Canada bans most guns and has a minuscule number of gun-related homicides a year. But, worried about smuggled firearms from the United States, its government is preparing to stiffen its already tough gun laws and step up border surveillance.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised new regulations and a string of measures to counter gun smuggling, which is regarded in the United States as a dangerous problem underscoring much looser firearm laws.
The move comes as police have discovered an increased number of high-powered handguns, semiautomatic and automatic weapons in Canadian cities.
The 2002 Canadian Police Survey on Youth Gangs and other sources suggest that youth gang members cut across many ethnic, geographic, demographic and socio-economic contexts. However, youth at risk of joining gangs or already involved in gangs tend to be from groups that suffer from the greatest levels of inequality and social disadvantage.
Aboriginal youth are more vulnerable to gang recruitment and organized crime than non-Aboriginal youth and they are increasing in numbers and influence in Western Canada.
Many youth who join gangs have also been identified as youth who are using drugs and already involved in serious and violent crime. Furthermore, youth who display higher levels of previous delinquency are more likely to remain in the gang.
The reasons for joining a youth gang are various. Some seek excitement; others are looking for prestige, protection, a chance to make money or a sense of belonging.
Local officials in Surrey, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, and Halifax have all publicly lamented the rise of gun violence in their cities, and with the absence of provincial and federal support, they have found themselves scrambling to implement their own initiatives.
In Regina, there has been a 94-per-cent increase in violent offences involving guns over the five-year average, and a 163-per-cent increase in the number of victims of firearms offences between 2015 to 2016.