Recent statistics from Britain indicate that a citizen is attacked in their own home by a violent burglar once every 30 minutes. Those statistics, along with my thoughts on British gun control, the British ban on self defense, and what all this means for law-abiding British citizens, can be seen below:
A householder is attacked by a violent burglar every 30 minutes. . . According to the BCS, householders came face-to-face with burglars in 20 per cent of domestic burglaries last year. . . Of the burglaries in which the victim came face-to-face with the intruder, violence was either used or threatened in 59 per cent of crimes. . . It was actually used in 40 per cent of cases. . . Tories estimated that householders came face-to-face with burglars in 57,000 – 20 per cent – of burglaries. . . Of these, 23,000 resulted in the burglar using violence against the householder.
The folly of British gun control
In a knee-jerk reaction to a pair of high-profile shootings, the British government enacted strict gun control at the national level. These anti gun laws went as far as to ban the .22 target pistols used by the British Olympic Pistol Team, forcing those athletes to go to Switzerland and France to practice their sport.
However, the gun ban laws didn’t stop criminals from acquiring and misusing guns. Instead, British criminals buy their guns the black market, or simply manufacture their own illegal guns. Crime statistics reflect this fact, showing a 40% increase in handgun related crime in the first two years after the gun ban took effect, and a doubling of gun-related crime in the first decade after the gun ban took effect.
It is also notable that even those British criminals who don’t have a gun are often quite capable of harming or killing their unarmed, physically weaker victims. In other words, a situation where neither the criminal nor the victim has a gun is often a situation in which the victim still loses. As an example, this elderly British man was tortured to death in his own home by unarmed criminals who incorrectly thought he had large amounts of cash they could steal. This elderly British woman was severely beaten and left for dead by an unarmed sadistic home invader who simply felt like harming another human for the fun of it. Similarly, this disabled woman was slashed with a knife by a gang of teenagers who attacked her and stabbed her dog to death for no reason at all. As a final example, I would note the stabbing death of Pat Regan, who was an anti-gun crusader. Again, looking at crime statistics rather than anecdotal evidence, stabbings in Britain have risen since the gun ban was enacted, and the stabbing of juveniles is up a staggering 72% over the last 10 years.
The injustice of the British ban on self defense
Making matters worse, the British legal system seems to treat crime victims worse than it treats the criminals who attacked them. An example is the Tony Martin case:
Tony Martin was a farmer, whose remote farmhouse had been broken in to many times. Martin feared future burglary attempts and the risk of being attacked by a violent burglar. When a pair of burglars broke in while he was home, Martin opened fire with a pump action shotgun. The 16-year-old burglar Fred Barras was killed, and 33-year-old Brendon Fearon was wounded in the leg. Later on that day, the police arrested Tony Martin and charged him with the crimes of murder and wounding with intent. At trial, Martin argued that he had acted in self defense, but the court found that he had fired while they were trying to flee. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, although the conviction was later reduced to manslaughter with a 5 year sentence. The surviving criminal, who had over 30 criminal convictions, then sued Tony Martin for the injury he suffered during the burglary. The parole board refused to grant Tony Martin an early release because he “has shown no remorse and would continue to pose a danger to any other burglars.” Martin was eventually released from prison after spending years in prison and being vilified by the anti-gun groups in the UK for shooting criminals who had broken into his home.
Another example, from 2009, also shows how the British legal system favors criminals over their victims:
A millionaire businessman has been jailed for attacking a man who held his family hostage in their own home – while the criminal went free. Munir Hussain, who was threatened at knifepoint and tied up by a gang of masked men in his living room last year, was told he must go to prison for 30 months to preserve “civilised society”. But Walid Salem, a criminal with more than 50 convictions, was handed a two-year supervision order for his role in the break-in at an earlier hearing. He was one of three men who ambushed Mr Hussain, his wife and children as they returned to their home in High Wycombe, Bucks, on Sept 3 last year after attending Ramadan prayers at their local mosque, Reading Crown Court heard. Their hands were tied behind their backs and they were forced to crawl from room to room before being forced to lie down in the living room. But when Hussain’s teenage son managed to escape and raise the alarm, he seized his chance and turned on his captors. . . The brothers were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent by a jury in September. Sentencing, Judge John Reddihough told them it was his “public duty” to jailing Munir Hussain for 30 months and his brother for 39 months. . .
For a discussion of why the outcomes of these cases where improper, see this article on the Tony Martin case, this article on second guessing crime victims who act in self defense, this article on why robbery is a crime against the victim’s person, rather than their property, and this article on vigilantism versus self defense.
The bottom line for law-abiding British citizens
The short answer is that law abiding British citizens are in an unenviable situation. They have been stripped of their right to have a gun for self defense, and can face prison time for using ordinary household objects to defend themselves against violent burglars. British criminals, on the other hand, are sitting pretty. They have access to an ever increasing supply of illegal guns, along with an ever increasing supply of defenseless victims. In the rare cases where the victim is able to act in self defense, the attacking criminal may be able to strike it rich by suing the victim.
While I am always proud to be an American, that feeling is especially strong as I finish writing this article.