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.