In the U.K., the idea that licensed gun owners should be considered a resource to defend against terrorist attack is off the table.
A caller to a BBC radio show, a gun store owner and a gun owner, asked Alison Hernandez, the Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, a question. What would be the repercussions of legal gun owners using guns to defend themselves in a terrorist attack? The Commissioner suggested that the idea should be examined. From theguardian.com:

“If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?”

Hernandez replied that it was a “a very good question” and asked the woman if she would put it in writing so that the chief constable, Shaun Sawyer, could consider it. But she then added: “This might be some of our solution to our issues.”

The Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton immediately put an end to any thought such an idea should be considered. From devon-cornwall.police.uk:

The following statement is in response to an interview given today, Monday 12 June, to BBC Radio Cornwall by Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, where it was discussed whether or not registered firearms licence holders could be of assistance to police during a terrorist attack . . .

“Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.

“Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.

The Deputy Chief Constable never allows any possibility of self-defense. If self-defense with guns is seen as legitimate, the entire scheme of victim disarmament in the UK falls apart.

Consider. A gun store owner in the U.K. is not allowed to defend themselves with a gun, at least not in any planned way. According to U.K. law, a gun may not be kept in a ready condition in order to protect against attack. It might seem that a Jihadi attack in the U.K. countryside would be implausible. How about an attack on a undefended gun store?

The rigorous citizen disarmament scheme in the U.K. was never about crime. It was always about fear of a revolution.

The dogma of a disarmed citizenry has become holy writ to the British governing elite. It must never be questioned. Anti-rights activists, should be asked if gun shop owners should be able to defend their shop with a gun. “Under no Circumstances” is the answer if the U.S. follows the path of British gun control.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

64 Responses to UK: Deputy Chief Constable: Do Not Arm Yourself, Run and Hide

    • Good people of the United Kingdom. If you support the individual right of people to defend themselves, and specifically the right to bear arms, you will not get those rights anytime during your lifetime if you remain in your country. Please consider moving to the United States, and particularly to one of the many States that has respect for the 2nd Amendment rights of the people!

  1. No shock there.
    Dont not defend yourselves. Run and hide. If you cannot, just lay down and wait to be killed.
    Sounds like a good plan.

    • “Do not defend yourselves. Run and hide. If you cannot, just lay down and (try to enjoy it) wait to be killed.” FIFY

      • F**k you! I’m Millwall!
        Or whatever the hell he said. There are still some Brits (drunken of course) that will fight. The dude that said that is a hero. Don’t discount an entire citenzery because the ones that rule over them are…scared? I don’t know, but that story made the cockles of my heart glow warm.

  2. Ugh do we really want to stay allied to these dodo birds? The survival instinct has been almost completely bred out of them. In another 10 years, they will be rushing to their murders bending over and presenting their necks for the knife. Talk about a boat anchor chain around the neck of Western Civilization dragging it down.

    • Indeed. What madness says to one armed with a rifle ‘run, but don’t fight’ those people with knives murdering innocents all around you. Either, what callousness and lack of moral certitude allows one so armed, in such a situation to flee?

      Force the crown to either admit to preferring mass murder over armed defense by prosecuting some hero stopping such an attack with a legally owned gun, or else force the crown to stand down from prosecuting said hero. On the former case, a revolution is needed, of the latter, a revolution of a kind would have already begun.

  3. Should anyone ever inquire of you why we had a revolution to part ways with Great Britain and why we have the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in our Constitution, just show them this.

  4. Run, Hide, Tell…..
    Not only did that get you beat up worse in school, Now we see how it works on the scale of a country.

  5. Are officers really that poorly trained that they can’t tell the difference between the madman shooting random innocent people and the guy with a gun who isn’t shooting random innocent people?

    Hint: The madman usually strolls around offing people often while shouting about needing a snackbar. The good guys generally seek cover and concealment and don’t randomly yell about an invisible man who lives in the sky.

    • A better question is how often do these events go on where cops are there to do anything about it except clean up the mess (if a target is armed and returns fire). I bet the number is close to zero.

      Doesn’t matter though. How dare the peasants question the benevolence of their royal government masters. They should feel privileged to able to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Remember, the citizenry is expendable, the royalty is not.

  6. This does not say not to defend yourself… based on the premise of the question regarding licensed firearm owners being of any assistance to the police during an attack, it means they don’t want citizens in public arming themselves and coming out to try and help the police.

    Yes, they could use some major improvements in their gun ownership laws… but don’t try and twist something to mean another, just to make that point… that’s a very “liberal” thing to do, Dean.

    • “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms”

      ““Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.”

      Reading is fundamental.

      • I read just fine, but you have to also look at the context of what you’re reading.

        This was not a response about citizens in their homes grabbing their guns to defend themselves should the attack make it to their doorstep… it was about people arming themselves and coming to the aid of the police during an attack. Armed citizens showing up in public. That’s what he was responding to.

        The word “public” means quite a bit in the context of what he was saying…

        • Here is the question the Deputy Chief Constable was responding to:

          “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?”

          The quote is in the article.

          Notice that the Deputy Chief Constable twisted it around to a different subject, that did not talk about self defense.

    • Reread the quote from the Constable.

      So you think the Constable would be OK with longbows and billhooks inside Tommys kitchen? the garden? the neighborhood?

      • If you think his intention is that under no circumstances whatsoever should a citizen ever try to defend themselves, then there’s not really much point in trying to explain it any further.

        Personally, it seems pretty obvious to me that he doesn’t want armed citizens (armed with what the fuck ever) showing up at the scene of a public attack and trying to help.

        • The message from the Police Commissioner was quite explicit. “We want you to run, to hide and to tell.”. Nothing in there about defending yourself or your loved ones. Like Ralph said, reading IS fundamental.

    • “…it means they don’t want citizens in public arming themselves and coming out to try and help the police…”

      Right — wait until the police have all been killed, THEN arm yourselves……

  7. Wow … I’d say this is just deplorable, but that word had been retasked since the last election.

  8. The thought of their citizenry being able to defend against muslim terror attacks upsets them more than the muslim terror attacks happening in the first place. Disgraceful.

  9. “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell”

    And if you can’t run and hide? You can’t tell anyone anything if you’re not alive to do it.

    • It’s simple. If you can outrun a truck and find a place to hide and are not found and stabbed, then you tell.

  10. I get that a scene like that will be confusing but how bad are their police officers that they arrive on scene of a terrorist attack and just dropping everyone with a gun?

    By that logic the police should start dropping anyone and everyone that is currently driving a van

  11. In Britain, your boss is often referred to as “the master”, if you work for a member of the “upper classes”. Teddy Roosevelt tells a story in one of his books about ranch life in the Dakotas, where some British aristo was visiting his ranch to go hunting. The Brit “nob” rode into the ranch HQ, rode up to a cowboy, and said “I say my good man, can you tell me where I may find your master?” [meaning Teddy Roosevelt]

    The cowboy looked at him for a moment, then replied: “He ain’t been born.”

    And that is the difference between American gun owners and the British.

    • Ummm, sorry, but as a Brit I’m gonna have to call BS on that. Yes, in the nineteenth and even early twentieth Century. But not for quite some time….

      Used to be, in the USA, black people had to call white people “Master”. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to go around claiming that’s still the case.

      Just sayin’.

      • The “masters” then as now are and were Democrats. They have enslaved the majority of blacks to their political philosophy (nanny statism) and like all democrats (and neo-cons) they want to keep them disarmed, fat, and submissive. All slavery by other means. How is the UK master/pleb system any different? Why do pop stars and government officials get armed security and you don’t? If you say, “Their lives are more important than mine,” then you are a servant and nothing more.

        • Uhhh, not really disagreeing with that: it’s in the nature of things that there are haves and have-nots, powerful and powerless people.

          I’m specifically calling BS on the totally inaccurate claim that Brits in this day and age refer to their upper class employers as “the Master”. And I was making the point that just because something happened once upon a time, it doesn’t mean you can indefinitely maintain it as fact.

        • As a black gun owner, I’m glad I was born in America instead of the British empire of the Caribbean islands or Britain itself.

        • @ Chris T in KY:

          Sincerely, I’m pleased you feel that way. Personally I am happy and proud to be a Brit, although I freely admit that there are aspects of our legal system I disagree with profoundly.

          For what it’s worth, although I’m white British, it’s my perception that race issues are far less divisive and far less pronounced here than in the States – at least those parts that I’ve visited.

          I have seriously considered the possibility of moving to the States, in large part because of the much better legal position on self defence, and the constitutional protection of individual liberties. I have not put anything into action because, in part, I also believe that I have a duty to my own country, to try and lobby for positive change here.

          God bless America; and God bless Britain as well. Long term and sincere allies, and may we ever remain so.

  12. Dean’s article comes (I think?) off the back of me sending a link to the story.

    I also included a short article, which I guess TTAG chose not to run. Fair enough; but my take on it is a slightly more nuanced one… albeit that I agree with Dean on some points.

    For anyone interested:

    UK: Police Commissioner raises the topic of armed citizen response to terror attack

    The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall, Alison Hernandez, has expressed interest in the idea of armed British citizens exercising their natural right to self defence in the event of a terror attack – a good idea which, predictably, was as popular with the Police as the proverbial turd in a swimming pool.

    Firearms ownership in the UK is far less widespread than it is in the States, and the use of firearms for self defence is massively less accepted by the public and by the authorities. Nevertheless, recent terrorist attacks in the UK have raised the level of interest in an armed citizenry.

    Looking at the three recent attacks, it is not immediately clear whether an armed citizenry would have made a positive, neutral or negative contribution to events:

    * The Westminster attack was stopped rapidly by armed Police, albeit after numerous casualties were inflicted by the attacker. It is debatable whether armed citizens would have been effective in stopping a sudden vehicle rampage; and the attacker was stopped promptly and permanently by Police after charging the entrance of the Houses of Parliament.

    * The Manchester suicide bombing was self-limiting. It seems unlikely that an armed citizenry would have prevented such an attack: by the time hostile intent was demonstrated (legitimising a lethal response) it would already have been too late to prevent detonation.

    * The most recent attack, at London Bridge, presents a much clearer case for the potential virtues of an armed citizenry. Although the speed of the armed Police response – 8 minutes – is commendable, it is unarguably true that “when seconds count, the Police are only minutes away”… It seems likely, in this case, that the presence of armed citizens might have reduced the number of casualties significantly. On the other hand, it is also possible that such a presence might have been a complicating in the Police response, or indeed might have resulted in the Police opening fire against armed civilians exercising their right to self defence.

    Whilst it remains highly unlikely that the British government will, in the foreseeable future, legislate to permit the ownership or use of firearms for self defence… it is nonetheless a positive development in the debate to see an elected figure raising that possibility.

    Levels of gun ownership are very low compared to the States. The Police are not routinely armed. Even if all existing gun owners in Britain suddenly started carrying handguns, the statistical likelihood of any future terrorist attack taking place where an armed citizen might be able to intervene is still low.

    There is also an undeniable truth to the Police position on the subject. Armed citizens in a dynamic situation would almost certainly complicate the picture for responding officers, and there is a real possibility that armed Police responders would “deal with you, and deal with you immediately” if one were seen with a gun in the midst of a marauding terrorist attack.

    But, at the very least, I applaud Ms Hernandez’s willingness to consider a topic that has for so long been considered taboo in British politics and policing.

    As a British citizen, I am acutely aware of the legal impediments that prevent me from being equipped to defend myself and my loved ones as effectively as possible. I can only hope that the debate on this issue is given the airtime it deserves, and that the (not wholly unreasonable) objections of the Police are weighed against the very reasonable desire of many Britons to be able to protect themselves and others from those who would do them harm.

    To the POTG in the States, as I have said before: be grateful for the foresight of your founding fathers, and for the protection of your rights enshrined in the Second Amendment.

  13. “UK: Deputy Chief Constable: Do Not Arm Yourself, Run and Hide”

    Brilliant! Cuz that “strategy” has worked wonders so far, right?! /sarc

    • I wonder if, in the event, of a major war where the Brits managed to misplace most of their weapons, they would accept individual weapons from the NRA? Or perhaps allow the US to arm them?

  14. Another point:

    I am on the same page as many American readers of TTAG, in finding it morally repugnant that I and my fellow countrymen are legally denied the most effective means of defending ourselves…

    BUT

    In the context of Britain as it is (not as one might wish it to be)… is the advice actually bad? Not really.

    “Run, Hide, Tell” can reasonably be translated as “get off the X, seek cover, communicate”. That’s reasonable advice – particularly in a context where people are very unlikely to be armed.

    Reading the advice in that ‘translated’ way, and looking at it in the relevant context, what would you say differently?

    • Fight. Fight has to be in there somewhere. As I tell my daughter, run or ambush — which means hide until you can’t.

      • Robert: thanks for the response.

        Personally I agree with you, one hundred percent (and then some more, even borrowed at an exorbitant rate of interest!).

        But – serious question – if the state has legally disarmed its citizens, is it moral or even vaguely reasonable for them to suggest these same citizens fight back?

        It strikes me that the advice, albeit lacking the essential element of “fight back”, is probably as far as official government guidance can reasonably go – in context.

        * Also, to be fair, the “hide” part does (on some versions of the posters etc.) say that people should defend themselves if necessary. A shame they are denied the most effective means to do so, but the intent is kinda there.

        • Some of those in the U.K. don’t agree with the Run, Hide, Tell. Last attack they fought back with anything that wasn’t nailed down

          Fight has to be in there somewhere, it may not be the appropriate response every time but recent events showed that running and hiding is not always an option

        • “if the state has legally disarmed its citizens, is it moral or even vaguely reasonable for them to suggest these same citizens fight back?”

          This is an important question. In Canada, the government position is “Run, Hide, Fight”, with the statement that you should improvise weapons to fight. This leads to an interesting problem in that if you carry something on you that is not a weapon, but with the intention to use it as a weapon in an emergency, you could be charged with carrying a weapon- if you made someone aware beforehand of your intention.

          But is it moral? I can’t say for sure, but the admission by the state that there are times when you must defend yourself is an important shift away from the expectation that the average person remain passive. Some people need to be told that an action is okay for them to do before they will attempt it. Maybe those people will start asking questions about their own responsiblity to personal safety, and whether it is moral for them to be actively disarmed.

        • @ ColdNorth:

          Very interesting – I wasn’t aware that is the official position in Canada, but it’s good to know. I think there would be a similar legal ‘Catch 22’ in the UK (regarding weapons / weaponizable items)… which may be part of the reason they’ve opted for “tell” rather than “fight”.

          Also, as The Duke points out, a fair number of people did fight back. It may be that whatever committee decided on the official party line took the view that Brits do like to have a scrap, and so actively sanctioning it might encourage people to knock hell out of one another when not strictly necessary…!

    • While “get off the X, seek cover, communicate” should all be done, immediately stopping the threat is paramount. Else, more peeps die or needlessly imperiled.

  15. I never understood why Britain took the path of civilian disarmament. I dare say that getting anywhere near civilian ownership will be close to impossible now. The poor farmer who was jailed just for defending his homestead is a case I remember reading about and thought it just “twilight Zone” crazy that people are not allowed to defend themselves.

    • Why did they take the path of civilian disarmament? Duuuh, do ya think it had anything to do with the leftist politicians they kept putting in power? Naaah. Couldn’t been.

    • By an interesting combination of history and class identity. The UK has always had a class divide where your social position, family history, and wealth defined your standing. There were several great shocks to the system. The first was the bubonic plague and the fire of London which resulted in the elevation of the skilled trade and merchant classes.

      The second was The Great War which fertilized the fields of northern France with the blood of the children of the aristocracy.

      The third great shock was the Russian Revolution where the proletariat deposed and later executed the ruling class. Trained veterans returning home from France and supporting White Armies in Russia with their service weapons and captured enemy war booty were regarded with suspicion. This, and the ongoing Irish Civil War, prompted the first British gun control laws “For The Common Good”.

      The rest was progressive further restrictions, often knee-jerk reactions, to perceived threats and unfortunate incidents.

      Britain today is still an extremely class conscious society and will respond more to perceived internal threats to the “Established Order” than to actual real threats.

  16. If the citizens could protect themselves then crime would decrease and the result is the police unions would lose dues payers as the un-needed police are laid off. Self defense ruins the whole un-natural scheme of things and upsets the political balance set forth by the elite politicians that purchased or inherited their positions in the UK

    • At the time, even lacking air superiority, sea lion 1.0 would have been successful, the Brits were woefully unprepared.

      It goes back to appeasement, that magical thinking that by giving something, the rest can be kept. This works so long as its true that all parties are acting in rational self interest and have similar goals. The problem arrises when your goals (non-violence) and your opponents goals (total domination) are dissimiler, or when one party is acting outside rational self interest (i.e. suicide bomber).

      The inability to fathom that your opponent may either have dissimilar goals or isn’t acting rationally is, I think, mostly arrogance, but it’s cut with a dose of blind optimism. Regardless, the outcome is the same: appeasement either leads to more taking by intimidation, or outright force. If you want to solve the problem, make such behavior excessively costly, attack at the first sign, and continue the attack until the opponent is unable to ever rise again.

      To use World War analogies: Germany should have been disincorporated after the first WW, or left indefinitely with an occupation force. Otherwise, a new war should have been declared and prosecuted immediately when German rearmament began. Either of these likely would have prevented the second world war.

      As to terrorists, this applies to fighting them whenever, whereever and however they appear, and utterly destroying any support they have (an argument for war in Afghanistan after 9/11). At the individual level, this means fighting them immediately and with extreme prejudice, and then calling on government to carry on the fight to the end (mass deportations, strick quotas on immigration, isolation and destruction of state sponsors, etc).
      No one bothered with much of this before, and the UK isn’t likely to now either, but look at the US: occupy enemies after defeat, check. Prosecuted war in total fashion, check, reshape cultures, people and nations to ensure no future fighting needed or possible, check.

      The limited wars of Europe pre WW1 taught poor lessons to the Brits, the decisive war-making by the Americans demonstrates the correctness of their approach.

    • Indeed. Shall the Brits now run on the beaches and in the streets? Shall they hide in the hedgerows?
      Poor Churchill, an honorary US citizen…perhaps we should bring him here now, so as not to sully his legacy with these wimps.

  17. not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.

    First, since the last few terrorist attacks on British soil did not use firearms, however did they manage to tell friend from foe? Could it be they simply identified those people who were attacking innocent people while shouting about Allah, ISIS, and Syria?

    Second, that last bit reminds me that, while their methods and equipment varied, recent attackers have all shared certain common visible characteristics that would have served to distinguish them. Somehow they avoid taking about this.

    Third, since when do British police care about who the perpetrators are? Just arrest everybody present, and everybody who lives with them, and the barrista who served their morning tea, then release the innocent at leisure. Apparently, that’s the British way.

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