Let's ignore for the moment those people who constantly scoff that "no one is coming to take your handguns", since in this case the British government did just that in 1996, making most handguns illegal for private ownership and confiscating them using the registration lists that had been kept since 1903.
Let's also ignore, for the moment, those people who constantly scoff that "no one is coming to take your rifles", since in this case the British government has done just that, making illegal "Semi-automatic or pump-action rifles that fire centre-fire ammunition (e.g. Colt AR-15)". I find this last amusing (in a sick and disgusting way) since I took that quoted sentence from a Wikipedia page on British firearms law. Notice how they make the connection between "semi-automatic" and "AR-15" so seamlessly? If you are not a gun owner or enthusiast you may be thinking that banning "military style" rifles is not so bad. The problem is that the above quote is pure political theater. Explanation:
- Centre-fire ammunition means every single bullet in the world that is not a .22 calibre rifle round (these are rim fire).
- Semiautomatic means fires once every time you pull the trigger, which can be roughly translated to "almost" every rifle in the world. This technology has been around since 1885 and been the norm for close to 100 years. The exceptions are bolt action and lever action, where you pull back a bolt or operate a lever to chamber the next round, respectively. Notice, however, that "pump action" rifles are also banned, which makes no sense if lever action rifles are not, since they aren't any slower to operate. It would be interesting to find out if lever is considered pump for the purposes of British law. It wouldn't surprise me given the shoddy work done on this particular page.
So why am I making a big deal about this story? If you have been on my blog much at all you probably know my feelings on firearms. I am a fan of the ability of people to defend themselves. That is a basic human right. The end result of the 113 year old assault on gun owners in the United Kingdom has been a defacto ban on self defense, even non-lethal self defense. Tony Martin, a farmer, is serving a life sentence for killing a burglar with an unregistered shotgun. The burglar in question, along with his friends, had robbed numerous elderly people in the area, beating some of them severely. Mr. Martin defended himself and, as a result, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
However, there is an amusing aspect to the story of the weapons cache near Cardiff and it lies in the following quote:
The weapons have been removed safely by trained police officers.
It requires someone with absolutely no knowledge of firearms to think that this sentence makes any coherent sense at all. A two year old could safely remove the weapons. They were unloaded, packed in grease, wrapped in newspaper, and stored in the walls for up to thirty years. The way that you safely remove them is to pick them up and walk out the door. The idea that weapons are only safe in the hands of "trained police officers" is a joke. In this case, I can guarantee you that these officers had not actually had any special training in carrying old rifles out the door to the waiting van. They have probably had no more and possibly less training in firearms use than the average gun owner in the United States who, according to the types of people who write these articles, are one negative feeling away from going on a shooting rampage and can't be trusted to even read about guns, let alone own or shoot one.
I would laugh, shake my head, and move on, except that the media is slowly convincing people that anyone with a firearm is a potential mass shooter. It reminds me of the joke that when a female reporter asked about the wisdom of teaching Boy Scouts to shoot, thereby equipping them to be violent killers, the teacher responded that all women are equipped to be prostitutes, but that doesn't make them so. It is a joke that very effectively points out the ludicrous nature of the anti-gun argument.
Meanwhile, violent crime in Britain continues to rise, just without firearms; people continue to be murdered and assaulted in Britain, but not with firearms; and the political left in the United States continue to attack our freedom to keep and bear arms, to deny us the means to successfully defend ourselves and our loved ones.