Most of them won’t admit it, but the holy grail for the Gun Control Industrial Complex™ (short of full blown confiscation) is registration of all privately-owned firearms. Their pretzel logic holds that if only we knew who has all the heaters floating around out there, gun crime will somehow magically be reduced. Don’t bother peeking behind that particular rhetorical curtain, though, because gun-grabbers can’t really tell you why registration would convince a criminal to give up his evil ways and follow the straight and narrow. They just know it will. It has to, right? For some reason. But whether or not any bad doods actually experience road to Damascus conversions . . .

The bigger problem with registration is that the databases on which those dreams of gun control-induced peace, tranquility and unicorn flatulence hang would be run by . . . government employees. Yep, basically the same genus of, uh, dedicated public servant who ostensibly collect and protect our most closely-held secrets are the ones who will be tasked with keeping tabs on your gats.

And gee, that just hasn’t worked out particularly well. No matter where it’s been tried. As an example, consider the experience of our neighbors to the great white north. Our Canuckian brothers and sisters from another mother ginned up their own wonderfully ambitions long gun registration scheme a while back. The first problem they ran into was that it was wildly more expensive than its proponents billed.

When the registry was being sold to the public, it was estimated to cost about $2 million a year. Actual tally: about $65 million per annum, and growing. A government program that costs more than advertised? Say it ain’t so!

Oh, and then there’s the whole problem of the registry’s efficacy. Or lack thereof. Even the vast majority of the Canadian public, despite being fed a relentless diet of pro-registration government and media agitprop knew it did absolutely nothing to reduce crime. So against almost all experience with government programs anywhere on the globe, they’ve actually scrapped it.

“Hold your horses there, you pro-gun whack job,” I hear the civilian disarmers say. “That’s only one example.” Fair enough. Here’s another one. We take you now to the gun violence-free paradise that is Great Britain. Specifically the county of Yorkshire.

Bungling police staff at South Yorkshire Police have finally copped to a huge snafu in their firearms database after spending the last two months writing to thousands of firearms licence holders. The letter simply requested they “update their details”. Bosses have blamed the database snafu on the actions of a sacked administrator.

Translating that theregister.co.uk article into English, it seems that the local constabulary’s had some trouble keep their “firearm and shotgun” records up to date. Incorrect entries, updates never made at all. Nothing that will surprise anyone who’s ever been to the Post Office or DMV. So when the brass figured out their National Firearms Licensing Management System info was pretty much worthless, what did they do?

Chief Superintendent Odell told the paper that after discovering the scope of the problem, firearms licensing bosses wrote to all 9,000 firearm and shotgun certificate holders in the county earlier this month, claiming the force’s records were being “audited”.

Yep. They wrote to the county’s gun owners asking for help. Just updating our records. We’d appreciate your cooperation.

The letter to the county’s gun owners, which The Register has seen, did not give any indication that the police had effectively lost control over the database of firearms and their owners. Nor did it mention that the police first noticed discrepancies eight months before writing to owners. It said:

We are currently undertaking an audit of all firearms and shotguns held within South Yorkshire and would appreciate your co-operation with this matter. I would be grateful if you could complete the table below with the details of firearms or shotguns you currently possess and return this information … to enable us to check these details against our records.

Even though The Register’s article seems to be a standard news piece as opposed to a commentary, it was enlightening to get author Gareth Corfield’s opinion on the whole mess:

The NFLMS is a prime example of pisspoor government IT procurement. Following the Dunblane tragedy of 1997, Lord Cullen recommended the introduction of a single, national computerised system for monitoring legal firearms ownership.

After a delay of almost a decade the system was initially rolled out in 2006, following a litany of “technical problems”.

Anyone who’s dealt with a government bureaucracy of any size at all won’t be shocked by any of that. Next time you raise your plastic cup while soaring 30,000 feet above the ground, try not to think about the FAA’s air traffic control system that’s remained pretty much unchanged in the last 40 years.

So, does that mean if the US ever imposes a firearms registration system (other than the current ones the ATF and NSA don’t like to talk about) we don’t have to worry because it will be so wildly inaccurate as to be useless? Not quite, Bunky. While employees of the .gov never seem to pay for their egregious cock-ups, you can be damned sure gun owners caught in their web of inaccuracy and false information won’t get off as easy. Ask any English gun owner:

“If I didn’t inform the police that I’d sold one of my rifles they’d prosecute me,” said 55-year-old Simon Wright of Northamptonshire, “my firearms certificate would be revoked and I’d get a criminal record. But there won’t be any comebacks for the police in this case. I’m just lucky enough to be covered by a different force’s licensing department who take pride in their work.”

Uh huh. But maybe the scariest thing from The Register’s article is the fact that, when trying to cover their collective ass and shore up their leaky, bogus record keeping, the South Yorks coppers only had to write 9,000 letters to (known) gun-licensed households. That’s out of a total population of over 1.3 million. Yikes.

38 Responses to Annals of Government Database Management: South Yorkshire Yuckfest Edition

  1. “Crikey guv, I seem to ‘ave lost all me firearms in boating bang-up.”, would be my response.

  2. UK + tight gun regulation = almost non-existent gun crime
    US + low gun regulation = rampant gun crime

    That’s easily demonstrable fact.

    God knows the UK government hasn’t met a project it couldn’t **** up, but that doesn’t mean the goal isn’t right. Speaking of which, when is the “truth” about guns going to do a piece about the almost non existent gun crime in England?

    • Hmmmmmmm, lets see. Disingenous? Willfully Ignorant? or just Troll? I just don’t know which one fits you best

    • Well I’m just thankful that this country doesn’t have a lot of owners of weaponized angry bobcats, so we don’t have a lot of weaponized angry bobcat crime.

    • Norway + lax gun laws = little to no crime

      UK + tight gun laws = rampant sharp and blunt object crime

      Also add the fact that people tried to exterminate us(not norwegians) and you can see how I am no fan of civilian disarmament or intrusive government.

    • Because even assuming that gun crime has fallen in the UK (which it hasn’t) the point is completely missed that violent crime on the whole has exponentially increased since guns were effectively outlawed.

    • They had a rather low “gun crime” rate before they introduced sweeping gun control. The problem is that regardless of whatever effect their laws may have had on “gun crime”, it had virtually no effect on “crime” as a whole. Shootings went down, stabbings went up. Their politicians then got to parade around claiming to have reduced “gun crime”, all the while the U.K.’s overall violent crime rate continued to beat out the rest of the modern world and its government continued to have an excuse to futher restrict the rights of its citizens without adressing any of the economic or social issues that actually do effect crime rates.

      • it would be better to do an article on the UK’s (and Australia’s) rampant increase in smuggling of military weapons into those countrys

      • Crime is OK. Violent crime is OK. As long as it is not that terrible “gun crime”. It is fine to be robbed, raped or murdered as long as the criminals do not use firearms. Only than it is a problem.

        • In England it’s also a problem if the victims resist, or god forbid someone tries to be a good Samaritan and try to help defend said victims.

    • Well hmm if were going to be intellectually honest, we should compare overall crime rate rather than one small segment of crime? And of course we would do our due diligence and compare the US and the UK not only in terms of total population, but also compare areas with similar socioeconomic status and population density so that we can have the most honest statistical analysis right? And then of course you would have to examine crime reporting protocols (this varies by department in England from what I am told). I could go on, but honestly comparing two vastly different countries and generating a reliable conclusion is much more time consuming than just comparing firearms homicides. Wouldnt you agree?

      • By country. Yes, pretty sure you’re right. There’s nothing their squids and hooligans, not to mention bleedin’ blighters, won’t use to fark you up.

    • First, I wish everyone a good 4th of July, the day we celebrate our Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Let’s keep it that way.

      In reply to Hmmmmmm correlation does not equal causation. As an example, British children are getting fatter than American children at the same time that there are more homicides in America! Could I not say:

      UK+ fatter children = less homicides
      US + less fat children = more homicides

      It’s an easily demonstrable fact!

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/7853104/British-children-getting-fatter-at-twice-the-rate-of-American-youngsters.html

      Without getting deep into the topic, focusing on “gun crime” is a rhetorical question. What do you mean by “gun crime”? Is “gun crime” a crime where a gun is used during the commission of a actual crime such as murder, or do you mean a technical violation of a law such as failure to show a “correct” inventory of guns registered when audited by an incorrect audit list from a government agency?

      Focusing on guns neglects the other crime stats that occur without guns. The US has more of certain crimes than the UK, there are other differences that go beyond mere authoritarian control mechanisms. Even within the US there are states with lower homicide rates than England and Wales. Referencing a guardian article, England and Wales has a 1.3 homicides per 100,000, vs New Hampshire, USA with .9 per 100,000. (links where I got the data below.) My point is making a quick summary assertion claiming that “their goal is right”, is flawed. New Hampshire has less gun laws and lower homicides. It should be self evident that the likely cause is not the amount of regulation but rather the source and nature of the criminals.

      Ref article links:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/20/murder-rate-lowest-12-years
      http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0308.pdf

    • In studying US gun crime, one would be remiss if one did not include a study of the demographics committing the crimes and the demographics who were targeted. In homogeneously WHITE areas, the gun crime levels are at European levels, in urban BLACK areas the crime soars.

      • That’s due to the government subsidized housing projects. Same thing has happened anywhere in the world housing projects are created, the damn things are crime magnets.

        • He could have meant that in a poverty stricken area with no job prospects and poor education facilities that it’s understandable for people to turn to crime out of desperation.

        • It doesn’t prove what you’d like to imagine it does, Bubba.

          Bret explained it. Read it again. Public housing projects were seething nests of crimes, it’s true. Still are, but the prime reason is that they featured civilian disarmament and criminal street gangs.

          The government did street thugs an ENORMOUS favor by putting their disarmed victims in a heap covering less and one acre, give or take.

        • Powerty is not a desease. Poor education is not causing it. Jobs are out there for people willing to work. How do I know? I came to this country from Europe some 15 years ago with one bag on my shoulder and $200 to my name. I had no knowledge of english language, no SS# (meaning no employment), no drivers licence, no friends or place to stay. But I wanted to work. I’m not rich by any measure, but I have family, house I didn’t miss payment on, and olive just fine without goverment support. If one person can do it why not someone else with advantage of being home?

      • This is a very sad, but true, fact. If you remove the 8 largest urban, inner-city areas from the statistics, the US moves almost to the bottom of the list. Not only of “gun violence”, but of violent crime overall.

    • Even before the UK legislated restrictive gun laws, their rate of gun crime was extremely low. Up to the gun bans in the 1990s, the murder by gun crime rate was stable. Now it has doubled and in some cases tripled. What you have left out of your feeble effort to troll is the fact that assaults, rapes and property crime rates in the UK far exceed the United States. And that UK gangs dont seem to have any problems getting their hands on Kalashnikovs and handguns. If you think the UK is so great, leave the USA and move there. Just keep in mind that the UK has no First Amendment and that it has become a surveillance state ala 1984

    • So how do you explain the low levels of gun crime in the U.K. (lower than the U.S. levels of the same time) before they adopted such controls (as a “defense” [read as “precaution”] against political unrest). Looking forward to your answer.

    • Hey, the next time someone is about to kill you, ask them nicely to use some instrument other than a gun. After-all, it won’t be a gun-crime and therefore much better for society. Never mind that you’re dead either way.

      This is precisely why no one here gives a crap about the distinction. We only give a crap about violent crime in general. Now perhaps you’d like to take a look at England’s violent crime statistics, now that we have dispensed with the idiocy of the “gun-violence” distinction.

  3. This is funny because earlier today I read comments from UK citizens advising a lady to move out to London so she can have freedom.

  4. Annals of Government Database Management

    Is “Annals” the plural of “Anus?” ‘Cause that would make sense.

  5. hmmmmmmmm,

    Are you a violent criminal? Is the reason that you want to see Americans disarmed because you want the people you attack to be defenseless?

  6. As modern England apparently is as a neutered poodle, is there no contemporary Robert the Bruce? Or is Scotland similarily aflicted?

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Haynes v. United States 1968 fix the whole criminals and registration thing? Ergo wouldn’t the demand of registration by the government be a moot act?

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