Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gun violence exploding in the UK

Skull by xeni
Gun violence in the UK is interesting to me because of the many similarities between our legal systems, but the great divide on citizen ownership of firearms.

The British do not recognize a right to personal ownership of firearms. They do allow some guns, but the licensing restrictions are significant.

Pistols and assault rifles are strictly forbidden. Shotguns and rifles are pretty mush all you can get and that's tough. Air guns are pretty common, but there are even moves to make air guns difficult to own.

The BBC boils down gun laws in the UK this way:
It is much more difficult to get a gun in the UK [than in the US]. It is completely illegal to own a handgun unless you can prove you use it to kill vermin like rats, or it is an antique type gun.

You need a licence to buy a gun. Depending on what type of gun you want, you need to do different things to get a licence.

You need to prove you will store your gun properly, and give the police lots of information about yourself, including your medical records.

You also need to get two people to say to the police that they think you are a good person to own a gun. |BBC|
Despite these laws, gun crime in on the upswing in the UK.
According to government figures, in 2007 gun-related murders are up 18 per cent from the previous year...

A growing gang culture and gang-related violence are part of the problem. There's a perception among some young people that guns mean status and protection.

Although gun deaths are rising, knife-related killings still occur four times as often. In the capital alone, 12 teenagers have been stabbed to death so far this year. |UK shooting re-opens guns debate - Al Jazeera|
The absolute number of shooting victims in the UK this year strikes me as incredibly low. Given the level of gun violence we experience in the United States, I'm pretty desensitized to it, to be honest. A single person being shot hardly makes the news unless it was a child or happens in a wealthy neighborhood.

I understand why the uptick in gun crime is getting the Brits up in arms (so to speak), I just can't relate.

I rarely feel threatened by violence, but I do live in the most violent developed nation on Earth.
We invented Social Darwinism and we'll be damned if we're going to give it up after all these years.

Further, my daily media dose of shootings, bombings, assassinations, and torture from Iraq makes me think the US is a safe and tranquil place to live at the moment...

In Iraq, the coalition government allows every family to keep an AK for self-defense. Mandatory gun ownership is the first step towards the American dream...

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