I see that business consultant Jean Chrétien apparently regards the Virginia Tech massacre as a vindication of his government’s $2-billion long gun registry debacle. (If the reporter – CP’s Alexander Panetta – thought to ask Chrétien how the Dawson College shooting vindicated the gun registry, sadly Chrétien’s answer has been left out of the Star story.):
“It’s a lot harder to get weapons here in Canada than in the U.S.,” Chrétien said.
“I was pretty stunned to see how easily he [the Virginia Tech shooter] managed to get himself armed to the teeth without any trouble. He would have had to answer a lot more questions here.”
One day after conducting the interview last week, the former Liberal prime minister was asked by the Conservative government to represent Canada at Boris Yeltsin’s funeral in Russia. But during the interview, he took a swipe at the Tories’ hostility to the long-gun registry his government introduced.
Critics have complained the Conservatives have rendered the registry toothless by waiving penalties for people who fail to register their firearms.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day insists the latest one-year amnesty is an attempt to offer recalcitrant gun owners another chance to register their weapons. Chrétien said he can’t understand why people would be dead-set against registering their weapons.
“Apparently, you have to register your dog, no? And your bicycle, too. It’s way less dangerous than a gun,” the former prime minister said.
“There’s nothing to it. ... I don’t understand why we’re having a hard time getting people to register their firearms – when people register their bicycles and pets.”
-- Chrétien defends Liberals' long-gun registry, Virginia Tech carnage shows law's value, former PM argues, Toronto Star, today
Now, this may be more a case of the Star – and not Chrétien – trying to connect Virginia Tech to the long gun registry, but regardless, and for the umpteenth time: the Liberal long-gun registry had no effect on the law regarding registration of handguns and fully-automatic weapons such as AK-47s, M-16s, etc. Handguns have been required to be individually registered since the 1930s. And people don’t have to register their bicycles – not in Toronto, anyway.