Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Oil_Slick, Sep 11, 2007.

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  1. Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?
    British attitudes are supercilious and misguided
    Richard Munday

    Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?

    The short answer is that “gun controls†do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.â€

    One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.

    Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has “banned†pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence: all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).

    America’s disenchantment with “gun control†is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that “firearms-related crime has plummetedâ€.

    In Britain, however, the image of violent America remains unassailably entrenched. Never mind the findings of the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), indicating that we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States; never mind the doubling of handgun crime in Britain over the past decade, since we banned pistols outright and confiscated all the legal ones.

    We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun – rifle, pistol, or machinegun – without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. Charlotte Brontë recalled that her curate father fastened his watch and pocketed his pistol every morning when he got dressed; Beatrix Potter remarked on a Yorkshire country hotel where only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver; in 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.

    If armed crime in London in the years before the First World War amounted to less than 2 per cent of that we suffer today, it was not simply because society then was more stable. Edwardian Britain was rocked by a series of massive strikes in which lives were lost and troops deployed, and suffragette incendiaries, anarchist bombers, Fenians, and the spectre of a revolutionary general strike made Britain then arguably a much more turbulent place than it is today. In that unstable society the impact of the widespread carrying of arms was not inflammatory, it was deterrent of violence.

    As late as 1951, self-defence was the justification of three quarters of all applications for pistol licences. And in the years 1946-51 armed robbery, the most significant measure of gun crime, ran at less than two dozen incidents a year in London; today, in our disarmed society, we suffer as many every week.

    Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute: crimes that may devastate lives. It is perhaps a privilege of those who have never had to confront violence to disparage the power to resist.

    Richard Munday is editor and co-author of Guns & Violence: the Debate Before Lord Cullen

  2. I had a long and arduous discussion with a gun nut on another blog. In the end we agreed that the only way gun control could work is to have draconian judicial measures to fight illegal weapons, and for crimes involving firearms to have extra tariffs that are consecutive to any other sentences. Of course, this requires more prison space and for politicians to develop "cojones".
  3. lets face it the only reason that we have any form of gun control is so that the disenchanted citizen cannot overthrow the goverment, who intend to maintain their power no matter what!

    Remember that any state where only the police have the guns (legally) is in fact a police state!
  4. Ironic, given that that's the original reason for the Second Amendment to the US Constitution

  5. That gets my award for the stupidist statement this month.

    Would you say that as gun clubs are extinct in the UK, and some of the police are armed, that the UK is a police state???
    Do you live in fear of the police knocking on your door at three in the morning because you`ve just criticised the police/state/government?
  6. Actually Rocket, technically yes - think about it, if you have the potential! They have to do that and nobody could say otherwise!

    It's weak minded people like you who accept the propaganda! but don't worry I won't sleep easy in my bed knowing you've thrown the towel in already
  7. This debate will never grow old and you want to know why?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399295/ excellent movie about why it's such a profitable business.

    Has been going on for as long as there have been guns/rifles, so this argument/debate is moot, will never change.

    Gun laws and Gun Lobbyists (NRA) are nothing more then a smoke screen (Red Herring) the real culprit is the Gun Manufacturer....sort of like selling smokes, they know full well they are bad for you, but hey their (paid) Scientists and Doctors will tell you otherwise or spin it so it makes sense and it's okay... :thumright:

    Besides, how does that argument go...It's not the weapon that kills you, it's the person pulling the trigger, actually mofo it's the fecking bullet... :afro:
  8. I have lived all my life in a country where the police are armed, all the police - not just some specialist units, and at no time have I felt I was living in a police state. Any society that expects its police to deal with many of todays criminals while unarmed is living in a fantasy world that is criminally unfair to both police and the honest citizens they are meant to protect.

    A police officer may never use his/her weapon in the course of their career ( the vast majority) however the knowlege that they have the potential to do so is both a reassurance to the officer and a deterrent to the criminal.
  9. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer


  10. Sounds so simple -----------however--Northern Ireland untill recently
    had as many stop/search etc etc and still the bombings/shootings /

    Northern Ireland by the way still allows its citizens to have pistols for
    sport shooting and other valid reasons!!

    :nemo: :nemo:
  11. Hard core criminals will always commit crimes. All you can really do is prevent opportunists. Seems to me that there is far more opportunity to commit crimes when you're armed than when you're not.
  12. two things spring to my mind.

    1) every time some nutter kills masses of people in the UK with firearms the government tightens up already restrictive gun laws for us law abiding firearms owners.

    2) if more people owned legal firearms there would be less crime commited for fear of consequences.

    Example - 2 identical houses in same street - a burgalar wants to break into one, but mine has a NRA sticker in the window.... whos house will he break into?

    all these recent shootings/killings involving firearms have been with illegally obtained section 5 firearms. but they are easy to get hold of with customs being wide open for the black market twats to sell what they like.

    Close borders, get more customs officers policing the points of entry to the UK and we might be able to control the flow of illegal firearms and drugs coming into the UK

  13. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Hmm, it does seem like we're pissing into the wind when it comes to tackling crimes committed with weapons obtained through the 'black market', especially when you hear about things like this:


  14. Utopian :bball: :bball:

    The Uk is an island and has a lot of shoreline aswell as harbours .

    The snag is the availability of 'weapons ' not just firearms is unbelievable.
    At the moment the knife seems to be a favourite - and it doesn't make a noise .

    You can ban and further ban----- it won't stop killing .

    Cars kill------so can cricket bats or Golf clubs .
    Smoking is supposed to ---however they haven't banned it yet
    Brooon is getting too much revenue from us!!

    :nemo: :nemo:
  15. Your point? Most of the illegal weapons that enter Canada are thanks to our neighbour to the South, you know that porous border they are always crying about, because our weed somehow always finds itself going to California via Vancouver, yet their guns keep coming North.

    Where there is a need, there will always be a supply...simple economics... :thumright:
  16. I've always felt safer going out armed with a water pistol. :drunken: :mrgreen: :pissed:
  17. I don't feel safe with Oil Slick having a car, let alone a gun :D
  18. So you believe armed revolution against an elected government is a legitimate political action that should be encouraged.
  19. A few thoughts regarding the ownership of guns for self defence.

    Just for a moment think of the scene in your city center at chucking out time as the usual bunch of lager louts indulge in their traditional punch ups, but now many have guns (for self defence of course). How long will it be before the first gun is used, how long will it be before the traditional fight at the OK coral takes place in every town center on every Friday and Staturday night.

    Equally if the victin is likely to have a gun how many criminals will continue to go about their business unarmed. How many of these armed criminals will not shoot when the victim makes a sudden movement. What will be the balance in lives lost between criminals and victims.

    How many domestics will turn into shootings because of the availability of a gun for 'self defence'. It happens all the time in the US, talk to the police despatchers, they all have stories of taking a call for a domestic and then hearing the caller plead for their life before the fatal shot is fired.

    Just a few thoughts in favour of wider availability of guns for self defence.

    Having said all that I do believe that there are good grounds though for greater availability of hand guns for sporting use, and there is certainly no grounds for a total ban on the private ownership of guns
  20. YES. Remember it's the thin end of the wedge.

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