Arkiv

The financial might of the gun industry

Michelle Cox is a researcher for a site that provides education and industry insights to current and prospective MBA students, and included in their collection of resources is a series of business-focused videos that have been featured by news outlets like The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Businessweek. The video “The Business of Guns” can be found on this website, and it illustrates the financial might of the gun industry in the United States.

hair dryer

 

 

The second amendment was established 1791 when they had no assault weapons

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right for American citizens to bear arms, and it was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. Clearly there were other kind of weapons in use 1791 compared with today (2013). Can we be certain of that the founding fathers would have included also assault weapons in the Second Amendment if such weapons should exist during this time? We can’t be certain of that at all, and we must conclude that they wrote this amendment based on the situation that applied during a certain time over 220 years ago. We can only speculate how they would have phrased themselves today, if they would have written such a document.

Some suggest they also had cannons during this time, but even if they are powerful cannon and cannon balls are hard to maneuver, and nothing that you can carry around in your handbag to protect yourself with.

Americans have good reasons to be proud of their country, but  when it comes to the subject of gun control the rest of the world is likely not impressed when an American says ”There is no other country in the world that has something similar as the Second Amendment in their own constitution”. Just as though they expect Europeans to ENVY America’s huge homicide rate which is 20 times higher than other western countries (based on 100.000 inhabitants) – see this article. No, you can have your Second Amendment, but don’t bring it over here! We want to keep our low homicide rate, and we want to continue being free without having to fear criminal gangs with weapons and without risking to end up in areas with anarchy and mafia cartels. The good thing about having a gun control is that criminals have a hard time getting hold of guns, and that is the whole idea. That will lead to that citizens in their turn have no need to protect themselves, and that is the situation for most Europeans.

Sure, the Obama administration might do something very sinister to the American people in the future, and one can only wonder why he is buying and storing up so many weapons and ammunition – see this article . Obama said that as president he would create “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military, to advance his “objectives” for America. This astonishing announcement was made July 2, 2008, to an audience in Colorado Springs, but it was ignored by virtually the entire media – except WND. Nobody bothered to ask Obama specifically what he meant, or how he could possibly assemble and fund such a massive civilian army, or why – and he never spoke of it again.

So, unlike the situation in Europe, there are certainly reasons to fear what your president might do to you in the future, but if he manages to get an entire civilian army to do his errands, including the possibility to direct drones towards American people, then some private guns won’t do much good anyway. America needs to change its entire political system which opens up for corruption and a constant hunt for money to even think about winning a presidential race. A presidential candidate who isn’t rich (or with little support from rich people and organisations) can forget about becoming a president no matter how skilled he is to run the country. The American mainstream media isn’t doing its job to investigate in certain matters and instead they are keeping quiet or cover things up. That’s not the situation in every single country.

This film can make us ponder about the outcome, should the man have another form of weapon in his hands.

Hitler was no big fan of gun control in nazi Germany

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It’s naive to believe that a few, or a lot of  weapons in some private homes could prevent dictators such as Hitler and Stalin from doing harm, with entire armies (with tanks) at their hands. Instead of living under the paranoia that the government might turn nazi, and/or that politicians might come after you and your family, it’s way more likely that liberal gun laws will enable criminals to form gangs and use mafia methods. This is particularly a big risk in certain countries where people from different ethnic groups and cultures live side by side with a hard time to get along. Add poverty and drug problems to the picture and you  might have total anarchy in certain areas where criminals terrorize people who might not even dare to go out when it’s getting dark in the evenings.  Is that an environment we would like to live in and should strive for? Is that really FREEDOM? I don’t want to live in chains, so I’m FOR gun control in my country.

There will be an Antichrist in the future, and our private guns won’t prevent him from ruling the world. Until he shows up on the scene, we could try to eliminate criminals from getting hold of guns and in that way protect our loved ones. With liberal gun laws criminals can easily get hold of guns, which means they can point them at YOU and your family.

Below is excerpt from this article in Huffington Post/Walker Bragman:

”But Hitler and Stalin took away the guns and look what happened!”

This argument is historically inaccurate. University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in his 2004 paperWeimar Germany had tougher gun laws than Nazi Germany. Hitler expanded private gun ownership. It is true that Gypsies and Jews were not permitted to own guns, but there is no basis for the belief that these two groups would have stopped the Holocaust had they been armed. If anything, it would have ”hastened their demise” according to Robert Spitzer, Chair of SUNY-Cortland’s political science department. Hitler was extremely popular among the German people and throughout the world. To suggest that the only thing keeping Hitler in power was control of guns exonerates the many who supported him. The same is true of the Bolsheviks in Soviet Russia: the idea that an armed populace would have stopped Stalin is a fantasy. Like Hitler, Stalin was extremely popular.

Below text can be found in full in this article from Mother Jones

Of course, attempts to equate gun control with fascism are bogus. But the ”Hitler took the guns” argument has long had a prominent and fairly effective role in America’s gun control debate despite its obvious reductionism.

In 1989, a new pro-gun group called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership began arguing that the 1968 federal gun control bill once favored by the NRA’s old guard ”was lifted, almost in its entirety, from Nazi legislation.” (That false claim is still being repeated.)

In 1994, JPFO founder Aaron Zelman implored the NRA’s board to seize on the alleged Nazi connection:

Some of you may even have figured out that unless the NRA changes its strategy, the law abiding firearm owner in America will go the way of the Jews in Nazi occupied Europe: extermination…The choice is yours; you can turn your back on a failed strategy—one of compromise with evil-doers—and attack the concept of ”gun control” by exposing the Nazi roots of ”gun-control” in America. Or, you can persist in a failed strategy, and accept your own extinction.

Whether or not the NRA was influenced by his advice, that same year its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, published Guns, Crime, and Freedom, in which he claimed, ”In Germany, firearm registration helped lead to the holocaust,” leaving citizens ”defenseless against tyranny and the wanton slaughter of a whole segment of its population.” The following year, President George H.W. Bush famously resigned from the NRA after LaPierre attacked federal law enforcement officials as ”jack-booted government thugs” who wore ”Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” More recently, Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer who has represented the NRAargued (PDF) that ”if the Nazi experience teaches anything, it teaches that totalitarian governments will attempt to disarm their subjects so as to extinguish any ability to resist crimes against humanity.”

So did Hitler and the Nazis really take away Germans’ guns, making the Holocaust unavoidable? This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper (PDF) on Nazi Germany’s impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition ”be surrendered immediately.” The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens ”of undoubted reliability” (in the law’s words) but not ”persons who are itinerant like Gypsies.” In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

”But guns didn’t play a particularly important part in any event,” says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland’s political science department and has extensively researchedgun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy ”wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group.

Gun enthusiasts often mention that the Soviet Union restricted access to guns in 1929 after Joseph Stalin rose to power. But to suggest that a better armed Russian populace would have overthrown the Bolsheviks is also too simplistic, says Spitzer. ”To answer the question of the relationship between guns and the revolutions in those nations is to study the comparative politics and comparative history of those nations,” he explains. ”It takes some analysis to break this down and explain it, and that’s often not amenable to a sound bite or a headline.”

(Ironically, pro-gun white nationalists have tried to stand the ”Hitler took the guns” idea on its head by arguing that he was in fact a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms—for Aryans.

Even if President Obama suddenly unleashes his inner totalitarian, there’s no chance he could successfully round up all of America’s 300 million-plus firearms. Such an idea is practically and politically impossible. A tough assault weapons ban like one Democrats are currently proposing would affect just a fraction of the total privately owned firearms in the country. Yet by invoking the historical threat of disarmament, Spitzer says, ”the gun lobby has worked to throw a scare into gun owners in order to rally them to the side of the NRA.”

Below is from this article in Somaliland Sun
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University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them.

The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. ”The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general. Does the fact that Nazis forced Jews into horrendous ghettos indict urban planning? Should we eliminate all police officers because the Nazis used police officers to oppress and kill the Jews? What about public works — Hitler loved public works projects? Of course not. These are merely implements that can be used for good or ill, much as gun advocates like to argue about guns themselves. If guns don’t kill people, then neither does gun control cause genocide (genocidal regimes cause genocide).

Besides, Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University who studies the Third Reich, notes that the Jews probably wouldn’t have had much success fighting back. ”Just imagine the Jews of Germany exercising the right to bear arms and fighting the SA, SS and the Wehrmacht. The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?” he told Salon.

Proponents of the theory sometimes point to the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as evidence that, as Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano put it, ”those able to hold onto their arms and their basic right to self-defense were much more successful in resisting the Nazi genocide.” But as the Tablet’s Michael Moynihan points out, Napolitano’s history (curiously based on a citation of work by French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson) is a bit off. In reality, only about 20 Germans were killed, while some 13,000 Jews were massacred. The remaining 50,000 who survived were promptly sent off to concentration camps.

Robert Spitzer, a political scientist who studies gun politics and chairs the political science department at SUNY Cortland, told Mother Jones’ Gavin Aronsen that the prohibition on Jewish gun ownership was merely a symptom, not the problem itself. ”[It] wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group,” he explained.

Meanwhile, much of the Hitler myth is based on an infamous quote falsely attributed to the Fuhrer, which extols the virtue of gun control:

This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!

The quote has been widely reproduced in blog posts and opinion columns about gun control, but it’s ”probably a fraud and was likely never uttered,” according to Harcourt. ”This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date often given [1935] has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been any need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect,” researchers at the useful website GunCite note.

”As for Stalin,” Bartov continued, ”the very idea of either gun control or the freedom to bear arms would have been absurd to him. His regime used violence on a vast scale, provided arms to thugs of all descriptions, and stripped not guns but any human image from those it declared to be its enemies. And then, when it needed them, as in WWII, it took millions of men out of the Gulags, trained and armed them and sent them to fight Hitler, only to send back the few survivors into the camps if they uttered any criticism of the regime.”

Bartov added that this misreading of history is not only intellectually dishonest, but also dangerous. ”I happen to have been a combat soldier and officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and I know what these assault rifles can do,” he said in an email.

He continued: ”Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Gun control has helped the UK to have one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

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Homicide rates for the USA, and for the UK (info for 2011 not available for the UK)

The homicide rate 2011 for the USA was 5,1 (by any method) and 3,6 (by gun) per 100.000 population (10,3 for ALL gun deaths 2011)

The homicide rate 2009 for the USA was 5,48 (by any method) and 2,98 (by gun) per 100.000 population

The homicide rate 2009 for the entire UK was 1,2 (by any method) and 0,22 (by gun) per 100.000 population (0,25 for ALL gun deaths 2010)

The homicide rate 2009 for Scotland was 1,9 (by any method) and 0,04 (by gun) per 100.000 population

From gunpolicy.org.  Chart with comparison between the USA and the UK here.

 

I try to not engage too much in American gun laws discussions even though I often see rude comments where some people demonize those with opposing views (those for strict gun control laws) and equate them with ”leftists” (I’m not), but when incorrect claims about gun laws in Europe are in focus I’d like to say something. I’m certainly not a fan of all laws in Europe (and they are vastly different from country to country) and we should be able to handle the subject of gun control without talking about politics in general. Where I live ALL are for gun control (left to right) because we all share the same goal to NOT place guns in the hands of criminals, and the only way is to do this is to prohibit ALL to buy guns for protection. This has led to the pleasant fact that we don’t need guns for protection since there is no threat. If you’re a criminal it’s a different matter, because criminals tend to want to harm each other.

Britain – a country with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

It happens time and again that people against gun control (usually either Americans or criminals) falsely claim that the violent crime rate in the UK has ”sky rocketed” ever since the country started to apply gun control, but that is an exaggeration and doesn’t change the fact that the homicide rate in the UK is one of the lowest in the world and VERY much lower than the rate in the USA. It’s also common that the same people are not interested in facts that speak against their desired scenario, so they either continue spreading the incorrect statements as though they haven’t heard, or they go elsewhere in their hunt to find support for their idea that low murder rates are not correlated to strict gun control. When being presented to world-wide statistics that show homicide rates listed per country – indicating that the US homicide rate is enormously high compared to other western countries – they usually say ”you can show anything with statistics!” and immediately brush it off. Instead they find youtube clips or Facebook posts with pictures with claims such as ”Australia’s homicide rate sky rocketed ever since the gun control laws, bla bla” and choose to trust these figures thoroughly! Then the song isn’t ”statistics can show anything” any more.

USA compared to other western countries (the most fair way to compare)

Comparing an American state with other American states is of course not an honest way to make a proper analysis, since it’s not impossible to take guns across the boarders or get hold of guns in other ways. Guns used for crimes in NY and other cities can in some cases be traced back to states with more liberal gun laws. In order to appear in a better light when it comes to the comparison with other nations, it’s common that Americans against gun control would like to be compared with countries with even higher homicide rates, and that’s why they must go to infamous countries like Colombia, Venezuela and South Africa to look better. However, a more honest approach is of course to compare with those countries which are closest in culture, wealth, politics, etc. That’s why a comparison with Canada is interesting (but not perfect since it’s possible to take guns across the boarders there too), and other western countries. The below information is from Politifact Virginia, and the text is actually an attempt to HELP the US to appear in a better light! Still, the outcome is devastating for the USA and liberal gun laws.

The U.S. gun homicide rate is 20 times the combined rate of other western nations”. The number is based on a study of the homicide rates of wealthy nations in 2003, conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health. The report, published in 2010, uses data from the World Health Organization to compare gun-related homicide, gun-related suicide and unintentional and undetermined gun deaths for all ages and both sexes. Vital statistics from the U.S. were compared to those from 22 other high-income countries with populations over 1 million people who reported causes of mortality to WHO for 2003. Researchers relied on The World Bank’s definition of a high income  nation. In addition to the U.S., the study included Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) and United Kingdom (Scotland). The rate of homicides with guns in the U.S. was 4.1 per 100,000 people; the same rate combining the 22 other countries was 0.2 per 100,000 in 2003. The rate of homicides using guns in the U.S. was 19.5 times the rate of the other countries.

Below is an attempt by the writers to change these stats to improve the scenario for the US, and they took the most favorable and updated stats for the US but not so with the other countries with stats mostly from 2009. They also chose to compare with NATO countries, and  by doing so they would also include countries that are NOT considered wealthy but actually rather poor (such as Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, etc) and by doing so of course the stats will improve.  But is it an honest comparison? For instance, in Bulgaria (in the east block of Europe) middle class people can’t afford to have the electricity on all day so it’s not in the same wealth bracket as western countries. Despite the attempt to improve the scenario for the US, the conclusion is still that the homicide rate in the USA TOWERS over other wealthy European nations: 

The most recent gun-related homicide rate for the U.S. was 3.0 per 100,000 compared to an 0.3 for the rest of the NATO nations. If you compare the most recent data on the same group of nations, mostly based on 2009 statistics, the U.S. gun homicide rate is 15 times higher than the other countries. The number fell to 10 times as high when we defined the inexact term of ”western nations” as countries belonging to NATO. However, that gun homicide rates in the U.S. tower over those of other wealthy  European nations — holds up.

Wikipedia – Britainguns0

People who are desperate to find statistics that show that gun control doesn’t work search high and low, and lately the crime statistics in Britain have been in focus. Those against gun control certainly can’t use the charts for homicide rates as a basis of their reasoning (since those all speak heavily against them) so they have to look for other columns (not homicide). So they found poor Britain, but is it an honest approach make a fair comparison and judgment?

The UK and the USA actually have very close figures when it comes to ”violent crime” rates, with the number for the UK slightly higher. The difference is of course that the UK has a considerably lower homicide rate than the USA, and the difference is HUGE! When studying statistics for Britain or any country, it’s important to understand what is behind the numbers. An affray is considered a violent crime in the UK, while in some other countries it will only be logged as such if a person is physically injured. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year – compared with Britain’s 921 in 2007! Some crime cases are not reported at all in certain countries and not only the ”poor” ones. For example, I saw an American documentary about a murder in Philadelphia where a man had raped several women and ended up also murdering one. The investigators discovered that the first rape was not reported due to the aim to improve the statistics for this particular police department, and it was very unfortunate since the follow-up rapes in the same area would have been easier to pin down to the rapist a lot sooner, and before he ended up murdering someone. It’s impossible to know how many other such cases there are for the USA and for other countries. That’s why the HOMICIDE RATE (rather than crime rates) is the best crime to compare with since this is the crime that countries are most likely to report. 

Below is what wikipedia says about the gun situation in the UK and since the data shows that gun control has done the UK a lot of good  (having one of the lowest homicide rates in the world is surely good) it’s a risk that pro-gunners will immediately scream that wikipedia is not a trustworthy source. But they think various youtube clips and information in cute Facebook pictures are reliable sources? Wikipedia might not always be correct whenever ”opinions” are involved, but more trustworthy when it comes to boring facts with proper sources listed. That’s why it’s interesting reading. Interestingly Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where owning firearms for protection is allowed, and it’s also the part with the highest homicide rate in the UK.

In the United Kingdom, firearms are tightly controlled by law—The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. There were 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010, compared to the 3.0 in the United States (over 40 times higher) and 0.21 in Germany (3 times higher).

Northern Ireland has a very high rate of gun ownership, one of the highest in the world. In contrast England and Wales have considerably lower rates and Scotland has the lowest in the United Kingdom. The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded, while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade. Northern Ireland: Under the new law, first-time buyers will be required to demonstrate they can be trusted with the firearm. —  Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where personal protection is accepted as a legitimate reason to obtain and own a firearm and is the only part of the United Kingdom where handguns and semi-automatic firearms are permitted. Also, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit. However a firearm certificate for a personal protection weapon will only be authorised where the Police Service of Northern Ireland deems there is a ‘verifiable specific risk’ to the life of an individual and that the possession of a firearm is a reasonable, proportionate and necessary measure to protect their life.

A Home Office study published in 2007 reported that gun crime in England and Wales remained a relatively rare event. Firearms (including air guns) were used in 21,521 recorded crimes. It said that injury caused during a firearm offence was rare, with fewer than 3% of offences resulting in a serious or fatal injury.

For 2010/11, police in England and Wales recorded 648 offences as homicide, of which 58 (9%) involved the use of firearms — a rate of 0.1 illegal gun deaths per 100,000 of population. The number of homicides per year committed with firearms in England and Wales remained between 39 and 81 in the nine years to 2010/11, with an average of 58.3 per year. During the same time period, there were three fatal shootings of police officers in England and Wales, and 149 non-fatal shootings, an average of 16.5 per year. The overall homicide rates per 100,000 (regardless of weapon type) reported by the United Nations for 1999 were 4.55 for the U.S. and 1.45 in England and Wales. The homicide rate in England and Wales at the end of the 1990s was below the EU average, but the rates in Northern Ireland and Scotland were above the EU average.

Britain has had few firearms rampage incidents in modern times. During the latter half of the 20th century there were only two incidents in which people holding licensed firearms went on shooting sprees and killed on a large scale

A legislation was introduced in 1997 to prohibit ”Small firearms” with a barrel length of less than 30 cm or an overall length of less than 60 cm. Whilst intentional firearm homicides did in fact eventually decline —homicides involving the class of firearms prohibited initially increased in the early years following the legislative change before commencing a downward trend in 2008. With an alternative view, in 2012 the Home Office reported that, ”in 2010/11, firearms were involved in 11,227 recorded offences in England and Wales, the seventh consecutive annual fall”. Firearms statistics in England and Wales include airguns and imitation guns, which make up a high proportion of these recorded offences.

Fully automatic (submachine-guns, etc.) are totally prohibited from private ownership and self-loading (semi-automatic) weapons, including shotguns and .22 calibre pistols, are totally banned other than in Northern Ireland. Shotgun possession and use is controlled, and even low-power air rifles and pistols, while permitted, are controlled to some extent. A firearms certificate issued by the police is required for all weapons and ammunition except air weapons of modest power (of muzzle energy not over 12 ft·lbf for rifles, and 6 ft·lbf for pistols).

Any person who has been sentenced to three years or more in prison is automatically banned for life from obtaining a firearms licence.[35] Similarly, persons applying for licences with recent, serious mental health issues will also be refused a certificate. Any person holding a Firearm or Shotgun Certificate must comply with strict conditions regarding such things as safe storage. These storage arrangements are checked by the police before a licence is first granted, and on every renewal of the licence. A local police force may impose additional conditions on possession, over and above those set out by law. The penalty for possession of a prohibited firearm (section 5) without a certificate is a maximum of ten years in prison and an unlimited fine.  

From the 6 April 2007 the sale and transfer of ”air weapons” by mail order became an offence (they may still be purchased in person), as well as the sale of primers, and realistic imitation firearms (RIFs).

While the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased from 13,874 in 1998/99 to 24,070 in 2002/03, they remained relatively static at 24,094 in 2003/04, and fell to 21,521 in 2005/06. The latter includes 3,275 crimes involving imitation firearms and 10,437 involving air weapons, compared to 566 and 8,665 respectively in 1998/99. Only those ”firearms” positively identified as being imitations or air weapons (e.g., by being recovered by the police or by being fired) are classed as such, so the actual numbers are likely significantly higher. In 2005/06, 8,978 of the total of 21,521 firearms crimes (42%) were for criminal damage.

Most of the rise in injuries were in the category slight injuries from the non-air weapons. ”Slight” in this context means an injury that was not classified as ”serious” (i.e., did not require detention in hospital, did not involve fractures, concussion, severe general shock, penetration by a bullet or multiple shot wounds). In 2005/06, 87% of such injuries were defined as ”slight,” which includes the use of firearms as a threat only.

In 2008 The Independent reported that there were 42 gun-related deaths in Great Britain, a 20-year low. However, in late 2009 The Telegraph reported that gun crime had doubled in the last 10 years, with an increase in both firearms offences and deaths. A government spokesman said this increase was a result of a change in reporting practices in 2001 and that gun crime had actually fallen since 2005.—A 2006 statistical analysis found no measurable effect detectable from the 1997 firearms legislation.

In the year Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 there were 11,227 recorded offences involving firearms, broken down as follows.

  • Long-barrelled shotgun = 406
  • Sawn-off shotgun = 202
  • Handgun = 3,105
  • Rifle = 74
  • Imitation firearm = 1,610
  • Unidentified firearm = 957
  • Other firearm = 670
  • Air weapons = 4,203

Only those items proven to be ”imitations” (which includes BB/soft air types) or air weapons are classed as such, otherwise they are placed by default in the main ”live” categories, e.g. an imitation pistol not proven to be such would be counted as a live ”handgun.” ”Other firearm” includes CS gas (223 crimes), pepper spray (118), and stun guns (149).

Gun comic 4

Israel has strict gun laws and guns are not common among civilians

Excerpts from an article in The Times of Israel from Dec. 24th 2012

israel flagIsrael rejects NRA’s claims concerning guns laws

 ”Israel’s policy on issuing guns is restrictive, and armed guards at its schools are meant to stop terrorists, not crazed or disgruntled gunmen, experts id Monday, rejecting claims by America’s top gun lobby that Israel serves as proof for its philosophy that the US needs more weapons, not fewer.

”Far from the image of a heavily armed population where ordinary people have their own arsenals to repel attackers, Israel allows its people to acquire firearms only if they can prove their professions or places of residence put them in danger. The country relies on its security services, not armed citizens, to prevent terror attacks.”

”Israel never had “a whole lot of school shootings.” Authorities could only recall two in the past four decades.”

”Because it is aimed at preventing terror attacks, Israel’s school security system is part of a multi-layered defense strategy that focuses on prevention and doesn’t depend on a guy at a gate with a gun.”

”Gun lobbyists who might think Israel hands out guns freely to keep its citizens safe might be less enamored of Israel’s actual gun laws, which are much stricter than those in the US. For one thing, notes Yakov Amit, head of the firearms licensing department at the Ministry of Public Security, Israeli law does not guarantee the right to bear arms as the US Constitution does.”

”Gun licensing to private citizens is limited largely to people who are deemed to need a firearm because they work or live in dangerous areas, Amit said. West Bank settlers, for instance, can apply for weapons licenses, as can residents of communities on the borders with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Licensing requires multiple levels of screening, and permits must be renewed every three years. Renewal is not automatic.”

”The gap between Israeli gun ownership and US gun ownership is consequently staggering. A total of 170,000 guns are licensed for private use in Israel, or about one gun for every 30 adults.”

”By contrast, US authorities estimate that at least one-third of all American households have firearms — and in many cases, not only one.”

”Eighty percent of the 10,000 people who apply yearly for licenses are turned down, he said. In the US, people can purchase firearms from private dealers without a background check or a license of any kind.”

”In Israel, applicants must undergo police screening and medical exams, in part to determine their mental state, Amit said.”

Anybody who possesses a legally acquired gun waives the right to confidentiality, and authorities cross-reference for new information about the gunholder every three months.”

Arguments for gun control

For a Scandinavian it’s difficult to understand the attitude that many Americans have towards guns and gun control, but if I lived in Colombia, the Middle East, or maybe even in the US where pretty much any non-convicted adult can spontaneously buy one or more guns without much trouble – resulting in loads of guns in circulation also in the hands of criminals – then I too might feel the need to get a  gun to protect myself. But I live in Sweden and I’m only SO happy that we don’t have the same situation in my own country. I would consequently be against any kind of change towards more liberal gun laws where I live because I prefer to keep criminals away from guns. I wish Americans would understand why Europeans would dread to have American gun laws introduced to their countries. We have considerable lower homicide rates, which makes sense since it’s so much easier for a murderer to kill people if he can use firearms instead of knives, bombs (takes time, patience, skills and money to make) or his fists. I can also understand the frustration Americans have if they feel that their politicians play under different rules.

It’s truly wonderful to know that you can go out running alone late at night  without feeling you should be carrying a gun or a knife in your hand – so every change in our current gun laws would be for the WORSE.

Over here it’s hard to get hold of a gun or own a gun unless you can pass certain requirements, so I don’t feel the need to buy a gun myself for protection and I have personally never encountered a single person in my life in this country who has expressed such a need. That is surely a good thing and something we should try to maintain? There are lots of weapons over here though, and that’s because there are lots of hunters and many of them own more than one weapon (rifle). It’s of course tricky to change the laws in the US now when the harm (lots of uncontrolled guns in circulation) is already done, and it would equally be a nightmare to make the gun laws more liberal in Sweden now when we seldom need to fear guns in the wrong hands.

It’s interesting to read the arguments against gun control. I include some below:

– If one or more law-abiding citizens in the Cinema at Aurora, Colorado would have carried a gun for protection, then the damage that James Holmes did would have been reduced

So that is the goal for the nation? To reach a level where there are so many uncontrolled guns in circulation (not to mention that a person can store up 25 shotguns in his home without a single gun seller saying ”What?”)  that normal law-abiding people would feel the need to go protected even at the movies, while eating in a restaurant, on the beach, when taking your dog for a walk, etc? If there is a gun control, this could prevent criminals from obtaining guns in the first place, resulting in that we don’t need to carry guns for protection while living our every day lives.

– Criminals would get hold of guns anyway, like on the black market. They don’t stop using guns just because certain laws tell them to stop or for reading a sign that says ”Guns prohibited”. They are criminals for Pete’s sake!

This might be the case in America where loads of guns are already in circulation without much control, why there consequently is a large black market for weapons, but this is not the case in countries like Sweden. How could criminals ”get hold of guns anyway” if the laws prevent them from buying one, and when they can’t even acquire any from friends who also can’t get hold of guns? Don’t get me wrong because  there ARE guns in the wrong hands also in Sweden but the point is that the cases where guns are used for homicide is relatively low here, and especially compared with the US. I believe this is thanks to our gun control that we have had for generations.

But couldn’t persistent criminals get weapons if they really wanted through other means? Only if they have the right contacts and a great deal of good luck – both are hard to achieve. If they desperately want to cause a lot of damage and lack guns, they might want to use bombs but then they are obligated to have the know-how and to get the ingredients. They must also have the time to make experiments and willing to spend some time in jail if they get caught. This alone will prevent some people from taking such risks, but of course not all. One option is to smuggle in weapons from neighboring countries, but the problem is that it’s just as tough to get hold of guns over there, and there is a risk to get caught.

– Banning guns might create a potential risk for organized crimes, black markets and smuggling

So we should therefore make drug use and prostitution legal? No, we should make it hard for criminals to attain their goals, and if they transgress laws, they do this illegally and they risk charges. Some people think again for this reason. One way to smuggle guns into Sweden would be to transport them over the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, but how would you get hold of guns in Denmark in the first place? They have similar gun laws as in Sweden. We can only pray that no country in Europe will ever apply similar gun laws as in the US, resulting in more illegal weapons crossing our boarders (and if that happens, one could only hope for an extensive border control).

– Woman may have no means of self-defense from rape or other crimes

Women have also died from domestic violence where guns have been in use. Again, if criminals have a hard time obtaining weapons, then it will automatically be harder for them to commit such crimes and women have less need to defend themselves.

– Guns in the possession of citizens are an added protection against government tyranny. Just look at Germany in WWII!

Citizens in Sweden would of course NOTICE  and KNOW if the gun control laws would suddenly be amended to their disadvantage and to the advantage of politicians in rule. (Besides, this risk would be higher if the citizens would be voting for a person instead of a party – that normally must cooperate with yet other parties in order to get a majority rule.) Laws are not changed overnight and not without first publicly announcing them. Everything that concerns hunting, firearms, gun laws, etc is covered in the big hunting magazines, and they will naturally announce all changes which concern the world of hunting and firearms usage.

– The homicide rate is high in the US because it’s a melting post for so many different races and cultures, and not due to a liberal gun control

That is not a good argument unless you believe a certain race is more prone to commit crimes than others. If individuals and their ancestors have lived in the US for generations, then the race issue is no longer valid since they have been assimilated. What might be a factor however is RECENT IMMIGRATION (like the first and second generation of immigrants). You will find a lot of that in Europe where loads of people from a certain country immigrate to a certain country, often placed in the same city or suburb. Statistics sadly show that immigrants from the Middle East and the northern part of Africa commit crime more frequently than the rest of the population. In the last few years Sweden has received a lot of immigrants from Iraq.

– All violent crimes are not reported so the high rate in the US might also depend on this

Yes all crimes are not reported but one crime that is reported to a great deal in all countries is murder, and that’s what makes the statistics for homicide rather interesting. Countries that neglect to report such crimes would be countries that have a high homicide rate to start with. Statistics for homicide with guns would of course be the most interesting ones, but you will more often find statistics and charts where the homicide rate is not divided any further.

You can also kill people with knives, bats, etc. Should we try to ban and control those weapons as well?

It would be hard to control such objects, wouldn’t it? So totally unlike firearms which CAN be restricted and which potentially could kill more people at the same time than a knife ever could. Yes, knives, bats and bombs could also be used to kill people but this is not a factor that applies only for the US. This is a truth for all countries so the statistics are still fair. The homicide rate per country can give us a clue whether a liberal gun control has saved lives or not.

– Guns don’t kill people. People kill people!

Then it’s a good idea to prevent such people from obtaining guns! In that way YOU don’t feel the need to be protected.

– It’s my right as a citizen to own guns for me and my family’s protection. Why does the government prevent me from doing this?

It’s a government’s responsibility to make sure the citizens of a country can live in peace, and if possible (as it is in Sweden) without having to carry guns for protection. If we reach a state where we start to feel insecure due to the awareness that guns can be bought rather freely and therefore abound in the wrong hands all around us, then the government has failed with its mission.

– Anders Breivik in Norway managed to kill LOADS of people even though he was a member in a proper gun club

Yes, and I’ve never said the system is airtight. Most people kill someone they know, and those who are willing to kill strangers for no reason are oftentimes those who kill because of an ideology/evil religion or because they are totally disturbed and simply enjoy killing. Terrorists come to mind, and we also have odd fellows like Anders Breivik. He was a smart guy, he was not poor, not on drugs and he was not in a hurry. Those are not the typical factors in a murderer’s life. He had a license for three weapons; a Glock to be used in the gun club where he was a member, a semiautomatic Ruger rifle to be used in hunting and also a shotgun. The Norwegian police PST got a tip that Breivik bought aluminium powder and sodium nitrate from Poland (to build a bomb) but unfortunately they didn’t make a follow-up on the tip because Breivik had previously not been convicted for any crimes.  The idea was good though (seeking control of suspected substances) and this procedure could prevent future crime. Breivik ended up killing 77 people the year 2011. 8 of them through a bomb explosion in Oslo, and the rest (mostly young teenagers) on a little island outside Oslo. This tragic event will pull down the homicide rate for Norway tremendously. It’s impossible to always be protected against lunatics like Breivik. You would have to carry a gun around the clock and you wouldn’t be safe even then.

– Why is it so bad to be able to buy lots of guns? It is also sad that so many people are obese because of these sheer amount of forks and spoons available to them

This argument totally baffled me when I read it. So if we can’t prevent people from getting forks and spoons, then neither should we try to prevent people from getting guns? Is it possible to ban or control forks and spoons? NO, right? Is it possible to restrict guns through gun control laws and make it difficult for criminals to get hold of guns? YES! So why not doing exactly that? Isn’t the idea to save lives? Can a spoon in the hands of someone kill 10 people in 2 minutes? Can a gun in the hands of someone kill 10 people in 2 minutes? If we know that dangerous people could use guns for dangerous things, isn’t it a good idea to try to prevent such people from obtaining guns since we CAN?

– When the guns are removed from the law-abiding citizen, only criminals will have guns

Not if they are not able to get hold of guns due to severe restrictions and requirements. 

– Guns aren’t evil or the cause of violent situations. Like a hammer drives the nails, guns are the tools of these crazies

Some countries have gun control laws in order to prevent such ”tools” ending up in the hands of criminals. It seems like it’s working based on the statistics. 

– Disarming innocent people does not protect innocent people

Over here they don’t disarm people, because they can buy guns for hunting and target shooting if they pass the requirements. The requirements are tough and that will prevent many criminals from getting guns. So the idea is to disarm CRIMINALS and prevent them from getting guns. This will lead to a safe environment for INNOCENT people. Hard to see why this is not a good thing in all people’s lives. This of course works best in countries which have had a history of strict gun control laws for quite some time, so that weapons already in circulation will not be in use in the wrong hands.

– You can prove anything with statistics

Maybe, and I’ve read all kinds of silly statistics for pro-gun lobbyists, usually comparing one American state with another American state, as though this  could apply to the whole world.  But if statistics are fair, they could also reveal the truth and especially if several sources get similar results. The rule shouldn’t be ”if statistics work against you, then you don’t need to rely on them because you can prove anything with statistics”. The question is if we can find any statistics for that a liberal gun control reduces the homicide rate compared to other countries, and/or if statistics show that a strict gun control law (as the one in Sweden) reduces the homicide rate compared to other countries. When we look at various statistics and charts, for instance this or this or this or this (the latter is from 2012 and is more specific concerning firearms) then the US is always listed with a very high homicide rate per capita, and European countries much further down. It’s interesting to see that Canada, which is so close in culture and a neighbor country to the US, has a low homicide rate.

– In Switzerland it’s very common to own guns also for protection and they have a low homicide rate, so this shows gun ownership is not related to murder

There are some differences between the US and Switzerland. 1) Switzerland has MUCH STRICTER GUN CONTROL LAWS.  All military weapons (which are long-barreled) must be kept locked up, with their ammunition sealed, stored in a separate place, and strictly accounted for. Hence it is almost impossible to use these weapons for crime without detection. 2) Switzerland (one of the richest countries in the world) has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialized countries, like drugs or urban deprivation. The US is of course also one of the richest countries in the world BUT there are still many areas which are considered poor and where drugs are in much use. 3) In comparison Switzerland is a small country both in square meters and in population, and therefore easier to control. All the neighboring countries have the same strict gun control as is common in western Europe, so there is no great danger of guns smuggled across the boarders. More info:

Up until October 2007, a specified personal retention quantity of government-issued personal ammunition was issued, which was sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use had taken place. In October 2007, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the distribution of ammunition to soldiers shall stop and that all previously issued ammo shall be returned. By March 2011, more than 99% of the ammo has been received. Only special rapid deployment units and the military police still have ammunition stored at home today.

Gun ownership in Switzerland is not universal; only 32 percent of the general population own guns. By comparison, this figure is 49 percent in the U.S. Handguns are also HIGHLY REGULATED. Even then Switzerland has both the highest handgun ownership and highest handgun murder rate in EUROPE.  The suicide rate in Switzerland is very high. You can buy ammunition at ranges, but there is a regulatory requirement that ammunition sold at ranges must be used there. More here .

Brief comments about the Swedish gun laws (similar in all Scandinavia)

The two reasons for owning guns in Sweden are due to hunting and for target shooting. If citizens one day would want guns for protection then I feel that the government has failed with its mission to produce a safe environment for us to live in. Today we don’t have to live with such fear (unless we have placed ourselves in risk groups, such as being criminals ourselves or by marrying criminals) and a good guess is that it’s due to the strict gun control laws. Many criminals might want to kill a person NOW, and they don’t have patience enough to be a member of a gun club for 6 months before they do it. This alone will prevent some people to kill others in a sudden rage when they are involved in a deep argument.

Over here you’re obligated to have control over your guns at all times (when not in use locked up in certain cabinets, weighing at least 150 kilos) and not lend them to anyone unless a certain license is made for the other person who is also obligated to pass strict gun requirements. There are basically two gun categories, for hunting and for sports (target shooting). All weapons are licensed with a few exceptions and the serial number of the weapon is written on the license.

Hunting; rifles and shotguns – One has to pass the hunter exam that includes a theoretical test concerning animals and hunting, and a practical safety test including  judging distances and a shooting. You would need some sort of written declaration from others that you are a law-abiding person, and you can apply for up to 4 licenses for long guns (rifles or shotguns).

Target weapons – You need to be an active member of a gun club that competes with the weapon you want to buy. For handguns you need to be a member of a gun club for at least 6 months and shoot three ”gold series” and a ”fast series”. Your club can then certify that you may own a gun for competition only. After 5 years one has to reapply. Owning guns for protection is not allowed and such exceptions are therefore extremely unusual. More info here

Yes, extra protection in form of guns might be needed in certain countries

Again, if I lived in an area or country where there was a high risk for violent crimes and/or robberies, then I too might choose to get a gun. There are many white farm owners in South Africa who feel the need to protect themselves with guns (or they might choose to leave the country) due to the high risk of being attacked. Just the mere fact that criminals KNOW those farmers are protected might prevent them (the criminals) from making any attempts to harm them. So yes, guns might not be a bad idea in such situations. Read more about such cases in South Africa here.

In Scandinavia however it would be a VERY BAD IDEA to make the gun laws more liberal, because that would change our countries from having a SMALL amount of guns in the wrong hands into countries with LOTS of guns in the wrong hands, causing more criminals to make offenses and more people to buy guns to protect themselves, which would lead to even more crimes. An evil circle. Since the homicide rate is low in Sweden it wouldn’t make any sense at all to gamble with the situation and start amending the gun laws. If we do, then an evaluation will likely show an increase of violent gun crimes but then it will be too late to revoke the damage. Instead we would have lots of guns in the hands of criminals and there is a long expiration date for guns. They can be used again and again, and found on the black market, and if we then try to save the situation by making yet another law that guns must be turned in, then criminals will not stand first in line to return them.

In summary, I understand the situation that America is in, but I hope Americans will not reason ”Gun control doesn’t seem to work here, and people now have the need to protect themselves, so this means strict gun control won’t work in any country”. I hope they don’t believe that liberal gun laws in our countries would be for the benefit of the citizens or reduce the homicide rate because that is NOT true and the statistics seem to confirm it. If there are countries which have had strict gun laws and therefore a low amount of guns among criminals, resulting in no need for citizens to protect themselves, then it’s good to keep it that way.  America might not have gun laws that I admire, but I admire and envy the country in so many other ways.