Today’s murder of a British member of parliament is a sad reminder that gun ban laws will not stop a person who is bent upon committing a murder using a firearm.
The murder of Jo Cox
Jo Cox was a 41 year old British lawmaker who was shot and stabbed to death today. She was known as a humanitarian and an advocate for refugees. An attacker is said to have waited in ambush outside a library, where he is alleged to have attacked Cox with a gun and a knife. According to witnesses, the gun was either “antique or home made.” Cox died from her injuries.
A recap of British gun control
In a knee-jerk reaction to a pair of high-profile shootings, the British government enacted incredibly 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. Well intentioned but misguided people championed the cause of banning guns, thinking that such bans would prevent criminals from inflicting violence upon society.
Criminals, being criminals, chose to ignore those gun bans just as they chose to ignore laws prohibiting other crimes. The criminals continued to smuggle guns into the country, manufacture their own guns, and otherwise thumb their noses at the British gun control laws. The net result was the criminals continued to be armed with guns, while the law abiding citizens were left defenseless. Violent crime in general increased, and even gun-related crime increased despite the gun ban.
The lesson for us Americans to learn
In the wake of the Pulse mass murder, anti gun politicians are predictably calling for new gun bans. As the failure of British gun control shows, even the strictest nation-wide gun control laws will not prevent a person who wishes to obtain a gun from doing so. Indeed, given that British citizens enjoy fewer civil liberties than we Americans do, and their county is surrounded by an water (making their border easier to police), there is even less reason to think that a gun ban in the United State could possibly be effective. Moreover, the hundreds of millions of guns in the United States would not just vanish, even if the were somehow magically possible to prevent any new guns from being created at underground weapons factories or smuggled into the country.