Many American gun rights groups call for rigid and relentless enforcement of current gun crime statutes, rather than new laws. The United Kingdom is being there, doing that. And their gun laws are so tough (e.g. a virtual ban on handgun ownership with mandatory jail sentences for first time offenders) that they make the word “Draconian” seem like a synonym for “Playskool.” To wit: “A man has been jailed indefinitely after firing a rifle in front of a couple and their two-year-old daughter as he robbed a shop in Leeds,” the BBC reports . . .
The shop’s owner, his wife and daughter were in the premises when they were threatened with a range of weapons. Rennison fired the rifle before fleeing with cash and cigarettes. Police said under the terms of his sentence Rennison, of Gledhow Mount, Harehills, would not be freed until he was no longer considered a danger to the public.
Now what are we to make of that? Well, first let’s see it in context . . .
Under British law, a prosecutor can’t reveal the accused’s criminal record to a jury when they’re considering a specific case. Once the jury has made a guilty determination, the Judge can—and does—take the perp’s rap sheet into account when determining the convicted criminal’s sentence.
Rennison is 22-years-old. His criminal record isn’t automatically sealed from public view. So why doesn’t the BBC list his prior convictions? Is it possible Rennison doesn’t have any? Well, this grandma was sent down for five years for simple gun possession. So yes, it’s possible.
It’s also possible that Rennison did something more heinous in the shop than simply threaten customers and fire a rifle. If so, you’d expect the BBC to report it. Presumably. Instead Auntie Beeb quotes a tut-tutting constable:
Det Sgt Rob Stabler said: “Fortunately no-one was injured, but the potential consequences of Rennison’s actions could have been so much worse.
“Throughout this investigation Rennison has shown no regard or compassion for his victims, who have been seriously affected by this crime.”
Be that as it may, an indeterminate sentence violates all kinds of American rights and principles, some of which were based on English law. And the UK is now the violent crime capital of Europe.