New British Gun Laws Raise Age Limit and License Fees; Interview Domestic Partners and Doctors

Cumbrian tax driver turned spree killer Derek Bird killed twelve people during his murderous rampage. The tragedy triggered a call for tighter gun laws in the United Kingdom—despite the fact that the island nation’s firearms  purchase and ownership regulations are already tighter than an ant’s rectum. The package of measures is starting to take form, and the few remaining gun owners are unhappy. Well, more unhappy than usual . . .

“Proposed restrictions on shotgun owners and young shooters, and the broad-brush involvement of GPs, domestic partners and increased licence fees would be hugely disproportionate,” Countryside Alliance campaigns director Robert Gray told Auntie Beeb. Strangely enough, Britain’s crime prevention minister (yes they have such a thing) uses the same argument, in reverse:

Crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said: “Public protection is the first duty of any government and our firearms laws are among the toughest in the world.

“It is right that we keep them under review and we are prepared to tighten them further if necessary. Those controls must also be proportionate and fair.”

Notice that the the ironically-named Brokenshire has no qualms about basing his entire argument on the primacy of the Nanny State: “Public protection is our first duty.” Self-defense? With a firearm? You must be joking mate.

Also notice that his opponents say nothing about the right to self-defense. They’re sportsman for God’s sake. But here’s the really scary part . . .

The committee said it welcomed an agreement between the Association of Chief Police Officers and the British Medical Association that would see GPs alerted to every new and renewal licence application.

So the police roll over and play dead. Well they would do that wouldn’t they. But the complicity of Britain’s GPs (General Practitioners) in the new scheme is a frightening government intrusion into the doctor – patient relationship that works exactly counter to its intended goal. If a gun owner knows that his doctor will rat him out to the government, he simply won’t go to his GP for treatment of psychological problems.

Guess how many doctors in the UK philosophically oppose private gun ownership? Guess how many work for the government (hint: all of them). Proof, if proof be needed, that socialized medicine is not the gun owner’s friend.

Of course, by now, it doesn’t really matter. Not in the UK. The number of legally owned guns in Britain is minuscule compared to the four million illegal guns in country (2005 estimate). OK, you got me. How many licensed firearms are there in The Land of Hope and Glory? A quick look at sportinggun.co.uk reveals the exact answer. No one knows.

According to BASC [British Association for Shooting and Conservation], for the past two years, neither the police nor the Home Office has been able to tell how many firearms are in legal possession or how many people own firearms in England and Wales legally.

Time for a crackdown! Easy done. The Brits could stop young people from acquiring a “taste” for guns. Check. They could price existing gun owners out of ownership with increased taxes and fees. Check. They could consult with domestic partners. As 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, how do you think THAT will go? Check.

But hey, it could have been worse.

“In particular BASC welcomes the rejection of tagging every firearms certificate holder’s medical records, the dismissal of proposals to require guns and ammunition to be kept outside the home and the rejection of a reduction in the license term from five years to two. BASC welcomes the proposal to update police guidance on the licensing system and to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the flow of grant and renewal applications. BASC also welcomes the rejection of licensing for low-powered airguns and the emphasis on enforcement of existing law to deal with any problems.”

Once freedom is abridged, it is quickly eroded. It’s an important lesson for gun owners in the Land of the Free, whose rights and privacy are under attack by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Amongst others.