Olivia Chow may have left federal politics, but that doesn’t mean she’s done meddling in them.
Yesterday at a press conference on the campaign trail (a trail that Chow seems very fond of), Chow vowed that if elected mayor, she’d do everything in her power to ban handguns, which peculiarly isn’t all that much. Legislation on handguns (and the whole issue of the gun registry) are in the federal government’s jurisdiction, not municipal. It’s funny then that this is an issue that Olivia Chow of all people would bring to the table, given that she left federal politics just recently to become a municipal politician. Her standing as a Member of Parliament would have been much more conducive to bringing change in our gun laws, than as the mayor of Toronto.
It’s possible that her past as a federal politician may give her the connections to ask her peeps in Parliament for favours. Heck, maybe Chow and Mulcair even still do potlucks!
Whether or not Chow has any power to spark change in that department (we bet the latter), it doesn’t seem to be an issue that anybody else thinks would even be that effective in stopping violence. Chow’s arch-nemesis John Tory took this opportunity to criticize Chow for making an “empty gesture”. Tory seems to think that banning handguns does very little to keep the weapons out of the hands of the criminals who actually pull the triggers.
And he’s probably right. In the city of Chicago, which has a population size very close to that of Toronto, gun shops are banned, but the terrible violence that plagues it is still very much present. Most guns used in street killings are bought on the streets, and brought in through the black market.
What is the state of legality of handguns anyway? Handguns are “restricted” weapons, meaning that there are a host of requirements. Briefly: you must have a Possession and Acquisition Licence, to gain which you must undergo a background check, pass a safety course, pass an exam, and wait 28 days before being granted the weapon; you must also have an Authorization to Transport, issued by the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of their provincial or territorial jurisdiction, in order to transport a restricted firearm from one location to another; and get the thing registered and verified with a verified verifier.
So, to recap, Olivia Chow quit a job where she had the authority to try to ban handguns (and never attempted to), to run for a new position where she does not have that power (but she will try to anyway), despite handguns already being restricted, and an additional ban likely only having a marginal effect. Well, at least she’s ambitious.