good article from the London 'Times'


September 7, 2007, 07:43 PM
The following article from the London (England) 'Times' is well worth reading. The original can be found at:


Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?

British attitudes are supercilious and misguided

Richard Munday

Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?

The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.

Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has “banned” pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence: all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).

How worried should we be about gun crime?
Serious gun crime is concentrated in particular parts of England; internationally, the country has a low death rate from guns

America’s disenchantment with “gun control” is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that “firearms-related crime has plummeted”.

In Britain, however, the image of violent America remains unassailably entrenched. Never mind the findings of the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), indicating that we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States; never mind the doubling of handgun crime in Britain over the past decade, since we banned pistols outright and confiscated all the legal ones.

We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun – rifle, pistol, or machinegun – without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. Charlotte Brontë recalled that her curate father fastened his watch and pocketed his pistol every morning when he got dressed; Beatrix Potter remarked on a Yorkshire country hotel where only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver; in 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.

If armed crime in London in the years before the First World War amounted to less than 2 per cent of that we suffer today, it was not simply because society then was more stable. Edwardian Britain was rocked by a series of massive strikes in which lives were lost and troops deployed, and suffragette incendiaries, anarchist bombers, Fenians, and the spectre of a revolutionary general strike made Britain then arguably a much more turbulent place than it is today. In that unstable society the impact of the widespread carrying of arms was not inflammatory, it was deterrent of violence.

As late as 1951, self-defence was the justification of three quarters of all applications for pistol licences. And in the years 1946-51 armed robbery, the most significant measure of gun crime, ran at less than two dozen incidents a year in London; today, in our disarmed society, we suffer as many every week.

Gun controls disarm only the law-abiding, and leave predators with a freer hand. Nearly two and a half million people now fall victim to crimes of violence in Britain every year, more than four every minute: crimes that may devastate lives. It is perhaps a privilege of those who have never had to confront violence to disparage the power to resist.

Richard Munday is editor and co-author of Guns & Violence: the Debate Before Lord Cullen

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General Geoff
September 7, 2007, 07:49 PM
*falls over*

September 7, 2007, 07:50 PM
wow. good read

September 7, 2007, 07:55 PM
Awesome. Absolutely wonderful. Perhaps there's hope for the world yet.

September 7, 2007, 08:19 PM
God, I hope so.

I'd just about given up on them.

Come on, you Britons!

Take back your heritage!

I'd rather shed tears of joy and thanks, than tears or bitterness and loss.

September 7, 2007, 08:23 PM

I don't really think public opinion is changing that much, just one guy who wrote an editorial. But the more people put an opinion out in the public, the more the public will start to accept that opinion.

September 7, 2007, 08:26 PM
this article is a "MUST READ"

September 7, 2007, 08:36 PM
Too few people care that their liberties are gone. Check the facts and we all know them, England never had a huge gun crime problem until they banned the law abiding from having them.

I'll keep my fingers crossed. If enough people got educated about it, maybe something would change.

The Viking
September 7, 2007, 08:41 PM
I'm shocked.

September 7, 2007, 08:43 PM
Very refreshing article from the UK. Well done.

September 7, 2007, 09:00 PM
Wow. I'd be shocked if that showed up on a mainstream American news site, let alone one in the UK. :eek:

September 7, 2007, 09:03 PM
Good article.

Only mistake was Virginia Tech didn't have "32 students were shot in April". There were 32 killed (not incl. Cho) and 28 more woulded.

Australian Shooter
September 7, 2007, 09:09 PM
It shows that there is still a little bit of hope for the British, well done Richard Munday.

September 7, 2007, 09:09 PM

Not sure whether he was demeaning us by calling us their "colonial cousins" :scrutiny:

But that was a good read. Extremely interesting. I hope that gets around alot.

September 7, 2007, 10:44 PM
Gosh, that was a great article. Thanks for posting it!

September 7, 2007, 10:47 PM
It must have taken some serious nerve for a British person to stand up like that.

Great job!

Bartholomew Roberts
September 7, 2007, 10:48 PM
Be sure and give the link a click. We do want to teach newspapers that pro-gun articles mean more eyes for advertisers.

The Canuck
September 7, 2007, 11:02 PM


September 7, 2007, 11:19 PM
When do you think the author will be arrested for "anti-social" behavior?


September 8, 2007, 12:07 AM
I am beginning to think that he's already taking a deep drink somewhere.

September 8, 2007, 01:12 AM
ARFIN GREEBLY - "Hope For England?"

Huh uh. Ain't gonna happen.


September 8, 2007, 02:32 AM
I answered anyway.
Well said.

I have wept for England and just about given her up as lost.

It is, perhaps, much to hope, but I wish for England that rationality and courage return to her shores and to her people.

A civilized people looks to its own defense, not to the ministrations of an overbearing nanny entity dedicated to conformity and compliance.

My fondest hope for this Island Nation is the return of honor and dignity to its citizens.
Because . . . why not?

September 8, 2007, 02:48 AM
Same Author, Different paper
There's only one way to protect ourselves – and here's the proof

By Richard Munday
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 23/01/2005

Today, 96 years ago, London was rocked by a terrorist outrage. Two Latvian anarchists, who had crossed the Channel after trying to blow up the president of France, attempted an armed wages robbery in Tottenham. Foiled at the outset when the intended victims fought back, the anarchists attempted to shoot their way out.

A dramatic pursuit ensued involving horses and carts, bicycles, cars and a hijacked tram. The fleeing anarchists fired some 400 shots, leaving a policeman and a child dead, and some two dozen other casualties, before they were ultimately brought to bay. They had been chased by an extraordinary posse of policemen and local people, armed and unarmed. Along the way, the police (whose gun cupboard had been locked, and the key mislaid) had borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by in the street, while other armed citizens joined the chase in person.

Today, when we are inured to the idea of armed robbery and drive-by shootings, the aspect of the "Tottenham Outrage" that is most likely to shock is the fact that so many ordinary members of the public at that time should have been carrying guns in the street. Bombarded with headlines about an emergent "gun culture" in Britain now, we are apt to forget that the real novelty is the notion that the general populace in this country should be disarmed.

In a material sense, Britain today has much less of a "gun culture" than at any time in its recent history. A century ago, the possession and carrying of firearms was perfectly normal here. Firearms were sold without licence in gunshops and ironmongers in virtually every town in the country, and grand department stores such as Selfridge's even offered customers an in-house range. The market was not just for sporting guns: there was a thriving domestic industry producing pocket pistols and revolvers, and an extensive import trade in the cheap handguns that today would be called "Saturday Night Specials". Conan Doyle's Dr Watson, dropping a revolver in his pocket before going out about town, illustrates a real commonplace of that time. Beatrix Potter's journal records a discussion at a small country hotel in Yorkshire, where it turned out that only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver.

We should not fool ourselves, however, that such things were possible then because society was more peaceful. Those years were ones of much more social and political turbulence than our own: with violent and incendiary suffrage protests, massive industrial strikes where the Army was called in and people were killed, where there was the menace of a revolutionary General Strike, and where the country was riven by the imminent prospect of a civil war in Ireland. It was in such a society that, as late as 1914, the right even of an Irishman to carry a loaded revolver in the streets was upheld in the courts (Rex v. Smith, KB 1914) as a manifestation simply of the guarantees provided by our Bill of Rights.

In such troubled times, why did the commonplace carrying of firearms not result in mayhem? How could it be that in the years before the First World War, armed crime in London amounted to less than 2 per cent of what we see today? One answer that might have been taken as self-evident then, but which has become political anathema now, is that the prevalence of firearms had a stabilising influence and a deterrent effect upon crime. Such deterrent potential was indeed acknowledged in part in Britain's first Firearms Act, which was introduced as an emergency measure in response to fears of a Bolshevik upheaval in 1920. Home Office guidance on the implementation of the Act recognised "good reason for having a revolver if a person lives in a solitary house, where protection from thieves and burglars is essential". The Home Office issued more restrictive guidance in 1937, but it was only in 1946 that the new Labour Home Secretary announced that self-defence would no longer generally be accepted as a good reason for acquiring a pistol (and as late as 1951 this reason was still being proffered in three-quarters of all applications for pistol licences, and upheld in the courts). Between 1946 and 1951, we might note, armed robbery, the most significant index of serious armed crime, averaged under two dozen incidents a year in London; today, that number is exceeded every week.

The Sunday Telegraph's Right to Fight Back campaign is both welcome and a necessity. However, an abstract right that leaves the weaker members of society – particularly the elderly – without the means to defend themselves, has only a token value. As the 19th-century jurist James Paterson remarked in his Commentaries on the Liberty of the Subject and the Laws of England Relating to the Security of the Person: "In all countries where personal freedom is valued, however much each individual may rely on legal redress, the right of each to carry arms – and these the best and the sharpest – for his own protection in case of extremity, is a right of nature indelible and irrepressible, and the more it is sought to be repressed the more it will recur."

Restrictive "gun control" in Britain is a recent experiment, in which the progressive "toughening" of the regulation of legal gun ownership has been followed by an increasingly dramatic rise in violent armed crime. Eighty-four years after the legal availability of pistols was restricted to Firearm Certificate holders, and seven years after their private possession was generally prohibited, they still figure in 58 per cent of armed crimes. Home Office evidence to the Dunblane Inquiry prior to the handgun ban indicated that there was an annual average of just two incidents in which licensed pistols appeared in crime. If, as the Home Office still asserts, "there are links between firearms licensing and armed crime", the past century of Britain's experience has shown the link to be a sharply negative one.

If Britain was a safer country without our present system of denying firearms to the law-abiding, is deregulation an option? That is precisely the course that has been pursued, with conspicuous success in combating violent crime, in the United States.

For a long time it has been possible to draw a map of the United States showing the inverse relationship between liberal gun laws and violent crime. At one end of the scale are the "murder capitals" of Washington, Chicago and New York, with their gun bans (New York City has had a theoretical general prohibition of handguns since 1911); at the other extreme, the state of Vermont, without gun laws, and with the lowest rate of violent crime in the Union (a 13th that of Britain). From the late Eighties, however, the relative proportions on the map have changed radically. Prior to that time it was illegal in much of the United States to bear arms away from the home or workplace, but Florida set a new legislative trend in 1987, with the introduction of "right-to-carry" permits for concealed firearms.
Telegraph - TravelShop

Issue of the new permits to law-abiding citizens was non-discretionary, and of course aroused a furore among gun control advocates, who predicted that blood would flow in the streets. The prediction proved false; Florida's homicide rate dropped, and firearms abuse by permit holders was virtually non-existent. State after state followed Florida's suit, and mandatory right-to-carry policies are now in place in 35 of the United States.

In a nationwide survey of the impact of the legislation, John Lott and David Mustard of the University of Chicago found that by 1992, right-to-carry states had already seen an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Extrapolating from the 10 states that had then implemented the policy, Lott and Mustard calculated that had right-to-carry legislation been nationwide, an annual average of some 1,400 murders, 4,200 rapes and more than 60,000 aggravated assaults might have been averted. The survey has lent further support to the research of Professor Kleck, of Florida State University, who found that firearms in America serve to deter crime at least three times as often as they appear in its commission.

Over the last 25 years the number of firearms in private hands in the United States has more than doubled. At the same time the violent crime rate has dropped dramatically, with the significant downswing following the spread of right-to-carry legislation. The US Bureau of Justice observes that "firearms-related crime has plummeted since 1993", and it has declined also as a proportion of overall violent offences. Violent crime in total has declined so much since 1994 that it has now reached, the bureau states, "the lowest level ever recorded". While American "gun culture" is still regularly the sensational subject of media demonisation in Britain, the grim fact is that in this country we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States.

Today, on this anniversary of the "Tottenham Outrage", it is appropriate that we reflect upon how the objects of outrage in Britain have changed within a lifetime. If we now find the notion of an armed citizenry anathema, what might the Londoners of 1909 have made of our own violent, disarmed society?

•Richard Munday is the author of Most Armed & Most Free? and co-author of Guns & Violence: The Debate Before Lord Cullen

September 8, 2007, 04:16 AM
Both of those articles should be read and spread far and wide.

September 8, 2007, 04:46 AM
so much sense...i can hardly believe it...

September 8, 2007, 05:09 AM

Can't wait to hear from some of our British high roaders...

September 8, 2007, 05:43 AM
Yes!!! Double wow!!!

Amazing read, both articles by Richard Munday. Now that's a b@llsy fellow.

September 8, 2007, 06:22 AM
this is how ideas begin. With a valid and solid seed or germ of an idea.

In time this seed will grow, and spread.

It in all a matter of how much time.


September 8, 2007, 06:41 AM
How did he get those published!?!!? :what:

Kudos to someone who has common sense.

September 8, 2007, 11:50 AM
i really liked the comparison of british crime rates with vermont.

anyone have any links to vermont data? as in, if I bring this up and people want proof, where do I go?

September 8, 2007, 12:00 PM
Any feedback from readers in the UK about these ideas? I'd love to believe that the average subject's views were in line with the sentiment of the article. Any blogs or forums "over there" commenting on the articles?

September 8, 2007, 12:39 PM
I find it instructive that most of the more recently UK-published crime statistics don't even *mention* the terms "firearm", "handgun" or even "knife" - and there are usually no headings related to firearms-related crime. I guess if you outlaw it, you can't have it, so you can't even mention it.

Odd Job
September 8, 2007, 12:58 PM
That was a fine article.

September 8, 2007, 01:24 PM
That's the best thing I've seen out of Britain since Monty Python.

September 8, 2007, 02:06 PM
It must have taken some serious nerve for a British person to stand up like that.

Great job!

Of course, a guy standing up has a better chance of getting shot. He needs to learn to duck just like the rest of the people in the UK.

People talk of places turning into the "Wild West" if gun controls are relaxed. I can only hope. From what I hear people were quite safe to walk the streets. From what I hear one's biggest threat to their life and property was alcohol. It's hard to defend against an attacker when you can't hold your revolver steady.

The only good gun control is hitting what you're aiming for.

September 8, 2007, 02:15 PM
Dear chieftain. the powers to be will never let this flower grow but squash it,its a nice thread but nothing will change.

September 8, 2007, 04:36 PM
Richard Munday (who I have known, on and off, for some years) is a long-time pro gun activist here.

September 8, 2007, 04:49 PM
Very articulate and eloquent reasoning. Kudos!

But obviously, this will never survive in the hands of the Ministry of Truth.

September 8, 2007, 05:17 PM
...does this mean we might see some new production Webley's in the near future? :) Great article, thanks for posting it.

September 8, 2007, 05:29 PM
big +1 to the author of those articles and to whover found them to give us a read.

September 8, 2007, 05:30 PM
Wow... just.. wow. I can't believe this guy is British... amazing.

September 8, 2007, 05:37 PM
Great article. I'll have a look around and see what the reaction is from bloggers and so on.

September 8, 2007, 05:47 PM
This is not an news article, it is a opinion piece written by a person who is not employed by the London times. It is good that the LT even published it but it is just one mans opinion against millions.

September 8, 2007, 07:53 PM
but lots of the replies from readers (under the article) are anti... and almost all anti comments are from the USA - especially CA, Washington DC, and other states. Hard to get through to the sheeple and their dreams of a utopian society.

September 8, 2007, 08:30 PM
This should be required reading in American high schools. The parallels between where England is and where we are going is clear. Heck lets get this piece in US papers.
This keeps sheeple up at night, thinking of ways shut this kind of thinking down.

September 8, 2007, 10:32 PM
Wow. Gives one reason to be hopeful, eh wot?

It may be true that the second amendment protects the first, but it is also true that free speech protects RKBA. As long as people are free to express their views, glimmers of truth and rationality will break out now and then.

Even in GB.


Black Knight
September 8, 2007, 10:53 PM
Finally a journalist who used their head for something other than separating their ears. I hope this is the start of a new trend.

Henry Bowman
September 8, 2007, 10:54 PM
Richard Munday (who I have known, on and off, for some years) is a long-time pro gun activist here.Mk VII, please invite him to join us here on THR!

September 8, 2007, 11:08 PM
I had a look for British blog reactions. I could only see three that linked to the article, but only two of those had any reaction to it:

Both positive :)

September 8, 2007, 11:10 PM
I'm nearly astonished. Cudos to the journalist who had the guts to publish/write this.

September 9, 2007, 08:32 AM
***? European mainstream media publishing pro-gun articles? Awesome - great article!

I especially like these lines We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.

September 9, 2007, 05:37 PM
I cannot believe the number of THR members that think that all members of the UK are anti-gun. Even after some very insightful comments by THR members from the UK.
Is every American a wife-beater wearin' ,NASCAR watchin', gun totin' redneck?

There is an incredible amount of diversity just among the members of this site, let alone across the USA. How can anyone paint each and every person from the UK with the same brush?


September 9, 2007, 06:37 PM
How can anyone paint each and every person from the UK with the same brush?

A large number of people round here seem happy to do so, from the well-polished aphorisms they wheel out every time the subject gets discussed.
I have, over the months and years, got[ten] the feeling that many here do not wish us well, and a much smaller number actively wish us ill.

September 9, 2007, 06:48 PM
I don't wish anybody ill. The submission of free men amazes me, the thought of that catching on here is terrifying.

We have no shortage of faux intellectuals who believe the Europeans do everything best, and would love to copy some of your (British) politics.

The Unknown User
September 9, 2007, 07:36 PM
These are awesome.

September 9, 2007, 10:10 PM
Mk 7, As a full blooded American (whatever that means, and no I am not Native American) I (and my SMLE) wait for the people and politicians of your country to come back to their senses. I know many UK citizens and most were gunnies. I hope that you will get to enjoy some form of normal gun ownership in the near future. Maybe articles like the one in the lead thread will help towards that end.

The Canuck
September 9, 2007, 10:56 PM
I actually sent in a letter in strong support of this piece, but it has not yet been published.

September 10, 2007, 01:16 AM
Even after some very insightful comments by THR members from the UK.
Is every American a wife-beater wearin' ,NASCAR watchin', gun totin' redneck?

Well, there are quite a few of them that think we all sound like Jeff Foxworthy :D

September 10, 2007, 05:19 AM
This article makes a change from the ignorant comments,that the antis make,which drives me mad,just by reading them.At least a journalist here has bothered to research properly,instead of going in guns blazing,so to speak.I wish that more journalists were as honest and decent as that one,instead of creating articles,based on lies and half-truths,about guns,shooting sports and crime.

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