My dearest friends of the people and the government of the United Kingdom,
As an European brother, I have been deeply shocked by the events of last wednesday in Cumbria, when a gun-toting madman has left 12 dead and scores injuried. As many others, I extend my condoleances to the families and friends of the victims and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to those wounded, and I am close to the feelings of the entire British nation.
However, as a gunwriter, as a firearms enthusiast and a shooter, as an expert in the field, and as a citizen of a Country where firearms, even those of the kind forbidden in the UK, are available to civilian owners withouth this meaning bloody shootings daily, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the terrible events in Cumbria sign the definitive failure of gun politics in the United Kingdom. After two similar disgraces (Hungerford, 8/19/1987; and Dunblane, 3/13/1996), the British people was forced by two consecutive acts to basically give up their rights to firearm ownership, which was recognized to them by the Bill of Rights and the Common Law, and which were sistematically trampled on due to the lack of a written constitution for the Country, which has basically allowed politicians and political pressure groups, either inside and outside of the Parliament, to do whatever they wanted about the matter. The lack of a lobbying or legislative/popular action in defense of said rights has contributed to the current situation, where the law-abiding citizens of the United Kingdom have been spoiled of their legitimate sporting, hunting and defense means. Even worse, and like already happened in other Countries that enacted strict (and useless) gun control laws, like Australia, most of gun regulations have been left to be written by the Police, which has thus arbitrarily elevated itself from a mere Law Enforcement organ to a regulatory agency with no mandate from the People.
To those who might argue that less guns means less crime, I will respond that it's actually true the contrary. A responsible armed citizenship has shown itself under many ways, and in many concrete cases, to be instrumental for the safety and security of a free State, both inside and outside of the borders. Not going as far as quoting the armed citizenship/militia systems upon which Switzerland bases its defense policy, in Countries where gun ownership is generally accepted, like the United States of America, which unlike the common beliefs has NOT a dramatically high crime rate in proportion to its population and its social/economic figures (as a confirmation of how crime is more tied to social and economic issues rather than to the circulation of instruments of crime), the free circulation of armed citizen has saved multiple lives from acts of violent assault, while places where gun carry by law-abiding citizens was banned have been often the target for some of the most gruesome crimes ever perpetrated (see the Virginia-Tech shooting of 4/16/2007). In my Country, Italy, the possibility for shopkeepers to possess and carry firearms for personal and property defense saves many of them from being victims of crime every year; so does the possibility for any entitled citizen to carry a concealed firearm (when licensed), and the normal habit, authorized by law, for Police and private security personnel, which already always carry a pistol while on-duty, to retain and carry their service weapon in off-duty hours, makes headlines as being instrumental in stopping crime almost every day.
On the contrary, the United Kingdom still persists in keeping its law enforcers of the basic means of crime-stopping; a truncheon can be mildly apt for stopping a mugger, but not much more, and may not even be enough for petty criminals, whom, despite the strict gun control laws of the UK, still have access to a wide array of firearms, and when they don't (or when they don't carry them in order not to be charged with higher offences should they be apprehended), they often carry knives, metal bars, knuckles, rods, sticks, and other more or less improvised weapons to subdue their victims and any law enforcer who might want to try and stop them.
Despite this, the law-abiding citizens of the United Kingdom have been disarmed and left defenseless by those who have told you, during the years, that "every firearm is a bad gun and a potential instrument of death", and whom are most probably preparing their final assault after the events in Cumbria, with legislative actions that may lead to the ban and confiscation of the very few types of firearms still allowed for ownership in the UK (shotguns, repeater and rimfire rifles/carbines), and thus disastrously realizing their utopia of a "totally disarmed society", where firearms are sole monopoly of the Police and Armed Forces; the only effect of this will be an increase in crime and oppression of the innocents by the Úlite which will remain armed, as well as by the criminals, whom notoriously do NOT respect the laws (otherwise, they would not be criminals!), and whom will thus remain heavily, defiantly armed.
I have two suggestions for the People of the U.K. to make theirs and to support, and hopefully for the newly-instated Government of the U.K. to turn into law so to make sure that such disastrous consequences don't hit the Great Britain any longer.
- Repeal the Firearms (Amendment) Acts of 1988 and 1997: give back to the law-abiding British citizens the possibility to practice hunting, sport, and to defend themselves with the typologies of weapons currently restricted or banned (handguns, shotguns with over 2 rounds of ammunition capacity, semi-automatic centerfire rifles/carbines). This will put an end to the current absurd, unfair situation that sees hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of honest citizens scapegoated and penalized for the crimes of a few madmen and muggers, and will allow the British people to defend themselves for crimes and acts of madness in the future.
- Reorganize the Police forces in the United Kingdom: thoroughly train ALL Police personnel in firearms handling and use, and finally issue ALL today-unarmed Police with pistols, to be carried at all times when on-duty (very few people know that, today, ALL investigative Police personnel in the UK is ALREADY always armed: why shouldn't uniformed patrol Police be?), and authorize them to carry the same firearms with them when off-duty. These measures will allow a readier, speedier Police response to all kinds of violent crime, and will act as a crime prevention factor, as muggers around will know that an armed policeman, even if off-duty, might be always around. The UK needs to abandon the outdated idea of "policing by consent", as it is a true contradiction in terms: it's obvious that were there's "consent" about a law, there is no need for "policing", or "Law Enforcement", which by itself implies often the use of FORCE to make a law be respected. Laws, like the ones against guns, do not prevent crime: they PUNISH crime. Prevention of crime is work for Police, and might be a possibility for all individual citizens, whom might exercise it if given the right instruments, rather than just being passive witnesses, or worse, victims.
My due respect to you, my British friends and brothers. Hoping you will listen the words of a faraway Italian friend, I salute you.
Armi e Munizioni - Tecnologia e Difesa
Editoriale Olimpia SpA
Lungotevere Flaminio 60
00198 ROME (RM) - Italy
Phone +39 0645474902
Fax +39 0645474906