Friday, 18 January 2013

Ending a small war

We are lucky that Britain has had very few mass shootings in modern times. During the latter half of the 20th century there were only two incidents -  The 1987 Hungerford massacre and in 1996 the Dunblane school massacre; each led to ringing public and political demands to restrict firearm use.

The result is that we have  the strictest firearms laws in the world.  The law bans most semi-automatic weapons, long-barrelled weapons the private possession of most handguns, if you want to shoot you have to join a club.  However, this did not stop the shootings in Durham in 2010 when Derrick Bird's rampage cost 13 lives and 11 other injured. Bird held legal permits for three shotguns and a rifle, so this regime isn't the perfect answer.

As a partial of these restriction (maybe) we have low rates of death caused by shootings  with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States 3.0 (that 30,000 lives a year - a small war).

These changes to the law on gun ownership where a direct result of a public clamour demanding change.  It is therefore very strange for us to see the results in the graph below, which show the public attitudes to gun ownership in the US.

This should remind us Brits and Americans that although we speak the same language, we worship the same God (open to dispute), we enjoy the same culture (broadly) and we are somewhat related biologically  - in fact we are foreigners to each other as much as the Mongolians are foreigners to us in Britain!

Prior post on the same subject - so you know I am biased!

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