When is the right time to talk about gun control?


9:14 pm - December 15th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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I grew up with guns around me. My father, an officer in the Indian Army, used to keep a rifle (and occasionally a hand-gun) in the house when I lived in India before my teens. I had used the rifle for target-practice on cans in a controlled environment even before I had turned 13. In the last 10 years I’ve been to a shooting range while visiting Las Vegas twice, once using a handgun and the second time an M-16 semi-automatic assault rifle.

So when I say that I’d like to see very tight gun controls (Japan seems to have got it right), it isn’t because I’m uncomfortable with handling guns. It always astounds me that so many Americans pretend their absurdly high rate of gun-deaths isn’t down to ownership. After the horrific Newtown shootings yesterday, lots of people on both sides of the Atlantic once again called for tighter gun control in the US. I support these calls.

But this is an explicitly political call. That’s fine for people who want to push the issue, but a political demand means that other considerations also have to be taken into account. This was the point I was trying to make (perhaps badly) on Twitter last night.

I said that while it is right for people to raise their voice for tighter gun control, it was the wrong time for the President of the United States to do so in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. My aim wasn’t to defend Obama (I noted that he has done virtually nothing to tighten gun laws) but to point out that timing matters in politics if you want to win the debate.

Perhaps talking about the right timing and framing is too cynical and opportunistic for some. But if you want to inject politics into a national tragedy and want laws on tighter gun control, then it isn’t any more political or opportunistic to discuss when is the best time to make that argument. A key reason why gun control advocates in the US have lost public opinion is because they’ve been essentially preaching to the converted (via @ByrneToff).

President Obama’s job last night was to reflect everyone’s immediate emotions of horror, sadness and pain. If he had immediately started pressing for tighter gun laws then there would have been a backlash (perhaps from grieving parents) that would have derailed such calls. The media would have gotten into a discussion of whether Obama was right to make the call then and whether it was sensitive enough.

I think the best time for the President of the US to call for tighter gun laws would be in days or weeks after the event, not when the bodies aren’t even buried yet. But to re-iterate, gun control is a political issue not just a moral issue. I accept that some people find strategic considerations distasteful, but if you want to see some political action then discussing the best time for that action is part of the same debate.


[On a related note: I re-tweeted an old message by a guy with the same name as the shooter, as it seemed relevant to the shootings. It turned out initial media reports had named the wrong guy and I didn’t adequately check to see if that was indeed him. I apologise for my lax judgement.]

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I’m a pistol shooter. Since Blair decided the use of firearms should be restricted to the police and criminals (and I don’t know which frighten me the most) I’ve kept my guns at an overseas club. The people I’ve shot with over the decades have all been average people without a single maniac that I could spot. We simply find it relaxing to make holes in targets. There’s a good case for saying guns should be stored at clubs and ranges but the question that has to be answered is why do some countries with much more liberal gun laws have fewer spree killers, Switzerland for instance. After Zug the Swiss put in place some very sensible measures but still allow the storage of military grade weapons in homes. Is it the availability of the weapons or the nature of their society? A society that will help an individual before he thinks the answer is a killing spree is better than one that tries to prohibit weapons.

2. Derek Hattons Tailor

Sunny I find it difficult to visualise you packing an M16

What is the liberal position on gun ownership ?

3. So Much for Subtlety

In the last 10 years I’ve been to a shooting range while visiting Las Vegas twice, once using a handgun and the second time an M-16 semi-automatic assault rifle.

That is interesting because presumably you paid. Which suggests that you enjoyed it. It is a shame, I think, that the Left can’t talk sensibly about guns. Would you care to explain what attracted you to shooting an M-16?

So when I say that I’d like to see very tight gun controls (Japan seems to have got it right)

That is pretty tight.

It always astounds me that so many Americans pretend their absurdly high rate of gun-deaths isn’t down to ownership.

Because it isn’t. Gun ownership and high gun crime do not go together. Switzerland and other countries like Norway give every adult male an assault rifle to keep at home. The rate of murder is still low. Male suicide is fairly high I admit, but murder is low. Jamaica and a lot of South America have some of the toughest gun laws in the world. They still have high gun deaths – and acid attacks in Jamaica.

Culture is more important than gun availability. And America has two distinct cultures at least. Which is shown by Patrick Monnyhan’s law – the further you move from the Canadian border, the worse any social indicator gets. Or in the case of somewhere close to the Canadian border like Minnesota, most of Minnesota has a crime rate lower than parts of Europe – especially those parts that have high gun ownership. But the city of Minneapolis has such high crime rates it skews the entire state’s figures.

Perhaps talking about the right timing and framing is too cynical and opportunistic for some. But if you want to inject politics into a national tragedy and want laws on tighter gun control

Perhaps it is. After all, if. Perhaps decent people do not want to inject politics into a national tragedy?

[On a related note: I re-tweeted an old message by a guy with the same name as the shooter, as it seemed relevant to the shootings. It turned out initial media reports had named the wrong guy and I didn’t adequately check to see if that was indeed him. I apologise for that lax of judgement.]

It is “lax judgement” or a “lapse of judgement”. This shows the danger of tweeting. You could have ended up next to Sally Bercow in Court. I would be careful with any re-tweets about anyone. Although this guy was dead I suppose. Safer.

The point about Israel and Switzerland having lots of guns and relaxed laws but low number of murders is a myth

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/mythbusting-israel-and-switzerland-are-not-gun-toting-utopias/

I wanted to shoot an assault rifle, and the M-16 sounded more interesting and powerful than an AK47 (which my friend tried). Of course I enjoyed it. That’s why I went back.

Private ownership of assault weapons (think: AK47 or M-16), with automatic fire capability, was banned in the US under the Clinton administration by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 but that ban had a sunset clause after 10 years. The ban expired under the Bush administration on 13 September 2004 and subsequent attempts to renew the ban have failed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban

If you can have an AK47, it stands to reason that it would be prudent for me to have one too for protection.

I read in current news wires that the police in San Francisco and Oakland, California, are trying a buyback plan to get hand guns off the streets:

“One method employed by the San Francisco Police Department is a gun buyback program occurring this weekend. SFPD officers will pay $200 dollars for each unloaded gun traded in by someone with a valid proof of San Francisco residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill. And Oakland police officers are planning to do the same.”
[www.huffingtonpost.com]

6. the a&e charge nurse

Wasn’t the time right after the ‘Dark Knight’ massacre?
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/07/mass-shooting-batman-premiere-colorado/54819/

Doing the internet rounds at the moment;
Last year Handguns Killed:
48 People in Japan
8 Great Britain
34 Switzerland
52 Canada, 58 Israel
21 Sweden
10,728 in The United States.

7. So Much for Subtlety

4. Sunny Hundal

The point about Israel and Switzerland having lots of guns and relaxed laws but low number of murders is a myth

No it isn’t. Notice that woman provides no evidence at all. She simply asserts it. Quoting a worthless source like Ezra Klein does not prove a damn thing. Nor did anyone I recall mention Israel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe. Switzerland does not have a standing army, instead opting for a peoples’ militia for its national defence. The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations; Switzerland thus has one of the highest militia gun ownership rates in the world.[1] In recent times political opposition has expressed a desire for tighter gun regulations.[2] A referendum in February 2011 rejected stricter gun control.[3]
….
The government sponsors training with rifles and shooting in competitions for interested adolescents, both male and female.

The sale of ammunition – including Gw Pat.90 rounds for army-issue assault rifles – is subsidized by the Swiss government and made available at the many shooting ranges patronized by both private citizens and members of the militia. There is a regulatory requirement that ammunition sold at ranges must be used there.
….
In some 2001 statistics, it is noted that there are about 420,000 assault rifles (fully automatic, or “selective fire”) stored at private homes, mostly SIG SG 550 models. Additionally, there are some 320,000 semi-auto rifles and military pistols exempted from military service in private possession, all selective-fire weapons having been converted to semi-automatic operation only. In addition, there are several hundred thousand other semi-automatic small arms classified as carbines. The total number of firearms in private homes is estimated minimally at 1.2 million to 3 million.[7]

Switzerland’s gun ownership rate is something like 47 guns per 100 people. So pretty much everyone has one.

And indeed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

There is little Switzerland at Number 4.

I wanted to shoot an assault rifle, and the M-16 sounded more interesting and powerful than an AK47 (which my friend tried). Of course I enjoyed it. That’s why I went back.

It is a good start.

5. Bob B

Private ownership of assault weapons (think: AK47 or M-16), with automatic fire capability, was banned in the US under the Clinton administration by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 but that ban had a sunset clause after 10 years.

Well no. The Assault Weapons ban was not on automatic fire weapons. They had been regulated since 1934. Nor was it on “assault” weapons. It was on guns that looked scary.

If you can have an AK47, it stands to reason that it would be prudent for me to have one too for protection.

Indeed. And given that a lot of criminals have them – even when the Obama administration is not deliberately leaking them – it is only prudent law abiding people do too.

Just in passing, since Britain’s recent gun ban, gun crime has climbed by some 80+%.

The American people have decided that occasional school massacres is a price worth paying for casual ownership of paramilitary/military grade weaponry.
Till that changes you’re best off just leaving em to it. Plus it’s worth noting that Britain’s gun laws were very much changed on the back of tragedy, unless everyone’s forgetting the Dunblane massacre and the quick political response to it.

By news reports, the perpetrator in the Connecticut school horror was using an assault rifle as his primary weapon.

ALL of his victims had been shot multiple times, which makes it highly likely that he was using an assault weapon.

Well thought out piece. Wikipedia gives four school shootings in the US by firearms this year so there’s an average of 90 days between school shootings, with the longest period being 182 days. Doesn’t leave long between shootings to have a debate and draw up legislation for gun control.

11. So Much for Subtlety

6. the a&e charge nurse

Wasn’t the time right after the ‘Dark Knight’ massacre?

Why?

Doing the internet rounds at the moment;

10,728 in The United States.

And this is what should be doing the rounds:

Country Total firearm-related death rate Homicides Suicides Unintentional deaths Year Sources and notes
El Salvador 50.36 50.36 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
Jamaica 47.44 47.44 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
Honduras 46.70 46.70 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[1]
Guatemala 38.52 38.52 NA NA 2009 OAS 2011[1]
Swaziland 37.16 37.16 NA NA 2004 UNODC 2006[1]
Colombia 28.11 27.10 0.87 0.14 2009 UNODC 2011 [2]
Brazil 19.01 18.10 0.73 0.18 2008 UNODC 2011[3]
Panama 12.92 12.92 NA NA 2010 OAS 2011[1]
Mexico 11.14 10.00 0.67 0.47 2010 UNODC 2011[4]
Philippines 9.46 9.46 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
Montenegro 8.55 8.55 NA NA 2009 WHO 2012[9]
Paraguay 7.35 7.35 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[10]
Nicaragua 7.14 7.14 NA NA 2007 OAS 2011[1]
Zimbabwe 4.75 4.75 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[10]
Serbia 3.90 3.90 NA NA 2010 WHO 2012[9]
Costa Rica 3.32 3.32 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
Uruguay 3.24 3.24 NA NA 2002 UNODC 2002[5]
Croatia 3.01 3.01 NA NA 2010 WHO 2012[9]
Barbados 3 3 NA NA 2000 UNODC 2000[10]
Argentina 5.65 3.00 2.01 0.64 2001 2008 UNODC 2011[12]
United States 9.00 2.98 5.75 0.27 2008-2010 OAS 2011[8]

Austria is marginally behind the US which is interesting. And of course a lot of African countries grossly under-count.

8. Cylux

The American people have decided that occasional school massacres is a price worth paying for casual ownership of paramilitary/military grade weaponry.
Till that changes you’re best off just leaving em to it. Plus it’s worth noting that Britain’s gun laws were very much changed on the back of tragedy, unless everyone’s forgetting the Dunblane massacre and the quick political response to it.

And Britian’s gun death toll has climbed ever since. But is there the slightest reason to think that there is a link between school massacres and the casual ownership of paramilitary/military grade weaponry? Well Germany has tough gun laws:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/world/europe/12germany.html?_r=0

WINNENDEN, Germany — A teenage gunman killed 15 people, most of them female, on Wednesday in a rampage that began at a school near Stuttgart in southern Germany and ended in a nearby town, where he then killed himself after the police wounded him.

The attack left Germany, which tightened tough gun controls after a similar attack at a school seven years ago, struggling to understand the carnage that had again befallen it, a country with relatively little violent crime. In 2002, a gunman killed 16 people before killing himself at a school in Erfurt, in eastern Germany.

So Germany had a massacre in 2002. They tightened the laws. And had another massacre in 2009. It looks to me that the cause of insane people going on gun rampages is not the guns, but the insane people. But hey, that’s just me.

9. Bob B

By news reports, the perpetrator in the Connecticut school horror was using an assault rifle as his primary weapon.

He was allegedly using a Bushmaster M4. A gun that was not covered by the Clinton ban – or rather, with a few minor cosmetic changes was not covered.

ALL of his victims had been shot multiple times, which makes it highly likely that he was using an assault weapon.

The term “assault weapon” is meaningless. He also had a Glock which is just as capable of being used to shoot people multiple times. Presumably the Bushmaster was semi-automatic and hence it was easier to shoot many people many times, but that doesn’t make it an assault weapon.

SMFS: “Presumably the Bushmaster was semi-automatic and hence it was easier to shoot many people many times, but that doesn’t make it an assault weapon.”

You are as confused as usual. If “assault weapon” is as “meaningless” as you claim, how can you be so sure the gun used in the Connecticut school horror wasn’t an “assault weapon”. Btw try the Wikipedia entry linked @5 for definitions of assault weapons.

If gun control is such a very bad idea, how come the police in San Francisco and Oakland, California, are using taxpayers’ money for a buyback plan to get guns off their streets? That San Francisco flower-power mindset is evidently proving very popular with business judging by this in the news:

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) — The cost of occupying office space in San Francisco soared the most of any market in the world as technology companies such as Salesforce.com and Mozilla Corp. fueled leasing in the city, according to broker CBRE Group Inc

All together with the local anthem:

If you’re going to San Franciso
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re going to meet some gentle people there . .

I will never understand the American gun obsession. However, there is no doubt that it is an obsession that most of them support. The right to have the potential to slaughter children in their classroom is deeply cherished in the U.S. psyche. Claims that there is no correlation between the availability of firearms and gun crimes/deaths seem to me spurious. Would a community containing no guns suffer the same gun deaths as one containing a million firearms? A simple ability to reason would suggest no. Saying that there is no correlation is like saying there is no correlation between the amount of cars and the amount of car crashes.

I find the argument that one often hears that if everyone was armed gun crime would be reduced unconvincing. How can lethal force be a deterrent for someone who intends taking their own life? Supposedly they are supposed to take the shooter out before they can kill anyone. Just like the movies. Real life is not like the movies and most people would freeze rather than react in time faced with someone firing a semi-automatic weapon. What kind of society would it be that a kindergarten teachers last thought before teaching class should be, am I packing heat. It would be a sick society.

Nothing will change unless the American public want it to change. They support the right to bear arms. A right given in the 18th century in an agricultural community of 2.5 million, surrounded by hostile natives and two empires. The Bill of Rights and Constitution did not come down from heaven borne by angels. It was written by fallible men to suit the era and context which they lived in. Whether living in a society of 310 million with vastly more lethal weaponry and no enemies threatening to invade changes the context. Well, only the U.S. public can decide that.

Richard W

Anyone claiming that widespread gun ownership is an effective deterrent to the use of guns may find it illuminating to watch this al-Jazeera video documentary on Baltimore, in the US state of Maryland, which happens to be the most affluent state in America, as determined by median household incomes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz0nkKdkLqc&list=ELOPLq2DUWQqc&index=10

Btw gangs, drugs and guns in Baltimore was the inspiration for the acclaimed American TV serial: The Wire, which ran from 2002 through 2008.

you talk of inappropriate timing, but p.much your first reaction to this tragedy on the twitter was to ask what this all meant for Barack Obama’s approval rating. you then went on a petulant blocking spree against people calling you out. your ‘politics as a sport’ thing whereby doing ‘well’ at it always prioritises the message, the narrative over the material conditions and consequences damages lives – for example that of the poor lad you falsely named the killer and drew attention to his own issues with depression.

16. So Much for Subtlety

12. Bob B

You are as confused as usual.

True but at least I am not a bigot.

If “assault weapon” is as “meaningless” as you claim, how can you be so sure the gun used in the Connecticut school horror wasn’t an “assault weapon”. Btw try the Wikipedia entry linked @5 for definitions of assault weapons.

Because both can be true. It is meaningless as used in the Clinton law. But you provided your own definition which included that fully automatic thing. Which it isn’t. So it isn’t an assault weapon according to your own definition.

If gun control is such a very bad idea, how come the police in San Francisco and Oakland, California, are using taxpayers’ money for a buyback plan to get guns off their streets?

They are in California. Wasting money is what they do. Besides, who has said gun control in a bad idea?

13. Richard W

I will never understand the American gun obsession.

I used to live near Dalston. In the last lot of riots, White Londoners sat on their hands while their property was destroyed, hoping the police would come to help them. They didn’t. The Turkish community in Dalston got on their phones, they came out in force, and protected each other’s property. The mobs turned back. You see the difference between sheep and adult men taking actual adult responsibilities? Over-civilisation is a problem in the West. When the Germanic tribes invaded the late Roman Empire, the Romans had done such a good job of taming their population, the Germanic peoples simply took a third of everything and enserfed everyone else. When the Gauls tried that earlier, they were fiercely resisted by every small town, village and hamlet in Italy.

If you can’t understand the mentality of anyone but another sheep, that is fine by me, but you ought to be aware that not everyone agrees with you.

The right to have the potential to slaughter children in their classroom is deeply cherished in the U.S. psyche.

We all have the potential to slaughter classrooms of children. Gun laws stop the law abiding from owning guns. They do not stop people who want to slaughter classrooms of school children. As can be seen by recent gun massacres in Germany and Finland.

Claims that there is no correlation between the availability of firearms and gun crimes/deaths seem to me spurious. Would a community containing no guns suffer the same gun deaths as one containing a million firearms? A simple ability to reason would suggest no. Saying that there is no correlation is like saying there is no correlation between the amount of cars and the amount of car crashes.

No one is saying there is no correlation. In fact most people point out that there is a negative correlation – in any given society, less legal gun availability means more gun crime. It has been the experience of the US everywhere gun laws were introduced, Britain and Australia since their gun laws, Jamaica and Mexico.

There is no such thing as a community that has no guns. There is only a community that has no legal gun ownership. That is a different matter. That just means criminals know they can brutalise who they like because their victims will not be armed. Mexico has tough gun laws. They have a lot more gun crime than the US. It is perfectly possible to have millions of guns and very little gun crime – Switzerland for instance has precisely this situation.

You can see why the car crash argument is specious.

I find the argument that one often hears that if everyone was armed gun crime would be reduced unconvincing. How can lethal force be a deterrent for someone who intends taking their own life?

Good question. How can three years in prison for gun ownership offenses be a deterrent then? It may be that some mass murders you cannot prevent – China had another school massacre on the same day but that man used a knife. But run-of-the-mill crime you can certainly deter. As Lott’s book title put it, the more guns, the less crime.

Supposedly they are supposed to take the shooter out before they can kill anyone. Just like the movies. Real life is not like the movies and most people would freeze rather than react in time faced with someone firing a semi-automatic weapon.

Actually such incidents happen all the time. My favourite was the idiot who walked armed into a law lecture down South and was shot dead before he could empty his first clip. I also happened just recently:

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/12/daniel-zimmerman/clackamas-shooter-confronted-by-ccw-holder/

What kind of society would it be that a kindergarten teachers last thought before teaching class should be, am I packing heat. It would be a sick society.

What kind of society sits back and does nothing as the weak and defenceless are routinely sexually assaulted and brutalised without lifting a finger to help them?

As in Britain.

17. douglasclark

So Much for Sublety

You say:

“No one is saying there is no correlation. In fact most people point out that there is a negative correlation – in any given society, less legal gun availability means more gun crime. It has been the experience of the US everywhere gun laws were introduced, Britain and Australia since their gun laws, Jamaica and Mexico.”

Do you have a shred of evidence to support your, essentially daft idea, that availability of weapons is to the benefit of all of mankind?

I think you are playing a daft game with statistics. For instance, since the murders by Thomas Hamilton, and the consequent legislation, there has not been a similar case, has there?

You are a bit mad.

18. Richard Carey

@ Douglas,

“since the murders by Thomas Hamilton, and the consequent legislation, there has not been a similar case, has there?”

There wasn’t a similar case before, either.

The U.S. gun control laws need tightening in my opinion, but a general handgun ban for civilians is silly. It still doesn’t stop criminals, and it doesn’t stop maniacs from killing schoolchildren.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanping_school_massacre

The quote attributed to Morgan Freeman (stop making the perpetrators famous) sounds like a better idea – even if the quote appears to be wrong, just like the hero story about teacher Victoria Soto.
http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/newtown.asp

Whenever there is a massacre like this we all want to understand it. However it’s really up to Americans as to how they want to regulate themselves. Notably their constitution has gone for longer than most without amendment, we saw some of the resulting idiosyncrasies during the election last month. If I lived there I would be very conflicted, as I like and use firearms.

I can’t help but feel, though, that there’s something particularly wrong with teenage American males. We hear that almost contemporaneously with Newton the police have made an arrest of a young male who was planning a school massacre. What is going on there?

I am not sure if we shouldn’t be more concerned about the widespread prescription of Ritalin in the States rather than gun control. is it not the connection between all these school shootings?

22. the a&e charge nurse

[11] so is your argument American citizens are not shooting as many neighbours as the Colombians, or El Salvadorians so their gun laws are basically OK – I’m sure that thought will be of great comfort to the families of the next set of school children who find themselves in the middle of the next Sandy Hook?

Is Obama still biding his time?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XGSp6Hd7vM

The problem as I see it is that the ordinary person on the street is defenceless against somebody who has a gun if they are not armed themselves.

The stiff laws on gun ownership in Britain has not deterred a prevalence of guns held by gangs on the streets of Britain.

To deter gun ownership and gun-related crime would require a draconian intervention of the state upon the people of Britain.

I think that it is better to allow the innocent to have guns to protect ourselves against the criminals in order to avoid this state interference in our lives.

BTW there’s a huge thing politically going on here.

We have made massive changes in our social make-up because of mass immigration – our cities are alien places to our small towns and villages. Gun ownership is common in rural areas as the norm.

I would suggest that our Labour-dominated metropolitan luvvies, wanting to foist their “progressive” agenda on to the unwilling ruralites, hate the idea of the rural parts of Britain being full of gun-toting Conservatives.

You see, that is my main reason for supporting America’s policy on guns – the people need them to protect themselves against the thuggery of the state – socialist or otherwise.

So Germany had a massacre in 2002. They tightened the laws. And had another massacre in 2009. It looks to me that the cause of insane people going on gun rampages is not the guns, but the insane people. But hey, that’s just me.

Dude, 7 year gap. How many years was it since the Batman shootings?

The problem as I see it is that the ordinary person on the street is defenceless against somebody who has a gun if they are not armed themselves.

The stiff laws on gun ownership in Britain has not deterred a prevalence of guns held by gangs on the streets of Britain.

Actually it has, in fact gangs in the UK now have to ‘rent’ guns when they want to shoot each other up, and frequently one gang will end up avenging itself a gang that attacked it with the very same gun used against them.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1242287/Gun-shortages-forcing-rival-gangs-rent-weapons-middlemen.html

25. the a&e charge nurse

[22] ‘To deter gun ownership and gun-related crime would require a draconian intervention of the state upon the people of Britain’ – the UK already has 1.8 million legally held guns – how many more would you like?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/25/gun-ownership-firearms-certificates

Try the al-Jazeera documentary on Baltimore to see what happens when guns are easily available:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz0nkKdkLqc&list=ELOPLq2DUWQqc&index=10

Contrary to the mythology, widespread ownership of guns is not a deterrent to their use.

27. Chaise Guevara

Sunny, you’re on top form here. Literally the only thing I can criticise about this is that it’s “lapse of judgement”, not “lax”.

@3
“I think, that the Left can’t talk sensibly about guns”

Nor can the Right for that matter. Do you really suppose these killings wouldn’t have happened if all the children and staff were armed? That is what the US Right have been suggesting. Would you agree with that?

Some of u lot with guns and drunken yobs in city centres in the UK with AK47’s
Jesus.
A gun toting and cross wielding SMFS shooting working class and immigrant riff raff. Now there is a Tarantino movie.

“I would suggest that our Labour-dominated metropolitan luvvies, wanting to foist their “progressive” agenda on to the unwilling ruralites, hate the idea of the rural parts of Britain being full of gun-toting Conservatives”
This has to be the best comment of the year.
Comic strip material.

Staff and children armed.
The carnage could be worst. Look how many die in friendly fire in combat zones
Also can you imagine the accidents. Christ, most kids and teachers can’t even use a pritstick correctly.
I know teacher friends who constantly tell me that they are constantly having things nicked. “Now where did I put that Browning automatic”.
“Yes Ms Smith , 5B have taken over the science labs.
We will have to send in the swat team from 6C.”
You people are not real.
There is an argument for armed properly trained guards at schools in the US but teachers been armed.

29

Agreed, and the last thing we need is a group of angry rioters holding legally acquired guns.

33. Derek Hattons Tailor

Would it be useful to differentiate between criminal ownership and use of illegally held guns to facilitate crime, and the type of spontaneous annihilation with guns committed by a random person having a meltdown ?

In the former no amount of regulation will make any difference. The 10 years prison sentence faced by anyone caught with (even an unused) a gun hasn’t stopped their criminal ownership and use spreading in UK cites.

In the latter it seems obvious to me that if someone is going to have a meltdown and they have easy access to and are used to handling firearms they may well pick one up. If it wasn’t there, they wouldn’t. Someone going ape with a knife or whatever is not good, but is likely to cause less damage.

34. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 29 I think you will find the AK 47 is the weapon of choice for the working class. It has almost cult like status among Marxist revolutionaries. Your tory voting rural peasant hunters would use an (inherited) double barrelled shotgun.

35. Richard Carey

@ Chaise,

What’s wrong with ‘lax judgement’? I don’t think Sunny can be faulted on this.

There is a theory that the principal reason governments do not want to allow their citizens to have access to firearms is that doing so maintains the monopoly of the means of violence with the instruments of the state.

Of course, most citizens in the UK are content with gun prohibition however in the US there is, historically and socially, a much less solid acquiescence to granting unlimited power to the federal government going back to the times of Jesse James and continuing right up to Waco.

The NRA is a powerful lobby group upholding this traditional viewpoint and it should be remembered that guns, in themselves, are incapable of killing anyone. It takes a person to pull the trigger first.

That the courts should decide whether the use of firearms was an act of aggression or was in defence of the person using them (or his property) seems to me to be appropriate.

37. Robin Levett

To those pointing out that Switzerland requires military age men to store an assault weapon at home, and suggesting that that their low gun murder rates somehow invalidate the elssons from the US experience, can I point out that guns don’t kill people, bullets do. Even your own source, SMFS, points out that Swiss ammo for the assault weapons is available, and must be used, only at the range. Ammo isn’t stored at home.

Robin

I’ve been debating online since 1995. In that time, I’ve long since learned that American gun nuts are obsessional and quite oblivious to the thousands of Americans who get killed every year through gun homicides. Not all Americans share this obsessional aversion to gun control. The police in San Francisco and Oakland have launched a gun buyback scheme to get guns off the streets:

“A gun buyback day in San Francisco and Oakland brought out huge crowds Saturday as local residents turned over firearms for cash. Each person turning in a working firearm to police was given $200 cash. The line was around the block in San Francisco where the group ran out of cash by early afternoon and started handing out I.O.U.’s.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50210746/ns/local_news-san_francisco_bay_area_ca/

@ 16. So Much for Subtlety

” When the Gauls tried that earlier, they were fiercely resisted by every small town, village and hamlet in Italy. ”
They were French. An ability to fiercely resist Gauls just requires the ability to stand up straight.

” If you can’t understand the mentality of anyone but another sheep, that is fine by me, but you ought to be aware that not everyone agrees with you. ”

I am perfectly aware that the vast majority of the world’s population will disagree with me on most things. Live and let live is my attitude. I am not in the slightest critisizing people for wanting to be armed. I just do not understand why so many feel the need. Having lived in the U.S. for five years and I used to spend lots of time traveling to the most out of the way small towns and sparsely populated states. There is no doubt how they see things and how I see them are different. I can understand in some places that guns are just a way of life for many people. However, places like Connecticut is in a different world to the type of places where I can understand the gun obsession. It is a very rich state and I would guess low crime.

” We all have the potential to slaughter classrooms of children. Gun laws stop the law abiding from owning guns. They do not stop people who want to slaughter classrooms of school children. As can be seen by recent gun massacres in Germany and Finland. ”

Of course, no matter what the securocrats say we can never live in total safety. The U.S. has a big population so we should expect some things to happen more regularly there compared to similar states with lower populations. Even allowing for differences in population do you not think these types of incidents happen with more frequency in the U.S.? I don’t think anyone expects that these things can ever be eliminated. The issue is whether the balance is right.

” No one is saying there is no correlation. In fact most people point out that there is a negative correlation – in any given society, less legal gun availability means more gun crime. It has been the experience of the US everywhere gun laws were introduced, Britain and Australia since their gun laws, Jamaica and Mexico. ”

Are you seriously trying to argue that the U.S. has less gun crime than the UK?

” There is no such thing as a community that has no guns. There is only a community that has no legal gun ownership. That is a different matter. That just means criminals know they can brutalise who they like because their victims will not be armed. ”

There are always exceptions but on the whole is it not the case that most criminals with access to firearms shoot other criminals. How many innocent members of the public in the UK have been shot by armed criminals compared to how many criminals have been shot by other criminals?

Mexico has tough gun laws. They have a lot more gun crime than the US. It is perfectly possible to have millions of guns and very little gun crime – Switzerland for instance has precisely this situation. ”

You see the problem you are making here SMFS is you are comparing the U.S. with Mexico. If we were comparing the UK to another country we would not pick Indonesia. What would be appropriate is to use comparable states, such as other G7 countries. That would be the comparison equally valid for the U.S.

” Good question. How can three years in prison for gun ownership offenses be a deterrent then? It may be that some mass murders you cannot prevent – China had another school massacre on the same day but that man used a knife. But run-of-the-mill crime you can certainly deter. As Lott’s book title put it, the more guns, the less crime. ”

No laws and no amount of authoritarianism will ever prevent someone who is determined to kill. We can always find examples where someone who is robbed or murdered could have defended themselves if they were armed. However, have you ever considered the counterfactual if everyone was armed. Verbal disputes that never escalated to murder because the people involved were not armed. Physical fights that never escalated beyond a few bloody noses to murder because the fighters were never armed. Things that never happened are obviously impossible to prove. Some crimes would have turned out different if the victim had been armed, or maybe they would have ended up shot with their own weapon. However, many innocuous rage incidents would also have turned out different.

I have always been quite puzzled when I hear some American defending the Second Amendment because ” they need arms to stand up to there goverement ”

It was created when the weapon of the day was a musketball gun, was it not? It is lunacy to think the population of today could defend them selves in a meaningful manner( over throw and replace ) they have Zero control or response to the goverement.

It is also bizzare to hear ” guns dont kill people, people kill people ” Ok, lets see how far the twig stick 4 foot tall rat gets when they have to kill people with there hands or a blade, the killing power guns provide the first idiot to pick them up is immense.

Its 100% time.

41. Richard Carey

@ 40 Blah,

“It is lunacy to think the population of today could defend them selves in a meaningful manner”

A1: You think disarming 80,000,000 would be easy?

A2: I wish someone would tell the Taliban.

42. So Much for Subtlety

17. douglasclark

Do you have a shred of evidence to support your, essentially daft idea, that availability of weapons is to the benefit of all of mankind?

Well yes. Quite a lot. Britain’s gun laws have got tougher and tougher. Gun crime has risen. The same is true of Australia. Both countries with good record keeping. Unlike, say, Jamaica. Which has ever tougher gun control laws and an out of control gun murder rate.

If there has ever been a country that has seen a drop in gun crime following tougher gun laws it is unknown to me.

I think you are playing a daft game with statistics.

You mean I am counting the number of people shot before and after such laws were passed?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6960431.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html

For instance, since the murders by Thomas Hamilton, and the consequent legislation, there has not been a similar case, has there?

But that was such a freak event. It is not as if we had one a week before either.

You are a bit mad.

Yet the facts, logic and even common sense is on my side.

22. the a&e charge nurse

so is your argument American citizens are not shooting as many neighbours as the Colombians, or El Salvadorians so their gun laws are basically OK

No, my point is that gun crimes are caused by something other than guns. These countries tend to have strong gun laws. They also tend to have vastly higher murder rates than pretty much anywhere else. Gun violence is a cultural problem, not a legal one.

I’m sure that thought will be of great comfort to the families of the next set of school children who find themselves in the middle of the next Sandy Hook?

And I am sure that the hundreds of victims of gun crime in the UK – and the tens of thousand of victims who could have protected themselves if only they had a gun – will take comfort from your asinine views too.

24. Cylux

Dude, 7 year gap. How many years was it since the Batman shootings?

Germany is a tiny country compared to America. You can’t look at the absolute number but the rate.

Actually it has, in fact gangs in the UK now have to ‘rent’ guns when they want to shoot each other up, and frequently one gang will end up avenging itself a gang that attacked it with the very same gun used against them.

No it hasn’t. Because gun supply to teenage criminals is clearly lagging demand. Notice Britain has a huge number of legal firearms. Which do not leak into the criminal community. British people being more or less law abiding. So those gangs, who don’t have much money, have to find other ways to get a gun. But get guns they do. Illegally. Which suggests no change to the law will make any change to their behaviour.

43. So Much for Subtlety

32. steveb – “Agreed, and the last thing we need is a group of angry rioters holding legally acquired guns.”

You miss the point. If everyone was holding legally acquired guns, there wouldn’t be any angry rioters. Again, think back to the LA riots. The police did f**k all as usual. But the Korean-American community organised, got their guns and protected their shops. Rioters burn things owned by unarmed people.

37. Robin Levett

To those pointing out that Switzerland requires military age men to store an assault weapon at home, and suggesting that that their low gun murder rates somehow invalidate the elssons from the US experience, can I point out that guns don’t kill people, bullets do. Even your own source, SMFS, points out that Swiss ammo for the assault weapons is available, and must be used, only at the range. Ammo isn’t stored at home.

Sorry but that is a recent development. For years the Swiss government gave men boxes of ammunition to keep at home. Has the gun crime rate dropped suddenly? No it hasn’t.

Switzerland does not invalidate anything from the American experience. It simply provide a data point that shows what the lesson is. Guns are not the problem. Criminal culture is.

38. Bob B

In that time, I’ve long since learned that American gun nuts are obsessional and quite oblivious to the thousands of Americans who get killed every year through gun homicides.

I don’t think they are oblivious. They just do not draw the same conclusions you do. Although I am probably not allowed to say it on LC, gun crime has nothing to do with guns in the US. States with the most relaxed gun laws and the highest gun ownership rates tend to have low gun crime rates – and low murder rates. States with tougher laws tend to have higher rates. The best predictor of crime is not guns but race. Given that virtually all violent crime in America is confined to two racial communities. If you look at other populations in the US, they tend to have murder rates as low or even lower than Europe. We talk about gun control because liberals are too afraid to mention the obvious.

39. Richard W

They were French. An ability to fiercely resist Gauls just requires the ability to stand up straight.

That is not what history suggests. Admittedly most of my history comes from Asterix comics, but in all fairness, the French are descendants of the Romans as well as the Gauls.

I just do not understand why so many feel the need.

Go live in Dalston.

However, places like Connecticut is in a different world to the type of places where I can understand the gun obsession. It is a very rich state and I would guess low crime.

I am sure. So there is no need to remove anyone’s gun. But I do not doubt that Connecticut has tough gun laws. Because the problem is not the population of the state, especially the rural areas, but the population that is moving there and especially to urban areas. These laws were originally designed to disarm Black people.

Even allowing for differences in population do you not think these types of incidents happen with more frequency in the U.S.? I don’t think anyone expects that these things can ever be eliminated. The issue is whether the balance is right.

I think they do, but I don’t think tougher gun laws are the solution.

Are you seriously trying to argue that the U.S. has less gun crime than the UK?

In any given society. As I said. You can’t compare cultures easily. You can only look at what happens within a culture. America has a history of violence and the media glamorises criminals. It has more crime. The UK used to be very law abiding. It is less and less so all the time – largely because of immigration which brings people from cultures which respect criminals more than British people do. But the result is the same – gun laws came in, gun crime went up. We will become more like America in the end.

There are always exceptions but on the whole is it not the case that most criminals with access to firearms shoot other criminals. How many innocent members of the public in the UK have been shot by armed criminals compared to how many criminals have been shot by other criminals?

Because British people are sheep and give up their wallets, their homes and even their bodies if you yell at them. But there is no reason to think they will stick to shooting each other. After all criminals in the US mainly shoot each other too. It is just that they also shoot a hell of a lot of other people.

You see the problem you are making here SMFS is you are comparing the U.S. with Mexico. If we were comparing the UK to another country we would not pick Indonesia. What would be appropriate is to use comparable states, such as other G7 countries. That would be the comparison equally valid for the U.S.

No I am not. I am pointing out that there are other factors apart from gun ownership. If you want to agree with me that culture is more important, let’s talk about fixing the culture. Other G7 states would be comparable because the populations are different. I am happy to compare Swedish Americans with Swedes. They both have tiny gun crime rates. I am happy to compare Mexican Americans with Mexicans – they both have huge gun crime rates although the M-A may have less so. However you slice it, when you compare similar populations, gun laws do not play a big role.

However, have you ever considered the counterfactual if everyone was armed. Verbal disputes that never escalated to murder because the people involved were not armed. Physical fights that never escalated beyond a few bloody noses to murder because the fighters were never armed. Things that never happened are obviously impossible to prove. Some crimes would have turned out different if the victim had been armed, or maybe they would have ended up shot with their own weapon. However, many innocuous rage incidents would also have turned out different.

Maybe. Maybe not. Remember that most murders in the White community, when they aren’t domestic, involve people who get in fights in bars. I would tend to think that if they had guns, these arguments would nor escalate. As the famous Heinlein quote goes, an armed society is a polite society. Countries with a recent history of random violence aimed at people who are rude to you tend to be polite – Britain, Germany, Japan. Those without it tend not to be – Egypt, China, to some extent Italy.

It may be true that if we changed the law now, more people would be killed in the short term. But in the long term I think there would be a lot less rudeness in society and hence a lot fewer occasions to become murder.

As the documentary about Baltimore shows, easy access to guns does not deter their use. It just increases the numbers of gun homicides.

There is a truly horrifying news report in The Guardian about the assault weapon used to kill the children and their teachers in the Connecticut elementary school:

“Barak Obama is under intensifying pressure to take the lead in a campaign for greater gun control following the disclosure by police that the Newtown gunman used a semi-automatic assault rifle equipped with ‘numerous’ high-capacity magazines holding hundreds of bullets to carry out his massacre of young children.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/16/obama-gun-control-newtown-assault

At the very least, it make sense to ban access to assault weapons like that but UK news reports are saying that there is little to no prospect of getting such legislation through through Congress.

45. Robin Levett

@SMFS #42:

Sorry but that is a recent development. For years the Swiss government gave men boxes of ammunition to keep at home.

Stricyl limitec quantities, sealed and inspected. All ammunition sold, apart from that sold and used at ranges, is (and was) subject to registration.

Again, the weapons are issued to military reservists; they have military training and are subject to military discipline.

None of that is true in the States.

Has the gun crime rate dropped suddenly? No it hasn’t.

Suddenly? No. Since the 1990s? Yes.

The Swiss gun-related homicide rate is many times the UK experience, but far lower than the US.

@ 3 SMFS

Gun ownership and high gun crime do not go together. Switzerland and other countries like Norway give every adult male an assault rifle to keep at home. The rate of murder is still low.

Well, gun ownership isn’t really as high as it seems because those weapons, though kept by private individuals are actually owned by the state. It’s not so much a right to bear arms as a duty to do so.

As for death rates, in Norway, gun deaths run at 1.78 per 100,000 of population. In Switzerland the rate is 3.5 per 100,000.

here in the UK? Well, we score only 0.25 per 100,000. I reckon that firearms mortality rates 7 and 12 times higher than our own would be considered unthinkable by the UK public.

You can find a list of countries by gun death rates here.

Articles written by non-US persons bemoaning the lack of gun control in the US are only ever written in order to demonstrate, or attempt to demonstrate, the author’s moral superiority.

In the unlikely event that they are read in the US, their effect will only ever be counterproductive.

Best to offer sympathy to the victims’ families, but keep our noses out of affairs which we have no hope of influencing.

“A1: You think disarming 80,000,000 would be easy?

A2: I wish someone would tell the Taliban.”

You miss the point, in the event of the population needing to “defend” them selves, a small percentage of die harders running around acting like insurgents is not defense in a meaningful manner.

The second amendment was created in a time when population and goverment had the same fire power, today they do not stand a chance.

49. Robin Levett

@SMFS #43:

But I do not doubt that Connecticut has tough gun laws.

Don’t you?

Connecticut has no gun licensing or registration laws. No permit is required to purchase long-arms. They are a shall-issue state for concealed carry permits. They allow private ownership of machine guns (although admittedly they restrict selective-fire weapons (as our US cousins would say – go figure)).

So it has lax gun laws; although you are correct they are considered tough in the States.

They have a gun-homicide rate in the bottom quarter of th eUS; 1/5th of that of Lousiana. Only 54% of its homicides are by gun, compared with Lousiana’s 79/5%.

The Brady campaign scorecard on gun laws has CT in 5th place; LA in a tie for 47th.

http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/stateleg/scorecard/2011/2011_Brady_Campaign_State_Scorecard_Rankings.pdf

In the States, gun deaths correlate with gun laws; the tougher the laws, the fewer gun deaths.

http://www.vpc.org/press/1006gundeath.htm

Countries with a recent history of random violence aimed at people who are rude to you tend to be polite

Heinlein wrote fiction, not documentaries.

50. Richard Carey

@ Blah,

let us hope we don’t find out how many people make up that ‘small percentage’ of 80,000,000. The best defence is deterrence.

You miss the point, in the event of the population needing to “defend” them selves, a small percentage of die harders running around acting like insurgents is not defense in a meaningful manner.

Except the Black Panthers prove you wrong. The Black Panthers were a precisely the kind of armed militia refered to in the constitution and they were formed to defend black Americans from State violence in the form of police brutality.

52. Robin Levett

@Shatterface #51:

The Black Panthers were a precisely the kind of armed militia refered to in the constitution.

Wromantic but wrong. I suggest you read the USA constitution.

Doing the internet rounds at the moment;
Last year Handguns Killed:
48 People in Japan
8 Great Britain
34 Switzerland
52 Canada, 58 Israel
21 Sweden
10,728 in The United States.

Only a tiny fraction of which were spree killings – which is why school massacres, shocking as they are, are a bit of a red herring when 10,000+ are being killed in individual tragedies.

It’s like concentration of aircrashes while ignoring road deaths.

“Except the Black Panthers prove you wrong. The Black Panthers were a precisely the kind of armed militia refered to in the constitution and they were formed to defend black Americans from State violence in the form of police brutality.”

Point to me any group thats coherent and organized, ready and able by way of fire power and ability to take on the goverment in a War for the country. Americans cant even oppose a freaking parking ticket.

I do not think any one wants to take guns away from responsible hunters or home owners, but when paranoid mum has 4-5 weapons laying around the house for her dipshit son to go on a rampage, using the second amendemtn to excuse this is a joke. ( Im not saying thats what you are doing right now, many are though.. ” they cant handle the price of freedom ” its pathetic )

43

No, I didn’t miss your point, you inferred that if the victims of rioters had held (legal) guns the outcome would have been different. Well you may be right but not in the way I believe you are suggesting, it is likely to make the situation worse. Many of the rioters were not your typical unemployed but from quite affluent homes and were making a political point. This seems to me to be more likely to result in guns being discharged, and those people are most likely to be in a position to acquire legal firearms.

But we always seem to have this debate about guns after the tragedy of a mass killing; in the USA, the victims of these incidents are a very tiny percentage of those killed in domestic incidents, just as an example, over 50% of female homicides involve legally owned guns.

I agree that it is people who kill not guns but when a gun is in easy reach of an angry person, it is all too easy to discharge it in the heat of the moment, otherwise the action might be more about throwing an object. Of course, that could be fatal but I don’t believe that there are many reported incidents in the UK where a death in the domestic sphere was caused by being hit by a thrown object

56. Matt Wardman

>When is the right time to talk about gun control?

Any day with d in the name, I’d say.

The US blew it when they left the modifier out of the phrase they borrowed from our Bill of Rights, and made it absolute.

Bill of Rights, 1688

“Subjects’ Arms.

That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.”

US Constitution II:

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.

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 Richard

“What’s wrong with ‘lax judgement’? I don’t think Sunny can be faulted on this.”

Nothing, but ’twas originally “lax of judgement”. If it’s now “lax judgement” I assume it’s been edited since.

58. Matt Wardman

>Doing the internet rounds at the moment;
Last year Handguns Killed:
48 People in Japan
8 Great Britain
34 Switzerland
52 Canada, 58 Israel
21 Sweden
10,728 in The United States.

I agree with your point, but 1979 data does not win an argument in 2012.

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2012/12/stop-sharing-30-year-old-stats-use-these-instead

“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.”

That Second Amendment to the US Constitution dates from 1791. It is completely unspecific as to what kind of “arms” it relates to.

At the time, small arms covered single-shot, muzzle-loaded muskets and pistols. There were no breech-loading or lever-action riles and no six-shot revolvers. The first machine gun, the Maxim, didn’t come out until 1884.

How come the right to bear arms is now construed to include assault weapons with extra-large magazines, like that used at the Newtown elementary school to kill 6 and 7 years-olds?

@57. Matt Wardman: “I agree with your point, but 1979 data does not win an argument in 2012.”

Come on, Matt.

There is a four or five figure number of gun deaths in a nation that stands out in the stats. Slice it and dice it by whatever methods you choose, but the USA appears to have a problem.

9,146 dead USA citizens in one year owing to gun crime? The number of UK citizens, since the invention of the hand gun, who died at the end of an intentional shooting incident?

My bet (£100, for charity) is that you can’t add up the names of 9,146 who were shot dead in the UK.

61. So Much for Subtlety

45. Robin Levett

Stricyl limitec quantities, sealed and inspected. All ammunition sold, apart from that sold and used at ranges, is (and was) subject to registration.

Which is irrelevant. If someone wanted to kill themselves or anyone else, they would hardly be deterred by being ticked off by the military. Anyone who wanted to break the law, could do so with a fully automatic rifle in their hands. Swiss by and large did not want to break the law.

Suddenly? No. Since the 1990s? Yes.

Evidence? There are all sorts of reasons for crime rates to drop. It looks like gun laws are not responsible in Switzerland.

The Swiss gun-related homicide rate is many times the UK experience, but far lower than the US.

Many times? Well yes, 0.52 to the UK’s 0.04. But the question is how many of those are justifiable.

In any event, culture is clearly the main factor. Remember that Britain’s rate has grown with every new gun restriction. It was vastly lower in 1904.

46. jhjhjuhek

Well, gun ownership isn’t really as high as it seems because those weapons, though kept by private individuals are actually owned by the state. It’s not so much a right to bear arms as a duty to do so.

Which is, again, irrelevant. If someone wants to rob a bank they are not going to be deterred by the fact that the State owns their gun or their ammunition comes in a pretty box with a seal.

As for death rates, in Norway, gun deaths run at 1.78 per 100,000 of population. In Switzerland the rate is 3.5 per 100,000.

The blatant dishonesty of this is laughable. Gun death rates, yes. But we are not interested in those. We are interested in the unlawful gun death rate. Which I note Wikipedia does not give us. But let’s take out the suicides shall we? Norway’s gun homicide rate – that is, taking into account everyone who defended themselves or their home – is the same as the UK’s, 0.04. Switzerland’s is 0.52.

Now perhaps it is a good thing to include suicides. But given LC is pretty much unanimous in the support of the right of people to go to Switzerland and have a doctor kill them, you all can hardly complain if a Swiss does it at home with his service rifle.

here in the UK? Well, we score only 0.25 per 100,000. I reckon that firearms mortality rates 7 and 12 times higher than our own would be considered unthinkable by the UK public.

0.25 is the total rate. I am not sure it would be. We will get it anyway because as the culture of the UK changes through immigration, so will attitudes to gun crime. But if most of those firearm-related deaths were would-be muggers and house breakers, I am sure most people would be just fine with it.

48. Blah – “You miss the point, in the event of the population needing to “defend” them selves, a small percentage of die harders running around acting like insurgents is not defense in a meaningful manner.”

The IRA bombed Britain into defeat. I would not under-estimate the impact of a small percentage of die harders.

The second amendment was created in a time when population and goverment had the same fire power, today they do not stand a chance.

Every insurgency launched against the British government has won. Even in Malaya if we are honest. The historical ignorance of these claims is worrying.

54. steveb

you inferred that if the victims of rioters had held (legal) guns the outcome would have been different.

Inferred from what?

Well you may be right but not in the way I believe you are suggesting, it is likely to make the situation worse. Many of the rioters were not your typical unemployed but from quite affluent homes and were making a political point. This seems to me to be more likely to result in guns being discharged, and those people are most likely to be in a position to acquire legal firearms.

Well the people in the LA riots were making a clear political point, so I don’t think that matters. I also think it is not true of the recent London riots. No doubt a few of the trash knew what to say to the media when it came their way, but the rioting seems to have been nothing but opportunistic looting. Either way, shop keepers with resolve did deter them down Dalston way and elsewhere. Shop keepers with guns would have done a lot more.

I agree that it is people who kill not guns but when a gun is in easy reach of an angry person, it is all too easy to discharge it in the heat of the moment, otherwise the action might be more about throwing an object.

I am not sure. I don’t think anyone ever gets that angry. After all, how much public domestic abuse do you see? How often are wives beaten to death in the street? It is not that husbands and wives don’t get on each other’s nerves. But in Britain people do not do that sort of thing in public. Not even in America. Much. Which suggests that people are perfectly capable of controlling themselves. If people kill with guns it is because they know the penalties are minor.

Of course, that could be fatal but I don’t believe that there are many reported incidents in the UK where a death in the domestic sphere was caused by being hit by a thrown object

I would have thought that was most murders.

SMFS: “The IRA bombed Britain into defeat.”

That’s nonsense. You know not of what you write. My clear impression is that the prevailing view in mainland Britain was and is that it is up to the people living in Northen Ireland to decide whether they want to belong to the Republic of Ireland or remain part of the UK.

All present indications are that the majority wish to remain part of the UK, which isn’t altogether surprising in the light of the current economic stresses in the Republic of Ireland due to the problems the government there has from bailing out the banks from their ill-judged lending spree.

I doubt that many in mainland Britain wanted to heartily endorse the sectarian tradition of Protestant ascendancy in Northern Ireland. The mainstream mainland parties of Conservatives and Labour have been careful to avoid direct particiation in the politics of Northern Ireland and for good reasons.

There is ample evidence of continuing historic discrimination against the Catholic minority there in employment – many of the better paid manual-skilled jobs were reserved for Protestants. The embedded tradition of separate faith schools for the Catholic and Protestant communities wasn’t conducive to fostering social cohesion. Nor is the traditional annual marching season in July to celebrate the outcome of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 (sic), fought between the armies of rival claimants to the throne: James II and William of Orange.

“The IRA bombed Britain into defeat. I would not under-estimate the impact of a small percentage of die harders.

Every insurgency launched against the British government has won. Even in Malaya if we are honest. The historical ignorance of these claims is worrying”

Yea because uh, all those drones and cutting edge technologys Britain used against them just were not enough..

I in no way under-estimate a small percentage of lunatics potential to absolutly fuck up the United States and transform a functional country into a crippled mess, I do how ever know that they could never win a very short lived “war” and the end result would be a police state.

Yet A – there never will be an uprising B – if you actually believe you need a gun to protect your self from your goverment, your right to own a gun should not really be the first concern on your mind…

@61. So Much for Subtlety: “0.25 is the total rate. I am not sure it would be. We will get it anyway because as the culture of the UK changes through immigration, so will attitudes to gun crime.”

I don’t know what he is talking about.

“But if most of those firearm-related deaths were would-be muggers and house breakers, I am sure most people would be just fine with it.”

I understand that and I despise it.

Do try this video doc about the consequences of introducing gun control in Australia after a gun massacre in Tasmania in April 1996:

Gun control: Change is possible – and fast
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/16/opinion/australia-gun-laws/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

61

Shopkeepers did deter but note, not with firearms, perhaps if it was suspected that shopkeepers held guns, the rioters would have tooled-up as well.

Perhaps Britain’s low homicide rate using firearms might be something to do with the absence of mass gun ownership, unlike the USA which is the polar opposite.

68. Matt Wardman

@Charlieman

How could I be clearer?

“I agree with your point” … but please use the right supporting information.

69. So Much for Subtlety

62. Bob B

That’s nonsense. You know not of what you write. My clear impression is that the prevailing view in mainland Britain was and is that it is up to the people living in Northen Ireland to decide whether they want to belong to the Republic of Ireland or remain part of the UK.

So the IRA bombed the British out of Northern Ireland. They have not yet managed to bomb the Unionists into the Republic of Ireland, but they can wait until demographic changes make it inevitable. In other words, the IRA won. As usual Bob, it is your refusal to understand basic facts that is the problem.

63. Blah

Yea because uh, all those drones and cutting edge technologys Britain used against them just were not enough..

You’re trying to be clever but failing. Would you like to try again?

I do how ever know that they could never win a very short lived “war” and the end result would be a police state.

It depends on why they are fighting. We threw Malaya to conservatives and so it did not end up as a police state. We did not manage that in Zimbabwe or in South Africa so one has and the other will. It depends on how modern the insurgents are.

Yet A – there never will be an uprising B – if you actually believe you need a gun to protect your self from your goverment, your right to own a gun should not really be the first concern on your mind…

To say there will never be an uprising is absurd. And given the mass democide that the State has inflicted on people in the 20th century everyone should be concerned. Whether owning guns is the right solution is debatable, but since when did the Left give up the idea of Fighting The Power and become apologists for anyone in power?

64. Charlieman

I don’t know what he is talking about.

The tragedy of the British education system.

I understand that and I despise it.

Good for you. Who gives a f**k? Is it true?

67. steveb

Shopkeepers did deter but note, not with firearms, perhaps if it was suspected that shopkeepers held guns, the rioters would have tooled-up as well.

Then they wouldn’t be rioters. Nor do riots start that way. People go out for a bit of a laugh and things get out of hand. They do not usually go out to kill. But if they did, so what?

Perhaps Britain’s low homicide rate using firearms might be something to do with the absence of mass gun ownership, unlike the USA which is the polar opposite.

Except when Britain did have a lot of guns – and remember back in 1904 there were fewer than 10 gun crimes in the whole of London – there was no gun crime either. It is a product of British culture. Not of guns. As in Switzerland.

69

It seems to me that your entire argument is based on the fallacious assumption that it will be ‘innocent victims’ who will have possession of guns and not the perpetrators of crime. The experience of the US tells us this is not the case or Adam Lanza and so many others would not have managed to kill so many.

70

Take heart. The National Rifle Association in America announced on Tuesday that it will cooperate on measures to prevent massacres like that at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

It looks as though there might be a revival of the lapsed 1994 legislation to ban assault weapons, similar to the kind used at Newtown, but I’m sceptical about the chances of tighter controls to limit access to hand guns.

It has emerged that Adam Lanza’s mother was the registered owner of five guns, including the assault weapon he used for the school massacre. By reports, she was a “survivalist” or “prepper” who was getting ready for armageddon or social upheaval, whichever came first, although it isn’t altogether clear how useful five guns would be in those contingencies. Whatever. She evidently had little faith in American civilisation.

I found this recent BBC brief useful for gaining better informed perspectives: Newtown shooting – US guns in numbers
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20759139

72. Kismet Hardy

Coronation Street star is lambasted for posing with a gun. The Sun finds this offensive. She’s a brainless fool, they say, for thinking posing with a gun makes for a good picture. So what do they do with this offensive picture? Splash it all over the front page.

Moral of the story: stupid people and evil people find guns fascinating.

Kismet Hardy

Try the link to the documentary about Baltimore posted @14 for a terrifying insight into a city’s culture of gangs, drugs and guns.

74. Richard Carey

@ Bob b,

“a terrifying insight into a city’s culture of gangs, drugs and guns.”

Right, and your solution is to disarm the law-abiding people, and then, presumably the drug gangs will follow suit? Would you be interested in buying a bridge?

Richard Carey

Try watching the video doc on Baltimore linked @14 and listen to the illuminating commentary.

Most of the shooting is black-on-black, relating to local wars over drugs trading. As a result, there is an embedded circle of decline. The shootings and murder rate discourage business investment making drugs dealing the only feasible employment for many low-educational achievers in the black community.

Try too the highly acclaimed TV serial, produced by HBO: The Wire, in a box set of the DVDs. The storyline is by Simon Burns, who was a detective in the Baltimore police. He is interviewed in the course of the documentary. The police are engaging in drugs seizures, as part of the (? futile) War on Drugs, but the drug dealers and their gang masters have a constitional right to possess guns. It’s daft.

In recent years, we’ve been having troubles with gang wars in Britain, especially in London, Manchester and Birmingham but the incidence of violence and homicides seems to be declining for the present. Easy access to guns makes the violence worse. More guns is not a deterrent to gun use.

Try also the video doc @66 about the beneficial consequences of introducing gun control in Australia after a gun massacre in Tasmania in April 1996: Gun control: Change is possible – and fast

76. Charles bishop

I’m going to assume that you write your blog so you can read responses which assure you that your worldview is correct. I have none of that for you. So on the off chance you care for a different point of view.. Your reference to childhood handling of police weapons in a controlled environment tells me that you formed an opinion pretty early on concerning firearms safety as well as WHO should be in possession of such power. My people ended British colonial rule in 1776. Your country never really has. I know that you will reply with Indian independance. But India is still subject to the commonwealth and to the queen. My ancestors achieved independance from domination with guns. Without them we’d still be saying ” god save the queen”. People pretend that we want to keep guns for sporting or hunting or simple home defense which of course is all true, but the reality is, our right to BEAR ARMS is not and was never about these things. We keep guns to protect our freedom from tyrany and slavery. We who believe this were taught by our parents and grandparents for generations back to the days this land was stolen from the natives. They made this into a prosperous and safe place to live. People from around the world pack boats and planes to get here. Do they pour into India trying desperately to get a work visa ? I don’t think so. The ideals and actions of my forefathers made this the most popular destination on the planet not the socialist nonsense you’re leaning toward. Freedom comes with responsibility and often enough tragedy as well.

If you fear the danger of being gunned down by a madman with an ar15 with a 30 round magazine by reason you must also be fearful of being on any form of mass transit or walking near traffic or going to a concert or sporting event or eating food not grown and prepared by you or living near flood dams or drinking the public water supply or breathing the air after an old Cessna crop duster flies overhead. Wow the list of non gun related dangers could go on for quite some time. I didn’t see much coverage on the Chinese school killing with a KNIFE, but perhaps china needs to look at better kitchen appliance restrictions. Pass a spork please.

If your reasoning for gun control laws is to prevent crazy people from perpetuating mass death and evil, your logic fails. More people were killed on 9/11 without the use of guns than any other civilian on civilian killing in American history. Evil people find was to hurt other people

The answer to the problem isn’t deeper bondage and slavery, but freedom. The reason people hurt one another ( individual’s and tyrants) is disconnection. People must love one another because of knowledge that one IS the other. Love and correct treatment of others cannot be legislated, as every naive socialist nation has come to discover.

Maybe instead of suggesting that the rest of us bow to slavery you should accept that the decisions of my ancestors has afforded you the opportunity to live in this land of free and that it remains so by holding fast to their wisdom. If you want to change the hearts of evil or misguided people who intend harm on others you don’t need more laws. “I’m lookin at the man in the mirror” – m Jackson

Freedom.

Yes – freedom to live with the annual risk of being among the 9,000 victims of gun homicides as Americans do. Some freedom.

Why does the city of San Farncisco persist, year after year, in trying to tighten gun control ordinances despite many failures when Federal courts strike down intended ordinances as “unconstituional” in response to appeals by the National Rifle Association? It is not as though San Francisco isn’t a thriving business environment.

Btw the last occasion on which a British monarch refused to sign an Act of Parliament was Queen Anne in 1707.

@76 Ask your great great grandfather (or possibly great great great grandfather depending on how young you are) how well that slavery, that guns are apparently there to stop, went.

79. Charles bishop

Bob, are you suggesting that SFs cashflow is the miraculous result of the city’s attempts at suppressing the rights of it’s citizens? It’s like sitting at the head of a rowing crew on a longboat saying “wow, look at me fly”. SF did not become prosperous or safe without the protection of guns and neighboring communities willing to use arms to enforce peace.

When you talk about gun control people naturally assume this means civilian and does not apply to military or police. When do we talk about disarming or disbanding these organizations? Too soon ?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Deb

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? My thoughts on yesterday http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  2. Sunny Hundal

    I grew up handling guns http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  3. Robert Ryan

    I grew up handling guns http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  4. glenellen

    I grew up handling guns http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  5. Hengist McStone

    @omnologos you seem to be in agreement with super leftie Sunny Hundal :-) & vice versa http://t.co/KJ2tHJDE

  6. Leon Green

    I grew up handling guns http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  7. Sunny Hundal

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << blog-post from earlier

  8. Zygon Curry

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << blog-post from earlier

  9. Lanie Ingram

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << blog-post from earlier

  10. Mark

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << blog-post from earlier

  11. Alf

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GLIHiuVx via @libcon

  12. Janet Graham

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? My thoughts on yesterday http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  13. Sunny Hundal

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night

  14. philip lewis

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night

  15. Specter of Derrida

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night

  16. TeresaMary

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night

  17. Carl G

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night

  18. Sunny Hundal

    I grew up with guns around me http://t.co/hcGh6TZv

  19. Sunny Hundal

    Doh! I actually meant to say, I grew up handling guns http://t.co/SECbmYsk

  20. BevR

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Gq2Cmlyv via @libcon

  21. Jonathan Wood

    I grew up with guns around me http://t.co/hcGh6TZv

  22. Bob Reid

    I grew up with guns around me http://t.co/hcGh6TZv

  23. Mohsin Akram

    When is the right time to talk about gun control? http://t.co/SECbmYsk << my blog-post from last night





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