Britain has some of the most restrictive controls on firearms of any nation on earth. Inspector Colin Greenwood wrote the first academic study of gun control in England and Wales, at Cambridge University, in 1972. He found that registration of guns and the licensing of guns had no effect on crime. From A Study of Armed Crime and Firearms Control in England and Wales . . .
How, then, should policy on firearms controls be affected by the facts produced? The system of registering all firearms to which Section I applies as well as licensing the individual takes up a large part of the police time involved and causes a great deal of trouble and inconvenience. The voluminous records so produced appear to serve no useful purpose. In none of the cases examined in this study was the existence of these records of any assistance in detecting a crime and no one questioned during the course of the study could establish the value of the system of registering weapons.
He later documented that the gun laws in England were passed because of fear of revolution instead of to control crime.Law Professor and Historian Joyce Lee Malcolm buttressed Greenwood’s work in her books detailing the rise of English gun controls. In spite of evidence of the ineffectiveness of these laws, politicians in England and Wales continue to push for ever more restrictive, administratively expensive, and ineffective firearms legislation. From independent.co.uk:
The chaotic, fractured and inadequate gun control regime covering more than 1.8 million firearms in private hands needs to be overhauled or will result in further massacres, a new report warns.
A damning investigation by the official police inspectorate reveals that some of Britain’s biggest police forces have ignored requests to tighten up their licensing programme despite widespread failures revealed following a triple gun murder nearly four years ago.
While the article references the number of firearms, the number of legal firearms owners is less than half as many. From www.gov.uk:
- There were 151,413 firearm certificates on issue as at 31 March 2014, an increase of 2.5% compared with 147,695 on issue at the end of March 2013.
- The number of firearms covered by such certificates increased in the last year (to 507,867 firearms) and is the highest number since these figures were first collected in 1995.
- There were 582,923 shotgun certificates on issue as at 31 March 2014, an increase of 2.1% from the 570,726 on issue at the end of March 2013.
There were about 734,336 legal firearms owners in England and Wales in 2014, the latest year that I could find records for. The chart at the top of the post shows a slight rise in firearms ownership in England and Wales. It has been enough to cause the disarmists to push for even more restrictive legislation.
Note that the disarmists have to go back four years to find a sensational case involving a legal gun owner. The population of England and Wales is about 57.5 million in 2015, so about 1.3% of the population owns guns, under tightly regulated circumstances. Defense of self and others is not a sufficient reason to be allowed to own a gun in the UK.
The important point of this number is *not* that the number of crimes committed with legal guns is statistically insignificant; but rather that the number of gun owners is statistically insignificant as a voting block. Nothing in the article mentions the increased violent crime rate with illegal guns and other instruments, that occurred after the strict firearms laws were passed.
The UK subverted their version of the Second Amendment in the 20th Century. Even though the Second Amendment is derived from English roots, Colin Greenwood showed how the English right to arms was simply ignored out of existence by 1972. There is a point when the number of gun owners becomes low enough that they can be ignored by the ruling elite. That is what has happened in England and Wales.
It is not enough to merely follow the rule of law. A totalitarian despot can follow the rule of law by passing draconian laws. Governments must be limited in what they are allowed to do. The limitation in UK law was insufficient to be effective, and the level of firearms ownership was insufficient to preserve their right through the democratic process.
It is a lesson that the citizens of the United States would be well served to pay attention to.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.