Overseas experiences

The Right to Protect Yourself #7

How Effective are Gun Bans Overseas?

The USA is not alone with the problem of mentally deranged individuals and criminals. Despite already stringent gun laws, both Britain and Australia suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. They decided that even stricter gun control was the most effective way to guarantee your safety and your right to protect yourself.

British Experiences with Banning Gun Ownership

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After the 1987 Hungerford shooting, the government decided to ban semiautomatic rifles and control shotguns the same as pistols and rifles. Magazines were drastically limited, just two shells with a third in the chamber.

A decade later, the 1998 Firearms Act instituted a nearly complete ban on handguns after the Dunblane massacre by a deranged man. Owners of pistols were required to surrender them and the penalty for illegally having one is up to 10 years in prison.

British Results

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Gun Control reduces drunk driving by restricting sober drivers
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Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.
There is now clarity on the results. To the amazement of gun control advocates, the complete opposite of those they expected. According to the Wall Street Journal:

"Within a decade of the handgun ban and their confiscation from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have resulted in some British police carrying guns for the first time."

Despite Britain's virtually complete denial of
your right to protect yourself, another shooting spree occurred in 2010. A taxi driver in Cumbria shot his brother then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

Making Criminals out of Heroes

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The absurdly strict gun control laws don't make you any safer but they do make criminals out of Britain's heroes. In 2009 a former soldier, Paul Clarke, found a bag in his garden containing a shotgun. He took it to the police station and was immediately handcuffed and charged with gun possession. His trial judge noted: "The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant," and gave Mr. Clarke an extended prison sentence. Fortunately, a public outcry eventually resulted in his release.

In 2012, Danny Nightingale, a British war hero, was sentenced to 18 months in military prison for possession of a firearm. Sgt. Nightingale was gifted the Glock pistol by Iraqi forces he had been training. It was packed up with his possessions and returned to him after he had left to organize a funeral for close friends killed in action. Mr. Nightingale pleaded guilty to avoid a five-year sentence and was in prison until a public outcry set him free.

So, in Britain, war heroes are jailed yet a Muslim extremist advocating violence walks free. Whenever the government passes prescriptive laws insisting there's only one way - their way - to do something,
government failure surely follows.

The Australian Ban on Guns

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Six weeks after the 1996 Dunblane massacre, an Australian with a lifelong history of violence, Martin Bryant, attacked tourists at a Port Arthur prison site in Tasmania with semiautomatic rifles. He killed 35 people and wounded 21 others.

At that time,
Australia's guns laws were even stricter than those in the UK. In lieu of the British requirement that an applicant looking to purchase a gun have a "good reason," Australia required a "genuine reason." Hunting and protecting crops were genuine reasons - but personal protection was not.

So Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement, banning all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns and imposing an even more restrictive system on other firearms. The government also launched a forced buyback scheme to remove thousands of firearms from private hands. In 1997, the government purchased and destroyed more than 60,000 banned guns at a cost of $500 million.

Australian Results

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Such decisive government action banning guns must have been highly effective, right? No. Not at all!

While the law and buyback generated much controversy, in 2008, the Australian Institute of Criminology reported a decrease of 9% in homicides and a one-third decrease in armed robbery since the 1990s, but an increase of over 40% in assaults and 20% in sexual assaults.

A 2003 study published by the Brookings Institution found that homicides just "continued a modest decline." They concluded that the impact of Australia's National Firearms Agreement was "relatively small." The use of handguns went up sharply, but only one out of 117 gun homicides used a registered gun in the two years following the new ban. Suicides with firearms went down but suicides by other means went up.

They reported "a modest reduction in the severity" of massacres in the five years since the government weapons buyback. These involved knives, gas and arson rather than firearms. Yet during the same period, deaths attributed to firearms in America dropped by nearly ten times the decline seen in Australia.

Lessons from Abroad

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What's the secret of success? Far stricter gun laws in Britain and Australia have been ineffective, they have neither made their citizens safer, nor has such self sabotage prevented massacres. But they have increased crime. The two major countries held up as models for the U.S. to copy provide evidence that making gun laws even more strict will NOT solve the highly obscure (to dimwits, obliviots, and politicians) problem: criminals and deranged individuals do not obey the law.

Across the world, government bans on people's
right to protect themselves with guns seem to be rather widely ignored. Thoughtful citizens, such as those in Australia, recognize the endemic problem of government failure - government incompetence at that most fundamental of tasks: protecting their citizens.

It's all enough to make you wonder. Do politicians really have the same goal as their citizens - the important task of ensuring everybody's safety? Or are they unscrupulous sophists who want the population disarmed by any means. If so, why? Are they determined to stay in power and fear resistance? Aren't the policies they implement entirely just?

What does work?
Switzerland is very prosperous, despite a more or less complete lack of natural resources. It's also among the most secure, Switzerland's automatic guns above every fireplace in the land make it one of the safest countries in the world. Are Swiss policies the demonstrably effective ones for America to copy?

** Your Next Step **

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Food for Thought

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"Eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing."

- Andrew Jackson, 1767-1845, 7th USA President, advocate of a small and limited federal government

The comprehensive Wall Street Journal report on the unintended consequences of Britain's gun ban, and the Tasmania massacre, is at:


The report on Britain's stringent gun laws now making criminals out of heroes is at:


The lack of significant impact from Australia's gun ban on both homicides and suicides is at:


The comparison of the American and Australian decline in firearm deaths is at:


This article was originally published at selfgrowth.com/articles/how-effective-are-gun-bans-overseas-part-7-in-the-right-to-protect-yourself
© Copyright worldwide Cris Baker, www.LifeStrategies.net. All rights reserved. Republishing welcomed under Creative Commons noncommercial no derivatives license preserving all links intact,
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