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Posted: 9/3/2004 11:26:43 AM EST
Published Friday, September 3, 2004, in Wall Street Journal Europe

Worried that even showing a starting pistol in a car ad might encourage gun crime in Britain, the British communications regulator has banned a Ford Motor Co. television spot because in it a woman is pictured holding such a "weapon." According to a report by Bloomberg News, the ad was said by regulators to "normalize" the use of guns and "must not be shown again."

What's next? Toy guns? Actually, the British government this year has been debating whether to ban toy guns. As a middle course, some unspecified number of imitation guns will be banned, and it will be illegal to take imitation guns into public places.

And in July a new debate erupted over whether those who own shotguns must now justify their continued ownership to the government before they will get a license.

The irony is that after gun laws are passed and crime rises, no one asks whether the original laws actually accomplished their purpose. Instead, it is automatically assumed that the only "problem" with past laws was they didn't go far enough. But now what is there left to do? Perhaps the country can follow Australia's recent lead and ban ceremonial swords.

Despite the attention that imitation weapons are getting, they account for a miniscule fraction of all violent crime (0.02%) and in recent years only about 6% of firearms offenses. But with crime so serious, Labor needs to be seen as doing something. The government recently reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03.

Crime was not supposed to rise after handguns were banned in 1997. Yet, since 1996 the serious violent crime rate has soared by 69%: robbery is up by 45% and murders up by 54%. Before the law, armed robberies had fallen by 50% from 1993 to 1997, but as soon as handguns were banned the robbery rate shot back up, almost back to their 1993 levels.
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:32:57 AM EST
That's a shocker.
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:34:25 AM EST
W.T.F.
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:37:51 AM EST
Unfortunately we have some seriously retarded anti gun nuts here in Britain… the chief one being the Gun Control Network.

This is a long post but look at the lunacy they are proposing… and YES I am actively fighting it!

Andy

RESPONSE TO THE HOME OFFICE CONSULTATION PAPER

‘CONTROLS ON FIREARMS’

This response is supported by:

Mothers Against Guns

IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms)

SUMMARY

Preamble

W­e have repeatedly been encouraged to believe that this review process presents an opportunity to think radically about firearms legislation and the contribution it makes to reducing gun crime. Indeed the Home Office states clearly that ‘it is important that all opportunities for reducing such crimes are explored’. We were therefore disappointed to learn at the outset that reform of the law on imitation guns and airguns would not be considered. It seems, after all, that the government has already made up its mind about what is going to happen, or at least what is not going to happen.

Despite this we have decided that we will submit our response as if the government was genuinely open to ideas, willing to confront vested interests and to consider seriously how to control the weapons that are most responsible for the rise in gun crime.

Context

A review of firearms legislation is long overdue. Existing law is complicated and difficult to enforce. It is also out of date and does not reflect current dangers and global trends.

Guns are an increasing global problem with an estimated 400,000 people killed by guns every year.

Almost all guns start out legal.

Almost all multiple gun murders in the last decade or so eg Dunblane, Hungerford, Erfurt, Zug, Port Arthur have been committed with legal guns.

A substantial proportion of the increase in recorded gun crime in the UK is attributable to the misuse of imitations (including replicas and blank firers) and airguns.

Gun manufacturers are always producing new weapons which are designed to circumvent current legislation. The simplest way to control the guns of the future is to base the law on lethality rather than on specific types of weapon eg shotgun and airgun.

We recognise that legislation is not the only tool in the fight against gun violence. Community action is vital too. But our laws define the kind of society we wish to live in and we now have an opportunity to establish just what the role of guns in our society should be.

Defining principles

Public safety is of paramount importance.

Tight control of guns is associated with low levels of gun violence.

Guns should therefore be prohibited except where they are issued under licence.

Gun ownership is a privilege and not a right.

The interests of the few who shoot must be balanced against the public safety interests of the whole population.

A responsible society should keep guns away from children.

Countries cannot solve the problem of gun violence on their own. International agreement and co-operation is necessary.

Basis of legislation – starting from scratch

Guns are dangerous and frightening because of the death and injury they actually cause and because of their perceived potential to cause death and injury. Therefore legislation must control guns that look as if they can kill or injure as well as those that can actually do so.

Guns that can kill ie are lethal, should be controlled regardless of the missile they discharge eg shots, pellets, bullets. A clear quantitative definition of lethality is required in law eg 0.5 joules of muzzle energy.

There should be 4 categories of guns

· Prohibited – issued only with the Secretary of State’s authority. These are the most dangerous weapons eg handguns, multishot and high calibre weapons.

· Licensed - lethal weapons issued under licence eg some shotguns, rifles and airguns.

· Imitation – anything which resembles a lethal weapon regardless of its function, including replicas and blank firers. These should remain unlicensed but with controls on public possession, sale, import, manufacture.

· Deactivated – real weapons that are no longer able to fire live ammunition. These should remain prohibited or licensed after deactivation.

A single system of licensing should apply. Applicants should be able to demonstrate ‘fitness’ and show ‘good reason’ for each and every gun they possess or use. High standards of storage and transport should apply.

The sale of licensed guns, ammunition and component parts should be only through a Registered Gun Dealer and not by any other means eg mail order, internet or private sale.

Simple age limits should apply to the use, possession and ownership of all lethal guns.

· Under 16 year olds should not have access to lethal guns.

· 16 –18 year olds should be able to have supervised use of lethal guns.

· Over 18 year olds should be able to apply for a licence to own a lethal gun and to use it unsupervised.

A Gun Safety Consultative Committee should be established to advise the Home Office on all matters relating to public safety and gun violence including crime, accident and suicide. The body should represent the police and other government agencies, the courts, the medical profession, community, youth, gun control and victims groups, and the shooters.

UK citizens and government agencies, including those operating extraterritorially, should be required to apply for a licence to export, broker or transport abroad any weapons controlled by UK law.

As a specific and urgent reform GCN proposes the following:

Given that imitation guns are responsible for a high percentage of armed crime, we propose damage limitation legislation to ban their sale, import and manufacture using the same definition as appears in the new Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003. This means that it will still be legal to possess an imitation but illegal to have one in a public place or to sell, import or manufacture one. The government’s resistance to this proposal is irrational and based on a wholly fallacious argument about definition.


******


RESPONSE TO THE SPECIFIC ISSUES RAISED IN THE CONSULTATION PAPER

PART 1: FIREARMS

Main points

In the interests of public safety, clarity and common sense all lethal weapons should be prohibited or subject to a uniform rigorous licensing procedure similar to the current section 1 Firearms licence.

A definition of lethality should therefore be enshrined in law eg 0.5 joules

Convenience to shooters should not be a factor in determining the best and safest licensing arrangements.

Bona fide shooters would still be able to practice their sport

Classification

Guns should be classified on the basis of their potential to cause fear or injury not on their mechanism or missile.

We propose 4 categories of guns

· Prohibited – issued only with the Secretary of State’s authority. These are the most dangerous weapons eg handguns, multishot and high calibre weapons.

· Licensed - lethal weapons issued under licence eg shotguns, rifles and some airguns.

· Imitation – anything which resembles a lethal weapon regardless of its function, including replicas and blank firers. These should remain unlicensed but with controls on public possession, sale, import, manufacture.

· Deactivated – real weapons that are no longer able to fire live ammunition. These should remain prohibited or licensed after deactivation.

Prohibition and Licensing

The starting point for gun legislation should be that all lethal guns are prohibited.

The most dangerous of these will remain prohibited eg handguns, multishot and high calibre weapons. This category will be reviewed on a regular basis by a suitably constituted Gun Safety Advisory Committee.

Individuals may apply for a licence to own a lethal weapon for a specific purpose eg target shooting, clay pigeon shooting.

We propose a single rigorous licensing process similar to the current Section 1 firearms licence which would cover:

· permitted shotguns and rifles

· all lethal airguns

· permitted deactivated guns

Deactivated guns must be included in the licensing process because of their potential to cause fear and be reactivated.

The value of this approach is to ensure that the ownership of every single permitted lethal weapon is justified. Shotguns and airguns are often the weapons used in domestic disputes, sometimes with lethal consequences. There is no good reason to exclude them from a rigorous, uniform licensing procedure.

The licensing process should be determined on the basis of public safety not the convenience of shooters.

Lethality

We believe categorisation on the basis of lethality would allow the law to cover new weapons resulting from developments in firearms technology. The figure of 1 joule has been put forward as the muzzle energy required to penetrate the skin and therefore to kill. Just as an engineer is required to build in a big margin of safety when calculating the strength of a bridge, so do we propose a figure significantly less than 1 joule on grounds of safety.

Our suggestion is that a figure of 0.5 joules is adopted as the measure of lethality unless and until evidence is produced that it should be otherwise.

Component parts

Component parts of all guns should be regulated so as to ensure that no lethal weapon can be assembled through the legal purchase of such parts.

Responsibility for issuing certificates should remain with the police for whom public safety is paramount. Certificates should be renewed every two years to ensure that changes in personal circumstances are taken into account as quickly as possible. Appropriate funding should be put in place to allow this to happen. Additional administrative costs are negligible when compared to the huge social and economic costs of gun related violence. Prevention is not only better than cure – it’s cheaper.

PART 2: UNLICENSED GUNS

Unlicensed guns are an increasing menace and are responsible for a large proportion of firearms crime in the UK. Unless further controls are introduced this trend will continue at great cost to the public.

It is the government’s prime duty to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that people feel and are safe and secure. The proliferation of imitation guns and airguns greatly undermines that sense of safety and security, and legislation is required urgently to control the availability of these weapons.

Imitations

We do not agree that there should be no changes to the licensing and restriction on sales of imitations. If the government genuinely wishes to reduce gun crime and the fear of it then it must address the problem of imitations. The measures taken in recent months to control the possession in public of these weapons are insufficient and do not deal with the real problem – their ready and unrestricted availability.

Imitations are perfectly well defined in the 1968 Firearms Act and in the 2003 Anti Social Behaviour Act so definition cannot be a problem. We are at a loss to understand why the government is dragging its heels on further measures to control the proliferation of these weapons, which have become the scourge of our streets.

We propose:

· a ban on the sale, manufacture, transfer and import of imitation weapons as defined in the 2003 Anti Social Behaviour Act (an exemption could be made for theatrical, film and television productions, see below).

· all lethal airguns should be licensed ( see above)

· the law should define lethality eg 0.5 joules (see above)

· the term ‘firearm’ becomes redundant when guns are defined on the basis of their potential to do harm.

· the term ‘ readily convertible’ as applied to imitation guns is irrelevant since they can be used to cause fear regardless of their convertibility.

· deactivated guns should be prohibited or licensed (see above) ie treated exactly as if they had not been deactivated.

PART 3: YOUNG PEOPLE AND GUNS

In principle, a responsible society should keep guns away from children. International comparisons show that gun violence is closely correlated to gun availability – legal and illegal. Societies with fewer guns are, and feel, safer than those where guns proliferate. Therefore the introduction of guns to children and young people should be actively discouraged.

Age limits

We propose simple age limits which would apply to the use, possession and ownership of all lethal guns:

· under 16 year olds should not have access to lethal guns

· 16 –18 year olds should be able to have supervised use of lethal guns

· over 18 year olds should be able to apply for a licence to own a lethal gun and to use it unsupervised.

PART 4: TRADE

Registered Gun Dealers

The sale of licensed guns, ammunition and component parts should be only through a Registered Gun Dealer. This would ensure that all the proper checks are made. We consider that all other means of purchase are inadequately controlled and are likely to be abused. Particular attention should be paid to stopping acquisition through the internet as this is likely to be increasingly attractive to some ‘would-be’ gun purchasers. Newspaper and telephone sales, and mail order deliveries are all open to abuse and should be prohibited.

Gun shops should not be allowed openly to display what they are selling. It is to be hoped that this would deter young people from treating guns as simply another consumer product. Guns on open display cause alarm to members of the public and reinforce a sense of insecurity.

PART 5: AMMUNITION

Shotgun cartridges and primers should all be controlled on certificates. The quantities of ammunition and all component parts purchased should be justified in relation to the specified use of the relevant gun. This would not affect the shooters’ ability to undertake their sport but it would ensure that stocks of ammunition cannot be accumulated.

Expanding ammunition is more likely to cause death and severe trauma and should therefore be banned except for the humane dispatch of animals. We believe that there is no justification for a relaxation of the ban and that it should therefore remain in place.

PART 6: OTHER ISSUES

Miniature rifle ranges

In framing new legislation it is important that historical anomalies are identified and eliminated. Miniature rifle ranges are one such anomaly. The exemption which allows uncontrolled possession, purchase or acquisition of lethal guns to people operating in fairgrounds and travelling shows is an unnecessary and dangerous loophole. We propose that new legislation should remove this exemption.

Borrowing of guns

With regard to the exemptions which allow those without licences to borrow guns on private premises, we propose that the legislation ensures appropriate supervision and that the age limits set out above be applied. Exemptions should not apply to anyone who has had a certificate refused or revoked. We see no need for differential provisions for shotguns and rifles.

Theatrical and film productions

With regard to theatrical and film productions we propose that the exemption, which allows individuals to possess firearms without a certificate, should be removed. This means that a member of the production team should be in possession of a licence and should act in the capacity of supervisor. To eliminate the need for a real gun, producers may purchase an imitation weapon via a Registered Gun Dealer. We propose this as an exemption to the general ban on the sale etc of imitation guns.

Group exemptions

We see no need or justification for exemptions of any group. Exemptions which allow specified groups of people eg auctioneers, carriers, warehousemen to possess guns without a certificate are, in our view, not necessary or justified. Where there are special circumstances eg foreign troops or police, the Secretary of State has the necessary powers to allow exemptions.

Target shooting

In respect of target shooting clubs we are aware that controls are applied inconsistently across the country. Too often we hear of slack procedures and dangerous practice. While the criteria set out for Home Office approved clubs may be extensive there is a need for more rigorous monitoring by the police. To ensure the highest safety standards we propose that target shooting should only be allowed at Home Office approved clubs.

Practical Shooting

In respect of Practical (or Combat) Shooting, we propose that realistic sets or stages are not allowed and that targets are only of the standard circular design ie not humanoid.

Appeals process

The current appeals process against licensing decisions is appropriate and should not be changed. Any suggestion that appeals should be taken out of the hands of local courts and heard instead by special Shooting Appeals Tribunals, consisting of police and shooters, should be resisted. The courts remain the guardians of peace and justice in the community and as such are the proper place for licensing appeals to be heard.

British Visitors Permits

In respect of British Visitors Permits, the police should be able to issue licences to visitors from overseas on the same basis as they issue licences to UK residents.

Gun Safety Advisory Committee

We propose that a Gun Safety Advisory Committee should be established to advise the Home Office on all matters relating to public safety and gun violence including crime, accident and suicide. The body should be composed of representatives of the police and other security agencies, the courts, medical profession, community, youth, gun control, domestic violence and victims’ groups, and the shooters. Efforts should be made to ensure that the Committee is representative in terms of gender, age, region and race. A technical sub committee may be established to advise the Committee on technical matters. On a local level we believe that Firearms Liaison Committees should be made more representative of the local community. Currently they consist of shooters, dealers and the police.

International Gun Trade

Although this consultation document is produced by the Home Office the issue of guns in the UK cannot be considered in isolation from the problems in the rest of the world.

UK domestic legislation must enhance and reinforce the UK government’s international commitments on firearms and small arms issues, including the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, the UN Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

There are approximately 640 million guns in circulation – one for every ten people. Around 8 million new guns are made every year, but only a tiny proportion of that number are destroyed.

Almost all guns start out legal, most of them being sold and resold to state security agencies. Huge numbers end up in poor countries where they slip into the civilian population and fuel high levels of gun violence. Some of these are illegally imported back into the UK where they end up on British streets taking British lives.

Guns are a global scourge, and the UK government has a responsibility to push for tough controls. Without an international Arms Trade Treaty guns will continue to move unregulated around world markets, killing and injuring civilians and disfiguring communities wherever they go.

Guns are made for killing and imitation guns are made to look as if they can kill. The world is a safer place with fewer of them.


www.gun-control-network.org
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:40:19 AM EST
I was talking to a guy at work about two months ago who was here on vacation and he was in the royal army (I think that's what they call it) anyway he said in basic they shot a SA80 about 200rnds and once a year they shoot about 60rnds to qualify. I'm pretty sure those where the numbers, but I could be wrong. All I know is that I shoot more on the weekends than he has shot all his life.

Jerad
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:44:00 AM EST
They start off with a fallacy and build on this false premise:

"Tight control of guns is associated with low levels of gun violence."
Link Posted: 9/3/2004 11:46:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/3/2004 11:47:00 AM EST by vito113]

Originally Posted By Jerad:
I was talking to a guy at work about two months ago who was here on vacation and he was in the royal army (I think that's what they call it) anyway he said in basic they shot a SA80 about 200rnds and once a year they shoot about 60rnds to qualify. I'm pretty sure those where the numbers, but I could be wrong. All I know is that I shoot more on the weekends than he has shot all his life.

Jerad



Regular Army…

Sounds about right, my son was an Army Lieutenant and he only got to shoot once in a while. he thought he was a 'good shot' till he saw how well I can shoot with my trusty AR15!

ANdy
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