First published 2010.
There are many incidents of violent attack in Britain. But there is very little you can do to defend yourself if you are attacked – that is, if you don’t want to end up in jail. Take the following story, which occurred in January 2008 and involved a woman driver who was left shocked and shaken after a hooded gunman jumped into her car as she waited in traffic in the north east of England.
The gunman tried to snatch her handbag, but when she got out of the car, he fled the scene empty handed. A twenty-one-year-old man was later arrested. The woman got out unscathed. But the scenario could have turned nasty.
The thing is, if we had the right to keep and bear arms in the Britain, as exists in the USA, the woman above could have said to the gunman, “OK, let me give you my handbag,” then pulled out a pistol and pumped him full of lead.
As my dad – who saw a good deal of action in World War II – used to say: “Shoot first, ask questions later.”
It makes a lot of sense when someone jumps into your car with a gun. They’re clearly not going to ask if they can wash your car.
A similar scenario unfolded around the same time in Buffalo, New York, but had a very different ending. The seventy-eight-year-old owner of a pizza joint foiled a robbery when he fired a single warning shot, sending the two robbers running. He’d been robbed before and decided he’d had enough. So he armed himself. A sensible move.
Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens in Britain have no choice but to accept their lot as victims. If they’re attacked, they just have to pray to God they are not killed or injured. Currently, only criminals have guns. But if we had gun rights in this country, we’d be able to fight back and defend ourselves.
As far as I can see, the right to defend yourself, by whatever means necessary, should be a given. As it is, Britain is a country of victims. And if we do defend ourselves against a merciless attack, using a gun or knife, we typically end up in “hotel slammer.” This is totally wrong.
Yet in the USA it’s a very different story. In December 2007, for example, a Domino pizza deliveryman shot and killed a would-be robber in St Louis. The gun wasn’t an illegal weapon. He had a permit for it.
The driver delivered an order at 7pm on Thursday Dec 27th to a non-existent address. Two armed men jumped out and told him it was a robbery. Luckily the driver was packing a gun too. He reacted quickly, fired on the two men, killing one. The other fled the scene.
When the cops arrived they verified the deliveryman’s gun permit, and a spokesperson said: “It doesn’t appear that [the driver] did anything wrong.”
In the UK, you’ve got little choice but to lie down and take being attacked or robbed – otherwise you run a very strong risk of prosecution. Although the police and judiciary would deny it, the truth is the law is on the side of the criminals.
Trawl the news archives and it’s clear that Britain is “victim land”, a nation whose citizens are victims due to shortsighted government regulations on gun ownership. It’s a land where criminals and thugs rule.
Take this story: In February 2008, Gareth Avery (48) was beaten and left for dead after he politely asked a gang to stop urinating in his garden. The attack in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, South-West England, was a prime example of Britain running out of control.
The media blamed it on the availability of cheap booze.
Well, I supposed the booze was the reason the gang of thugs needed to take a piss. But the problem is NOT low-priced alcohol. It’s the fact that we cannot defend ourselves in Britain. If the guy had gone out and shot or knifed the thugs that beat him up, he’d end up with a jail sentence – and the thugs would be suing him for damages courtesy of the state.
If we had the right to bear arms in Britain, like in the USA, how many people do you think would risk urinating in someone’s garden? Not many. They’d be too scared of having their dicks peppered by a pump action shotgun.
The bottom line is, us Britons should be ashamed that we can’t defend our own properties, and that we have to put up with thugs violating our homes and gardens, and beating us half to death.
We should all be calling on the government to give law-abiding citizens the right to own guns and use them.
But what about US school and college shootings? We don’t what that happening in Britain too…
In February 2008, a student-gunman opened fire during a lecture at Northern Illinois University. He killed five and wounded fifteen before turning the gun on himself. It’s true that such incidents happen all too often in the US. But improved efforts to strengthen campus security across the country since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 didn’t appear to have reduced the vulnerability of students and staff.
According to an article in Newsweek magazine, a nonprofit organisation called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus believed it had the answer. The organisation, which had around 12,000 members nationwide, including college students, staff and parents, was championing legislation that would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on campus. The idea being that an alert and properly-trained citizen could stop a deranged individual with a gun before he or she could wreak serious damage.
Liberals might scoff at the very idea that more guns on campus could save lives. But there is much evidence to suggest that this would indeed be the case.
Richard Munday, British co-author of Guns And Violence: The Debate Before Lord Cullen (Piedmont 1996), for instance, argues that gun controls generally are “perverse in their effects”. Far from reducing violent crime, they make it worse. He cites the US Virginia Tech shooting, where 32 students were killed on campus in April 2003.
“The college had a strict gun policy and in 2002 successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus.”
He goes on to contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.
“Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding.”
Glenn Reynolds, a professor at the University of Tennessee Law School, is one of many in favour of licensed gun owners being allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. He says:
“I actually have quite a few students who have permits to carry concealed weapons. One of them, in fact, was on the Springfield Armory National Pistol Team. And if they were armed in my classroom, I would feel enormously safe. And in fact, actually, after the Virginia Tech shooting, last year, one of those students came up to me and she asked if we could have class off-campus, because she’s not allowed to carry on campus.”
In an imperfect world, where felons and the deranged are willing to kill, then being able to defend yourself with a firearm makes a lot of sense. And it puts you in the position where you might be able to stop others from being killed or wounded.
Sitting Duck Britannia
You’ve only got to backtrack through the archives of UK crime to recognise that we are “sitting duck Britannia.” Why? Because we don’t have an armed citizenry. We don’t have the right to keep and bear arms. Therefore UK citizens are defenceless – especially when you consider that the police are never around when you need them (and they should be if we aren’t allowed to defend ourselves against attack).
Consider the following story.
Ron Sharples was a fifty-two-year-old father of two. He was killed just two hours into 2008 when he crossed paths with some drunken thugs. He had gone out to look for his pet border collie Charlie after he ran scared from the noise of fireworks from nearby revellers.
Sharples had found Charlie and was returning to his home in Marske-by-Sea, near Middlesbrough in Northern England, when he was confronted by the gang of three young men and one girl. They were aged between 16 and 18 and one was holding a bottle of vodka.
There was an argument after which witnesses reported a loud bang like a “gunshot” as Sharples was punched to the ground. One of the youths was heard shouting: “I dropped him. I could go to prison for this,” as they fled the scene.
If gun ownership were legal here in Britain, Sharples would have been in with a fighting chance (presuming he was carrying a firearm). He could have pulled a pistol out, which may have led the attackers to run for it; or he could have shot one or more of them. Either way, he’d still be alive.
Contrast this story with another one from the USA where citizens have the right to bear arms. In December 2007, a sixty-five-year-old man in Florida had a gun put to his head and was surrounded by four attackers who intended to rob him. He said he would get the money out of his pocket and give it to them. Instead he pulled out a gun and opened fire, leading his attackers to run for their lives.
The man had a permit for holding a concealed weapon, so his actions were perfectly legal. The gun may well have saved his life.
So in Britain we have a man dead from being attacked. Whereas in Florida we have a man who was able to defend himself and stay alive.
I strongly believe we in Britain should have the right to defend ourselves with guns. Too many people are being killed or injured by thugs. Currently, if we try to defend ourselves with some form of weapon, say a knife or baseball bat, we end up in prison.
We are a country of victims. Let’s legalise gun ownership like in the USA to give ourselves a fighting chance.
Kids should be armed too…
And what about this story from The Daily Mail in 2007? It concerns a schoolgirl from Bradford, northern England, who had been tormented by bullies at her school. At first it was abusive texts and internet messages. Then the bullies stomped her, kicking and punching her to the ground and stamping on her head. The sad and detestable result being what you see in the photograph in the Daily Mail article cited above.
You see stories like this all to often. So I contend that kids also need the right to keep and bear arms. No it’s not crazy. It would bring manners and fair play to the schoolyard. Bullying would become a thing of the past.
Remember: Guns are the great equalizer. Gambler and gunfighter Doc Holliday, for example, suffered from TB, so was comparatively weak. Had he not had his trusty .41 caliber Colt Thunderer he’d likely have been bullied. As it was, he took down anyone who initiated violence against him.
In fact that should be the only rule: No citizen can initiate violence against another. If they do, you have carte blanche to use the level of prejudice against them that you see fit.
We live in a beautiful world…
…but an imperfect one. Unfortunately, a percentage of the global population is willing to kill, assault, rape and steal to get want they want – or just for the hell of it. Nothing can be done about it. Therefore, self-defence – with an offensive weapon – is necessary.
Speaking in 1852, famed US gunmaker Sam Colt put it this way: “The good people of this world are far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemakers.”
The notion caught on. The Colt Single Action Army handgun, in service from 1873-1892, became better known as the Colt Peacemaker, and was one of the main firearms that helped win and bring peace to the West.
The term single-action is worth looking at. It meant you had to cock – or pull back – the hammer before squeezing the trigger. Some pulled the hammer back with their thumbs; others with the flat of their left hands – the latter method produced the rapid fire effect seen in western shootouts. (Pulling the trigger with a double-action revolver both cocked the hammer and fired).
While the Peacemaker could hold six rounds, most people only loaded five chambers (“five beans in the wheel”) and let the hammer rest on the empty chamber when the weapon wasn’t in use. Because the gun had no safety catch, this was a way of ensuring it didn’t go off by accident. Movies often erroneously depict gunfighters unloading six rounds, but this almost never happened in reality.
But can the appellation “peacemaker” ever be justified for any gun? Aren’t they “killing tools,” pure and simple?
“No,” says Jim Burton (not his real name), a retired Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective who I interviewed on one of the radio shows I used to present, some years back. “To put it crudely, there are bad ass motherfuckers out there who would fry your grandmother with a flamethrower, then smoke her ashes in a crack pipe. A weapon – the nastier the better – is the only language they understand.”
Jim now spends his time writing and sailing boats. But he openly admitted to me in the interview that the glamor of guns and being an LAPD cop led to the break up of his first marriage. “I never wanted time off and I couldn’t wait to get back to work,” he said. “The sheer adrenaline rush of kicking down crack house doors and shouting ‘freeze’ to the dealers is incredibly addictive.”
Part of the glamour of firearms undoubtedly revolves around the fact that you hold life and death in your hands. It’s a power trip. That said, there is no denying that weapons save lives too. They protect the innocent from being killed or attacked by evil-doers.
Are guns peacemakers? “Yeah,” says Jim Burton, “in an imperfect world.”
Too many lives are lost in Britain due to its tight gun controls…
In the UK, citizens stand no chance against thugs and criminals. The story of Gary Newlove is a prime example. In summer 2007, the sales manager was attacked in the street after standing up to three drunken youths.
This was outside his home in Cheshire, Northern England. There had been a spate of vandalism and he’d had enough. He simply told the youths to stop. So the father-of-three lost his life. His attackers were found guilty of his murder in January 2008.
If we had the right-to-bear-arms in Britain, and Newlove owned and could use a gun, he could still be alive. If nothing else, he’d have had a fighting chance against the violent, drunken youths.
As it was, Newlove had tried in vain to get more effective policing in his community – to deal with the vandalism. But it went nowhere.
“The police do nothing to help us,” one resident told the British media at the time. “Most times we report a disturbance or an attack they turn out when it’s all over.”
Another resident, Kevin Perry, 53, said, “These kids are just yobs and bullies. The trouble is, though, that if you crack one of them the men in blue will come and arrest you rather than them.”
He is right. And if you did own a gun or decent-sized blade and defended yourself, you’d get a long prison sentence.
Decent law-abiding citizens cannot win in the UK. It is impossible to defend yourself. You’ve got to lie down and take it. Unfortunately, this led to the death of Gary Newlove.
Isn’t it about time we reinstated the right to keep and bear arms in the UK, like they have in the USA? (I say reinstated because before the 1920 Firearms Act you could own a sub-machine gun without a license in the UK).
That way, Gary Newlove could have opened fire on the yobs who attacked him, and driven them off. OK, he might have wounded or killed one or more of them. But he would have been justified as the youths didn’t hesitate to launch a murderous attack on him. What’s more, he’d still be alive – and that can be the only criteria.
Guns stop rapes too…
In Brighton, Tennessee, in February 2008, a registered sex offender burst into the home of two women at 3am. David Fleming (44) tied the women up with the intention of raping them. Luckily, one of the women escaped and ran to a neighbour. The neighbour, Keith Ingram, didn’t hesitate. Carrying a .40-calibre handgun, he ran to the house and found Fleming attacking the other woman.
When confronted, Fleming tried to attack Ingram. But Ingram shot him.
When Brighton Police officers and County Sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Fleming dead on the front porch of the women’s home. Ingram had no criminal record and had a permit to carry the handgun, so the shooting was completely above board.
However, had this incident occurred in Britain the two women would likely have been raped and possibly battered, or worse, killed. America’s right to keep and bear arms was integral to the two women coming out shocked but unscathed. In the UK, with its draconian gun laws, they’d have been fucked – literally.
Killed by a gang…
And then there’s this sad story: In March 2008, father-of-five, Mohammed Shafiq (50), was killed in a fight in a Lancashire park after going to help his son. He was stabbed in the stomach and hit over the head with an iron bar. He died later at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Mr Shafiq rang police, but a patrol car didn’t get to the scene in time to prevent his death. A police watchdog organisation later investigated complaints that officers didn’t make it a priority to go to the aid Shafiq.
Four men between 16 and 20 were arrested on suspicion of murder. Apparently there had been around fifty people in the park during the assault, making it a major disturbance. The attack wasn’t racially motivated as onlookers said most of the people involved were Asian.
The only thing that really matters is Shafiq lost his life and left behind a wife and five children.
But it would have been a different story if he’d had a firearm. Shafiq would have had a fighting chance of defending himself against the gang of thugs.
The irony is, had he wounded or killed one or more of his attackers, he would have been on a murder charge himself – even though he was acting in self defence. Plus he’d have been banged up for carrying illegal weapons, and may well have been sued by his attackers or their families for damages.
As it is, Shafiq was yet another sacrificial lamb to Britain’s nanny-state self-defence laws, where you can’t carry anything considered an “offensive weapon.” This could be a pepper spray canister or even a simple pocket knife.
These laws wouldn’t be so bad IF THE COPS ARRIVED IN TIME TO SAVE PEOPLE. But they don’t. And yet we are not allowed to defend ourselves with weapons built for the job. That means we are expected to lie down and take whatever attacks are thrown at us.
What’s more, lily-livered lefties expect us to sympathise and understand murderous attackers because they might have had a “deprived” childhood…
Elderly people are afraid to go out and afraid to stay in…
Guns inspire strong feelings in people – even when they’re not looking down the wrong end of a .44 Magnum. You either love ’em or hate ’em. The American National Rifle Association (NRA) makes no bones about the rights and wrongs of firearms. One of its key maxims states: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” As far as the NRA is concerned, when you outlaw guns, you arm the outlaws – only the law-abiding hand in their guns, criminals don’t.
As I’ve stated throughout this piece, in Britain we have very strict gun controls. Yet according to the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), we suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States.
Joyce Lee Malcolm, professor of history at Bentley College, Massachusetts, and author of Guns And Violence, The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2004), puts it even more starkly. “With no way to protect themselves, millions of Britons live in fear,” she says. “Elderly people are afraid to go out and afraid to stay in. The government insists upon having a monopoly on force, but can only impose it upon law-abiding people. By practically eliminating self-defence, it has removed the greatest deterrent to crime – a people able to defend themselves.”
She points out that for almost 500 years, until 1954, England and Wales enjoyed a declining rate of violent crime. “In the last years of the 19th century, when there was no restrictions on guns, there was just one handgun homicide in a population of 30 million,” she says. “In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world.”
Crime has rocketed in Britain in recent years. A UN study in 2002 of eighteen developed countries placed England and Wales at the top of the western world’s crime league. Five years after the sweeping 1998 ban on handguns, handgun crime had more than doubled. Again, the effect of outlawing handguns has been that only outlaws have handguns.