I have only two quibbles about this otherwise excellent press release by Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance. One, I don’t believe Sean was ever “speaking in London”, as the press release claims. I believe he just sat down and wrote what follows, probably in his home on the south coast. Two, the word “premature” seems an odd way to describe the ending of a similar killing spree in the USA in 2002, by the better armed citizenry that they mostly have over there. Was this interruption to be regretted? The first blemish above is just a pet hate of mine, probably best ignored. And the second I put down to Sean’s eagerness to get his press release out quickly, which I applaud. Indeed, this press release was how I first heard about this horror:
The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today calls for the relegalisation of civilian gun ownership in the United Kingdom as the only way for ordinary people to protect themselves against gun massacres. [This news release is prompted by the killings of at least five people on the 2nd June 2010 in and around the Cumberland town of Whitehaven.]
Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:
“This outrage will certainly bring calls from the police and other victim disarmament advocacy groups for further gun control. However, bearing in mind that civilian ownership of handguns was outlawed in the two Firearms Acts of 1997, we fail to see, unless the murder weapon was a shotgun, what there is left to be outlawed.
“The Libertarian Alliance notes that these shootings would have been extremely difficult in a country where the people were allowed to arm themselves. We understand that the killer, Derrick Bird, was able to drive in perfect safety around Whitehaven, shooting people at random. None of his victims was in any position to return fire. Only when armed police could eventually be brought in did he feel it necessary to run away.
“In the United States, at least one campus shooting was brought to a premature end by armed civilians. The same is true in Israel, where many members of the public go about armed. Only in a country like England, where the people have been systematically disarmed, can a killer go about like a fox among chickens.
“The Libertarian Alliance believes that all the Firearms Acts from 1920 onwards should be repealed. The largely ineffective laws of 1870 and 1902 should also be repealed. It should once again be possible for adults to walk into a gun shop and, without showing any permit or proof of identity, buy as many guns and as much ammunition as they can afford. They should also be able to use lethal force, at home and in public, for the defence of life, liberty and property.
“Only then will ordinary people be safe from evil men like Derrick Bird.”
How many more such slaughters must be perpetrated in Britain before it is realised that making guns really, really, really illegal, which disarms everyone except those willing to break all such laws and go out a-slaughtering, is only making things far worse? I remember the Hungerford Massacre, which went on for as long as it did because the police had to get guns from London, which took hours. After which, inevitably, they made guns even more illegal. The Libertarian Alliance predicted further massacres, and we were not wrong.
The more rural parts of Britain used to be full of guns, and were, partly because of this, very law abiding. Not any more, on either count. Why do such killing sprees now happen? Because, now, they can.