Canada

Many Canadians feel gun violence getting worse in their communities: poll


Many Canadians say gun violence is increasing in the communities they live in, with residents in major cities and the country’s largest provinces mostly reporting such views, according to a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute.


The Angus Reid Institute recently polled about 5,000 Canadians and found that overall, 43 per cent believe gun violence is increasing in the area where they live.


Fifty-one per cent said gun violence is the same, while six per cent believed it was decreasing, according to the survey results.


Sixty per cent say gun violence is rising in their province, with residents in Quebec (75 per cent) and Ontario (66 per cent) more likely to say so.


Canadians in urban areas (46 per cent) were more likely to report increased gun violence than those in rural communities (29 per cent), Angus Reid says.


Montreal (65 per cent), Halifax (56 per cent) and Toronto (54 per cent) were the cities whose residents were most likely to say their communities have seen increases in gun violence.


“While the belief in the increased volume of shootings isn’t as strong in other urban areas in the country, the proportion of respondents who believe gun violence is becoming less frequent tops out at one in 10,” the report says.


Angus Reid says the polling matches Statistics Canada data, which confirms that firearm-related offences have been on the rise, increasing to nearly 10.9 per 100,000 people in 2020.


About one in three homicides in Canada in 2020 involved a firearm, nearly half by a handgun, according to Statistics Canada.


In 2020, police reported 277 firearm-related homicides, up six per cent from 2019 and the second year in a row that the rate has risen in Canada.


The Angus Reid report noted that Canadians who believe gun violence is increasing are more likely to say firearm laws need tightening, with survey results coming in at 63 per cent.


Among those who believe gun violence is decreasing, 44 per cent said the rules around guns are too strict, while 15 per cent said they want stricter laws.


The divide also exists depending on whether a respondent owns or previously owned a firearm, according to Angus Reid.


Eighty-eight per cent of current gun owners say the rules are either too strict or about right. A majority of past owners, those living with a gun in their home, and people who know a friend or family member who owns a gun shared similar thoughts.


Of the respondents who don’t own a firearm or know anyone who does, which represents almost half of those surveyed, 57 per cent said they want stricter laws.


The majority of those surveyed (66 per cent) also said they believe national rules should be set around gun policy, although this varied between provinces, with a smaller majority sharing this view in Alberta and 47 per cent in Saskatchewan.

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