I wrote yesterday about a silly proposal in the United Kingdom to ban long kitchen knives.
Some people objected because the story was from last decade, but that misses the point. Proponents of the Second Amendment are vigilant against encroachments in part because we’re worried about the slippery slope.
I predicted in yesterday’s piece that at some point the Brits would resort to banning long knives. I hope I’m wrong, but my prediction is based on what the U.K. government has done with gun control.
Ever since 1920, the government has made it more and more difficult for law-abiding people to possess weapons. And in a perverse example of Mitchell’s Law, the failure of one policy is then used to justify the next policy.
That’s how proposals that sound radical and foolish sometimes get implemented many years later.
We don’t know if this will lead to a knife ban at some point, but we can look at evidence showing that gun control in the U.K. was a precursor for a gun ban. And we also know such policies don’t reduce crime.
Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm of George Mason University has a column in the Wall Street Journal, looking at the impact of anti-gun policies in the United Kingdom.
…the Firearms Act of 1998…instituted a nearly complete ban on handguns. Owners of pistols were required to turn them in. The penalty for illegal possession of a pistol is up to 10 years in prison. The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns 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 some British police carrying guns for the first time.
By the way, it’s not just gun crime that has gone up. The U.K. has become a much more dangerous and violent society – almost surely in part because the thugs don’t have to worry about armed resistance.
Heck, if you are one of the few legal gun owners in the nation and you shoot a burglar, you get arrested instead of a pat on the back.
The U.K.’s draconian restrictions on individual liberty lead to some Orwellian consequences. Professor Malcolm offers up two examples.
Meanwhile, law-abiding citizens who have come into the possession of a firearm, even accidentally, have been harshly treated. In 2009 a former soldier, Paul Clarke, found a bag in his garden containing a shotgun. He brought it to the police station and was immediately handcuffed and charged with possession of the gun. At his trial the judge noted: “In law there is no dispute that Mr. Clarke has no defence to this charge. The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant.” Mr. Clarke was sentenced to five years in prison. A public outcry eventually won his release. In November of this year, Danny Nightingale, member of a British special forces unit in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military prison for possession of a pistol and ammunition. Sgt. Nightingale was given the Glock pistol as a gift by Iraqi forces he had been training. It was packed up with his possessions and returned to him by colleagues in Iraq after he left the country to organize a funeral for two close friends killed in action. Mr. Nightingale pleaded guilty to avoid a five-year sentence and was in prison until an appeal and public outcry freed him on Nov. 29.
Amazing…and nauseating. I already had written about the unjust treatment of Mr. Clarke, but Mr. Nightingale’s legal nightmare is just as absurd.
Gun control laws are utterly perverse. They don’t work, just like prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s, and just like today’s Drug War is an unmitigated failure.
Gun bans turn law-abiding people into criminals, while simultaneously making life easier for the low-life scum of society.
And as the welfare state begins to fall apart and civil unrest becomes more common, the deadly impact of these bad policies will become even more apparent.