Random Thoughts About The UK and Guns

 

I told a gun control advocate I was headed to England to celebrate my daughter’s 16th birthday. “Make sure you write about what it’s like to be in the U.K. without a gun,” he emailed. The clear implication: it’s great to be in the UK without a gun! You can relax! Why not? Visitors to the Land of Hope and Glory spend their time in civilized places doing civilized things with civilized people. A tourist journeying to the U.K. is more likely to get a back rub from Abbey Clancy than be the victim of a violent crime. Yes but—there are millions of working class Britons living in constant fear of violence. . .

The UK has the highest violent crime rate in Europe. Muggings, rapes, assaults. Far higher than the U.S. And yes, there is gun crime, too. Not as much as America. But every single day I read at least one crime story involving firearms. The losing streak remained unbroken when I returned home. Switch to google.co.uk and search the word “gun.”

FIREARMS were used 30 times in just one month by warring gangs as a feud on a Sheffield estate spiralled out of control, The Star can reveal.

And another [via london24.com]:

A teenage shooting suspect wrote an incriminating rap praising an alleged accomplice’s signing to Jay Z’s record label, a court heard.

Blackfriars Crown Court were told the 17-year-old, who is accused of shooting a man in Harlesden train station, kept the handwritten lyrics in his pocket when he answered bail at a police station over the incident.

Not so gun-free now eh Mr. Bond? Never mind that for a moment. Here’s a tale of UK violence that caught my eye while I was abroad, taken from The Daily Mail. It’s not a gun story, per se, but I think you’ll understand why I flagged it.

Stephen Bennett, 59, was leaving the home of a relative who had died recently when he was ambushed by two men demanding the keys to his £25,000 car.

Shocked neighbours saw Mr Bennett being dragged to the floor, punched and kicked before being stabbed with a large knife.

The men ran off following the attack at 10am on Sunday. Mr Bennett managed to stagger to a house to raise the alarm.

He is in a ‘very serious’ condition in hospital after suffering 12 stab wounds to his arms and neck although his injuries are not life-threatening.

Philip Leyland, 50, said Mr Bennett was subjected to ‘horrific’ violence by the carjackers, one of whom wore a balaclava.

Mr Leyland, a mechanic who had been visiting his father in the quiet residential street in Hindley, hear Wigan, said: ‘They were beating the hell out of him and I tried to get out of my car to help but they pulled this knife out and then stabbed him.

‘They had been trying to pinch his new Mercedes. It was incredibly shocking because they were kicking the hell out of him and all just for a car. I got out to help but as I did one of the men picked up a huge blade and threatened me with it, so I backed off.

Americans who favor civilian disarmament argue that it’s better to live in a country like the U.K. where thugs attack with fists, feet and a large knife than a country like the U.S. where the bad guys are armed with guns (ignoring the U.K.’s gun crime, as above). Limited lethality renders Britain’s overall higher crime rate irrelevant.

Which shows you exactly how little humanity gun control advocates possess. What person with an ounce of decency wouldn’t have wished Mr. Bennet had a firearm to defend his life from his murderous attackers?

Or deny a law-abiding bystander the opportunity to protect Mr. Bennett from vicious thugs by force of arms? Or give some of the 230 women raped per day in the UK the option of ballistic intervention?

But that’s how statists roll. Society’s overall need for public safety is more important than any individual’s absolute right to self-defense. Until it isn’t. Until the pro-civilian disarmament folk claim that banning guns would have saved this poor innocent person (usually a child) or that (another child) who was gunned down because of “easy access to firearms.”

Here in the U.S. the misleading claim is eventually followed by the usual refrain: why can’t the U.S. be more like the U.K.?

When confronted by the vast difference between U.S. and U.K. firearms-related deaths, gun rights advocates prattle on about the variables that account for the gap. ”You can’t compare apples to oranges,” they assert. “America’s geography and demographics are wildly different.”

That’s true, but it’s besides the point. To make a valid comparison between firearms-friendly U.S. and “gun free” UK you have to consider a gun ban’s overall societal impact. Britain’s civilian disarmament comes at an enormous cost: it has created/reinforced a culture of subservience.

By surrendering the safekeeping of their most valuable asset—their life—to the government, residents of the Land of Hope and Glory have created a new default option in their dealings with government: do what you’re told. “Mustn’t grumble,” as the Brits are wont to say. And so their human and civil rights have slowly disappeared.

Case in point: freedom of speech.

Not only have Brits lost the absolute right to remain silent (“it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court”), Parliament’s creating a press registration requirement (including blogs). Police will soon have the power to seize journalists’ notes and computers to uncover their sources.

You know the Third Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the feds from quartering of troops in any house? Silly right? During the Olympics, the British government placed troops with anti-aircraft missiles on top of private flats, despite “a small number of activists” who objected.

There is a series of dots between “give us your guns” to STFU and “we’re putting these missile on your roof.”

People who don’t want to connect those dots won’t. They’ll ridicule the concept, just as scoff at the idea of personal firearms as a defense against tyranny. But then they don’t have a crack dealer doing business next door, or a missile battery over their child’s sleeping head or any awareness of the Japanese internment camps Uncle Sam set-up inside the U.S.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” The U.K. proves Ben’s point: give up your guns and you get neither.

To answer the question, going gun-free in Britain was, as advertised, a relaxing experience. So what? And if the Brits would have respected my human right to keep and bear arms inside their country, I would have done so. Protecting my life and the lives of my loved ones with a firearm is more important than the undeniable pleasure of sinking into a childlike state of blissful ignorance.

I’m glad to be home.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

53 Responses to Random Thoughts About The UK and Guns

  1. avatarBlake says:

    Britain has far more “hot” burglaries than the US, if I remember correctly, due to burglars having little to fear from disarmed homeowners.

    • avatarJason Lynch says:

      It’s about twice the rate, on average – about 20% for the UK compared to 10% for the US. Not brilliant, but not as bad as some seem to believe. (Also, burglary’s down 25% to 40% in the last decade)

      We’ve also swung towards a more sensible culture where a couple of burglars wounded when the homeowner used his (legal) shotgun on them, were brusquely told by the judge that getting mildly perforated in the course of a crime “that is the chance you take” and no grounds for mitigation. (And the homeowner wasn’t charged with any offence either).

      • avatarThomasR says:

        I went to England to see a friend, going from a place where I can OC a pistol without a permit and to carry a pocket knife over 3″ to a land where to carry anything (a belt with a large buckle or a bunch of keys on a chain) with which to defend yourself is a felony was absolutely the worst experience of my life.

        A land of not just subjects, but a depraved and degenerate class of outright slaves, free to be abused by street thugs and the thugs in government alike.

        • avatarJason Lynch says:

          I often used to wear a belt with a large buckle (only stopped when I got promoted to the point of wearing a suit to work), and carry my keys on a carabiner, and nobody’s ever arrested me. Perhaps you’re waxing a little too hyperbolical?

  2. avatarNarcoossee says:

    There’s also the missing part about “the threat of the victim having a firearm” being an unseen countervailing force which would have stopped the attack from happening at all. Here’s wishing Mr. Bennett a speedy and full recovery.

    • avatarKelly Sturkey says:

      Something else it does when the Right to defend oneself and loved ones is stolen by the government, it creates even more dependance on that government……now we/they are dependent for our very lives…..it seems a stupid thing for any already overburdened government to desire. I would rather have the ability to defend myself and call the police as backup then to totally depend on them for my and my family’s very existence…..how many places can they be at once if the citizenry becomes vulnerable targets for criminals. Criminals want our guns taken, without and within the government.

  3. avatarRalph says:

    I’ve eaten English food. Frankly, I’d rather be shot. if the Brits really want to save lives they should make black guns legal and ban black pudding.

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      Agreed, but they have imported some good cuisine. London is a great place to get good Indian food. Some of the best curry I’ve ever had.

      • avatarcrndl says:

        true dat about the indian food…even in the dives & holes in the wall :)

      • avatardwb says:

        “Indian food” is not indian any more than the fortune cookie is chinese. It was invented in London for the english palatte. that said, its fantastic.

      • avatarJuanCudz says:

        Britains best curry houses are in Birmingham, though arguably. My favourite curry house being in Leicester.

    • avatarJason Lynch says:

      Good black pudding is a thing of beauty (so good that the French stole it from us and renamed it boudin noir) but done badly, it’s mediocre to downright awful… it’s a good test of a cook.

    • avatarJB says:

      Last time I was in London (1999) we made the mistake of going to a Mexican restaurant. Talk about a laugh riot.

  4. avatartdiinva says:

    I must repeat crime is the preferred Progressive method of social control. If you let the thugs rule the streets it forces people to live in fear, depresses economic activity, creates poverty and dependence, and atomizes society leaving the individual at the mercy of those who can use force. It allows the state to maintain control of a subservient population without resorting to oppressive security practices. The Progressive police state is a soft police state that turns the entire country into a minimum security prison. (double meaning intended.)

    • avatarWiebelhaus says:

      Well, Looks like I’ll be a criminal then.

    • avatarmofo says:

      My mom always claims the same thing. In my opinion, progressives are well meaning, but stupid. They either dont see or dont believe the connection between their policy choices and the concequences of those policies. Stupidity and arrogance is a really powerful combo.

      • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

        NUT….SHELL!

      • avatartdiinva says:

        The Chicago Magazine did a story last year documenting the symbiotic relationship between the gangs and the Machine. Progressives aren’t well meaning. They want disorder to keep their slaves on the plantation. Criminal gangs are their enforcers.

    • avatarpat says:

      Good point.
      Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  5. avatarNickbnumbers says:

    We need some good bar graphs where gun violence and total violence are in the same bar. That way even though we can see that the red portion of the bar (gun violence) is taller for the US than the UK, we can see that the total bar (say, red for guns and blue for everything else) is much higher in the UK.

    Make sure it’s RATE, not total.

    And we need to do it for two time periods: time before UK gun ban and time after the UK gun ban.

    This way in one simple chart we can see that gun crimes may have gone down but total violent crime has gone up postban and is much worse than in the US.

    Any intrepid chart wizards or graphic designers out there?

    • avatarjoe says:

      Nothing bad with the graphs. The trick is the definityion of crime, e.g. in UK just carrying a kitchen knife is a violent crime but not in USA except you are actually make a violent act using this knife.
      But personally I feel that both pro- and anti- guns are extremely biased and see the word in a black-and-white patern. For example:
      _an AR-15 or AK-47 is too much for self defence (are you going to shoot the assailants as the are fleeing?) but a big handgun (9mm, 45?)and a back-up are just fine or better (personally I prefer mini-14 over AR and AK and FN if we are talking for real power).
      _a short barrel shotgun also does the job, why ban them.
      _a hi-cap mag is not really neccesary. In case you have to deal with multiple threats, either they are amateurs and a couple of rounds (or a bit more) will turn them away or they are pros and you are done no matter the rounds you fire.
      _Muzle brakes? Absolutelly neccesary for self defence. Supressors and flash hiders not.
      _Background checks and gun registration? YES. Internal locks ? NO.
      Any thoughts?

      • avatartdiinva says:

        So tell me, how many rounds in a magazine are enough? Why do you need to register guns since only law abiding citizens will comply. Why isn’t a 9mm good enough. Who needs a 45? On those amateurs — you are still dead if they choose to attack you in their amateur way.

      • avatarJarhead1982 says:

        Police firearm discharge reports identify that police at best average 15% hits on shots fired.

        You going to prove that law abiding civilians are better shots, do tell as many antis claim we arent trained at all.

        So what is 15% of a 30 round magazine oh 4.5 rounds… if you have 3 attackers, not uncommon, how many will you miss and give them a chance to close the distnace and engage you at arms length as not all bad guys run away! Darn, them there STANDARD capacity magazines of 30 rounds do indeed have a purpose.

        How many incidents have people defended themselves from large quanities of attackers, oh many more than you care to admit.

        http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/21202112/wild-shootout-at-inkster-tax-business-caught-on-camera
        http://wjbk.images.worldnow.com/images/21202112_BG1.jpg

        Feb 14, 2013 Security guard with AR-15 exchanges gun fire with 2 robbers.

        What about that kid in Rochester NY Jan 24th 2013?

        What about that 15 yr old kid in Houston defending his 12 yr old sister?

        AR-15 Makes an excellent home defense weapon, care to refute the following?

        http://how-i-did-it.org/drywall/index.html
        and version 2: http://how-i-did-it.org/drywall2/
        .
        The story below unfortunately ends with the homeowner arrested possibly because of the choice of using an AK. One reason I left NY for PA.

        http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/09/07/long-island-man-arrested-for-defending-home-with-ak-47/
        Long Island NY, the man who defended himself against that group of gang members wasnt charged with a crime, hmmm, I find that utterly amazing since the AG is beyond anti gun.

        Oct 20, 1997 Richard Garriot (Creator of Worlds of Warcraft, uber irch) stops intruder with a warning shot from an UZI!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_rz2wBYin4 Feb 17, 2009 AZ

        2008 Ike, my fiancees relatives keeping looters at bay with their SKS & AR 15.

        2005 Katrina, law abiding citizen and many pictures of armed civilains keeping looters away from their property, hmmm.

        1992 LA riots and the Korean shop keepers with SKS kept looters away from their shops.

        Nov 12 1990, Harry Beckwith’s Guns in Alachua County, Florida

        Shall we mention the Deacons protecting Martin Luther King or during the race riots in the late 1960′s?

        Sunbelt Arms in Decatur, GA. November 1982

        Sunday, February 24, 1984, approximately 2 PM. Gary Fadden, 26, and his lovely 22 year old fiancee are driving from a birthday party in Martinsburg, WV

        Their was that guy that worked for HK that defended himself and his girlfriend with a Ruger AC 556 (full auto mini 14). I think there was a thread here on THR about it.
        Walt Whitman 1966, citizens retrieved their rifles and started shooting back.

        My, if one reviews how many flash mob incidents have occurred in progressive entitlement paradises over the last 5 years, violentflashmobs.com (last input august 2012).

        We havent even counted up self defense incidents over the last 6 months where more than 1 attacker was present.

        Geez, just going to guns save lives, we see 76 incidents from 12/26/12 to 2/15/13 where 26 of those had 2 or more attackers, 7, 3 or more.

        That is 34% more than 1 attacker

        That is 9.2% 3 or more attacker, more justification for standard magazines.

        Care to do a full year review and claim those percentages would be much different?

      • avatarJon says:

        You do realize that a Mini-14 and an AR-15 are functionally identical, right?

      • avatarJohn says:

        The 2nd ammendment wasn’t primarily written about home defense, it is written as a deterrence (not the end all) to tyranny. This article also alludes to the same. Read Federalist Papers No. 29 and No. 46 to understand more of the history behind the 2nd Ammendment and why it was framed.

  6. avatardwb says:

    The UK has 12100 “greivous” stabbings a year, 240 a week, with 1/5 the population of the US. nice and safe.

  7. avatarmountocean says:

    Great connection to our third ammendment and Britain’s lack there of. We seldom concider that abuse in modern society and I was shocked to learn about it in such a well-off and secure (from foreign invasion) nation. Your examples of their disassembly of rights we protect with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th may not be solely due to their lack of 2nd ammendment protections, but there is certainly correlation.

  8. avatarjwm says:

    England, the trailer park of Europe. Instead of squirrel rifles their hillbillies use knives and blunt trauma.

  9. avatarIng says:

    “…going gun-free in Britain was, as advertised, a relaxing experience.”

    As any vacation should be (with guns or without). I hope you got to see some cool stuff while you were there.

    One of the few highlights of my grad school experience was spending a week in England and Wales for a lit conference. Not sure I’d want to live in the UK, with its crime rate and population density and totalitarian mindset — though as with most places, which part you live in probably makes all the difference — but it’s a great place to visit.

    If I had the opportunity I’d go again in a heartbeat, and for a lot longer than a week.

  10. avatar16V says:

    Oddly enough there is/was some resistance to the Orwellian state – Masterpiece Theatre did a neat short series starring Benedict Cumberbatch called The Last Enemy. On Hulu for free.

  11. avatarWilliam says:

    Truly, people get the government they deserve. But what does GEOGRAPHY have to do with crime? Mountains don’t commit crimes, nor do rivers, white cliffs or seashores.

    • avatarJMS says:

      Population density. Basically, it just means that they’re different countries with different cultures, economies, population densities, size, etc, so we can’t just compare the murder rate from one to the other and attribute it to any one thing (like gun control).

      The UK does have a lower murder rate. But it always did, both before the gun ban and after. It’s a different country.

      What we can and should look at is the overall murder rate in the UK before the gun ban-&-confiscation and after it. It has remained basically constant for 30 years. In contrast, in the U.S., the murder rate has been decreasing since ~1992, to where it’s at now at basically the lowest rate ever. During this time, firearms ownership has increased to the record highest rate ever. What the UK has done has had no effect on their murder rate. What the U.S. has done has helped lower our murder rate. Whether it’s economic or cultural or firearms or what, it’s really impossible to say. Maybe it’s all of these things and more.

      But… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  12. avatarThomas Paine says:

    i like firearms because i’m scared of knives.

    How’s that “Stop Knives, Save Lives” campaign going for ya?

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      “Children of all ages have to be taught that carrying knives or using them is unacceptable.”

      Singer Jamelia, whose brother Tesrod, 15, was stabbed to death in 1992, said: “I’ll speak out against violence whenever I can. In interviews, in songs, in my life. If you stay silent you’re part of the problem.”

      X Factor’s Louis Walsh added: “I’m 100 percent behind this campaign. We must get knives off the streets.”"

      sound familiar?

  13. avatarMichael B. says:

    Step 1: Ban guns.
    Step 2: Call for more police officers, surveillance equipment, etc.
    Step 3: More laws.
    Step 4: Total police state.

  14. avatarMark N. says:

    I think it is time to re-release “A Clockwork Orange.”

    • avatarraw_toe says:

      which many Brits did not see. I believe it was banned in the UK for a long time.

      • avatarJason Lynch says:

        Not banned, but withdrawn from distribution by Kubrick. If someone got hold of a print they could and did show it under the “X” certificate originally awarded (no dramas, just meant ’18 or older). The distributor declined to supply prints to the UK because the director was upset that he was blamed for some alleged “copycat” crimes, there was never any prohibition on it.

        We didn’t “ban” any films until 1984 (though we have always limited films that didn’t get certified: they aren’t actually ‘banned’ but they become niche showings for enthusiasts, sort of like full-auto weapons in the US), and even there it was about requiring ratings on video cassettes; the distributors who didn’t want to pay for a BBFC rating happily claimed they were “so shocking and gruesome we’re BANNED!”

  15. avatarbenny says:

    And everyone in the UK apparently likes it this way. Serfs, get yer serfs heeeere!!

    • avatarJason Lynch says:

      Didn’t everyone in the US vote for Obama and doesn’t everyone in the US support bans on wicked high-capacity magazines and eevil black “assault weapons”?

    • I guess you have had little contact with ordinary Brits & take that arse Morgan to be the norm when in fact he’s despised here & considered to be an utter tit.
      Lucky for us be don’t have BHO to deal with.

  16. avatarSilver says:

    “Which shows you exactly how little humanity gun control advocates possess.”

    Precisely, and it’s always important to remember this. Gun-grabbers and their ilk are, in a word, unnatural. Sub-human. Not only in their sociopathic willingness to endanger millions of people, but in their unnatural willingness to give up the most natural of traits: self-defense. They’re animals, unworthy of the consideration given to fellow humans.

    Personally, I don’t know how gun rights advocates can have anti-gun friends. How can you possibly be friends with someone who openly wishes you harm and wishes to destroy your nation and its freedoms?

    • avataring says:

      Your eagerness to dehumanize so many other people is truly disturbing.

      Even a Mensa member ought to be able to tell the difference between someone who holds misguided beliefs about firearms and someone who openly wishes you harm. Life is not as black-and-white as a game of chess.

      • avatarAndrew says:

        You sound like a gun grabber ing.

        • avatarVermont Guy says:

          Now, Andrew, no need to go right to the ad hominem. I think ing makes a good point. Lots of gun grabbers think they are calling for a good thing.

          I often say to other gunnies that if all we knew about guns what what we saw on TV we wouldn’t like them either. I’ve never had anyone flat out disagree with that. Most of us here have years of experience, man and boy, with guns and gun owners. That gives us a great advantage in seeing through many lies. Especially that one about the evil gun rays that cause their owners to commit violent felonies. That just doesn’t happen.

  17. avatarPascal says:

    This is a link to the US State Departments own site where is gives travel advisories for various countries. Look up the UK, and here is what OUR state Department says

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1052.html#crime

    “according to Metropolitan Police statistics, serious crime (i.e. assault, robbery, burglary, gun-enabled crimes, and rape) in many London boroughs has increased. As with any major metropolitan city, U.S. citizens are urged to be cautious and aware of their surroundings. ”

    “You should avoid walking alone in isolated areas, including public parks, especially after dark, as these are advantageous venues for muggers and thieves. You should be especially careful using underground pedestrian tunnels at night or when there is little foot traffic. As a general rule, either walk the extra distance to use a surface crossing or wait until there are other adult pedestrians entering the tunnel. ”

    “Don’t leave your drink unattended in bars and nightclubs. There have been some instances of drinks being spiked with illegal substances, leading to incidents of robbery and rape. ”

    This above, from our own State Department advisory!

  18. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    Welcome back mate.

    Where you belong.

  19. avatarA.P. says:

    A video about gun control in the UK:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr20MX-oI8Q
    Piers Morgan has to see that.. by the way talking about firearm homicides and giving the low number of this kind of homicide in the UK, like he did, is very misleding, the gun prohibitionnists who give such statistics should be confronted with the real number of homicides with others means than firearms, this shows that when firearms are banned the number homicides stays it just shifts on other means.

    The same policy and the same failure in Australia:

  20. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    Hey, the country made Bond turn in his gun, after that its pretty much pip pip. OK it was a movie. I imagine the inner workings of a brady/grabber mind is like rolling a daffy duck & 3 stoogis cartoon together, Randy

  21. avatarDave Arthur says:

    “Which shows you exactly how little humanity gun control advocates possess. What person with an ounce of decency wouldn’t have wished Mr. Bennet had a firearm to defend his life from his murderous attackers?”

    Surely if the UK citizens where allowed to carry firearms for personal protection, chances are that the 2 attackers would have also carried and Mr. Bennet would have received a couple of bullets in the head, end of.

    • That presupposes the criminals having free access to firearms & no consideration as to whether their intended victim was armed.
      Playing the “if” game means another scenario is at least as plausible; the two knife carrying criminals get themselves shot dead by an armed Mr Bennet, end of.

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