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Self-Defense in the UK

Kevin Baker helps clear up a number of misconceptions, and it gets to something I’ve been talking about with Bitter as the riots raged on. Britons do not have access to handguns and semi-automatic firearms, but they do have access, and not terribly difficult access, to shotguns. I would not feel badly armed with a traditional English side-by-side and plenty of buckshot, even in a riot. The problem isn’t that British society has been disarmed by some evil, malevolent force; it chose to disarm itself, and that is the greater problem. You could bring the very same self-defense laws for England and Wales here to the Untied States, and not much would change; juries are still going to acquit people who defend themselves, no matter what the law says.

I’ve been interested to see whether this causes any kind of sea change in British attitudes toward self-defense and weapons generally. I don’t expect the British to ever have the same type of outlook toward this subject as Americans, but a key thing to watch is whether the police are inundated with applications for shotgun certificates and ¬†firearms certificates. If that’s the case, that will be good evidence that these riots were a wake-up call to the British people, and attitudes may be changing.

3 Responses to “Self-Defense in the UK”

  1. Mobo says:

    The Britons I’ve had occasion to ask over the internet have all replied that they are more afraid of looters having access to firearms than of their own inability to aquire firearms for their own self-defense.

    For whatever reason, looters generally don’t use firearms in furtherance of their crimes here in the States. I can’t imagine things would be much different in the UK. Even if this were not the case, I doubt that the sort of people who riot are anywhere near as capable with firearms as I am. I would rather face armed looters while armed than unarmed looters while unarmed.

  2. Philbert says:

    If the police get even a hint that you want any weapon, even a side-by-side, for self defense, they will shut down your application immediately.

    I think buckshot is also restricted – I know slugs definitely are, you need to have a special license to buy them.

  3. Rick says:

    The reason armed criminals (looters in this case) will never prevail against armed civilians is simple. A looter must survive unscathed in each and every encounter and that’s 50/50 at best. The relatively few looters means they would be quickly made extinct if they continued their ways of direct confrontation. The fear of that alone, prevents the vast majority of potential criminals from ever getting started. There is a fate worse than death, and it’s living for and in fear of looters. The irrational belief that only guns are deadly is still a strong delusion in the gun banner mind. A ‘disarmed’ criminal is always more powerful than their chosen disarmed victim…

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