Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I live in Northern Ireland which has the toughest gun laws of the United Kingdom- while on the mainland you can legally buy airguns and even CO2 guns, here I need a Firearms Certificate (that's right, it's illegal for me to own an airgun without government approval). The gun laws are tight here because of the terrorist problem (which has not been solved by capitulating to them and letting them into local government-surprise surprise: the British government is tough on terrorism sometimes, but at other times they cave in to a decades long campaign of terror) but they haven't stopped the IRA and UVF (etc etc) from getting their hands on AKs, .50 cal sniper rifles, or even RPGs. Strangely enough, the terrorists don't obey the laws round here.
Now the British government doesn't trust its citizens to own handguns at all (thanks to one lunatic). Recently the Brocock type of CO2 gun (gas contained within the cartridge) was also made illegal. Owners had two choices; either hand the guns in to the police without any form of compensation, or apply for a firearms certificate (and if you were turned down, the gun is confiscated, again without any form of compensation). The Brococks were banned because in some cases they could be adapted to fire live ammunition. This was already illegal, but Blair et al decided to go ahead and ban the guns anyway. As they have been legal to own (not in Northern Ireland I might add) no one has any idea how many have been sold or to who. To top it all, there was virtually no news of the ban- unless you belonged to a gun club or regularly read the gun press. If you haven't heard the news, tough luck. The sentence for an illegally held weapon is 5 years imprisonment. Ignorance is not an excuse.

I have a keen interest in firearms and when I was younger would occasionally go shooting with my father (.22 target pistol). I loved it and when I joined the Marines I loved shooting there too and, in fact, earned my Marksman's Badge- despite the training (but that's another post). At the moment I am unarmed, which is a state the government is quite happy about. If I were entirely defenseless and never lifted my hand to protect my self or my family, the government would be even happier. While in the States a man has a right to defend himself, here in the UK we are generally prosecuted. Fair? Absolutely not, and a Labour MP referred to people as 'bastards' when they proposed he implement a law advocating the right to defend your property. This pretty much sums up our socialist government's viewpoint on the rights of the individual to protect himself.

Personally, I'm pretty much disgusted with the whole affair. Even if I did own a gun, by law it has to be kept in a secure safe (the police can come into your home to approve the safe). So if I needed to defend myself I'd be out of luck. If I did, for example, lift a broom and hit an intruder with that, I'm positive I'd be looking at spending a night, and maybe many more, in the cells. Not an ideal situation to be in.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the point. What I'd like to do is ask an American liberal/democrat/leftist (choose your own term) what exactly it is about your Bill of Rights that you don't understand? If anyone wants to ask John Kerry too, please feel free. I'd love to hear what he has to say. For those not in the know here are the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Now, I know that 1st Amendment rights are taken very seriously by the left. When criticized over his recent Hollywood fundraiser, Kerry claimed everyone there had the right to say what they wanted. Not that that was what he was being asked, but there you go- an example. It seems pretty clear too- no law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press. Straightforward, no way you could get confused about that surely?

Now, as for the second amendment, it seems even clearer; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There is absolutely no way you can mistake that- and yet the gun-grabbers in the States seem to think that means they can actually infringe on the rights of individuals to own firearms. Maybe it's because I'm not an American (yet) that I don't get this- am I missing something?

Set aside, for the moment, the AWB (isn't that infringing on the right to keep and bear arms?). Anti-gun types will argue (and this seems to be the most common one I hear) that the Bill of Rights didn't mean assault rifles or sniper rifles- you don't need that to hunt. You don't need a Smith and Wesson .500 magnum. You don't need a weapon that can defeat the type of armour worn by police. On the campaign trail John Kerry has been quick to claim that he's a hunter- heck, he even used a shotgun- and that he's for responsible gun laws. He also claims that he's never needed to go hunting with an AK-47. Well, I don't recall the second amendment mentioning that people need to be armed to go hunting. It actually says- "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State". How do you go from that to hunting? You can't. And if the Bill of Rights is talking about a militia then surely it should be armed with the weapons of war (i.e. assault rifles). Fully automatic weapons were banned in the thirties (unless you can get a Class III license- please do correct me if I'm wrong on any of this). An assault rifle, by definition, is an intermediate calibre weapon capable of selective fire. Okay, I'm back to the AWB already. Oops. Now, these have already been made illegal in the United States. The AWB simply bans combinations of features which have no bearing whatsoever on the effectiveness of a weapon- pistol grips, flash suppressors. It's a fairly pointless law. You can still buy an AK or an AR-15 in the USA if you want, you just can't get one with a flash suppressor. Oh my, people must be sleeping safer in their beds at night knowing that flash suppressors have been taken off the streets!
Well, the amendment clearly doesn't mention hunting, so banning weapons not involved in hunting makes absolutely no sense.
The second major argument I hear is that the Founding Fathers only meant muskets and the like, simple single-shot black powder weapons. They didn't want citizens armed with AK-47s, or with dangerous high capacity nine millimetre semi-autos. Really? I don't see anything in the second amendment which states that no further technological progress is allowed, or even that only long arms are allowed over handguns. No mention of magazine capacity, or of calibre or of action. Nothing, nada, zip. But if you want to argue like that (ignoring what's been plainly stated)- they didn't say anything about TV, the radio or the internet in the first amendment either. Shall we start a campaign to ban them, to have them strictly regulated and licensed? Does that sound fair? Or does it sound like an infringement of your rights? Does it sound like the sort of thing that a corrupt and totalitarian government might do? Well, exactly. Exactly why no one tries to ban freedom of speech. And exactly why no one should try and ban a certain type of firearm. Can't you see the parallels here? Isn't this obvious? Am I the only one that this seems clear to? What's wrong with these people? Let's not forget, America is only free because it was armed.

If there are any Americans reading this (or just anyone) please let me know what you think. And guys, keep fighting the gun-grabbers- I don't want to come over there and find that all I can buy is some damned pellet gun. I want my Ruger Bisley .45 Colt. Mmmm, maybe I'll post a list of my 'wants'?

PS There are no links in this article (yet) to refer my sources- that may be updated later- but I've got a nine week old girl and I just don't have the time to do it right now.

1 comment:

John said...

I like your arguments on the 2A as we call it. One more you might add when the libs claim that 2A was meant for the militia, The 2nd Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights and every one of the Bill of Rights concerns individual rights.