The home office released its crime figures today and “Gun crime” rose by 4% (see previous article). The BBC news gave this item second billing but in its keenness to show just how bad crime is, involving guns it used a typical media trick. The first shot was of an AK47 type rifle, it then proceeded to show a display of handguns.
Let us start with the first shot. The AK47 type of rifle along with many other types of semi automatic (one squeeze of the trigger one shot then release to fire again) firearms were banned in the late 80’s. Those items not banned were reduced in capacity to one in the breech and two in the magazine. Handguns were banned in 1997 in all their form including competition handguns. This has meant that all of the British pistol shooting team must train abroad. So no longer is it the best that will represent the UK in competition but the richest. That is not to say that they are not good shots but there is every possibility that an Olympic competitor cannot rise to the top because they are not given the opportunity. This example alone is against all that is held sacred by the Olympic charter.
The second point of issue is that the weapons displayed and shown have all been made illegal to own or possess in the UK. Many collectors and shooting enthusiast, being the law abiding people that they are, handed in these firearms when requested. They were sold a story of a safer society because they no longer owned these guns. Yet now we see 20 and 11years later that the law abiding were not the problem. With over 200 crimes committed each day involving a firearm, I would have at a guess not a single licensed one amongst them.
By virtue of being in possession of a license, a firearms owner of whatever type is in the top 1% of law-abiding members of society. Many have never had a parking ticket or a speeding fine. To put this in some kind of perspective those that certify the firearms owner only fall in amongst the top 5% of people unlikely to commit an offence. Yet time after time when the politicians look at what to do about the rising crime figures more and more punitive measures are taken out against the honest and law abiding, whilst those that commit the many crimes listed are given a sympathetic ear. The new laws, which will come in light of these new figures, will do nothing to solve, reduce or protect anyone from the criminals who undertake these actions.
If as an individual, you do nothing you can expect to loose your guns a piece at a time. The thin end of the wedge was 20 years ago and every little tap knocks it in a bit further. With over 1.5million licenses in the UK, the biggest shooting organisation BASC is at the last count running at 125,000 members less than 10% of shooters. If you take out all those members who do not shoot the figure is even more depressing. The NRA (UK) is proud to boast nearly 6,000 members; NSRA and CPSA are equally as low. There are a small minority of individuals who are doing their best to help keep shooting alive in the UK. What are you doing? As they say in the states “while we’re pulling your riding in the wagon”. So find an organisation that addresses your sporting needs and join today and then if you can either take up another shooting discipline or take a friend shooting.
Link to BBC story.