Gun-related violence is a complex issue

In response to a National Post article published yesterday about a new study  claiming gun control legislation and the decline in homicide rates are not linked, I wrote the following letter to the editor:

I think we can all agree that ending gun violence is not simple. There are many different social and economic factors that contribute to gun violence – poverty and inequality being two important factors no doubt. It is very dangerous however, to imply as Langmann’s study does that gun control on restricted and non-restricted firearms has had no impact on declining rates of gun related homicide.

There are several studies that precede Langmann’s, such as the one published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Justice, as well as others published by Stats Can, which show very clearly that the decline in gun-related violence, especially against women, is connected to legislative measures taken by the Government of Canada.

Can gun control be attributed to the whole of the decrease? No, but Bill C-68 is associated with an average reduction in 250 homicides and 50 suicides each year according to the Institut National de santé publique du Québec. Even if gun control only saved one person’s life a year, the legislative measures would be worth it.

Should we as a society take action to address the root causes of gun violence and gender based violence more general? Absolutely! Gun related violence is a complex issue, which calls for complex responses – both in terms of increasing our efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, as well as ensuring firearms are properly licensed and registered to the greatest extent possible. So let’s do all that we can to keep Canadians safe.

– Brenda Wallace, Canadian Federation of University Women National President

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