UK Gun Laws Have Undermined Liberty And Order – Conservative Article
In the movie Dr. No, James Bond is given his famous Walther PPK. After trading in his Beretta after a fault that almost cost Bond his life during a previous mission, M tells the spy that he has a licence to kill, not to get killed. Unfortunately, anyone who has witnessed the withdrawal of the police, draconian gun legislation, and a disregard for the concept of self-defence will realise that the British people now have this licence to get killed.
Deriding the Second Amendment of the U.S Constitution is a common pastime of self-righteous Brits. But they fail to recognise their own nation’s history with firearms. The U.S Constitution was heavily influenced by the British Bill of Rights. The right to bear arms was included in both for the same reasons. The Second Amendment and the 1689 Bill of Rights both recognised the individual’s right to defend themselves not only against malcontents and criminals but the state (should it become tyrannical). Guns were commonplace in Britain, easily accessible and subject to very little substantial regulation for a long period.
In contrast, the UK’s modern licensing regime – set out by the provisions of the 1920 Firearms Act and then later 1968 Firearms Act – made guns a privilege rather than a right. Ownership now cannot be for self-defence purposes. What can be possessed is limited and any ownership is conditional on absolute state approval. In 1997, after the Dunblane shooting (last week marked 25 years since the tragedy), pistols were banned entirely. Even for our Olympic pistol shooting team.
Questions about the necessity of this move remain, as the shooter was well known to authorities and should not have owned a gun under regulations at the time. The response should have been addressing the plethora of serious issues highlighted in cases such as these: police incompetence; abysmal mental health care; the folly of bureaucracy. Instead, the legislation passed had the effect of disarming the population bar a few state-approved exceptions.
The argument that the relaxation of gun laws in the UK would import the problems of the U.S misses several key points. Even with America’s lax gun control, the problem is often overblown. The majority of gun violence and resulting gun deaths involve illegally owned firearms. Furthermore, 62% of U.S gun deaths over the last 10 years were suicides rather than indiscriminate violence.
It should be noted that other countries have been able to mitigate both gun suicides and wider gun deaths with sensible regulation and better approaches to mental health. For example, there are 78.9 million firearms owned in the EU, yet mass shootings are few and far between. Opposition to almost any gun control measure and the big-Pharma-driven-pill-centric-psychiatry of the U.S has given rise to the issues experienced in America.
Both issues can and have been addressed in a number of countries without the total undoing of gun ownership. Switzerland has an incredibly ingrained gun culture due to its national service policy, without the problems often associated with such gun ownership. It joins countries like Iceland, Austria, Norway, Czech Republic, and Estonia which have some of the most relaxed gun laws in Europe and yet have not seen the same problems with gun violence, suicides, illegal firearm proliferation and mass shootings that the U.S has.
Critics of America’s principled and ideological love of guns suggest they have failed to balance individual rights with public safety. Yet, it appears Britain has also gotten things wrong by moving to the opposite extreme. Supposedly, Britain has ‘gotten a grip’ on gun crime. Yet, there were still 33 gun murders in the UK in 2019 and 9,700 crimes involving a firearm.
Unlike many countries previously mentioned, the UK has also lost any semblance of order: people fear walking the streets at night and criminals become more unrestrained and violent. The undermining of the concept of self-defence and the loss of guns as a means of crime prevention has played its part in emboldening criminals.
Colonel George Hanger noted that there was “no better defence for a house, than a double-gun, nor against robbers on the road”. While highwaymen may be a thing of the past, muggers certainly are not. Similarly, whilst the police may create the illusion of security, they have failed to reliably stem the ever-present threat of a home invasion. Even pepper spray is banned for civilian use. Section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968 treats them as if they were firearms for the purpose of regulation.
Such self-defence equipment would be of great help in stemming the violent assaults and robberies that are becoming commonplace in parts of the UK. However, it is reserved for selective use by the police, who have become alarmingly absent.
Those who oppose civilian-owned firearms in any substantial manner will suggest such a right is not an important aspect of our constitutional settlement; that it is an archaic curiosity to remain confined to the dustbin of history. This forgets that the “Glorious Revolution” which established the foundations of our constitutional monarchy came along with a declaration of such rights.
We don’t necessarily need AR-15s openly carried in Tesco but reasonable gun ownership by responsible adults to deter criminals from setting upon them, protect their lives and hold an ultimate check and balance against the theoretical idea of a tyrannical state. This must be recognised as an important aspect of restoring liberty and order to the UK.
Written by Guest Conservative Writer, Oliver Pike
Point of Information
Increased gun ownership is not how to deal with crime or state tyranny – A Liberal Response
More guns on the street do not guarantee anyone’s safety. Yes, you might have a gun if someone breaks into your house – but so might the person breaking in. The article mentions the fact that many U.S firearms are held illegally, but maintains the belief that “that wouldn’t happen here”. You cannot guarantee that they would not be acquired illegally, and I would rather no one had one, that someone who isn’t “responsible” (by whose standard?) had one, and was able to commit untold horrors.
Furthermore, the article brushes off the fact that 60% of gun deaths in the USA were suicides. In civilised society, we would prefer that people are able to seek help rather than killing themselves, and a gun makes the process easier, which is not something we want to happen.
Another of Oliver’s points that I wish to contend with is the ownership of guns to protect against the tyrannical state. One must bear in mind that people with differing political opinions who wish to fight the state would also be able to own guns. While I believe that people should be able to protest in a democracy, especially when faced with a tyrannical state, how would people use these guns? To shoot any officers of the state? To commit acts of violence against the government?
We’ve seen protests turn violent, for example, last weekend’s ‘Kill The Bill’ protest in Bristol, where police officers were harmed. Oliver’s proposal would have allowed the people there to have guns. If they see the police as part of the tyrannical state, would they have been within their rights to shoot them? One must remember that when we advocate for certain freedoms, they aren’t just for people specifically like ourselves.
Also, the Bill of Rights that is so revered, was primarily a response to the Exclusion Crisis. It also banned Catholics from the throne, which I think we can all agree is just a tad archaic. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t get our political causes from a 332-year-old piece of legislation.
Lastly, the quote from Colonel George Hanger. This man died in 1824. It’s 2021. I think times have moved on. More guns and significant potential for more gun violence is not the solution here in the UK.
Written by Junior Liberal Writer, Emma Hall
This Article is Absurd – A Labour Response
This article ignores Britain’s responsibility in helping to create a gun-totin’ U.S. Instead of judging America – which is the typical response – we should, as a nation, advocate for progressive laws that lead us one step closer to the abolition of guns. For example, as individuals and as a collective in the UK, we can encourage the implementation of laws in the U.S that make it harder to purchase guns, increase the minimum age, and advocate for the indefinite removal of guns like the AR-15. We should be the most outspoken member of the international community.
Sure, once upon a time Britain was in favour of widespread gun usage. But this does not support the argument that we should reinstitute guns into British life today. It’s like advocating for slavery; ‘Well, once upon a time slavery was a normalised practice so we should reintroduce it.’ Just because something was at one time in history practised by humans, does not mean it’s legitimate, moral, or logical. Guns have no place in modern society.
In response to Oliver’s “rise up against a tyrannical state” justification, we must look at Chile and Argentina. These two countries were recently living under tyrannical dictatorships (with the support of America, no less). These countries – where firearms were legal during said dictatorships (constitutionally protected, in Chile’s case) – display that this argument is a fallacy. Great in theory, not so great in practice.
Oliver says the majority of gun violence and gun deaths involve illegally owned firearms. Surely this would happen in the UK as well? Isn’t Dunblane a perfect example of this? If guns were not in circulation, they would not be as accessible. It’s really rather simple. The Port Arthur massacre in Australia led to the abolition of firearms and the dramatic reduction in gun violence.
62% of US gun deaths over the last 10 years being suicides should not be used to support your argument! It should make us abhor the idea of reintroducing guns to the UK. Similar to the 33 gun murders in the UK in 2019. It’s 33 too many. Don’t you think reintroducing guns would increase the number of violent assaults? Don’t you think people would be a lot more worried about walking the streets at night? And crime prevention? The inevitable outcome of reintroducing guns into the UK would be an increase in gun-related crime.
Why is gun ownership synonymous with liberty? The freedom to kill anyone who annoys you without much effort? Guns would create a hostile environment. Everyone would be walking on eggshells. That doesn’t sound very free. The presence of guns would just escalate situations and result in unnecessary and preventable loss of life. The absence of guns, however, decreases the likelihood that one of them, or both, will be killed over nothing. Imagine how quickly some could pull out a gun in an altercation outside a nightclub.
People do not need guns. Healthcare is a right. Housing is a right. Education is a right. Let us fix those issues before we focus our attention on deadly killing machines.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, George Stroud