Would more firearms make the UK safer?

Worldwide the UK is always cited as an example of how peaceful a society without easy access to firearms is.  We are always told how safe we are in the UK with our low amount of gun ownership and low gun crime and this is always usually contrasted with the United States. The US with their high rate of gun ownership is always portrayed as the worst example possible but is this really the case?

On the surface it may seem so. No one can dispute that the US has a higher rate of gun homicides and indeed overall homicides per capita than the UK but is it fair to blame it on the gun?

Up until the 1920’s the United Kingdom had some very relaxed firearms laws more in line with the United States than some may think. The common law right to bear arms for self-defence and defence of the realm being recognised. In fact throughout much of British history it was seen as the responsible British subjects duty to keep the peace and ensure their own safety.

You may think that with laws similar to that of the US that there would have been regular shootings and murders with firearms but this was not the case. What we have  seen is that the United Kingdom has always had a traditionally low rate of firearms crimes that has actually increased with more firearms legislation.

We have a situation today where many types of firearm are banned in the UK and those that we are left with face strict regulation but has it made the UK safer? Most people would say “Of course it must!” that is looking at the situation with tunnel vision. Of course if fewer people have legal access firearms then the likelihood of people injuring themselves by accident will lower but the same can be said for any item and does not justify punishing a majority of people for the accidents or failure to be responsible from a minority.  If fewer people have legal access firearms then perhaps there may also be a reduction in the number of murders committed with legally held firearms. However it does not mean that there will be less murders overall. Many legally licenced firearms that are used in murders are the result of a domestic dispute however there is no evidence to suggest that the removal of the firearm prevents a murder, an alternative is found. Murder is Murder it should not matter how it is committed. Please note I have referred to legal access of firearms because it is important to hammer home the point that if all firearms were banned tomorrow it would not stop criminals obtaining them illegally.

The next part of the question relates to the Bill of Rights. Law abiding people in the UK are still permitted their common law right of self-defence but statute law forbids you from having any effective means to do so.  Firearms are heavily regulated, knives are effectively banned from carrying, Pepper sprays, tasers and batons are all classed as offensive weapons and you will get into serious trouble if you are found with one.  Some people admit to carrying a heavy torch whilst out walking their dogs at night to use for self-defence. Did you know that this is also a crime? If you carry something with the intent to use it as a weapon even for defence only the law classes it as an OFFENSIVE weapon.

If you look at Common law offences in England and Wales and Scots law offences they generally forbid any action that will cause harm or loss to another human being. Offences such as Murder, Theft, Fraud etc are all forbidden. That is simply the way it should be we do not need 1,000 statute laws forbidding law-abiding people from owning certain things or indeed from having the total freedom of self-ownership. It does not matter what you use to murder someone but simply that you have murdered them and you should be punished for it. Many of the current statute laws create offences out of nothing and result in the creation of many victimless crimes.

What do the current  statute laws do to prevent criminals from committing a crime? If you are a lone female and you are confronted at knife point by a male or group of males with the intent to commit a violent sexual assault upon your person what exactly have the laws prevented? Will they prevent the attackers from carrying out an assault upon your person? No.  Would our laws prevent these people from holding a knife to your throat? No.

What have these laws achieved? The disarmament of the law-abiding citizens and the creation of easy victims for the criminal element who are not inclined to follow laws. This is a great situation for criminals in the UK. They know that they have pretty much total control over a defenceless victim. The odds are that this victim will not have anything to mount an effective defence to even the odds.

Some people may be shocked at the idea that law-abiding people should be permitted to carry an item for self-defence and will cite Americas homicide rates as proof that they are right. Well I am sorry but they are wrong.

Recent trends from the US indicate that the states with the most relaxed firearms laws that allow open/concealed carry in public have violent crime rates lower than those with very strict gun laws. Crime levels that continue to drop with every relaxation of gun law.

In the UK the areas with the highest licenced ownership of firearms also usually show the lowest levels of gun crime whereas the places with the lowest levels of legal ownership show the highest levels of gun crime….Inner Cities.

This takes us to my next point. In the UK gun crime has almost always been committed with illegally obtained firearms by career criminals. In the US it is the same. One argument I would like to propose as to why the US has a higher murder rate per capita than the UK is simple. They have more large Inner City areas than the UK. Areas plagued with drug and gang related violence. We have seen Self Loading Rifles banned in the UK for 25 years and handguns banned for nearly 16 years yet they are still being used by criminals.

So I ask you if more guns and legislation favouring the law abiding citizen’s common law rights would equal lower crime would you be for it? The sad fact of life is that no matter how many policemen are on the beat unless you have one standing by your side 24/7  they will never be there when you need them most. When a home invader is walking up your stairs or when you are facing a mugger or rapist in a dark street what would you rather have? A telephone or a firearm? It is you that will be in the situation where seconds count and help is only minutes away. It is YOU that will have to fight for your life or the lives of your family. It is you that must demand our Rights to be recognised. 

I have heard many proponents of gun control and anti self-defence laws say that if you give people items to defend themselves whether it be a gun or pepper spray that it will get taken off them and used against them. They say this with absolutely no evidence to back it up. There is no proof that it will make an attack any more violent or serious than it already would be. They would also say that people will start to resolve petty arguments with shoot outs. All I can say to  this utter nonsense is that it has been proven to be untrue countless times in the US. If someone is mentally unbalanced enough to kill a neighbour over something trivial like a dog mess then a firearm would not be the item that causes violence it would be the individual.
Why are these people so against giving people a better chance of surviving an attack unscathed? I believe it is simply because they are scared. They would believe it is better to be a victim than to stand up and fight back.

I will finish this article with some links below that may help convince you. Please remember whilst our sporting and hunting rights are a big part of this it goes far beyond them. It is about our natural rights as humans being slowly eroded. Please also look at the sources at the bottom of the page and consider purchasing the two books I have referenced. They offer a compelling read and should offer you everything you need to be convinced. 

http://nranews.com/ginny/video/chicago-america-s-deadliest-city#/ginny/video/chicago-america-s-deadliest-city/list/gsr-gun-bans-videos

“While politicians continue to push for tougher gun laws, more innocent lives are lost on the streets of Chicago. In this exclusive from investigative reporter Ginny Simone, she speaks with gang members and retired Chicago police officers who reveal that enforcing current laws, pushing tougher sentencing for crimes and enacting concealed carry legislation would help reduce gun violence

Chicago has some of the strictest firearms laws in the US yet has one of the worst homicide rates. Contrast this with the news article from Florida which has seen consistent lowering of violent crime after the introduction of concealed carry.
Why do you think this is? Simple. Criminals do not know who is armed and who can fight back effectively. The risk to the criminal outweighs the potential gain.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/14859-florida-update-concealed-carry-permits-up-violent-crime-down

This graph below shows that there isn’t a direct link between strict gun laws and homicide. Mexico has far stricter gun laws than the US but has 3 times the gun homicide rate as well as 4 times the overall rate. Canada the Czech Republic have more relaxed gun laws than the UK and whilst they have more gun homicides their overall homicide rates are about the same as ours if not lower.
These are just a few of the many conclusions that can be drawn from the graph but it should be pretty clear that there is no direct link between the number of firearms and the amount of homicides. Most research I have came across shows that increased levels of civilian firearm ownership at worst does not affect the homicide or violent crime rate to at best having a positive effect on lowering the incidences of violent crimes.

Sources:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmhaff/95/95ap25.htm
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trigger-Finger-Rational-Firearms-Kingdom/dp/1906174997
http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Violence-Joyce-Lee-Malcolm/dp/0674016084

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2 responses to “Would more firearms make the UK safer?

  1. More firearms would not affect gun crime, more laws will only increase gun crime. That’s the general idea, If handguns were once again legal the public would not be less safer than they are now. Britain is becoming a cesspool of scum that see the government as unfair for cutting their benefits and then they see it as fair to come and burgle houses and business with knifes or illegal guns (not registered) and they leave with people either injured or dead. Now the real unfairness is that people can no longer bear arms for their defence in Britain which is wrong, the only way crime will ever be affected by more guns is if we are once again allowed to carry for self defence and defence of the home and property, having fully registered and trained citizens who are law abiding and honest can only decrease all crime across the board not just firearms.

    So to finish, a polite society is an armed society, god created man and Samuel colt made them equal

  2. Comparisons of firearms legislation, rates of crime, all crime not just firearms crime and the actual and perceived feeling of safety within a society are not easy to make. The UK and American society are very different in indigenous and ethnic make up, attitudes and of course law. Another factor is the population density of each country.

    This population density, attitudes of society and individuals, ethnic mix and the fact that with legislation the USA and UK are starting from very different positions in a process makes anything other than high level general terms comparisons difficult, there is no direct correlation.

    It seems reasonable to say that with a population of some four and a half times that of the UK, the USA will by default have a higher rate of all types of crime, not just firearms crime.

    I do think it is reasonable to compare the systems of firearms ownership and use in both countries, the USA being much more accepting of firearms ownership as a way of life not a sport or privilege, where the UK because we have this situation where ancient rights have been eroded through statute and through systematic government and media misinformation and rhetoric leading to an irrational perception and fear of firearms.

    The attitude of a large number of people of the UK to bother to even consider what they really think about firearms ownership is a not inconsiderable obstacle to progress, simply because of the tendency to follow the pack and accept without question the lazy and infantile arguments of the establishment supported anti lobby who are by definition unwilling to consider any position but there own.

    We all know the legislation in the UK is a mess, even the Home Office state it is a mess in a response to the last HASC report published in 2010, however their intention, or lack of intention to do anything about leads to the supposition that confusion reigns and they are quite content with the status quo, if you do not understand something you are less likely to question the inadequate and unreasonable responses you get from enquiry and just give up in utter frustration. I am sure this is a factor.

    Having made the statement above I do believe that the UK licensing system does have the initial balance about right. You apply for a shotgun and or firearms certificate, your background and criminal record are checked, you are asked to declare any medical issue, which is reasonable and if you check out fine then there should be no reason to withhold issue of either certificate. I will leave the good reason debate for another time.

    What is fundamentally wrong with the UK is the nonsensical attitude and approach to the object itself. If the person is of sound mind and good character it should be irrelevant what type and how many firearms and ammunition you hold provided your security is adequate, and I do think that it is reasonable for the issuing authority to be assured that security is adequate by inspection at a pre-arranged appointment if they wish, at issue and renewal times. On this issue I do believe there may be a way forward for the USA but only if they can resolve acceptably the second amendment issue.

    We in the UK are a historically a much more benign society, we are not aggressive by nature or indeed attitude, we are tolerant, intelligent and pragmatic and I do not think that even if we had more liberal gun laws the general public would notice the difference, from my own experience I know that I am not going to advertise openly that I carry firearms, but that is in my sole interest, not that of others.

    Here in the UK we have the firearms legislation that results from paranoia, fear, misunderstanding and weak political leadership. Paranoia, the rot started with the 1920 Act, the fear after WW1 and the Russian revolution, that the people of the UK would rise up against the government. Misunderstanding because of the largely media led foray that guns kill people, on their own, and weak political leadership due to the implementation of knee jerk reaction, political ideology and hidden power grabbing agenda’s.

    The issue of firearms crime is simple because it’s irrelevant. A criminal by definition once deciding to act outside the law has already stepped outside the acceptable boundaries of society; if they then choose to use a firearm to commit their crime they simply compound their own problem.

    What is now paramount and matters to society is the innocent who become a victim or embroiled in an incident not of their choosing. How do we reconcile this situation, is the right to bear arms for protection of the person, the public and property etc, the way forward or is it better to wait for the Police who can attend after the incident, when its happened, any victim is injured or worse already dead, yes capture and prosecution should follow, but the person is still injured, still dead, if people had the right to their own defence they also have and can exercise choice, the law in any reasonable society should allow the individual to choose their own destiny. Your life, body, possessions and you, belong to you, not the state! The criminal has made their choice, and in doing so has for me left at that point any right that society may afford them!

    I have waffled enough now so will return with my view on crime and comparisons and my USA view in a bit more detail!

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