My move to the Rebel Colonies, Pt.1: Living in England disarmed
By Ray Butler
The freedoms Americans enjoy as per the Second Amendment is one that all should cherish and fight tooth and nail to keep. Living in England unarmed is a totally different way of life.
Mugging, robberies, and assaults in the streets are mainly carried out by persons carrying knives. The people who do have the guns are the criminals and they are mostly gun-related gun crimes.
Years ago the government, in their "wisdom," decided to ban all hand guns and if my memory serves me well, everyone had to hand in their firearms - even legal gun owners and those who had collections of them. At the time I was not involved with hand guns, but I was involved as the owner of a 12 gauge shotgun. It became extremely difficult to purchase a firearm and own it legally.
The sport and long guns that I had were used for clay and rough shooting with the shotgun. To own and keep 12 gauge in England in those days, the first step was to get an application form from the firearms officer at the local police station. Once the form was completed and returned to the firearms officer, you then had to wait until the firearms officer came to your home for an interview and to see where you were going to store your gun (that is after they have done a complete background check on you). After the interview, if everything is ok, it was just a case of waiting for the shotgun permit to be mailed to you, which could take 4 to 6 weeks. Once the permit was in your hand, you could then legally buy a long gun. Without the permit, you also couldn't legally buy any ammo.
Over the years, the authorities have seen fit to make it harder and harder to renew the permit, and so I reluctantly decided not to renew and I sold my guns.
The police, for the most part, are also unarmed except for an extended night stick. All police at the major airports are armed with Glock pistols and small H&K MP5s. As for armed police, most police districts have one police car designated as the armed response unit, which is the first (armed) responders to a violent situation. Also, there are the specialized teams very similar to the SWAT teams in the U.S.
Much as is the case in the United States, a majority of gun crimes are committed in areas where there is a high density population. There are all sorts of gangs in my former country: Russian, Chinese, Eastern Block countries and Middle Eastern and African, to name just a few. Like America, gangs can be a serious threat if the average citizen is not careful and aware.
Many Americans are familiar with a case in England where a fellow called Tony Martin shot two intruders in self-defense and was prosecuted and convicted for protecting his home. Both intruders turned out to have quite a lot of priors and a long rap sheet, but this information was not allowed to be presented during trial.
The reasons for which hunting has been banned (with a few exceptions) goes more to the style of hunting that was popular in the UK. Here in the USA one can go hunting with a gun, for deer and other game. But in the United Kingdom, hunting is done on horseback by the rich gentry with a pack of hounds. They chase and chase the stag until cornered or exhausted and then they let the pack of hounds tear the animal apart whilst alive. That also applies to fox hunting. If fox or badger went to ground the hunters would dig it out of its hiding place for the hounds to kill. Many people became upset by the perceived brutality of the hunt.
In Part 2, entitled "Living in America and buying my first handgun", Ray examines his experience of moving to the United States and becoming a truly free man, thanks to the United States Constitution.