and she is this week’s guest on the podcast. Among the things we’ll discuss is why we need to take the issue of gun control beyond the headlines about crime. We also talk about the politics around the debate, how it’s gotten more divisive in the last few years, and why that’s not because of the rural/urban divide. And we discuss the election, the way we talk about gun control in the media, and whether we’re reticent to talk about issues that make us feel unsafe.
So let’s talk about debating gun control on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about the Coalition of Gun Control at their website.
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