26 October 2009

Gun control works!

I've always thought the gun lobby in the States has the strangest argument for laxer gun laws which is that "criminals will always get guns, so why should we have strict gun controls?"

This is roughly like saying "people will always steal cars, so you should leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition", "Burglaries happen, so you should leave your house unlocked", or "stop rape, say 'yes'".

Anyway, this article was in the Times today:
Shotgun and rifle crime has more than doubled in Scotland because police have been so effective in cracking down on handgun smugglers, it emerged yesterday.

This sounds like really bad news. Gun crime is on the rise in Scotland. How can this be?
Gangs finding it harder to access the smaller weapons are instead arming themselves with shotguns and rifles stolen from licensed holders.

Oh, Dear! I am glad all the shotguns and rifles on our Scottish estate are locked up in a verrrryyy secure gun room (it would take about 4 hours with a thermic lance to cut through the walls or steel door), which is within a house with video security and a pretty good alarm system.

After all, I'd hate to have to rely on Hamish MacBeth to keep our guns safe. And woe to any mofo who turns my matching Holland and Hollands into sawed offs.

But the really staggering figures come a little further on:
New figures show that shotgun and rifle offences are at a ten-year high. Police recorded 130 offences involving shotguns and rifles between April 2008 and March this year, compared with 59 similar incidents over the previous 12 months.

OMG, these numbers are staggering! 59 incidents involving guns! It's a horrendous epidemic nearly on the scale of US gun crime!

The increase comes as overall firearms crimes in Scotland dropped from 1,125 in 2007-08 to 884 this year.

Scotland's population according to the 2008 census was 5,168,500, which means there was a 1.7% level of gun crime! Something must be done to stop this horrendous epidemic!

The really bad news is that:
The latest figures on firearms offences are likely to fuel renewed calls for the licensing of air weapons in Scotland — a move supported by the SNP Administration. At present, firearms legislation is confined to Westminster. A Scottish government spokesman said: “Of course, air weapons still account for a very high proportion of all firearms offences in Scotland, and that is why it is disappointing the UK Government has so far not agreed to transfer air gun legislation to Scotland, as recommended by the Calman Commission.

I've been expecting the registration of air weapons for a while. They have tightened the sale in England, where one could buy a BB pistol at the markets without let or hindrance 20 years ago. Now the things are ILLEGAL!

Anyway, as I have said on another board: British gun crime includes acts performed with air weapons and can include just shooting one in a built up area! So, even though the astronomic number of 884 gun crimes occured thus far in Scotland, it doesn't necessarily mean that this was the sort of gun violence that is so commonplace in the US. Also, the UK "gun crime" figures are inflated by adding air weapons and replica (non-firing) guns to the total figure.

US gun stats don't include non-firearms the way UK stats do. So, it makes the UK "gun crime" look pretty bad when it isn't.

On the other side of the pond, it also seems that the inability to acquire an assault rifle likely jammed an alleged terrorist plot to pull off a shopping mall massacre somewhere in Massachusetts. It seems that Massachusetts gun shops operate under some of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to providing firepower to the public. Massachusetts has kept intact the Brady Bill, which barred the sale of assault weapons to all but those with the most exclusive licenses.

Poor terrorist, no gun for you!

Compare this to the Virginia tech shootings where Seung-Hui Cho was able to buy his firearms over the counter with no problem! So much for the gun cretin argument that "gun control caused the Virginia Tech Massacre".

Even though, the terrorist could have bought his arsenal in another state, say New Hampshire, the mere fact that it was made slightly harder by Massachusetts still having Brady Controls prevented a massacre!

The problem is that guns start out as legal commodities and then move into the category of being illegal when they are transferred into the hands of criminals: either through direct sale or straw purchase. The gun lobby does everything in its power to distract people from that inconvenient fact.

Unfortunately, people need to accept some "inconvenience" for the benefit of society. That inconvenience comes in the form of restrictions on gun sales and ownership, not in the form of diminshed public security.

The upshot of all this is that gun control is making it harder for criminals and other diqualified people (insane,terrorists, and so on) to acquire firearms! What a novel idea! Restrict access to firearms and gun crime goes down. A little prevention can work wonders.

It beats throwing your arms up in resignation.