When it Comes to Restricting My Rights, the Burden of Proof is on YOU

Tim Lambert (the guy hard after John Lott) poo-poo’s Glenn Reynold’s take on increasing gun crime in England:

The story also states that gun crime has increased to 0.15 gun homicides in England and Wales per 100,000 population in the previous year, compared with 3.6 per 100,000 in the US. Reynolds take: gun control is “Not a smashing success, so far”. Gun control may not be responsible for the difference, but it seems a bit much for pro-gunners to point to a gun homicide rate one twenty-fourth of that of the United States as evidence for a failure of gun control.

I took issue with Tim’s position in his comments:

You miss the point. “Gun control” is supposed to control GUN violence. By extension, I suppose, all violence, but gun violence for certain. The mantra chanted at the (somewhat less than) Million Moms March was “England can do it, Australia can do it, we can too!” Well, England has systematically (through the death-by-a-thousand-cuts method) ensured that the law-abiding population is, for all intents and purposes disarmed. There are a few who still have rifles and shotguns (that they may not have for defensive purposes, must keep locked up separate from the also locked ammunition, etc., etc.) and it hasn’t made them SAFER from gun crime. What so many gun control advocates so adroitly ignore is that England’s firearm homicide rate has always been 1/20th of ours – REGARDLESS of the firearms laws in either country at the time. It was true in 1919 and it’s still true today. You point to England’s rate as if gun control were somehow responsible for it, and it’s not. Correlation does not equal causation, but the facts remain that America has passed no significantly restrictive gun control laws and our homicide rates (historically very high) have dropped to the levels they were last in the 60’s. England has passed ever-stricter gun control laws up to and including a ban on handguns (with all legally owned and registered ones handed in) and their gun crime is continually increasing.

So the typical reaction is: “It would have been worse if we hadn’t passed these crucial laws!”


To which Tim responded:

Kevin, I didn’t say that English gun control was definitely responsible for keeping their gun crime rate far lower than the US one. It’s possible that it would have stayed low anyway. But I don’t see how you can rule out the possibility that the laws might have helped keep the rate low.

A few years ago, the gun crime rate in England was decreasing. Do you think that any of the pro-gunners reported that?

No changing the subject, Tim! My response was such that I felt it appropriate to copy the thread here:

Tim, “A few years ago, the gun crime rate in England was decreasing”? How many years ago, and how much? It’s never been high – never – but that hasn’t stopped ever more draconian “gun control” legislation from passing there. Now the law:

A) Bans all fully-automatic weapons

B) Bans all semi-auto and pump-action rifles

C) Severely restricts semi-auto and pump-action shotguns

D) Bans all modern handguns

E) Requires “safe storage” of the few weapons still legal

F) Prohibits carrying a firearm (or any other weapon) for self-defense

G) Requires all legally owned weapons to be registered and all legal owners to be licensed

H) Severely restricts (legal) firearms distribution

and so on and so forth.

All these things (we are told) will make us safer. Here’s what we know:

1) The number of legal owners is at an all-time low.

2) England has never had a high homicide rate, but that rate is increasing, and the percentage committed with firearms (handguns in particular) has gone up since the ban.

3) Crime committed with handguns has significantly increased there.

4) Incidents of crime committed with fully automatic weapons are increasing there.

5) Incidents of crime involving hand grenades (easily smuggled along with firearms) have occurred.

And remember – England is an ISLAND. A fact hasn’t affected “gun availability” to the criminally inclined.

AT BEST the gun control laws in England have affected “spree shootings” by licensed gun owners. (Hey, if it saves just one life!) But those incidents are extremely rare, and the net number of homicides doesn’t seem to have been affected for the better.

“I don’t see how you can rule out the possibility that the laws might have helped keep the rate low.” I’m NOT ruling it out – I’m asking you to prove it. According to the recent CDC report, all the gun control laws passed here have proven inconclusive in their effectiveness. I’d say the same can be said of England’s.

I believe there is an individual right of law-abiding citizens to possess weapons for defense of themselves and the state. I believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees us that right will not be infringed by the government. I believe that the laws of England are offensive to that right, but it’s their country. I believe that gun control activists here want to pass laws identical to those of England. I believe that’s unconstitutional, and if allowed will do irrepairable damage to our individual rights. I also believe that, once the law-abiding are disarmed, our criminal class (which has never been shy about shooting people) will have a free playing field and our rates of firearm-involved crime will skyrocket.

(Some typos corrected for readability)

The burden of proof isn’t on the gun rights side.

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