Ottawa city council has opted against taking its own stand on banning handguns, deciding instead to send the matter to the police services board.
Coun. Rawlson King had called for Mayor Jim Watson to lobby the federal government for a ban, and for Ottawa police to be more proactive in stamping out gun violence. King also wanted police to offer a voluntary handgun buy-back.
But because council doesn’t have the authority to tell the police chief what to do, Coun. Eli El-Chantiry asked for King’s entire motion to be sent to the police board.
King agreed with the move Wednesday.
“I do believe we can have a greater conversation on this and look at the root causes of gun violence,” King said.
Gun owners drown out rally
Outside City Hall Wednesday morning, some legal gun owners shouted down a rally supporting King’s call for a ban. The counter-protesters found some support around the council table.
“I’m disappointed in the motion that my colleague, King, would want to blame the 60,000 legal gun owners and sports shooters in this city who have not contributed to these crimes,” said Coun. Allan Hubley.
Tracey Wilson, of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights explained to me why sports shooters are not the problem, and wants King and others to focus on combatting crime in other ways. #ottcity #ottnews pic.twitter.com/28s2u01ybD
King said he respects the right of all residents to express their views, and acknowledged banning handguns can be a “polarizing” issue.
“I’m not trying to target anybody specifically,” he said. “These things are important to me, and I want serious solutions and not simply slogans.”