Recently the Leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage spoke out against the handgun ban on an interview with LBC Radio. Mr Farage was asked what he thinks of gun control in the UK in a question phoned in by a listener. His response was he felt, as a great many people do, that the Handgun ban was a ludicrous, knee jerk reaction that did nothing to lower gun crime and has resulted in our Olympic pistol shooting team having to train abroad.
In the aftermath we have seen several media outlets and politicians vilifying Mr Farage’s, honest and perfectly frank answer.
Are we seeing a continuation of the tactics that lead to the handgun prohibitions, that of using raw emotion and exploiting horrific tragedy to drive politically motivated legislation. This is not how fair and objective Government should be conducted. There would appear to have been an agenda since the early 1970’s by successive British Governments to remove all firearms ownership from law abiding citizens (Greenwood). Using tragedies to either further an agenda or to score cheap political points, it is a complete betrayal of trust in government, and not what good administration should rely on.
We have seen less than helpful comments made by MP Keith Vaz; who was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying:
“The logical consequence of relaxing gun laws, as suggested by Mr Farage, is an increase in gun use which should be discouraged rather than encouraged. Any change could possibly act as a green light for an increase in criminality.”
“Our legislation makes Britain a beacon of safety and it would be completely irresponsible to change the law governing hand guns.”
Mr Vaz who is currently Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee in Parliament expresses this view using some very reasonable language designed to portray an air of impartiality, the same HASC Chairperson who on April 15th 2010 filed an early day motion in Parliament against the ownership of Shotguns for young people, coincidentally the same day he Chaired the start of the 2010 Firearms Enquiry by HASC following the Cumbria Incident. Is this the action of someone who maintains to be at pains to be seen as impartial, objective and fair. How can voters who may support the safe, responsible private ownership of firearms have any confidence in the democratic process?
Mr Vaz is correct in his assertion it would likely see an increase in responsible legal firearms use. Why should this be discouraged? Does Mr Vaz view all firearms enthusiasts as potential serious criminals? What evidence is he basing this opinion on?
I would like to suggest that Mr Vaz and others that are against this proposal provide some irrefutable evidence to back up the claims that such legislation makes Britain a beacon of safety, especially when our overall homicide and violent crime rates are often higher than many European averages, and given that UK crime reporting has very recently been called into question.
What we have seen over the last century is the step by step removal of our rights and liberties, to be replaced by privileges at the gift of Government. From the statistics I have studied there is no causative link between legal firearms ownership and violent crime and homicide. A simple comparison of these charts obtained from gunpolicy.org should make it clear to even the most casual observer that there is no clear connection between legal gun ownership and violent crime, homicide or even gun crime.
We can talk all day about the low gun crime in the UK, especially the low gun homicide rate, but no one is looking at our overall homicide rate which is amongst the highest in Europe with Scotland itself almost double the average. The bar graphs show quite clearly that high levels of gun ownership do not necessarily mean higher levels of gun homicide or overall homicide.
In the Manchester Evening News Mr Farage is quoted as saying:
“there is almost no link between sensible, decent people – under a registration system – holding handguns for sporting and shooting, and crime on the streets.”
We as an organisation come to the same conclusion. Firearms in law abiding people’s hands are not a problem, law abiding people do not cause crime or lead to increased levels of violent crime. We are unable to find any evidence to back up the view of proponents of gun control that more guns cause more violent crime.
Indeed it is because of this lack of evidence that people take to using the disgraceful tactics of exploiting tragedies to further their personal or political aims.
Legislation should be based on solid evidence and respect individual freedom, when it comes to firearms legislation in the UK this never seems to be the case. Instead the legislation is based on disinformation and fear. People will now be reading many newspapers vilification of Mr Farage’s point of view and believing every word spoken without any evidence to back it up, or trying to distinguish if it is ‘a truth’, ‘their truth’, or THE TRUTH?
Despite the politicians claim several online polls that asked if handguns should be legalised once more, all achieved a majority in favour of lifting the handgun prohibitions.
Sporting shooters of all disciplines and pursuits have a part to play in stopping the spread of the misinformation and blatantly emotive sound bite against lawfully held firearms, as well as campaigning for change. Someone who is seemingly unafraid to speak out honestly in public regarding a debate that authority and media have closed down for many years regarding the farcical state of UK firearms law is portrayed as out of touch, when in reality it is main stream politics, supported by a seemingly subservient main stream media that is out of step with reality. One thing we can be assured of facts will continue to be ignored.
Firearms enthusiasts easily number in their millions in the UK but we are divided and often scared to stick our heads above the parapet for fear of repercussions. This is no longer acceptable; we must unite and start voicing our concerns. We must all support any movement that calls for reasonable relaxation of our firearms laws, even if it is not our particular discipline. Why? Because not only should freedom and liberty be paramount, unless we start reversing the trend we will continue to see further unjust restrictions based on fear and disinformation.
We await with interest a further assault on law abiding people with the stated intention of the EU Commission to review the EU Firearms Directive purportedly to address illegal firearms but having completed the EU questionnaire the questions were at best biased toward legally held firearms and their owners.
Further detrimental discussions and declared intentions have been expressed recently by both the Labour Party and the SNP.
More Guns Less Crime by John R Lott br>
Guns and Violence The English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcom br>
A Statement by Firearms UK
Firearms UK are an Association aiming to protect gun ownership in the UK, and encourage unity and positive action within the shooting Community. Firearms UK are an apolitical organisation and do not advocate for, or lobby against any political party, individual, lobbying organisation, other political associate, or media.