Focus On

Federal government funds anti-gun programs

Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 3:05 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

In an effort to reduce gun and gang violence and make it harder for criminals to obtain and use handguns and assault weapons, the federal government has pledged ongoing financial support for initiatives designed to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.

The initial funding will be up to $327.6 million over five years. After that, the government pledges it will spend up to $100 million annually.

According to government statistics, there were 2,465 criminal firearms violations in 2016, which is an increase of 30 per cent since 2013. The government also reports that “gang-related homicides continue to involve firearms at a rate significantly higher (76 per cent) than non-gang-related homicides (20 per cent).” Organized crime-related incidents also spiked since 2012, with first-degree murder up 17 per cent, manslaughter up 12 per cent, extortion rising 74 per cent and human trafficking increasing by 300 per cent.

In addition to the funding, the government has also organized a Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs in March 2018. The summit, which expects to hear from law enforcement agencies, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, community and mental health organizations, Indigenous groups, government and non-governmental organizations, will address the challenges, solutions and best practices in the fight against gun crime and gang violence.

“Too many young people have been killed and too many communities have been marred by gun crime and gun violence. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale.

“By working together, we can make our communities safer through greater enforcement, collaboration and prevention. The federal government is making major new investments to tackle this scourge and will bring all levels of government and our partners together to confront this problem at the Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs.”