…as radio legend Paul Harvey used to say.
Forgive another post on guns but I followed a link from the Minneapolis Star Tribune to what I assume is a journalism resource blog called Covering Guns and then to this article in the Washington Post that I thought warranted comment:
After the U.K. endured a series of mass shootings, including one that targeted children, it passed some very tough gun control legislation in 1997. The effect, reported on today by The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola, has been staggering. Here are eight of the big takeaways, possible learning opportunities as the U.S. considers its own gun law changes:
- Bad guys have a hard time getting guns: Criminals have resorted to using “archaic flintlock pistols” and “retrofitted flare guns.” There’s been one mass shooting in 15 years. This despite the adage, “When guns are illegal, only criminals will possess them.”
- Fewer illegal guns: Faiola reports that, according to ballistics studies, “Most gun crime in Britain can be traced back to less than 1,000 illegal weapons still in circulation.”
- Fewer gun deaths: Someone in England or Wales is about 3 percent as likely to be killed by a gun as an American. There were 59 gun deaths there last year. The U.S. annual gun death rate has hovered around 10,000 for years.
Well, by their own admission, only criminals do possess them and the Washington Post uses the term “mass shooting” as if that is the sole measure of the gun ban’s effectiveness. As this January 2013 article in the UK Independent newspaper points out, gun crime still exists in the UK:
Firearms offences have fallen by more than 40 percent in less than a decade, with the rise of “gun culture” in Britain’s inner cities apparently reversed because of improved police intelligence.
Figures out next month are expected to confirm the long-term decline in gun crime which resulted in 39 people shot dead in 2011/12 compared with a high of 96 ten years earlier.
A series of high-profile shootings – including the New Year’s Day 2003 shooting of teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in Birmingham in a drive-by attack – had fuelled political concerns about a tide of gang-related violence using extreme and indiscriminate violence.
The “one mass shooting in 15 years” that they reference as if it happened in the ancient past was the spree killing by Derrick Bird and actually happened in June of 2010, less than three years ago.
4. Sweeping gun buy-backs: In 15 years, 200,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition have been bought back. No tyrannical monarchies have yet emerged as a result, although the queen was recently spotted with some special forces.
“No tyrannical monarchies have yet emerged as a result.” I wasn’t aware that there is a time limit for tyranny. This is a non sequitur because the WaPo falsely equates the principles of the UK with the US. The UK does not have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to define the limits of tyranny. This was why we declared independence and broke away from Britain in 1776…and fought a war over it. When viewed in light of our Constitution, the actions of the British government would be defined as tyranny because these very actions were what we drafted a constitution to protect us against.
5. Sport guns allowed, with tight restrictions: Faiola reports, “Legal guns — including some types of rifles and shotguns largely suitable for farms and sport — must be kept in locked boxes bolted to floors or walls and are subject to random police inspection.”
Random police inspection? What, no protection from unreasonable search and seizure? Hmmm. Sounds like tyranny to me.
6. Police check up on your mental health: Legal guns are also subject to “vigorous inquires about the mental health and family life of owners.” Police “routinely contact the physicians of new applicants to inquire whether they are being treated for mental illnesses, including depression.”
More tyranny. Like we have pointed out, soft tyranny is still tyranny.
7. Handguns and semiautomatics are largely banned: The sweeping 1997 gun law “virtually barred [U.K. citizens] from owning most types of handguns.” An earlier 1988 law had banned semiautomatic guns.
8. The law took a few years to reduce deaths: This is perhaps in part because it takes a while for the ban to ripple out to secondary markets and for police to clear out illegal guns. Faiola writes, “Statistics show that gun violence in Britain increased for the next several years” after the 1997 ban. Then, starting in 2005, “gun violence began to ebb.”
Sure it did. Confiscation and banning of guns were bound to reduce “gun crime” but criminals being a focused, single-minded and motivated bunch, especially where they know that they will be able to commit crimes unopposed by an armed homeowner have driven the rates of knife crime and home invasions to a higher level, leading the Daily Mail in 2009 to report that the UK was “The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S.“:
Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.
Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa – widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries.
The figures comes on the day new Home Secretary Alan Johnson makes his first major speech on crime, promising to be tough on loutish behaviour.
The Tories said Labour had presided over a decade of spiralling violence.
In the decade following the party’s election in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks soared by 77 per cent to 1.158million – or more than two every minute.
The figures, compiled from reports released by the European Commission and United Nations, also show:
- The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
- It has a higher homicide rate than most of our western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
- The UK has the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU.
- It has the fourth highest burglary rate and the highest absolute number of burglaries in the EU, with double the number of offences than recorded in Germany and France.
But it is the naming of Britain as the most violent country in the EU that is most shocking. The analysis is based on the number of crimes per 100,000 residents.
In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677.
And in the UK, when a legal gun is used to prevent a crime in a person’s own home, what happens? The homeowner is brought up on charges. In this case, justice prevailed but a decorated SAS soldier actually was convicted and did time for possessing a handgun given to him as a gift by Afghani soldiers.
Unlike the vastness of the US, the Island of Britain is also a fairly small island comprised of Scotland, England and Wales. Scotland and England have a total area the size of South Carolina and Louisiana. Wales is half the area of Rhode Island. The total population is around 62 million people.
Again, it is difficult to see how the US and the UK can be placed on equal footing.
So make of it what you will but it pissed me off enough that I felt compelled to open my piehole and comment.