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Some gun law links – and another one please

Britain’s idiot gun laws look like being today’s issue du jour. And at the risk (following on from my enlarging photos fiasco) of making a further fool of myself on a technical issue, it seems (to me) that if you follow a link embedded in a Samizdata comment it works, but the window refuses to get any larger, and the result is tricky to read. That’s what happens with me anyway. No doubt one press of one button will solve the problem, but I have yet to locate the button in question.

So, here, just in case it helps anyone, is the Reason article by Joyce Lee Malcolm linked to by Ralf Goergens in his comment on the sublime David. This Reason piece concludes thus:

The English government has effectively abolished the right of Englishmen, confirmed in their 1689 Bill of Rights, to “have arms for their defence,” insisting upon a monopoly of force it can succeed in imposing only on law-abiding citizens. It has come perilously close to depriving its people of the ability to protect themselves at all, and the result is a more, not less, dangerous society. Despite the English tendency to decry America’s “vigilante values,” English policy makers would do well to consider a return to these crucial common law values, which stood them so well in the past.

And here’s a link to Natalie Solent‘s latest piece on Biased BBC, also regarding guns. Taster paragraph:

Oh, and just skim the whole bunch of stories and look at the headlines: “Terror in US schools and workplaces” – “History of shootings” – “America’s gun culture.” Every mention of the liberty angle has a question mark after it: “Firearms – a civil liberties issue?” – “Right to bear arms?” Don’t hold your breath waiting for headlines like “crime down in gun states”, willya? And don’t wait around for a list of accounts of innocent people saved from murder or rape by guns, although there is a list of accounts of innocent people slain by guns.

Come to think of it, has anyone compiled an internetted list of links to accounts of people saved by gun use, along the lines of that Muslims Condemn Terrorism link page that I flagged up a while ago? If so, another link embedded in another comment please. Do wait around for that, because I bet there is one.

7 comments to Some gun law links – and another one please

  • Ralf Goergens

    No need to feel foolish, but if you right-click on the link and choose “Open in new window” the article opens in a new window. 😉

  • Brian Micklethwait


  • I found another link to a site called Muslims against Terrorism. Looks good, but can’t tell when it was last updated…

  • John Lott frequently mentions recent accounts of people saved by gun use in his writings (see for example http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-lott072001.shtml) but I know of no comprehensive list. The problem is twofold:

    1. They are very common (see, for example http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/SouthwickJr1.htm for some conservative estimates of prevalence) and

    2. The media have a tendency not to mention them except in parenthesis. Let’s face it, “Man attacked, draws gun, attacker runs away” is not as exciting a news story as “Man shot dead by robber”. On this issue, Lott comments (Wall Street Journal, July 30 2001):

    “No one would ever learn this [the large number of crimes prevented] by simply watching the news. In part this disregard by the media might arise because an innocent person’s murder is more newsworthy than when a victim brandishes a gun and an attacker runs away with no crime committed. Unlike the crimes that are avoided, bad events provide emotionally gripping pictures. But covering only the bad events creates the impression that guns only cost lives. Even the rare local media coverage of defensive gun use in the seldom involves more than very brief stories. News worthiness also dictates that these stories are not the typical examples of self-defense, but the rare instances where the attacker is shot. In fact, in up to 98% of the cases, simply brandishing a gun is sufficient to stop a crime.

    “Fewer than one out of 1,000 defensive gun uses results in the attacker’s death. World-wide we hear about crimes like the public-school shootings, as we should, but we never even hear locally about the many more lives saved. Since the well-known public shootings started in the fall of 1997, 32 students and four teachers have been killed in any type of shooting at elementary or secondary schools, an annual rate of one death per four million students. This includes deaths from gang fights, robberies, accidents, as well as attacks such as the one at Columbine.

    “But some sense of proportion is needed. During that same period, 53 students died playing high school football.”

    So I don’t hold out much hope of such a site being developed by anyone less resourced than the NRA.

  • Brian,
    The best way to find regular stories about guns saving lives of good guys is to rely on the abilities of thousands of bored people who are connected to the internet and have a common interest.
    So, I recommend checking out Packing, a website dedicated to keeping track of concealed permit laws here in the US. Click on “Gun Talk” and scour the headlines that people post throughout the day… you can usually find at least a couple per day, that were actually referenced in the media somewhere (!).
    Here in the US, it’s generally thought that guns are used defensively 2 – 2.5 millions times per year (but rarely actually fired).
    I can point you to some more links if you want. I keep track of this stuff because I’m often bored and on the internet.

  • Brian, control-click or middle-click (without going through a popup menu) also brings up a new window in Netscape.

  • I have doubts that anyone will read this anymore, as it come a bit late… but i stumbled upon the absolute best place website that tracks firearms used defensively.