A recent BBC News “Talking Point” question was How can guns be made less accessible? Well, seeing as they’ve made damned near everything illegal, and what is left legal is under draconian restriction, I was quite interested in what the Brits had to say. Let’s sample a few, shall we?
The problem isn’t the guns, it’s the total inability of the police to police the streets! If people carrying illegal thought the might get stopped and arrested it might deter them. But the chances of them being arrested are about zero. We don’t need more laws we just need to enforce the very strict ones we already have. We need less “sound-bites from Ministers and more Police on the streets. After all, when did you last see a Police Officer on the beat?
Someone else who believes that the government is responsible for his safety.
This Government’s standard response to such problems is to launch a spin campaign to convince the public that they are taking action – it is far easier than doing something effective.
A cynic! But he doesn’t give any suggestions for “something effective.”
The new legislation should offer an amnesty for those who surrender their weapons to police within a time frame. We have seen this policy of amnesty in parts of Africa such as Angola and Sierra Leone.
Namabanda Mubukwanu, UK
We should also ban toy guns for children. I can’t think of a sicker, more twisted ‘toy’ and corrupting influence on a child. And the age limit should be raised for movies that feature an excessive use of guns. Never mind 18, we should introduce a 21 certificate for violent films. And maybe the BBC could help by not showing as many war films at Christmas and on Sundays. Drop the violence completely.
Iain Harrison, UK
I’m rendered nearly speechless at the inanity of Mr. Harrison. Way to go, Iain!
Ban gun shop websites! I just put in gun shop in a search engine and came up with at least 700 results. This is too much.
Well, hell, while we’re at it, let’s ban pornography and news sites, too!
Are these people naturally morons, or is it something in the water?
The latest figures prove that the government’s current legislation on firearms is not working. Will making this legislation tougher solve the problem? In a word – no. The people that are obtaining these weapons are the kind of people that have no respect for the law or their fellow citizens. Why not stop wasting money on actions that are all show and no substance and tackle the real problems like how are these weapons getting here in the first place and why aren’t they getting destroyed the moments they are impounded?
Apparently this Ian drinks bottled water occasionally. But not enough.
Gun crime is hugely related to how guns are portrayed in the media, especially the music industry. Some gangster rappers glamorise guns in their music. If that can be tackled, then gun crime will fall.
I thought it was toy guns and violent films?
How about prison for the rest of their natural lives with hard labour and no chance of parole if a gun is used in any crime? Make the punishment a good deterrent!
Deterring crime with severe sentences is a very ineffective measure. Unless one lives in a police state, criminals just assume that they won’t get caught. A more effective method would be to extend the weapons amnesty concept by offering a reward for weapons that is set higher than their street value. Of course, this has to be handled carefully to avoid fuelling demand. It would also face opposition from the tabloid reading types, but if it works, so what? Fighting crime shouldn’t be the crude popularity contest that it is.
were to meet, would there be a particle / antiparticle annihilation?
Oh, and offering more than “street value” for street weapons? First, where would they get that much money, and second, why would they want to fuel gun smuggling by the containerload? Warwick, I suggest you start drinking Evian. Perrier in a pinch. I understand the French economy needs a boost.
One obvious solution is to make them illegal. If that doesn’t work then, er, make them more illegal. Oops, sorry, I forgot, the government tried that and it didn’t work. How about banning people from wearing clothes, so they can’t hide a gun if they have it?
Dave Tankard, UK
Cynic, cynic, cynic. That last idea? I shudder to picture it. Most Brits don’t look like Page3 girls. And aren’t British winters brutal? Dave Tankard, eh? I bet he’s not drinking water.
I doubt that tougher penalties alone will work. The government should go for a complete ban on the import of all replica guns, and a ban on air guns, except in licensed clubs. If it puts a few gun shops out of business, then I would rather my taxes be used to buy them out than see the current trend in shootings continue.
Yeah! You need more gun laws! Er, weren’t the recent shooting deaths of two young women committed with a machine gun?
Once again the government, with the backing of various police chiefs are looking at bringing in new laws to “control gun crime”, despite having the most draconian laws in Europe which they appear singularly unable to enforce! I take it the law abiding will suffer as usual?
Gordon seems to take offense at your suggestion, Nick.
Funny isn’t it – the government announce all kinds of things they’re going to do about gun crime, and then days later we find out that the rate has doubled since they came to power. You don’t think they’re cynically managing the news (and you) do you? No, perish the thought!
Andy Edmonds, UK
More cynicism. Tsk, tsk.
Five years for every round possessed and 10 years for every round fired, that would be a deterrent. An Uzi clip being fired would put someone in jail for 450 years, that would deter all but the most hardened criminals.
Well, that’s an idea. One of the few actually presented. I don’t think it would work, but it’s an idea. And I have no idea where they’d put all those criminals. I understand that their jails are already full to bursting.
Guns will become inaccessible to law abiding citizens. Criminals however will still be able to get their hands on weapons.
“Will become”, Doug? They’re close enough to that now as to make no difference. According to the Home Office there were, in England & Wales, 125,363 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2000, and 600,733 shotgun certificates. That’s down from 133,600 firearm certificates and 623,100 shotgun certificates in 1997. Assuming a complete overlay between firearms certificate holders and shotgun certificate holders that’s about 600,000 people out of a population of 52 million who possess at least one gun. At most, with no overlap, that’s 725,000. That’s 1.1 to 1.4% of the population. Oh, wait, that’s legal owners. Jebus only knows how many illegal possessors there are. The last amnesty netted a reported 40,000 weapons – but almost none from the crime-ridden areas. And I doubt a single one of those 40,000 were on a certificate.
Makes you wonder just how many “off certificate” weapons there are, doesn’t it?
Besides, it doesn’t matter how many guns the law-abiding permit holders have. They can’t use their guns for defense of self or society anyway, under current UK law.