A government-hosted e-petition is calling for armed self-defence to be a valid reason for the issue of British firearm and shotgun certificates.
The petition in question reads:
The ban on ownership of handguns in the UK needs to be repealed, and this should include the ability to purchase a handgun for personal protection. This should cover training, and certification for both open and concealed carry in public places. We have a right to protect ourselves.
At the time of writing, the petition has been online for about a month and gained 600 signatures. The threshold needed to trigger a governmental response is 10,000 signatures.
Set against the context of unelected and unaccountable police employees recently demanding further restrictions on licensed firearms, this is a monumentally stupid thing to do which will gain precisely zero support for the licensed firearms community.
UK Shooting News’ author is aware that lots of Americans tend to read this blog via forums and then start chuntering on about damn Limeys surrendering their rights, etc. That’s all well and good, but it ignores the reality here: Britain is a country where everyone hates and fears his neighbour. If your neighbour has a means, real or perceived, of getting one up on you, the British response is to fight back against that advantage (and that can be anything from having you banned from building a shed to forcing you to cut down your hedge) by any means possible, fair or foul.
Now, consider that there is a de facto ban on acquiring firearms on the British mainland for personal defence (other arrangements apply to Northern Ireland). You, a memory of a minority pastime, are asking for the power to shoot your neighbour. In a country where we all hate our neighbours, do you think they will support your call to be given extra powers over them?
Of course not. That concealed or open carry alike tends to lower crime rates is entirely irrelevant here; we are a nation, and a culture, with the central ethos of kneecapping anyone who looks like he might get ahead of the rest. Don’t believe me? Look at the playground game “British Bulldog” – the more successful the remaining players get, the more people gang up on them to literally drag them down.
Calling for armed self-defence in this country is also likely to trigger off the anti-shooting brigade and harden public support against shooting, something the sport as a whole has worked hard to regain since the dark days of 1997. We don’t need this; we have police forces who already consider us an active threat and who seem to believe it is their duty to cover up their own failings by attacking us in the media. Until we’ve got our own house in order, and there’s more of a public appetite to defend your life, loved ones and property, nobody’s going to support calls like this.
On a separate note – petitions don’t work. The previous “repeal the pistol ban” petition flopped after 20,000 or so signatures. In the age of spam-your-politician websites like 38 Degrees and Avaaz, petitions are easily ignored; the digital equivalent of the Socialist Worker placards that appear at any London street protest, regardless of the actual cause.