Monday, 18 August 2008

Gun law?

A number of people have written to me asking me to write an article in praise of guns, arguing that increased gun ownership reduces crime and increases personal safety. It is a view genuinely held by many of my correspondents, particularly those from the USA, and one I know they hold with all sincerity.

However, I can not write that article, because I am not convinced by the argument. The fact remains that in countries such as America, where gun ownership is widespread, the chances of being the victim of gun crime is considerably higher than in nations where guns are controlled. According to the Gun control network, admittedly not an objective source, the difference is that in America your chances of being killed by a gun is almost 4 for every 100,000 population, whereas in the UK, where the ownership of hand guns is banned and the ownership of hunting rifles is subject to strict licencing rules, the figure is 0.15 per 1000,000, it is hard to argue against such figures.

I have some sympathy for the argument that it is crazy that whilst the British Olympic target shooting team have to practice overseas, there are any number of illegally held guns on the street and available to criminals. I also acknowledge the craziness when in countries such as the USA, and in states like, for instance Virginia, where there are probably more controls over the sale of cigarettes than there are over the sale of guns, to designate certain areas as gun free zones, when surely it is obvious that the truly dangerous will ignore such regulations. However, I don't accept that the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007, could have been averted had the professors been armed, a claim I have heard argued on various forums. It is indicative of the Atlantic divide that such an argument would seem ludicrous in Britain, yet highly sensible to many Americans.

Despite the illegal guns on the street, as I sit here, I have no idea where I could obtain one, and I am sure the same applies to around 95% of the population. That does indeed mean that 5% of the population do know how to get hold of a gun, and a proportion of them will obtain a gun, and if I am unlucky enough, to cross their paths they may kill me. However, in many states in America, the figures are reversed and 95% of the adult population have access to guns, and surely that is more dangerous.

Therefore, although I am open to the argument that the current UK legislation unfairly penalises law abiding gun enthusiasts, I feel that may be a price worth paying and I am certainly in favour of strong gun controls

However, I am aware from the contents of my inbox that this is a contentious issue, and many do not agree with me., As I said above there is a distinct Atlantic division of opinion, and as such it might be a diverting topic to discuss. Hence I welcome comments to this post from those who have strong opinions either way, it will not change the law, but it might change some views, and I promise that I will not reject any (on topic) post on this topic, unless they are offensive, threatening or illegal.


Chris said...

Not so good lady,

In fact there are many parts of the US where guns are very prevalent and some of the safest places to be.

Here in Churchill county alone it is estimated that there is around an %85 conceal carry permit ownership, and another that stated %95 of all households own guns, yet we have an astoundingly low crime rate!
There is a county in Texas where they actually enacted to where you were required to carry a weapon, and the crime rate there is let us say VERY low lol...

It has been proven in many countries where the gun laws are the most restrictive that there is the highest rates of violent crime, burglary, rape, assault and household theft.

In the hands of a well trained and aware citizenry it can be the best fail safe against such things along with the ability of its people to suppress tyranny from their government, why do you think there us such a push to out law and or ban them?
Australia alone showed and astounding increase in violent crime after enacting the resolution to collect fire arms, this will and would ring true to any other country.

To the upstanding persons there is a societal safety to gun owner ship.

I myself will carry legal or not as the safety of my home and family are far more important.

Take the guns from the public and only the criminals shall have them.

ben tillman said...

The right to possess guns follows ineluctably from the right to life.

The right to life implies the right to defend oneself. The right to defend oneself implies the right to possess the means to defend oneself.

Vanishing American said...

I agree with the previous post.
I will add that the prevalence of gun ownership, as the previous poster says, is not predictive of how many crimes there will be involving guns.
Demographics is far more predictive; I think in my town there are many who own legal firearms and yet we have a minuscule crime rate, especially violent crimes.
The demographics are changing here, as everywhere, and there will be more crimes committed -- which in turn is a good reason to possess firearms for self-defense.

This website has some good information:
such as the following:

* Americans use firearms to defend themselves from criminals at least 764,000 times a year. This figure is the lowest among a group of 9 nationwide surveys done by organizations including Gallup and the Los Angeles Times.

* In 1982, a survey of imprisoned criminals found that 34% of them had been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim."

* In about 5 years since enactment of the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons Ban in 1993, there have been 9 "school massacres."

* Washington D.C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns in 1976. Between 1976 and 1991, Washington D.C.'s homicide rate rose 200%, while the U.S. rate rose 12%. ''

I will also add that Canada, despite its gun control policies has had a huge increase in crime generally, including some notorious shootings in recent years.

As far as the Virginia Tech massacre and whether an armed citizen could have stopped it, the Tacoma Mall shootings, in which an armed man shot several people, were stopped by an armed citizen.
The mall shootings of a few years ago in Salt Lake City (by a Bosnian 'refugee', if I remember right) were stopped by two off-duty armed policemen.
There's no doubt in my mind that having armed citizens can stop such acts. said...

I do not know London well. But it is possible to obtain any type of weapon up to and including RPGs in Paris by visiting bistros in the vibrant ethnic communities in the center of Paris.
News reports from Sweden this week show the same enterprising importers are at work there. said...

Homicide rates:

Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom)
#1 Colombia: 0.617847 per 1,000 people
#2 South Africa: 0.496008 per 1,000 people
#3 Jamaica: 0.324196 per 1,000 people
#4 Venezuela: 0.316138 per 1,000 people
#5 Russia: 0.201534 per 1,000 people
#6 Mexico: 0.130213 per 1,000 people
#7 Estonia: 0.107277 per 1,000 people
#8 Latvia: 0.10393 per 1,000 people
#9 Lithuania: 0.102863 per 1,000 people
#10 Belarus: 0.0983495 per 1,000 people
#11 Ukraine: 0.094006 per 1,000 people
#12 Papua New Guinea: 0.0838593 per 1,000 people
#13 Kyrgyzstan: 0.0802565 per 1,000 people
#14 Thailand: 0.0800798 per 1,000 people
#15 Moldova: 0.0781145 per 1,000 people
#16 Zimbabwe: 0.0749938 per 1,000 people
#17 Seychelles: 0.0739025 per 1,000 people
#18 Zambia: 0.070769 per 1,000 people
#19 Costa Rica: 0.061006 per 1,000 people
#20 Poland: 0.0562789 per 1,000 people
#21 Georgia: 0.0511011 per 1,000 people
#22 Uruguay: 0.045082 per 1,000 people
#23 Bulgaria: 0.0445638 per 1,000 people
#24 United States: 0.042802 per 1,000 people

Proportions in International Crime Victims Survey 2000 reporting that they feel safe walking in the dark.
Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom)
#1 Sweden: 85%
#2 Canada: 82%
#3 United States: 82%
#4 Netherlands: 81%
#5 Finland: 81%
#6 Denmark: 81%
#7 Austria: 78%
#8 Japan: 78%
#9 Belgium: 77%
#10 France: 77%
#11 Switzerland: 77%
#12 United Kingdom: 70%
#13 Italy: 65%
#14 Australia: 64%
#15 New Zealand: 62%

Assault victims (most recent) by country

Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom)
#1 Saint Kitts and Nevis: 3%
#2 United Kingdom: 2.8%
#3 Australia: 2.4%
#4 New Zealand: 2.4%
#5 Canada: 2.3%
#6 Finland: 2.1%
#7 Denmark: 1.4%
#8 France: 1.4%
#9 Belgium: 1.2%
#10 United States: 1.2%

Rape victims (most recent) by country
DEFINITION: People victimized by sexual assault (as a % of the total population). Data refer to female population only

#1 New Zealand: 1.3%
#2 Austria: 1.2%
#3 Finland: 1.1%
#4 Sweden: 1.1%
#5 Australia: 1%
#6 United Kingdom: 0.9%
#7 Netherlands: 0.8%
#8 Canada: 0.8%
#9 Slovenia: 0.8%
#10 France: 0.7%
#11 Italy: 0.6%
#12 Switzerland: 0.6%
#13 Denmark: 0.4%
#14 United States: 0.4%

Robberies (per capita) (most recent) by country

#1 Spain: 12.3265 per 1,000 people
#2 Chile: 6.92522 per 1,000 people
#3 Costa Rica: 4.79109 per 1,000 people
#4 South Africa: 4.4434 per 1,000 people
#5 Estonia: 3.56639 per 1,000 people
#6 Mexico: 2.02555 per 1,000 people
#7 Portugal: 1.6237 per 1,000 people
#8 United Kingdom: 1.57433 per 1,000 people
#9 Uruguay: 1.57114 per 1,000 people
#10 Poland: 1.38838 per 1,000 people
#11 United States: 1.38527 per 1,000 people said...

Today's News from USA:
According to WPXI, an eighty-five year old great-grandmother in Lake Lynn Pennsylvania showed two punks the business end of her .22 when they broke into her house at night. As a result, the boys are resting in the comfort of the local hoosegow.

According to police, a 17-year-old suspect was attempting to burglarize Leda Smith overnight. That’s when Smith grabbed her gun and told the teen that she would shoot him if he moved, police said.

“I had the gun on him before he turned around and said, ‘you’ve had it,’ “ Smith told Channel 11-News.

According to police, Smith ordered the boy to dial 911 and then gave him some advice. “Dial 911 and don’t attempt to throw the phone at me, or do anything bad or I’ll just shoot you,” Smith said.

When police arrived, they took the teen into custody.

Charges have been filed against the boy and an alleged accomplice.

alanorei said...

Interesting article and comments, with data. Thanks, Sarah

But it would also be interesting to know how many owners of firearms get shot each year through careless handling of their weapons, also, in countries like the US, how many get shot in hunting accidents.

Such figures, of course, have to be set against traffic accidents, drowning accidents (water is arguably the most dangerous chemical of all, after alcohol, perhaps), substance abuse accidents etc.

No doubt the NRA, National Rifle Association of the US, has these data and can produce many, many anecdotal accounts of US citizens saved from death, injury or felony by timely use of a firearm.

Likewise, the relative safety of Switzerland, has to be considered, where I believe every homeowner is required by law to possess one each of a fully-functional automatic and semi-automatic firearm, or did.

We also have to remember that some years ago, the terrorists in Ulster terminated a Protestant church in the border area by means of an armed massacre. But in another incident, in South Africa, a young man attending church successfully countered a black gang terrorist attempt to gun down the white worshippers because he happened to have a loaded pistol on his person. (He only got off one or two shots, I think, which missed but the gang, armed with automatic and/or semi-automatic weapons immediately fled.)

That said, we have a rising incidence of gun crime in the UK, particularly amongst a certain ethnic minority but they are not alone. The murderer of young Rhys Jones is almost certainly a white youth and I wonder if this murder was a means of a macabre gang initiation?

It was OK for the UK populace to be armed back in the 1890s, like Dr Watson with his trusty army service revolver in the Sherlock Holmes stories, because the population was staid and English at the time, not half-freaked out on dope and rap music like it is now, with a massive importation of foreign culture(s) that place(s) little or no value on the sanctity of individual human life (about as much as white Briton abortionists do).

I for one, therefore, would be very concerned if firearms became generally available, even though every burglar in the UK knows full well that he won't get shot if he raids someone's house.

I don't know what the answer is but one is needed, I think and urgently.

Re: the US and guns, an afterthought, I trust that voters can persuade the federal government to bring back the US military from its various overseas assignments asap. I suspect that they will needed to combat the growing menace of the MS-13 criminal gangs, who I believe control large stretches of suburban areas, particularly on the West Coast and are definitely armed and dangerous. said...

The answers to Alanorei's questions can be found here.

William Wallace said...

this is pure common sense and people have a duty to be wise and prepare for the worst...

and the Left throw a frothy...

G is for gun: Texas in a class of its own
Andrew Clark, New York
August 19, 2008
WHEN teachers return for a new school term in the tiny Texas farming town of Harrold, they may be packing more than books and pens. To defend students from any gun-toting maniacs, they can also carry loaded pistols into the classroom.
The remote rural community has appalled gun-control advocates by becoming America's first to allow teachers to bear concealed firearms.
Harrold's school board maintains that the move is necessary because the town is 40 kilometres from the nearest sheriff's office, making it hard to get swift help in an emergency. Also, its location, just metres from a major highway, makes it a potential target for armed maniacs.
"We are 30 minutes from law enforcement," said Harrold's school superintendent, David Thweatt. "How long do you think it would take to kill all 150 of us? It would be a bloodbath."
Selected teachers are to be trained in crisis management. Mr Thweatt said: "When you have good guys with guns, the bad guys do less damage."
More than a dozen mass shooting tragedies have hit US schools over a decade, including the Columbine massacre that claimed 15 lives at a Colorado high school in 1999 and last year's Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead. The powerful pro-gun lobby argues that Congress sent out a message of vulnerability in a 1990 law that banned guns in schools, though the law was declared unconstitutional and overturned by the Supreme Court five years later.
"We've had a very disturbing trend of school shootings in the US," Mr Thweatt said. "It is my belief this is caused by making schools gun-free zones … they became targets for people who wanted to rack up the body count."
At the Harrold school, armed teachers must get a state gun licence and will be required to use bullets of a type less liable to ricochet off walls or desks.
But teachers' unions in Texas have expressed horror. "It's up there with the worst ideas in the history of education," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
But Harrold's gun policy was praised by the nationwide Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Its chairman, Alan Gottlieb, said: "Allowing armed staff and teachers will provide a last line of defence if other security measures at the school fail."
Harrold's school board is unapologetic. "When you hear about these shootings, the reports always start out with 'this is a sleepy little place, nobody thought this would ever happen here'," Mr Thweatt said.

Benny said...

If there were no blacks or hispanics in the USA what would be the effect on gun crime? My guess is that it would plummet. There would also be much less of a need to keep a gun at home because the risk of being burgled would be much less.

Vanishing American referred to an increase in the homicide rate in Washington DC after a handgun ban in 1976. Washington DC had - and still has - a huge black population.

He also mentioned Canada having had a huge increase in crime generally but with no links to prove it. I remember seeing a documentary which contrasted the high gun crime rate in the USA with the low rate in Canada, despite both countries having similar gun laws.

Again, it comes down to the black population. Where you have large numbers of blacks you have more gun crime, more lawlessness, more burglary, more rape, more robbing and more drug-related crime (not to mention more noise and more filth). The USA is 13% black, Canada is 2.5% black. I predict that as Canada's black population grows so will its gun crime rate.

Similarly, in the UK most gun crime seems to be committed by blacks.

Of course we have had Hungerford and Dunblane. These were isolated incidents involving deranged loners. Nonetheless, there seems to be no way of stopping such loonies from getting hold of guns if they want them.

But in general, if you take away the blacks, you reduce gun crime and the fear of crime generally. There are many other benefits too which I won't go into but which we are all aware of.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Hi again Benny

You raise some interesting points. I wrote an earlier article in which I drew a comparison between the most violent cities in America and the percentage of the population of those cities which were black.

We are seeing similar situations here. Multi-cult apologists claim it is down to social deprivation, however, one has to ask what came first, the social deprivation or the multi-racial population.

William Wallace said...


your article is flawed for several reasons

nobody has ever shown that citizens who own firearms are a danger to their neighbours

the statistics you quote are highly misleading - the crimes are not on average per street or neighbourhood in America

the gun violence is mostly black (surprise surprise)

if you take mexican gangs, black gangs and their typical neighbourhoods out of the equation - if you consider white America, teh figures look very different

look at the FBI crime statistics - most violent crime is by...africans

so why should we be denied our God-given rights because certain people are culturally committed to crime?

in fact - these gun violence statistics show us this - that white people SHOULD be armed - so as not to become victims of gun violence (mostly perpetrated by blacks)

another fallacy is to suppose that removing guns is going to solve violent crime - well murderers simply use screwdrivers or other tools instead of firearms

and if the argument is that guns enable murderers to become mass murderers - then the obvious reason is that the victims were all unarmed (eg Virginia Tech) and that is why they (the Sheeple) became victims of a mass murderer

but pleaes do not quote gun violence statistics without looking at the obvious patterns in this statistics

take out Detroit, Chicago adn other darker spots and suddenly it seems that gun ownership is synonymous with peace - not violence said...

The Columbine Massacre Unravels
Columbine has never made any sense. On a close examination of eyewitnesses, and events, one can easily see that there were at least seven people involved, and maybe a third shooter.

Basically, there were 100 bombs found that day, and Klebold and Harris didnt' bring them in alone. And the fact that an eyewitness said he saw two cars, with seven kids, at the school early that morning confirms there were accessories to the massacre.

John Stone, the Sheriff of Jefferson county at the time, believed there were others involved, but he was constantly blocked by an FBI agent named Dwayne Fuselier. To make matters worse, Fuselier had two sons in the Trench Coat Mafia, and the FBI saw no conflict of interest. said...

Four times more crime in Oslo than New York
The crime rate in Oslo has been growing at an alarming rate and recent statistics show the Norwegian capital had 20 percent more robberies last year than in 2006.

sterbo said...

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! (Benjamin Franklin)

Well, there's your answer. English sheep are totally disarmed and are paying through the nose for the privilege.