Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Firearms, Burglars and the English Experience

The British may be taking a small step back toward reasonableness after their decades-long movement to disarm law-abiding citizens.

For a good discussion of the lengths to which the British have gone in disarming their citizens, see Guns and Violence: the English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Harvard University Press, 2002) and To Keep and Bear Arms: the Origins of an Anglo-American Right also by Malcolm (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Here in the U.S.A., gun control advocates usually claim not to have any intention to eliminate the use of firearms for hunting and sport, but they either remain silent about their use for self-defense or claim that the use of firearms in self-defense is not effective and thus not a worthwhile reason to permit such use.

They appear to want what the English have attained – a society in which law-abiding citizens are easier prey for criminals.

Anyone who thinks such a description of American gun control advocates’ motivation is unfair should read Malcolm’s books, compare what has occurred in Great Britain to what has occurred or has been advocated in the U.S., consider the laws already enacted in places like New York City and Washington, D.C. – then think again.

Since 1967 the law has allowed residents of Great Britain to use “reasonable” force to defend themselves when confronted by burglars, but the opinion of government officials about the reasonableness of force used in self-defense in any given situation has often diverged from the view of the great masses of the plain people.

As noted in
The Times today, it appears the law will be amended to authorize the use of force against burglars so long as the victim of the burglary doesn’t use force which is “grossly disproportionate.”

The government’s application of the law has reached a point at which the scales are tilted in favor of the burglars rather than the victims. The increase in burglaries of occupied homes probably results in part from the perception that the victims must acquiesce in the burglars’ crimes or face prosecution – making the burglar’s criminal choice a relatively safe one while making the victim’s predicament more dangerous.

Perhaps a change in the law and in the way the law is applied in Great Britain will provide yet more evidence in support of the proposition that recognizing the natural right of citizens to use firearms in self-defense is not only the correct thing to do, but is also an effective method of reducing the number of crimes committed against those citizens.

Gun control advocates are free to invite harm to themselves by notifying criminals of their defenseless condition, but they have no right to impose their irrational beliefs on others.

The English have apparently learned from their experience, but certain areas of the U.S. are populated by people who seem unable to learn.

Fortunately for most of us, gun control advocates are usually found in large urban areas and represent the minority, so they have not yet been able to force the rest of us to suffer the consequences of their dangerously silly ideas.


Blogger Al Hedstrom said...


Tired old arguments. A broken record.

December 05, 2004 6:54 PM  
Blogger Micajah said...

You may have a point; but, if you wear a hat, I suspect no one will notice it. :D

When you awaken from your nap, perhaps you could offer an actual rebuttal.

December 05, 2004 7:51 PM  

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