The following article has been re-posted by
permission from the National Rifle Association.
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Gun Crime Soaring in Britain Despite Gun Ban
By David Bamber
(Filed: July 15, 2001)
The controversial ban on the ownership of handguns
which was introduced after the Dunblane massacre has
failed to halt an increasing number of crimes involving
An independent report, Illegal Firearms in the
UK, to be
published by the Centre for Defence Studies at King's
College in London tomorrow, says that handguns were
used in 3,685 offences last year compared with 2,648 in
1997, an increase of 40 per cent.
The figures will renew the debate about the effectiveness
of the gun ban, introduced by the last Conservative
government and then extended to cover all pistols by
Labour after winning the 1997 general election.
Legislation banning larger-calibre pistols was proposed by
the previous Conservative government in response to the
murder of 16 pupils and their teacher by
Hamilton at Dunblane primary school in March 1996.
But Labour broadened the scope of the Act to cover
smaller handguns as well, despite opposition from the
sporting community. The law is now so restrictive that
British Olympic shooting competitors go abroad to
practise because their weapons are illegal in this country.
The new report, commissioned by the
Alliance's Campaign for
Shooting, was compiled by John
Bryan, the former head of the firearms intelligence unit at
New Scotland Yard.
Mr. Bryan said that his report cast doubt on the wisdom of
the ban. "The increase in the use of handguns by
criminals since the implementation of the 1997 Act clearly
raises important questions for policy-makers considering
further controls on legally-held firearms."
David Bredin, the director of the Campaign for Shooting,
said: "It is crystal clear from the research that the
existing gun laws do not lead to crime reduction and a
"Policy-makers have targeted the legitimate sporting and
farming communities with ever-tighter laws. The research
clearly demonstrates that it is illegal guns which are the
real threat to public safety."
The number of crimes involving handguns has increased,
mostly due to a flood of illegally imported weapons and
the use of those already in circulation before 1997.
The report also shows a dramatic rise in firearms
incidents in general, from 4,904 recorded incidents in
1997 to 6,843 last year. It reveals an increase in crimes
using shotguns, up from 580 in 1997 to 693 last year.
Offences involving air weapons show an even more
startling rise, from 7,506 in 1997 to 10,103 last year. Mr
Bryan compiled the statistics from Home Office figures
and information obtained by analysing individual forces'
A firearms amnesty at the time of the ban's introduction
resulted in 160,000 handguns being surrendered to the
police at a cost of £90 million to the taxpayer in
A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government did not
believe that banning handguns by itself would eradicate
gun crime. We recognise there is a continuing problem
with the use of guns by criminals and that it has increased
over recent years.
"We are taking further measures against criminals who
use guns and we already have schemes in the pipeline to
curtail illegal gun use. These include a
national register of
legal guns [emphasis added], an intensified effort against illegally smuggled
weapons and a determination to punish criminals who use
There are some important lessons to be learned here, and we
hope that the governments of both the United States and Britain have the ability
to see them:
First, as we all know and have pointed out countless times,
banning guns amounts to the arming of the criminal class at the expense of
law-abiding citizens. It may be an old saying, but it's true nevertheless:
"when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".
Second, this serves as a capsule lesson in liberal
incrementalism. Initially a large-caliber handgun ban was proposed (by the
Conservative party no less, God rest Sir Winston Churchill) with a
promise to go no further. This was followed by an expansion to include ALL
pistols by the Labour party at their first opportunity. Now a plan to register
all legally-held firearms is planned, and only an idiot would not see this as a
precursor to total firearms confiscation. This will leave our British friends
totally at the mercy of violent predators, but it will serve the utopian liberal
Third, so-called "gun buy-back" programs not only
do not work, but they amount to taxpayer-funded confiscation! And, since guns
are not "owned" by the government (much to the dismay of liberals),
the government cannot "buy them back" from their owners; the
government can only financially coerce its citizens into selling their precious
freedoms for a price (and with colossal arrogance, the government actually
coerces its citizens into selling their freedoms with the citizens' own money!).
Our hopes and prayers are with our friends in Great
Britain, and with our more visionary lawmakers in Washington. Remember, those
who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it!
JOIN THE NRA!
The NRA are our voice and our power
in Washington, and without them we would
have lost our 2nd Amendment rights long
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