Mass Shootings Raise Concerns About Public Safety In Canada


In the sorrowful evening of 22nd July, 2018 on Danforth Ave., Toronto, 15 innocent citizens became the victims of the firearm. Two girls, age 10 and 18, lost their young lives and the police reported that the gun used in the shooting was obtained illegally.

On August 10th, in the quiet morning of Fredericton, New Brunswick, a mass shooting occurred. Four lives were taken away, including those of two police officers. The suspect purchased the gun legally with a firearm license.

Two mass shootings within one month seems too much for a relatively safe and peaceful country like Canada. The cases draw large public attention and people express their concerns through different methods. On 25th July, a vigil was held on Danforth Ave., where hundreds of people mourned the death and showed determination to change the situation. Toronto Mayor John Tory and other officials attended the meeting and made the speeches about public safety and firearm control. Meanwhile, after the Fredericton shooting, a vigil and memorial was held at St. John’s Church and Fredericton police station.

Aside from the public activities, individuals made their voice heard in various ways. Joshua Cochrane, a local boy of Fredericton, posted a recording on Facebook. In the video, he sang a song adapted from Canadian singer Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to show respect toward the police officers who lost their lives doing the job. Thousands of people were expected to attend the funeral of the officers the following Sunday.

While the tributes mourn the death and comfort the living ones, the action to prohibit future gun violence seems necessary. Both Danforth and Fredericton communities were shocked by the accidents. Some citizens claimed that they do not feel safe in their own houses and neighborhoods anymore. Facing the public safety crisis, the relevant departments managed to deal with the situation by different means. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, used tweeters to support the victims and their families. In response to the Danforth shooting, Mayor Tory promised to commit himself to ensure public safety. He believes that further discussion concerning the legality of the firearm is needed. One week after the Fredericton shooting, The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police finished their annual meeting on August 15th, which tried to address the problem of gun violence.

According to the police chiefs, the real issue that needs to be solved is the illegal source of the firearm, which leads to most of the gun violence in recent years. They believe the current gun control regime in Canada is actually very sufficient. Based on the law, individuals can not purchase firearms unless they have received training and passed the test to obtain firearm licenses. Even the individuals with the licenses can only have access to a limited range of firearms, and there are strict rules concerning the usage of guns. Therefore, they said the law is unlikely to change in the recent future, but the efforts will be focused on fighting illegal firearm exchange.

With the shade that gun violence casts on public safety, the investigations are still ongoing. The public requires decisive action on the part of the authorities to bring back the sense of safety. The tenacity and persistence that brings change to the society are necessary to help them to move on.

Helen Jingshu Yao

An international student in Canada, interested in the topics concerning humanity, feminism, and equal access to education for all.