Envoy Carried Illegal Handgun: Flouted Canada's Strict Weapons Laws

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Robinson has created a ruckus with his admission that, in defiance of Canada's strict gun laws, he always carried a snub-nosed .38 in his briefcase.

Known in Canada as the "cowboy ambassador" for his outspoken manner and his description of the country as a "great big Idaho," Mr. Robinson revealed his pistol-packing ways in interviews conducted by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.

The Arlington-based organization founded by retired U.S. Foreign Service officers conducted the interview as part of a collection of oral histories of American diplomats. The collection, which dates back to the 1920s, is housed at Georgetown University.

Mr. Robinson, whose comments to the organization were reported recently by Canadian news media, admitted that by carrying the weapon wherever he went in his armored car, he was going "against regulation." "In the back seat in a briefcase there was always a snub-nosed .38- caliber gun," said Mr. Robinson, who was an insurance executive before President Reagan appointed him as ambassador to Canada from 1981 to 1985.

Stuart Kennedy, director of the Associates for Diplomatic Studies and Training, explained that during Mr. Robinson's time in Canada, American diplomats from "all over the world were being sought by Libyan and other groups."

"There were hit squads wandering around," he said.

Despite this, carrying an unregistered gun is a criminal offense in Canada, said Sgt. …