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Panel on security wrestles with problem of civilians owning guns

Panel on security wrestles with problem of civilians owning guns

Civilian possession of guns has undermined global and national efforts to control small arms and light weapons, but what can be done and what are the issues? That’s what the York Centre for International & Security Studies (YCISS) will examine at its Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian Security Lecture Series.

Four speakers will untangle some of the issues at Guns & Global Security: From Neighbourhoods to the United Nations, which will take place Thursday, April 22, from 7 to 9pm at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel, 525 Bay St., Toronto. Admission is free.

Canada is a producer and exporter of arms, as well as a recipient of both legal and less than legal transfers of weapons, mainly from the United States. For Canadians this has translated into greater numbers of guns on city streets and a more dangerous environment for the country’s military forces when they are deployed abroad.

Right: Barbara Falk

The problem of civilian possession will be addressed at multilateral arms control negotiations under the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms & Light Weapons (SALW) and the Arms Trade Treaty. These discussions will explore the relationship of civilian possession of arms and problems of control, both domestic and international, for creating conditions of security and insecurity.

The panel for the YCISS discussion is comprised of Ryerson Professor Wendy Cukier of the York-Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture; Ken Epps, senior program associate at Project Ploughshares; York criminology Professor James Sheptycki; Gregory Getty of the Toronto Police Service; and moderator Barbara Falk of Canadian Forces College.

Left: Wendy Cukier

The panel hopes to address some of the fundamental issues, such as how the concept of “civilian possession” should be interpreted under SALW and identifying the problems with civilian possession of small arms and light weapons faced by Canadian Forces.

The panellists will examine the problems and prospects of regulating small arms proliferation within Canada and the United States and whether civilian possession of weapons in Canada and the US needs to be addressed by state and non-state actors. They will also discuss what effect the multilateral arms control negotiations will have on arms trade as practised by Canada and the United States.

Since 2003, YCISS has held two annual public lecture series on contemporary issues in Canadian security, each exploring a current dilemma facing Canadian defence and security. The goal of the Contemporary Dilemmas in Canadian Security Lecture Series is to raise public awareness of the issues we face as Canadians, and to contribute to the public discussion of those issues. The lecturers are drawn from York University, across Canada and around the world to provide informative, challenging reflections on the issues of the day.

This event is partly sponsored by the Guns, Crime and Social Order research project, an ongoing project that seeks to examine the relationship between weaponization and social cohesion.

To pre-register for the event, click here. For more information, visit the YCISS Web site.