UK Mayhem Leaves Disarmed Citizens at the Mercy of Criminals

By now you have seen the headlines and images of destruction: the rioting, looting, violent assaults, and arson. London and other UK cities look like war zones and their citizens are afraid to venture out, because the danger is very real. It's a view of the temporary breakdown of society. It is gut check time; a time when the concept of being able to defend oneself gives way to the stark reality that few viable options to do so exist.

Gun laws in the UK are among the most restrictive in the world. In March of 1996, a deranged man walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and killed 16 children and one teacher. In the aftermath of this tragedy, British politicians sought to reduce violent crime by enacting a ban on all handguns. Handgun owners were given a February 1998 deadline to turn in their firearms--and they did. The UK was supposed to become a much safer place--but dramatic increases in crime following the gun ban proved it didn't.

A July 3, 2009, Daily Mail article reported that "Britain's violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European Union, it has been revealed. Official crime figures show the U.K. also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa."

And the current bedlam has proved it further. Restrictive laws concerning long-guns, combined with the outright ban on handguns, leave the country's citizens largely defenseless (it was reported this week that sales of one type of aluminum baseball bats on Amazon UK rose 6,541 percent). In many places, it was reported that police were unable to stop the mayhem. As a result, panicked, defenseless law-abiding citizens were forced to flee their homes, while others watched as their businesses were destroyed. Compare this to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when armed citizens were able to protect their lives, families, and property from looters and violent mobs.

An August 11 Herald Sun article reported one resident as saying, "its absolute bedlam on the street. People have been openly looting for an hour, two hours, and the police have been ineffectual. They've done nothing." Another victim, who was trapped in her hair salon in Clapham Junction while a mob smashed its way in and trashed it, said, "They were mocking us, [saying] 'look, look, they look scared'. Where is the police? I want protection. This is what they're here for . . . I'm not secure at my workplace. I'm not secure at my home place. Will they be there to protect us tonight? They weren't here to protect us last night."

The reported on Tuesday that mobs were forcing hapless victims to strip off their clothes while being robbed, and described a shocking video that shows a bleeding, already-pummeled teenager being robbed in broad daylight by lawless thugs who pretend to help him to his feet, and then steal the contents of his backpack while he can barely remain standing, much less defend himself.

This is what a disarmed country looks like. This is how little is left when free men and women surrender their right to own a firearm.

One has to wonder how differently this all would be playing out if the law-abiding were allowed to arm themselves. How different would the reports be if violent, opportunistic, amoral thugs were confronted with armed resistance from their intended victims?

It has been said that, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In this case, good men and women have been stripped of their ability to do something, and evil has certainly triumphed.

Ironically, the UK is an outspoken proponent of the United Nations' efforts to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty. Presumably the UK's goal in supporting an ATT is to spread the "safety and sanctity" they imagine their country as having to the rest of the world. Perhaps the recent calamities will cause the British to rethink their position; we certainly hope so. It's time for the British government to drop its draconian gun-control laws and restore the right of self-defense to its law-abiding citizens.

It's time to face the facts. When law-abiding citizens are disarmed, is their society a safer one? Do gun bans reduce violent crime? Will the police always be there to protect you? England's current plight is just the latest example to show us, yet again, that the answer to these questions is an emphatic "No."

Copyright 2011, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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