After many years of debating gun control with Americans, and getting nowhere, I have decided to put together a thread explaining our [UK] gun laws and
why they have worked for us.
Many people here from the US have this severe misunderstanding of British gun laws, they seem to think that we aren't allowed to own our own tools of
death, and that we fear firearms and want nothing to do with them, and quite frankly, that is wrong.
I have military experience, I have fired a wide range of equipment from small arms, handguns and even the odd anti-tank weaponry, and you know what, I
thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also have experience on the darker side of these tools of death as many of you already know, I live in one of the very few areas in the UK to
actually witness what can happen when things go wrong.
I am of course referring to the Cumbria shootings, when a man, who I called a friend, had a slight mental breakdown and took his legally owned
firearms and went on a rampage killing 12 people (one who was also a friend) and injuring 11 others.
This wasn't just a dark day for our country, it was one of the worst case scenarios for probably the most beautiful place on Earth (Google the lake
district, England), probably one where firearms are [legally] in abundance.
Actually using these weapons gives me a unique perspective not often experienced by most Brits, because, yes, our gun laws....but what do those laws
actually prohibit? Let’s look at the history of UK gun control.
In 1689, there was a bill of rights, and part of that was the right to bear arms (sound familiar?), but we weren’t faced with native peoples trying
to protect their land, or fierce creature trying to maul us, so it was a non-issue.
This right carried on until 1870 when a license was introduced for anyone wanting to carry a firearm outside, although you could still keep one in the
closet for peace of mind.
In 1903, a law was passed prohibiting anyone who was drunk, or a wee bit clinically insane, from carrying a firearm with a barrel shorter than 9
inches (essentially the first handgun ban).
The whole system changed in 1920 when the firearms act was introduced, this gave the police powers to deny a firearm to anyone who was deemed unfit,
and quite rightly so, the last thing they wanted was a bunch of loons, or people suffering PTSD from the war carrying these things about!
1937 saw another firearms act come in which prohibited fully automatic weapons.
In 1967, the criminal justice act saw the appearance of licenses for shotguns.
Shortly after in 1968, the firearms act was again amended which allowed the home office to set fees for shotgun licenses.
Now things get a bit whacky.
In 1987, in what is known as the Hungerford massacre, a guy called Michael Ryan killed 16 people, then himself, with two semi-automatic rifles and a
The people were outraged, why did this guy have access to such barbaric weaponry??
This put pressure on the ruling government to reassess the law.
In 1988 that good old firearms act was again amended, this time it banned pump-action rifles, also anything that can fire explosive ammunition, sawn
off shotguns and also pump-action and self-loading rifles. Registration was now also mandatory for shotguns, which now had to be kept in secure
Moving on to 1996 and Dunblane, where Thomas Hamilton took his legally owned handguns and murdered 16 children, this led to…..
The next amendment of the firearms act in 1997 saw the banning of handguns over .22 calibre, although when Labour got in at the next election, they
further amended this to include .22’s.
So what are we actually allowed?
Everybody has the right to a shotgun, the police have to prove you are unfit, whether criminally or mentally.
As for other firearms, it is up to the individual to prove reasonable grounds for owning a weapon which isn’t prohibited by law.
So, to summarise, we are actually allowed semi-autos (.22) in the UK, as long as we can prove we have a need for them, and are mentally fit to do
Handguns are out.
Shotguns are a right, are long as you aren’t an idiot.
These laws have kept the massacres to a minimum, but when they do happen, it’s usually done by people who legally own their weapons, not
Around 0.2% of crimes in the UK involve firearms, and whilst our laws may not work for the USA, it has certainly kept us safe, and we still have the
right to bear arms…..
Food for thought.
edit on 5/7/15 by woogleuk because: (no reason given)