My home country banned hand guns outright in 1997. Since then handgun crime and violent crime has skyrocketed.
This is reproduced from an article in the Times Online (UK) Sept 8th 2007. The article could be found at; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2409817.ece . The content needs no comment, as it is entirely self explanatory:
Authored by Richard Munday – editor and co-author of Guns & Violence: the Debate Before Lord Cullen
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.”
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 plummeted”.
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.
It is very hard to buy any kind of weaponry in England; the same country which set forth the Magna Carta and protected the right to keep and bear arms many hundreds of years ago.
I once went to buy some nunchakus to play with, and I had to sign a form to let the government know that I had purchased them.
In order to buy a shotgun in England, you must take a class and obtain a ‘shotgun license’. You must also purchase an appropriate locking device to keep your gun securely locked inside your home. The local police must stop by and inspect it before you can be granted your license.
This is how far England has fallen from its original freedoms, and that is what I fear for America if we continue to ride along on the collectivist death train.
In this country I have a right to keep and bear arms, and I exercise that right. Since moving here I have acquired several firearms, and I proudly show them off to friends and family when they come to visit. I keep them clean, and take them to the firing range often.
The first gun I ever fired was a 44 magnum. I have my father-in-law to thank for that. My wife and I’s wedding was a whirlwind affair, and I did not know many people in this country. In fact; I knew no-one outside of her family. So the day before our wedding, my father-in-law took me and my dad (my family had flown in for the wedding) to the local firing range. This was his idea of a bachelor party, and considering that at this point I had never fired a handgun before, I was ecstatic. I knew from the Dirty Harry movies that the 44 Magnum had one heck of a kick to it, and that it was still one of the most powerful handguns in the world. So when we entered the range and I held the huge hunk of steel in my hands, I gripped it with all my might, so as not to get smacked in the face when the bullet discharged. I aimed it, with a tight but slightly relaxed grip; anticipating the recoil, I squeezed the trigger; BANG! The gun kicked up with a flash of flame exploding out from the barrel of the gun. I was stunned. I knew that it would have a kick, but it was like firing a shotgun or a large firework right in front of your face with your bare hands. I looked around at my father-in-law with my jaw wide open, and then at my dad with a grin starting to rip at the sides of my mouth. It was exhilarating, and I lined up for my next shot; BANG! Again the gun went off with a mammoth explosion. What a rush! After I had gone through a dozen rounds I handed the gun over to my father-in-law, who put another dozen through it, and then he gave it to my dad, who put another set through it. After that I was hooked for life.
After the better part of a year and much paperwork, I received my green-card; with this I received many of the privileges that Americans enjoy. I was also now able to purchase firearms; so long as I could prove at least six months of residency. The week after I got my green-card, I went to the same firing range to buy my first pistol. After I filled out the paperwork and gave them proof of my residency, I was told I needed to wait a couple of days so that they could run the additional checks. I returned a few days later, and everything was in order. I gave cash for my gun, and the man behind the counter slid my new firearm with its additional clip and re-loader over to me in a nice black hardened plastic box and said ‘Mr Townsend, I hope this firearm serves you well’. With a smile I said ‘thank you’, clipped the box shut and walked out of the range with a grin. I had just exercised my second amendment rights, and I felt exhilarated to do so, especially knowing that none of my friends and family back home even had the right to do so.
I now keep that firearm with me wherever I go, it has indeed served me well. I hope I never have to use it in self defense, but it is there if I should ever need it, and my sovereign rights as an individual shall never be infringed.
Firearms are an important part of freedom. Aside from being a useful deterrent against would-be aggressors, they are also a fun sport to take part in.
Depending on what statistics you read:
Half of all US citizens exercise their rights to own firearms and protect themselves. Indeed, the more people that own guns, the lower the crime rate:
Gun sales up, crime down
As Judge Alex Kozinski accurately stated; ‘the second amendment is a doomsday provision’. It protects individuals from all enemies foreign and domestic. It lets the government know that you the individuals are in charge, and stops the rise of powers such as Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, which striped their citizens of the right to bear arms before stripping them of their rights and lives altogether.
FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
The majority falls prey to the delusion—popular in some circles—that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth—born of experience—is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. Our own sorry history bears this out: Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South. In Florida, patrols searched blacks’ homes for weapons, confiscated those found and punished their owners without judicial process. See Robert J. Cottrol & Raymond T. Diamond, The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration, 80 Geo. L.J. 309, 338 (1991). In the North, by contrast, blacks exercised their right to bear arms to defend against racial mob violence. Id. at 341- 42. As Chief Justice Taney well appreciated, the institution of slavery required a class of people who lacked the means to resist. See Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393, 417 (1857) (finding black citizenship unthinkable because it would give blacks the right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went”). A revolt by Nat Turner and a few dozen other armed blacks could be put down without much difficulty; one by four million armed blacks would have meant big trouble. All too many of the other great tragedies of history— Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust,to name but a few—were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here.
See Kleinfeld Dissent at 5997-99.
If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars. My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed—where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once. Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the light of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten. Despite the panel’s mighty struggle to erase these words, they remain, and the people themselves can read what they say plainly enough: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The whole time we have guns, we cannot be taken over by government, and no invading country can ever dominate us. Just take a look at Switzerland, for hundreds of years they have never been invaded because every man is required to own a gun. They also have the lowest crime rate in the entire world.
In the United States, the right to keep and bear arms is protected by The Bill of Rights, second amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government.” -Thomas Jefferson
So long as our gun owning rights are not infringed, we will continue to live in a free country, because a gun owning country cannot be ruled over without revolt. It is our god given right to keep and bear arms, and we are the masters of our own domains so long as we do so.
History has shown that a free and law abiding society that owns guns will always be safer than a society striped of its rights to do so. Let us never fall into the same trap that Nazi Germany and Communist Russia fell into. Let us always defend our right to bear arms, and defend our own peace and prosperity. Let us not give criminals the upper hand with gun control laws. Let us carry our guns so that we might protect ourselves if our own sovereignty is challenged.
Throughout history, especially in the 20th century, those law abiding citizens that have kept guns have been proven to save lives.