Britain’s Sad War
Amongst all the wars that modern states are waging against their own citizens, perhaps no more destructive war has ever been waged than the war against self-defense, especially the gun.
The gun is, by all accounts, a most wonderful invention in history. It has virtually nullified the disparities in strength between people, helping the woman to defend herself as well as the man. It has given the man on the street the opportunity to defend himself against criminality to an extent hitherto unknown.
While it can be misused, in warfare for example, its benefits are difficult to deny. Where guns are numerous, people are safe – where they are few, only criminals are safe. It is people with guns who end tragedies and mass murders, not pacifists.
However, we live in a gun-phobic world. People don’t like to hear this. They just don’t want to see any more guns. They call self-defense “extremism” and “vigilante justice”. This is bizarre and borders on mental disorder.
The anti-gun mentality has been the subject of psychological examination, but that is not really my domain. The consequence of that mentality is that, as millions of people every year defend themselves with guns, gun control is deadly. The case of Great Britain will be our example here.
The toughest anti-gun laws in the Western world are in Great Britain, as established in 1996 : handguns are banned, and even Olympics athletes are forced to train in other countries. Anti-gun advocates should consider this a utopia. But disarming its own citizens has caused grief to the country :
“[I]n the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England’s rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America’s, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police.” (Reason Magazine, “Gun Control’s Twisted Outcome”, November 2002).
“In 1996, the U.K. banned handguns. Prior to that time, over 54,000 Britons owned such weapons. The ban is so tight that even shooters training for the Olympics were forced to travel to other countries to practice. In the four years since the ban, gun crimes have risen by an astounding 40%.
Australia also passed severe gun restrictions in 1996, banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively. In the subsequent four years, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24%, and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%.” (Wall Street Journal Europe, “Gun Control Misfires in Europe”, April 2002).
True, correlation does not prove causation. Crime has a number of causes, some of which are cultural, some of which are social. But statistics consistently show a rise in crime rates when handguns are restricted. John Lott’s study, published in “More Guns, Less Crime”, concluded that “concealed carry” laws cause significant and universal reductions in murder, rape and aggravated assault.
Likewise, multiple-victim shootings decline by an average of 84%, and the number of deaths from such shootings drops in average by 90%. In an enclosed environment full of potential victims, one friendly gun can save a great number of people.
Finally, the nail in the coffin is the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people directly saved by gun ownership (around 2-2.5 million cases per year in total defend themselves with guns). Despite statist claims that the best way to prevent being injured during a crime is to do nothing, such an action is worse than resisting with a gun. In order of efficiency (with percentage of people injured during a robbery, and during an assault) : resisting with a knife (40.3%, 29.5%), non-violent resistance (35.9%, 25.5%), do nothing (24.7%, 27.3%), and resisting with a gun (17.4%, 12.1%). This last 17.4% may still seem high, but most of these injuries took place before the victim used his gun – the percentage drops to 6% of injuries after active resistance. (Kleck G, “Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control”, 1997).
In the end, it’s pretty obvious that having a gun prevents crime. It’s so simple that statistics only confirm the point. That 11% of victims who are saved from an injury or death thanks to their gun represents hundreds of thousands of people who could be saved. But because of gun-phobia, people are not aware of this, but rather want to lower the self-defense capacities of honest citizens.