British Gun Control Fails as 37 People are Shot in a Murder-Suicide Killing Spree

A cab driver in Northwest England is said to have killed 12 people and wound 25 others, despite the incredibly strict British gun control laws:

According to news reports, 52 year old Derrick Bird allegedly shot dead a colleague in the town of Whitehaven, then methodically drove through the countryside, shooting 36 additional victims at more than 30 separate crime scenes. After the killing spree, Mr. Bird committed suicide, and his body was found in a wooded area along with a shotgun and a rifle, according to police.

British gun laws are among the toughest in the world, with handguns and many other firearms having been banned outright (even the Olympic pistol team must leave the country to practice their sport). Citizens who wish to lawfully own a shotgun, which is one of the few guns that can still be owned, are required to have a certificate issued by their local chief of police.  Applicants must prove to the police that they have “good reason” for wanting the gun, are fit to own a gun, and that public safety will not be endangered. Police must personally interview every applicant and later visit their home to check that the gun is stored in a secure locker. Those individuals who violate the gun control laws – even by using a gun in self defense against violent home invaders – face severe penalties.

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Yet none of these laws prevented today’s mass killing spree.  indeed, this is not the first time that I’ve written about the failure of British gun control laws to disarm criminals.  To name a few cases, I’ve written about a pregnant British woman being raped by an armed home invader, and a British postal worker who was fatally shot by an armed robber.  I’ve mentioned how a British bicycle rider was gunned down, and how teenagers are often shot in London these days.  I’ve discussed how a former boxing champion and father of 2 young children was fatally shot in a smoke-free nightclub after politely asking a violent individual to stop smoking indoors.  Moving beyond those anecdotal evidence,  crime statistics show a 40% increase in handgun related crime in the first two years after the British banned handguns.  In sum, British gun control has failed to disarm the criminals, who get their guns on the black market – or simply manufacture their own illegal guns.

Rather than protecting British citizens, British gun control laws instead ensure that murderous criminals will have a monopoly on guns. Common sense should make clear the fact that a person bent on killing as many people as they can before committing suicide won’t think twice about the penalties for violating a gun control law.  On the other hand, the law abiding people (who weren’t going to commit mass murder in the first place) will obey the law, as they don’t wish to tarnish their good names with a criminal conviction.  The result is that the violent criminals are armed, while their victims are defenseless.

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Had just one of the Cumbria killing spree victims been armed self defense, this tragedy may well have been averted – just as happens in the United States when crime victims are armed.  Instead, the law abiding British citizens were gunned down, one by one, having been left defenseless by a misguided law that does more harm than good.

Remember, guns allow the elderly, the disabled, and the physically weaker to defend themselves against violent attackers, rather than being overpowered.  They allow women to defend themselves and their children, instead of becoming domestic violence statistics. Guns also allow a single person to successfully defend themselves against multiple attackers, who would otherwise be able to use their numerical advantage to deadly effect.  This article goes into much more detail on that point, and those who would like to read pages of real-life self defense examples may click here.  Statistics on the issue of armed self defense can be seen here.