Bang, bang in Britain?

January 29th, 2008

BBC Radio Five presenter Shelagh Fogarty today described her terror at having a gun pointed at her face while filming in Liverpool on Saturday night.

This is an outrage. They should implement strict gun control to prevent things like this from happening.

Oh, cialis usa check wait.

None of this was supposed to happen in the country whose stringent gun laws and 1997 ban on handguns have been hailed as the “gold standard” of gun control. For the better part of a century, cialis sale British governments have pursued a strategy for domestic safety that a 1992 Economist article characterized as requiring “a restraint on personal liberty that seems, no rx in most civilised countries, essential to the happiness of others,” a policy the magazine found at odds with “America’s Vigilante Values.” The safety of English people has been staked on the thesis that fewer private guns means less crime. The government believes that any weapons in the hands of men and women, however law-abiding, pose a danger, and that disarming them lessens the chance that criminals will get or use weapons.

The results — the toughest firearm restrictions of any democracy — are credited by the world’s gun control advocates with producing a low rate of violent crime. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell reflected this conventional wisdom when, in a 1988 speech to the American Bar Association, he attributed England’s low rates of violent crime to the fact that “private ownership of guns is strictly controlled.”

In reality, the English approach has not re-duced violent crime. Instead it has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them. Imitating this model would be a public safety disaster for the United States.

The illusion that the English government had protected its citizens by disarming them seemed credible because few realized the country had an astonishingly low level of armed crime even before guns were restricted. A government study for the years 1890-92, for example, found only three handgun homicides, an average of one a year, in a population of 30 million. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world. A hundred years and many gun laws later, the BBC reported that England’s firearms restrictions “seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld.” Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them.

Nearly five centuries of growing civility ended in 1954. Violent crime has been climbing ever since. Last December, London’s Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns the weapon of choice, was “rocketing.” In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

Entry Filed under: Observations

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. capper  |  January 29th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Interesting use of percentages. Do you think there may have been a reason why they didn’t mention the hard numbers? Or why they did used violent crime as opposed to shooting deaths?

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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