Britain's Gun Laws: cause or symptom?


October 17, 2006, 02:31 PM
In the past, many here have seen and participated in threads where the gun laws of Great Britain were discussed. Now I've heard some people give fairly level-headed, well-thought, and well-written replies to posts involving somewhat philosophical questions posted here, so I thought this would be a good place to ask one.
I recently read, in another forum, a person detailing a new(?) trend in Britain called "happy slapping", wherein people randomly attack other people for fun. This particular person was punched in the face, but not robbed. Someone, in the course of that thread, made the comment that crimes such as these were on the rise in Britain, and that it was ridiculous. In subsequent posts, not less than a few people posted their collective opinion that this trend, and similar incidents, were the very justification for carrying firearms, and that it was a pity that Britain had laws preventing such.
My question is this: Do you think that firearm laws in Britain are part of the cause of this problem ("happy slapping" in particular, or a more violent (malevolent?) populace in general), or are the laws merely a symptom of a condition which is ultimately responsible for this type of behavior? On a more practical note, would better (ie - less restrictive) firearm laws be the best measure to curve this sort of behavior, or would there be other changes (laws, penalties, cultural changes, etc) which would better address the problem?

I'm interested to hear replies from this community on any or all of the thoughts above. The following link (wikipedia) details "happy slapping" (

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October 17, 2006, 02:41 PM
In the US, shooting someone for punching you in the face and then running away would not be considered justified however satisfying it might be.

October 17, 2006, 02:43 PM
Although you CAN, in most states, pepperspray or taser them for it.

Can't do that there.

And the thing they've been doing in the UK is beating random pedestrians to near death, which I believe does count as a deady assault.

October 17, 2006, 02:43 PM
I don't know about happy slapping, but in general, yes, I do think criminals act with more impunity in Great Britain because they know their victims are unarmed (unless they are attacking other criminals).

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 02:55 PM
My impression is that random attacks, just for fun or to alleviate boredom, are much more common in the UK. In the US, people know they can find themselves eating lead for doing such things, and also they can get prosecuted for assault. In the UK, both those outcomes are very rare.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 03:01 PM
Oh, and btw, in the US it is NOT legal to shoot someone to prevent an attack which is not life-threatening. If you are at risk for getting a bloody nose or a bruise, that does not create the circumstances that would permit use of lethal force! The threat must be imminent and truly threatening of death or great bodily harm. "Happy slapping" type attacks do not qualify. But the fact is, if some yob thinks the guy might be carrying a gun, the yob will not be so excited about the idea of "happy slapping" the guy.

October 17, 2006, 03:06 PM
I think "happy slapping" just is another demonstration of bully behavior common to humans. I think the cure is to slap back HARD. Maybe carrying a small implement might assist in the hard part.

October 17, 2006, 03:09 PM
Some of that "happy slapping" has included incidents like after someone was already down, repeatedly kicking the man's head "like a football".

That can quite often be fatal.

These aren't just scuffles. Think "A Clockwork Orange". They're that vicious. A smashed skull and ruptured organs can quite readily kill somone.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 03:20 PM
Manedwolf, you are correct: if it's a serious enough attack to damage organs, break a skull, etc, then lethal force is justified. The question is: if a reasonable person was watching the attack occur, would he think that death or serious bodily injury was imminent? There are not hard and fast rules, but if this "reasonable person" would think, "oh, it's just going to be a bruise", then lethal force is not justified. It's a tough call. Factors such as cultural knowledge come into play. In Austria there is a pre-Christmas tradition of gangs going around "happy slapping" people, and they can give good bruises but it never goes beyond that. Everyone knows about that. In such a situation a reasonable person would not think that great bodily injury would be imminent. Conversely, in the US, there is no tradition of "happy slapping" and if half a dozen young men run up to me on the street and start throwing punches / slaps, a reasonable person would probably think that great bodily harm is imminent.

October 17, 2006, 03:24 PM
"An armed society is a polite society" criminals in Britain in my opinion have very little to fear by the people they prey on.

October 17, 2006, 03:25 PM
I've had many long, long debates with Europeans, Australians and Brits on these matters and others. I think the base problem is they've grown up in nations where the government is seen as a sort of parent figure. To some extent this is a carry-over from the old notions that monarchs were the parents for their people. They've mostly kicked the kings out, but the old notions die hard. The socialists have stepped into that void, and supply the people with a basic level of care and feeding. As the "adults," the state and its agents are the only ones who can be trusted with arms. The "children" cannot be trusted. And indeed I've noticed much more willingness to get into punchups, esp. among young men. They don't view drunken brawls or random punches as a serious or even crimnal matter. And what would be considered a felony assault here is seen as "boys being boys" over there, with minimal if any criminal sanction. As "children," they dont' have to take the same level of responsibility for their actions.

This is also why they're so tolerant of living in a police state. London literally has a video camera on every other street corner, and the police can search you at will. But the people see this as a good thing, because they don't know any other way.

It's probably not PC to say this here, but after talking with a lot of these guys I tend to agree that giving them Alaska-level gun rights and access to firearms would result in a bloodbath. They aren't responsible enough to have them anymore. They have to claim those rights back for themselves, and understand the responsibility that comes with them. You can see some of this with the Samoan and Tongan immigrants who have set up a community of several thousand here in Anchorage. They're nice people, but they come from a culture where the RKBA is an alien concept and where it's common for men to get in physical fights. The result has been a number of incidents in the past few years where Somoan teens, exposed to violent gangsta culture and the easy access to firearms, start shooting at each other over petty disputes or for no apparent reason. Thankfully they're horrible shots, but I can't help but thinking something similar would take place if the yobbos could buy iron.

El Tejon
October 17, 2006, 03:28 PM
"Happy slapping" is a symptom of the rage and frustration that a welfare state causes.

The welfare state manifests its rage in other ways here in the US.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 03:31 PM
Cosmoline, you are correct. For us, hitting a stranger in the head is felony assault, would result in an arrest, and could possibly justify use of lethal force, and there's some reasonable chance (in most of the US) that the slappee is armed and ready to respond with lethal force. In the US, anyone who plans to hit a stranger in the head should be ready for very serious consquences. For them, the perpetrator of such a thing might get off with a firm scolding.

October 17, 2006, 03:57 PM
I think cosmoline has hit the nail on the head, the Brits and other euros cannot be trusted anymore to own firearms (citizens) especially with this type of behavior and the fact that they have been disarmed for so long. If they think that being unarmed is a "civilised" nation then they have forgotten what history teaches us, and that is history repeats itself.

October 17, 2006, 04:04 PM
Part of 'happy slapping' is video taping the attack for bragging rights or street cred on a myspace or youtube video.

"Officer, his friend had a long silver object with a big hole pointed at me. That had me outnumbered and I was in fear for my life."

October 17, 2006, 04:10 PM
Gun control in the UK is both the result of and, to an extent, the cause of this violence. On the one hand, whenever there is violence, the media and anti-gun groups cry out for more laws and controls to make everyone safer e.g. gun control. On the other hand, these new controls fail to stop criminals doing what they do and leave innocents defenceless and thus making stuff like 'happy slapping' an easy possibiltiy. Happy slapping can sometimes be as little as a playful slap between friends or as much as being kicked to death by a gang of kids. In the first instance, shooting the 'slapper' would obviously not be justified, but in the latter, it would be. Even if it was not 'right' to shoot someone who is about to punch you, if I wanted to punch someone and they had a gun on their hip, I can tell you I probably wouldn't!

I also believe that a lack of legal and socially acceptable weapons in the UK has caused a cronic absence of respect and responsibility to take hold. Nobody is trusted with anything or taught to do 'dangerous' things like handle a gun and thus many people can no longer fathom how to carry a knife without stabbing someone. Law abiding citizens are helpless in the face of law breakers so kids learn that they can get away with anything. There is no danger when they throw bricks at cars or attack people in the street.

Gun control is not the sole cause of the current state of the UK, but it is a significant factor.

October 17, 2006, 04:11 PM
I think the gun laws are a symptom. The UK in particular have been moving towards a nanny state for many decades. I lived there as a kid in the late 50's, then again from 85-91.

Over time they have developed a state where the average citizen is reliant on the government for just about everything, they pay a tax on TV's to support government programming, a significant percentage of the population live in council (subsidized) housing, they have the worst building permit practices possible, as far as infringing on any property rights you may have. You could go on and on, none of the items by themselves look all that unreasonable, and I believe that is what has led to the downfall of their civilization. Bit by bit their liberties have been curtailed for "the greater good", or even worse "for the children". People are unable to defend their homes or possesions and the bad guys generally get a slap on the wrist if caught, or an Anti-social Order is issued that basically says please don't do that again.

Wow, I feel better after ranting on about such a great civilization being allowed to deteriorate so far, I just hope we aren't next.

October 17, 2006, 04:12 PM
Does it matter?

October 17, 2006, 04:19 PM
If you value your RKBA, it sure does! Remember that a few generations ago the UK was a land where gentlemen thought nothing of shooting handguns in their back yards or carrying concealed pistols without asking the government for leave. A few decades later and all of it is gone, along with the men who made Britain great. It's a suburb of Europe now, neutered and truncated. A great many powerful people in both political parties would like to see the US become a meek partner in a global alliance. Free men, eccentrics and gun nuts don't fit with that plan. They're nails that need to be hammered down flat for the good of the public. The same forces that destroyed the UK are active here in the US. We're not cousins for nothing, and where they've gone we too could go. It starts by raising a generation of children to be abjectly terrified of firearms and to kowtow to authority. Teaching them in "gun free schools" and forcing them through searches and scans every time they come into the building trains them to live in the brave new world, where all of America will be like the airports are now. Gun control ain't about the guns--it's about CONTROL. That's the lesson of the UK, and we'd better learn it well. Because mark my words, there are a great many people in power--including many with an R after their name--who regard us as antiquated relics and best and are waiting for the day when they can bury us forever.

October 17, 2006, 04:48 PM
It serves as a warning to you all. Just because you are top dog at the moment, doesn't mean things can't come crashing down.

Anyway, this is what happens when happy-slappers pick the wrong target:


October 17, 2006, 04:51 PM
Hmm...these are good points. I guess I may have actually still been asking the wrong question. I was asking about the violence and the causes/cures, but it would seem reasonable that the violence is another symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. I had just not thought of it that way. Does it even make sense, then, to talk about reforming the gun laws of Britain in light of a larger problem? Isn't that like putting a band-aid on a broken leg? Or am I wrong?

October 17, 2006, 04:53 PM
"Coming soon to your neighborhood in the USA"

I think that it won't be long before this practice becomes common place in large American cities. I believe that we are becoming a less civil society daily, and that what is happening in the UK will soon be commonplace here as well. I hope that I am wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

October 17, 2006, 04:55 PM
Does it even make sense, then, to talk about reforming the gun laws of Britain in light of a larger problem? Isn't that like putting a band-aid on a broken leg? Or am I wrong?

Doesn't matter, we can talk all we want. We are not getting back firearms for defense purposes, it's as simple as that.

October 17, 2006, 04:59 PM
I think that guns are just a minor part of it. A large part of it is crime and punishment. We're falling into the same pit over here. There's a line between what society(that's the gov't and all its citizens) will put up with, and what it won't, and it's blurring rapidly.
We don't have a sense of justice anymore. People are running around with rap sheets pages long. Prison and legal systems are hopelessly clogged with trivial cases(war on drugs).
There was a reason for public hangings once upon a time. It sent a clear message that "this behavior will not be tolerated". There were foreseeable consequences for an action. There's a reason that the words fear/respect get used synonimously. Ordinary people are coming to fear government, and no one respects it anymore. In a democracy, that government is "we the people", and we're losing that respect.

October 17, 2006, 05:04 PM
And the biggest pushers of a UK style society, where the common folk are unarmed and must depend upon the government(s) for their protection, are the United Nations. They eventually want all small arms to be only in the hands of approved government agents and agencies.

October 17, 2006, 05:18 PM
Exactly! One thing they never ever tell you on the CNN specials is how the UN acts to force the underdogs in places like Darfur to DISARM as a precondition for receiving food and assistance at the camps they set up under the blue flag and red cross. On too of this, they have a long track record of running away whenever the local militias come to finish what they started--this time against a totally defenseless group. If you really want to help the people of Darfur, arm them and teach them to fight back against the militias.

October 17, 2006, 05:31 PM
The United Nations had no hand in UK gun control what so ever.

kevin davis
October 17, 2006, 05:44 PM
The vidieo said it all. I expect to be able to walk around unmolested and for someone I do not even know to come up and hit me and expect it to be accepted as "normal" will not happen. I give others the right to be unmolested and expect the same. What a sad condition if you have to expect to be hit whenever you go out.

October 17, 2006, 05:48 PM
The issue of "a few generations" raised by Cosmoline hits pretty close to home.

My most damning criticism I ever leveled against the residents of the state of NJ is that they exhibit the uncomplaining acts of men accustomed to not having any rights, rather than the outrage of men who, accustomed to their rights, find them obstructed.

And this is the result of a mere 40 years of incremental progressivist squishing, not the 100+ that the UK has been subjected to, thanks to the Fabian society and their fellow travelers.

Our Republic cannot afford another generation of men whose concept of their prerogatives are as those of the last 30 years.

geim druth
October 17, 2006, 06:28 PM
Here's what Richard F. Burton, the explorer, had to say back in 1884. He is lamenting the days when all men carried swords.

"But courtesy and punctiliousness, the politeness of man to man, and respect and deference of man to woman have to a great extent been 'improved off'. The latter condition of society, indeed, seems to survive only in the most cultivated classes of Europe; and, popularly, amongst the citizens of the United States, a curious oasis of chivalry in a waste of bald utilitarianism - preserved not by the sword but by the revolver. Our England has abolished the duello without substituting aught better for it : she has stopped the effect and left the cause."

October 17, 2006, 07:23 PM
this is a carry-over from the old notions that monarchs were the parents for their people

Very astute comment. The propaganda of Kings was that they were like a great nanny to their people. Their soviet-style governments are simply trying to fulfil this historical expectation.

The United Nations had no hand in UK gun control what so ever.

I don't think that's what was being said - rather, that the UN is now trying to forcibly export UK-style nanny-state-ism to other areas of the world, much to those peoples' detriment.

October 17, 2006, 08:05 PM
The United Nations had no hand in UK gun control what so ever

I never said it did. Darfur is a long way from Ipswitch. But the EU most certainly is cooperating with global arms control schemes being cooked up by the UN and their army of "NGO's"

At the regional level, the European Union has begun to address small arms by calling on members states to tighten their arms export laws, increase cooperation among law enforcement agencies, and provide financial and resource support to those states most affected by small arms proliferation and misuse. (I trust most here can translate the Newspeak here)

It takes a few seconds on Google to start finding more examples of UN-inspired interference in the last remaining pockets of widespread gun ownership in their region of control:

It was a matter of priority for Finland to implement nationally the provisions of the UN Firearms Protocol ...

And I love how it notes that while none of the "loopholes" were a problem in Finland, they were going to be "closed" anyway at the urging of these foreign masters. Disgusting! That, my fine friends, is the world we're headed to. The UN does not push its will directly on the people via blue helmet Hessians except in the third world. For us, the attack comes from NGOs pressuring legislatures and state departments to adopt international protocols and treaties. These then act to leverage pressure on the national and state authorities to play ball by everyone else's new rules. So through a system of leverage a small cadre of UN operatives can force not just national but INTERNATIONAL changes in how arms move between nations. And, for example, if you can control that flow you can control what arms come to the US, even if you can't pressure a direct change in US domestic law.

Glenn Kelley
October 17, 2006, 11:05 PM
Just remember that some of the worst of Britains gun laws were the product of the Thatcherite Conservatives.If enough votes swing the Republicans will be do the same thing.Politics follows the votes.

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