This type of approach helps individuals and families build resilience and prevent their involvement in criminal activities resulting in gun violence.
Exercise 1: Reporting a crime
Some participants suggested certain risk factors could be used to inform the screening of individuals trying to acquire firearms, such as mental health issues, a history of violence, or exposure to domestic violence. However, some participants with experience in the mental health sector also cautioned against stigmatizing individuals with mental illness, as they are not more at risk of being violent, particularly if they are undergoing treatment.
They explained the link between mental health and gun violence is often overstated, ignoring the broad range of factors involved. Focus on safe storage: Across almost all sessions, many stakeholders discussed the need to prioritize safe storage of firearms. One stakeholder described the success of this type of initiative in the context of their experience working in a First Nations community, in which community members agreed to voluntary storage in a community gun locker following a period of rampant gun violence.
In contrast, stakeholders that were opposed to limiting access were also against the idea of centralized, non-residential storage, suggesting that it presents a bigger target for firearms theft. Rather, some identified the need for more education on safe storage e. Additionally, some were open to exploring how requirements could be strengthened, such as requiring both firearms and ammunition to be stored separately and securely. Members of the firearms community emphasized further requirements need to be fair and developed in collaboration with gun owners, as they explained that most already comply with the existing regulations.
Provide education opportunities for children and youth: Some stakeholders, particularly those more concerned with the presence of firearms in communities, feel engaging children and youth should be a priority for preventing violence involving firearms. These stakeholders emphasized the importance of early engagement through school-based programs to educate young children e.
Supporting these efforts requires sustained funding. Additionally, some partner-based initiatives were highlighted, such as the partnership between the Calgary Police Service and the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, which provides educational opportunities on law enforcement careers. Many stakeholders highlighted the need to identify and support at-risk youth, especially those who may be in the child welfare system, have experienced trauma, are not attending school regularly, and are exiting gangs or juvenile detention.
More broadly, some stakeholders voiced concerns with how children and youth are increasingly desensitized to gang and gun culture because of the news, popular media and video games.
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As a result, participants noted a public awareness campaign may be helpful, similar to recent ones about driving and texting or driving while under the influence of cannabis. Additionally, a few firearms community members discussed efforts they have taken, such as teaching responsible firearms ownership through youth sports shooting programs.
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Some discussed the need to broaden these types of initiatives into schools to reach higher numbers of children and youth. Many participants feel that firearms owners need to be seen in a more positive light and treated like allies providing valuable expertise and capacity. These stakeholders noted many community members are already contributing to solutions and demonstrating best practices, such as gun clubs providing free firearms safety training, and retailers identifying suspicious behaviour and purchases.
Justice and Security Dialogues | United States Institute of Peace
A few stakeholders also discussed the need for collaboration between CFOs and retailers for more active surveillance of straw purchasing, while some identified a greater role for the Canadian Firearms Program in identifying trends. Explore reporting requirements for healthcare system: One theme discussed by some participants in various sessions is whether healthcare professionals should be responsible for reporting issues that may be related to firearms violence.
Citing the example of Bill 9 in Quebec, some suggested that physicians could be permitted to notify authorities e. For example, reporting may be required when treating an individual for serious mental health issues.
The Power of Restorative Justice Dialogues between Victims and Violent Offenders
More generally, a few participants discussed the need to monitor trends in firearms injuries, or to introduce mandatory reporting of gunshot wounds to police. Additional findings mentioned by some but fewer participants in the in-person roundtables include:. Detailed notes were taken by an independent note-taker to capture the discussion at all eight sessions. These notes were used to write a roundtable summary report for each session, which synthesized the key themes and ideas from stakeholders in response to the discussion questions.
To develop this overall summary report, all roundtable summary reports were reviewed thoroughly to identify the overarching themes from stakeholders across all sessions. The detailed session notes were also reviewed to ensure that key details and quotes were also captured in this report. There were a total of 36 stakeholders who submitted a written submission to Public Safety Canada. The graph provides a breakdown of the different types of stakeholders. The top rationales cited by these stakeholders for their position on a ban and further restrictions include:.
These stakeholders cited the following rationales for supporting a ban and further restrictions:. This is not a compelling enough reason to justify the risk they pose to public safety. While not all stakeholders expressed a clear position on a ban, there were a number of areas of common ground, resulting in shared suggestions to reduce violent crime involving firearms.
This requires the consistent, ongoing collection of relevant and credible data across jurisdictions, as some questioned the criminal intelligence that is currently available. For example, a few participants wondered whether straw purchasing should be a concern, citing a lack of data available. Additionally, one stakeholder felt that reported increases in domestically-sourced vs. Address risk factors underlying firearms violence: Another top theme among stakeholders both in support of and opposed to a ban is to address the risk factors that can be determinants leading to crime and gun violence over time.
More specifically, several stakeholders emphasized the long-term impact of socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, a lack of employment opportunities, inadequate housing, and social exclusion. In their view, there needs to be greater focus on providing the services needed to build more supportive environments and improve socioeconomic conditions. This will help empower individuals and families, particularly in vulnerable communities and major urban centres.
For example, some called for more mental health supports, not only for those affected by gun violence but as a means of primary prevention. Individuals who are apprehended with illegal or illicit firearms must be punished. This includes greater collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, communities most affected by crime involving firearms, rural communities, Indigenous communities and industry groups e.
Leveraging their experience could help decision-makers better understand the issues involved and potential impacts of legislative changes e. For example, this could include promoting best practices for firearms owners e. Law enforcement agencies work with the auto insurance agencies to enhance road safety, why not with firearms? Some felt this requires more adequate funding to support community-level services and reduce barriers to access these services. Additionally, a few stakeholders suggested screening individuals for mental health issues if they are looking to acquire and possess firearms.
For example, one shooting sports club called for enhanced mental health background checks e. However, while mental health-focused organizations agreed with the need for more supports, they expressed strong concern with the misperception that gun violence and mental illness are closely correlated, as this is often exaggerated in media reporting and in the broader public discourse. They explained individuals suffering from mental illness are often discriminated against and criminalized, and that more important determinants of violence include having a history of violence and non-supportive environments —not whether someone has mental health issues.
In their perspective, the term has led to misrepresentation in the media and broader public misunderstanding that implies both harm and availability of fully automatic firearms.
Additionally, some stakeholders noted concerns that certain weapons e. The data from the stakeholder submissions was received in a variety of formats, including Word and PDF documents and emails. Once all submissions were reviewed, the analysis aimed to identify both overarching and divergent themes across stakeholders. Canadians were invited to share their perspectives through mail, email and fax.
A total of 1, letters were received in direct response to the engagement on Reducing Violent Crime. Of these: did not support a limit, did support a limit, 56 requested additional information, and 30 provided feedback on the engagement process. Emails and letters were categorized by one main theme, with priority given to whether they were supportive of or opposed to a potential ban. Many of the emails and letters also had a secondary theme; in particular, many respondents which were opposed to additional limitations also included feedback on the engagement process or a request for information.
Of the responses received, were sent via email, 58 were sent via mail, and 8 were sent via fax. Public correspondence sent to Minister Blair and Minister Goodale has not been included in this analysis. To engage this general public in the dialogue, Public Safety developed and launched a questionnaire that was available online to all Canadians. Throughout the questionnaire, respondents had the opportunity to provide their own perspectives and ideas on what they thought would be most effective. Additionally, respondents answered various profile and demographic questions. Footnote 1.
The questionnaire asked respondents if they currently own a firearm or a handgun. This section summarizes the key findings from the online questionnaire, which reflect the series of quantitative and qualitative questions respondents answered. Analysis of opinions on whether more should be done to limit access to handguns and other demographic information. The questionnaire asked respondents if they believe more should be done to limit access to handguns.
A cross tabulation analyzed the relationship between their answer to this question and other variables, specifically their gun ownership status and demographic information. Firearm owners were more likely to state that no further action should be taken to limit access to handguns. The cross tabulation shows regional variations. The cross tabulation shows variations by gender where women were more supportive than men of further action. The cross tabulation shows variations by area of residence, with urban residents more supportive of action. Analysis of opinions on whether more should be done to limit access to assault-style firearms and other demographic information.
The questionnaire asked respondents if they believe more should be done to limit access to assault weapons. A cross tabulation was completed to analyze the relationship between their answer to this question and other variables, specifically their gun ownership status and demographic information. When asked what more should be done to limit access to handguns and assault-style firearms, respondents who answered the question suggested the following:.