Politicians work Quebec on gun bans

Politicians are playing the ‘ban semi-auto firearms’ game in Quebec – no doubt as a sop to Quebec votes in an anticipated federal election – as witness NDP leader Jack Layton’s foray into the province. Layton met with the committee that was formed after the Dawson College shooting and gave them the message they wanted to hear.

The federal government should ban private ownership of semi-automatic rifles like the gun Kimveer Gill used during his shooting rampage at Dawson College, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton says.

“The answer to gun violence is not to end the gun registry – it’s to ensure that assault weapons do not end up on city streets,” Layton told a receptive audience at the CEGEP yesterday, during an event organized by the Dawson Committee for Gun Control.

Canada’s firearms law, which includes restrictions on some guns and mandatory registration of others, is an effective tool to maintain public safety, Layton said. There have been 300 fewer gun deaths a year in Canada since the gun rules were adopted in 1995, he noted.

Of course Layton has been playing that tune from the beginning, particularly in Toronto where gang shootings have the politicians in a tizzy. As we all know, what is good for Toronto is good for the country. 

The Dawson Committee for Gun Control was formed immediately after the shooting at Dawson College where one student was killed. Predictably, their public statements have called for gun bans, mostly for semi-autos but in other cases for pretty much everything and of course for the continued maintenance of the federal firearms registry. No doubt they are heavily supported by the Coalition for Gun Control, Wendy Cukier’s rabidly anti-gun organization.

There was also a report in the Vancouver Province newspaper (no link) that Quebec Premier Jean Charest, – his government recently reduced to minority status – has indicated that it will table legislation to “limit the use of restricted firearms, such as the semi-automatic weapon used by Kimveer Gill during his shooting rampage at Dawson College……”.

I am not sure how this would work, as firearms are covered under federal legislation. Although in typical political fashion it probably hasn’t been thought through by the bureaucrats. In politics the headline is the important thing. Then you can gauge the reaction and if it’s favourable see if the damned thing was possible in the first place.

But Charest says that it wouldn’t affect hunting guns. Thanks for that, pal.

I am curious as to what Charest is trying to accomplish here, other than it was one of his many political promises during the provincial election. But he causes some problems for Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has recently reiterated his intention to dump the federal long-gun registry and who just gave Quebec more than several truck loads of money in the recent federal budget.

Or he may be trying to out the ADQ party which doesn’t appear to be as dogmatically anti-gun as the provincial Liberals and the PQ.

Or maybe it is just more political blathering. Sometimes you make the mistake of trying to read intelligent thought into all of this.


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