More on Scotland and Guns

Just as I expected, the decrease in permit holders in Scotland wasn’t enough – they’re all concerned over the net increase in legally owned guns. According to this report:

Concern over guns amid rise in sale of firearms

THE number of legally held firearms in Scotland has risen over the past 12 months amid police warnings that bona fide weapons are continuing to fall into the wrong hands.

Four days after a constable was critically wounded in a shotgun attack in a Glasgow police station, it has emerged there are now 60,599 legally held handguns in Scotland, an increase of 2.5 per cent.

First point, that’s got to be an (innocent?) error. Handguns are banned in Scotland, just as they are in England. I believe the author meant 60,599 legally held shotguns. According to the earlier story there are just under 80,000 firearm and shotgun certificates in Scotland. The overwhelming majority of long arms in the UK are shotguns. Question: Was the shotgun used in the attack legally owned?

The latest figures reveal that, although fewer firearms certificates were issued last year, more guns were purchased by licensed owners than in 2001. The same Scottish Executive report has also revealed that the number of registered firearms dealers has risen for the first time since 1994, to 285.

Last night, the deputy justice minister, Hugh Henry, admitted he was concerned, but added that he was heartened that the number of certificates issued has continued to fall.

In other words, “Our plans for completely disarming the law-abiding are progressing nicely, though we wish we could do it faster.”

He said: “We must continue to highlight the dangers posed by guns and other weapons and ensure that the bare minimum (Read: “ZERO”) are held in our communities. The majority of people in Scotland continue to show a sensible and responsible attitude to the ownership of these weapons, (Read: “They think guns are icky and gun owners are slavering murderers – unless, of course, the gun owner is a government employee.”) and are working with the police to ensure that we maintain the progress made since tightening the regulations on gun ownership.” (Read: “They’re turning in their neighbors for any violation of the law that will result in revocation of their firearm permits, just like good little peons should.”)

On Sunday night, long-serving policeman, PC John Cunningham, was shot while he was on duty on the front desk of Shettleston Police Station, Glasgow.

A Strathclyde Police source expressed concern at the increase in guns under private ownership. The source said: “There are obviously very strict laws surrounding gun ownership, but the reality is that legitimate guns often become targets for serious criminals and they can fall into the wrong hands during burglaries.”

Of course, if the bad guys can’t get a shotgun, the market in suppressed Uzi’s is, I understand, pretty good.

The number of people caught carrying offensive weapons, knives in particular, has risen dramatically across the country in the past four years.

Well, if I lived where owning a firearm for self-defense was illegal, and shotgun-toting criminals felt safe enough to blast a cop at the police station, I might give serious consideration to carrying something with which to defend myself. “Better judged by twelve than carried by six” so the saying goes.

According to the latest figures from the Scottish Executive, the number of people caught with dangerous weapons on Scotland’s streets rose by 18 per cent between 1998 and 2002 with the number of people caught with knives rising almost 30 per cent over the same period.

The SNP justice spokeswoman, Nicola Sturgeon, accused the Executive of not making public safety a key priority. She said: “The fact is that the amount of cases of people caught carrying a blade in public has gone up by nearly 30 per cent and the hard reality is that every single one of these cases has the potential to cause a fatal injury. These figures are totally unacceptable.”

Responding to the increase in arrests for possession of dangerous weapons, a Scottish Executive spokesman claimed it was simply a direct result of successful policing. He said: “While any increase in any type of crime is a concern it is true to say that the increase in the reporting of crimes involving knives and offensive weapons has been, at least in part, a result of recent sustained police efforts to tackle the culture of violence.”

Ah, yes, the “culture of violence” – that they think they can control by banning weapons. Hasn’t worked too well, has it? So let’s try it some more, only harder, eh?

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