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I was a UK resident alien for 18 years. While pursuing The American Dream in The Land of Hope and Glory (go figure), I never touched a gun. OK, I used to nip into Holland & Holland in Mayfair on the odd occasion to ogle shotguns that cost more than any three motorcycles I’ve ever owned. For reasons I still can’t fathom. Speaking of the unfathomable, the British justice system is a bit OTT when it comes to gun control. No private handgun or modern home defense sporting rifles for you old chap. Register all your shotguns with the police. Roger that—although not in the English sense of the word. Actually yes. Let’s go with the sodomy definition; British judges seem happy to roger anyone who even comes close to an “improper” firearm. Writing for, an ex-con by the name of Andrew Richardson tells the tale of gun control gone wild . . .

First, Mr. Richardson’s account of what happens when you forget about a .22 stashed in your things (for 27 years) when you move from the U.S. to the U.K.

A few weeks later an auctioneer found the pistol in its shoebox and turned it in to local police. Five months after that, they contacted me for a cordial chat, and I told them this story.

Over the next three to four months, police, solicitors and probation officials all assured me I’d get a slap on the wrist for forgetfulness. But in court, the judge threw the book at me, awarding the full five-year minimum custodial sentence dictated by parliament. I was, seemingly, imprisoned merely to set an example to others – highlighting the at-times nonsensical nature of British justice.

Five years? Fortunately, Mr. Richardson “only” served eight months. The other examples of gun control gone wild unearthed by Mr. Richardson during time served at his Majesty’s pleasure are even more shocking.

It’ll be no great surprise that I’ve heard dozens of horror stories since my case went public. For example, a young farmworker was asked to nip into town in the boss’s car to pick up staff lunches. While he was salting the fish ‘n’ chips, a pedestrian noticed the farmer’s shotgun on the back seat of the car where he’d left it after shooting the day before. Police were called, and the young man was charged with possessing a gun for which he didn’t have a licence. Despite the farmer admitting his fault in not locking it up after the shoot, the judiciary stood firm and the farmworker served 19 months before being released on appeal.

Then there’s the tale of the senior bank director. An avid countryside sportsman, he attended a shoot in Essex one Friday, but instead of going home to Surrey, stayed in his Belgravia house over the weekend as he had city social engagements. His 12-bore was locked in the gun cabinet on Friday evening, but a nosy neighbour who saw him carrying it indoors, secured in the right place, called the constabulary. He was arrested and imprisoned: his licence address was Surrey, so locking it up in Belgravia constituted both unlicensed possession and concealment.

No ’bout a doubt it: the more stringent gun control laws become, the greater the possibility of unintended consequences. And victims. Maybe Paul Helmke and his mates should think about that the next time they claim Europe and the UK are the model for American gun control.

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  1. The anti-gun folks on here are always repeating the mantra that they just want “reasonable restrictions”. These are the types of things they consider reasonable and is why they should be fought at every step.

  2. people over here don’t seem to be abel to get their heads arround the fact that it’s gun owners the GC preople hate , not the guns themselves. I do not believe any of this was unintended. All the prosecutions were the combined effort of police, neigbors , witnesses, prosecutors and a judge. In each case, several of them had an opportunity to exercise discression and chose not to.
    how can the reporting by neigbors and the rediculous setntancing be anything but willful malice?

      • So the Scotland Yard is rounding up UK citizens and sending them to concentration camps to be murdered by the millions? Wow, you’d think that would be bigger news.

        • No, they just put gun owners in jail. The Brits are far too sophisticated for concentration camps, but they have the whole “inform on your neighbor” thing down pat.

        • Quite a few bad things happened before that started which paved the way for that to even be possible, and unfortunately they bore remarkable similarity to many things happening now.

          Cue QQ about correlation/causation.

  3. The article reads more like cases of over zealous judiciary more than anything else. I will agree that Britain’s gun control laws are more restrictive than even I would prefer, these cases are more about the crown prosecutors, judges and police abusing the letter of the law than the law itself. There are thousands of gun owners in the UK that regularly compete in competitions, hunt and travel with their firearms, but no one writes blog posts about that since showing the other side of the issue does not stir up outrage. Police and the judiciary overstepping their bounds and acting with disregard towards the spirit and intent of the law never seem to draw that much ire.

    Why not direct your rage towards that, rather than posting blithe comments about “contemptible slaves”.

    • Mouldy Squid, you prove our point. There’s no “reasonable” restriction that prosecutors, judges, cops and politicians won’t turn into unreasonable abuse just as soon as they get their dirty, stinking hands on the power.

      • No, I do not.

        There are many reasonable restrictions which do not lead to these kinds of over-zealous prosecutorial abuses (Canada is a good example of this). Perhaps you could provide some evidence that these sorts of misconduct are the direct result of the UK firearms laws? Or perhaps you would care to provide some statistical studies comparing the experiences of those UK gun owners who haven’t been persecuted in this way with those that have? A nice sampling of over-zealous prosecutions versus total population of UK gun owners would also be helpful.

        Could it possibly be that there are a few “bad apples” among the crown prosecutors and police that are out to make a name for themselves in a politically charged case? Or perhaps the witnesses over reacted and that over reaction spread to the patrol constables? Keep in mind as well that the UK was the target of decades of terrorist activity well before 9/11 and several incidents since then, none of which makes the populace more comfortable with seeing firearms in the backseats of cars, particularly so since the media consistently over hypes the threat of violence whenever it can. And all this is in addition to the bias of reporting; where are the blog posts from the thousands UK gun owners that have never been hassled about their firearms? That’s right, there aren’t any because those stories don’t stir the pot.

        The point is that I am not at all convinced that the (overly) restrictive UK gun laws are the cause of these sorts of cases. There is a political agenda behind this kind of zealous prosecution, an agenda that has more to do with looking “tough on crime”, particularly a politically and socially charged crime like firearms abuse, than an actual campaign to take away firearms.

        Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity.

        • Unfortunately, there is more malice in government that stupidity. Were the jackbooted thugs who killed the Weavers stupid, or malicious? I vote for the latter. Power corrupts. Period. Are the overly restrictive guns laws in Blighty to blame for all their ills? Of course not. But it provides another hammer to people who will use it to bash in any head that dares to raise itself up.

        • “Canada as a good example” ??? What total B.S.

          I fought long and hard to stop the silly Canadian gun laws.
          The Government of the day, Liberal, took the cowardly way out by persecuting law abiding gun owners because it was a lot easier than going after criminals. Registration, confiscation, ridiculous criminal persecutions of otherwise upstanding citizens, duck hunters and recreational shooters. They demonized firearms enthusiasts and hunters to give lefty, urban voters the appearance of ‘doing something’ to control crime. They claimed that a national gun registry would only cost 2 MILLION dollars…. after less than a decade, the costs had spiraled to almost 2 BILLION and a continuous comedy of errors in the data base became regular news. People would ‘register’ soldering guns, caulking guns, or just about anything that could be called a ‘gun’. Meanwhile, thugs and gangs were having OK Corral gun-fights in the largest streets in the country. The Mayor of that city (Toronto) decided that something just had to be done. He closed all the gun ranges in the municipality. Yup, gun ranges.

          So you see, Squid, Ralph is correct. When you have poorly thought-out laws, or allow a citizen’s rights to be eroded even a little bit, you start down a very slippery slope. Columbine style nutjobs will always be with us and always have been in the past. You can’t use those tragedies to strip away the rights of innocent people.

          The left-thinking people who dislike firearms never seem to understand that dealing with criminals should be where they direct their energy. But Lefty liberals usually side with criminals instead of the victims. No such thing as a bad boy, ya know.

          A gun culture is not a bad thing if the people who own the guns are not perpetrating evil upon their fellow man. But human nature is a funny thing. Those who’s intentions are evil need to be met by good people willing to stop them. If that means an individual homeowner with a S&W, so be it.

          The ‘right’ to self defense is not subject to man’s laws. It pre-dates all laws. It is an inherit right that even pre-dates civilized society. No parliament or congress should have the power to infringe upon a free man’s right and duty to protect himself or his family. However, those same parliaments or congresses do bear the responsibility to enact laws to protect the law abiding citizens from criminals.

        • “There are many reasonable restrictions which do not lead to these kinds of over-zealous prosecutorial abuses (Canada is a good example of this).”

          Bad example, as Canadian authorities have been hounding people for using guns in self-defense.

  4. Hope and Glory? Oh, yeah. Those are two of the lapdancers at the Foxy Lady gentleman’s club. I knew they made a lot of money, but didn’t know they could afford their own country. Cool.

  5. I thought five years for being a gun control supporter was a fair sentence. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. I really don’t understand why the man was complaining – this is what he was supporting. He should be angry at his sentence being cut short. The criminal says “But I am disappointed. Taxpayers wasted nearly £100,000 on my incarceration; funds that could have been better spent combating real crime. ” He apparently still supports gun control, and by that standard he is a real criminal. Unless he’s changed his views and isn’t telling us, he is one helluva hypocrite.

  6. This is exactly the same kind of “zero tolerance” idiocy we see here with school administrators suspending kids who make their thumb and forefinger into a gun and say ‘bang’. They throw their hands up and claim that they have no discretion in the matter, it’s beyond their control.

    What they’re really doing is admitting that they’re nothing more than bureaucrats who are drunk on the power that an overweening nanny state has granted them. They like nothing better than to make examples of poor saps who’ve inadvertantly stepped over an imaginary line, one they probably didn’t know existed. Ruin someone’s life over a simple, innocent mistake? Tough shit. That’ll be five years. The rest of you, shut up and pay your taxes or they’ll find something you didn’t know you’ve done.

    Tar. Feathers.

  7. “No ’bout a doubt it: the more stringent gun control laws become, the greater the possibility of unintended consequences. And victims. Maybe Paul Helmke and his mates should think about that the next time they claim Europe and the UK are the model for American gun control.”

    It is my belief that they have thought about it and that that is the result they want. I believe some gun control advocates are just that evil as to not mind otherwise innocent people getting locked up and losing their rights over some victimless infraction.

  8. Unintended? Seems fairly intentional to me. Each of those fat queen lovers got all warm under the wig when they saw an opportunity to mess with an innocent person from their bench.


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