It seems like each new day brings a new incident of gun violence in Toronto. And on Friday, the city's chief of police revealed that more than 300 people who are facing Toronto gun charges are currently out on bail in the city. Yes, you read that number right.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters today that 326 people who have been charged with gun crimes are out on bail right now. In a news conference at Toronto Police Headquarters, Saunders addressed the recent string of gun violence in the city.
"I've said in the past if the expectations are that we are going to arrest ourselves out of this, we simply are not," said Saunders.
That's clearly a worrying statement, particularly from the city's top cop.
"What we're hoping to do is establish a stronger relationship with our courts," Saunders added.
Saunders went on to add that the number of people being granted bail after being charged with at least one gun offence is being monitored by Toronto Police.
Unsurprisingly, that assurance doesn't seem to have put people at ease.
@CP24 And there's the problem right there. Tougher gun laws and criminal charges carrying automatic jail time is the only deterrent.— Thirsty (@Thirsty) 1565364980
@TWilsonOttawa That's why front line officers are frustrated! They do their best getting these criminals off the st… https://t.co/1CoSWjUXGg— Kevin Curry (@Kevin Curry) 1565368859
@CP24 Saying this for a Long Time. It’s not the Police. It’s our Courts. We need Minimum Sentences & NO BAIL for Po… https://t.co/nF7qbQVAIB— ToronTory (@ToronTory) 1565365204
@680NEWS The thing is that these people are being released on bail. It's teaching them that it's OK to have guns or… https://t.co/drVoB14AVq— Brittney Spinks (@Brittney Spinks) 1565363225
Saunders' comments come after a violent 10 days in the city which has seen more than 20 shootings. Fourteen of those incidents occurred over the long weekend with 17 people being injured.
Toronto Mayor John Tory agreed with the chief and urged the court system to fully comprehend the impact gun violence is having in Toronto right now.
In the statement, Tory also reiterated his stance on strict gun control but also pointed out there needs to be more done.
"It is also high time we saw some further co-operation from within the justice system," said Tory.
Mayor Tory issued a statement in response to Saunders' news conference calling for greater cooperation from the jus… https://t.co/TSfgQ09dCV— Linda Ward (@Linda Ward) 1565369729
Saunders did note that making adjustments to bail is not the only way to combat gun violence and significantly decrease or stop shootings from happening, though he was not forthcoming with alternative options.
Meanwhile, at another press conference in Kitchener on Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was asked about a possible hand gun ban.
"That's not the solution," Ford said.