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October 13, 2003
Gun Control Fails Miserably in Great Britain

Good luck on reading anything about this in the New York or LA Times, but Strange Women Lying in Ponds (a cool Monty Python reference, for those who don't know) picked up on a story in the Guardian which details the effects of banning all handguns:

Handgun crime has soared past levels last seen before the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and the ban on ownership of handguns introduced the year after Thomas Hamilton, an amateur shooting enthusiast, shot dead 16 schoolchildren, their teacher and himself in the Perthshire town. It was hoped the measure would reduce the number of handguns available to criminals. Now handgun crime is at its highest since 1993.

SWLIP reacts:

Let's see, when Britain passed the handgun ban, many pro-gun ownership types predicted that Britain would eventually see a rise in violent gun crimes as guns became readily available on the black market for criminals, and as criminals lost their fear of an otherwise disarmed populace. The Left called us crazy.

Well, how in the world can this happen if guns are banned? This is the lead from the Guardian story:

Few people paid much attention when, late last month, Shabir Hussain and his friend Mohammed Shabir were jailed for 11 years at Birmingham Crown Court. Working with rudimentary tools in the basements of their homes, the pair had set themselves up as armourers to the local underworld, converting blank firing pistols into lethal weapons.

They produced more than 170 guns and sold them to gangs from Bristol to Manchester.


As well as being converted from air guns and blank firing weapons, handguns are being imported from eastern Europe and beyond. A good quality semi-automatic handgun can be bought on the streets of London for as little as £200.

When you criminalize guns, only the criminals will have guns, and they will use them with impunity against a disarmed and demoralized populace. Thankfully, that experiment was conducted elsewhere, but I doubt if the political class here will learn any lessons from this. The answer is to heavily penalize the use of firearms in crime (adding 10 years to sentencing would be a start), and to enforce the gun regulation we already have instead of adding onto it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 13, 2003 8:56 PM

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