14 thoughts on “Mass Shooter Had a License”

  1. I don’t think it’ll do much of anything to the Brits. There is no self defense, and with all the restrictions and qualifications its essentially an elitist hobby.

    Ban them all, Sez I. It’ll make the bloodshed even more clear for us to show the end result.

  2. I think outright bans actually do make it difficult more mass shooters. But if experience in other countries is any indication, you get mass bombers, mass stabbers, or mass run-people-overers.

  3. I would rather they spend the the time and money on seeking help for the mentally ill. Mental illness is a sickness like flu, or cancer. It ca be controlled by drugs, but we have to spot it first!

  4. Gun control promotes a target-rich environment, especially in the UK, which has the highest per-capita violent crime rates by far in the “developed” world. Some violent crimes are reaching outright numbers equal with the US.

    The problem is when this guy went off, nobody had any means to protect themselves. That someone will go off sometime is a certainty of the human condition. That people should be allowed to defend themselves effectively if they so choose is a human right.

  5. I’m not sure being armed would be much help in this case. A taxi pulls up, you look over and get shot in the face then the cab drives off and shoots someone blocks away. Not a lot of opportunity for defensive action there.

    It couldn’t hurt, and people obviously should have the right to be armed for their own defense, but “if only they were armed” doesn’t really apply to every crime and can distort your message in those cases.

    In this case, a guy went off for some unknown reason, there don’t appear to be any warning signs he was likely to and thus there was likely nothing that could have been done to prevent it. You can’t stop lightning from striking and as Sebastian notes, even if he didn’t have the shotgun, he had a car and gasoline and any number of other ways to hurt or kill multiple people.

    Zero risk is not a realistic goal for society and, as multiple examples show us, attempting to achieve it creates far more problems for liberty and happiness than the odd nut case going off. That’s our best message in this sort of situation, not “if only they could have shot back”.

  6. I would rather they spend the the time and money on seeking help for the mentally ill.

    Agreed, and it is the major factor in most mass murder cases in North America and Europe–but this guy doesn’t seem to have shown any symptoms beforehand. By all accounts, a quiet but friendly guy.

  7. What Clayton said. Actually, the guy had held a gun owner’s license for fifteen years prior to this incident, with nary a hint of trouble.

    What’s interesting is that of the half-dozen-odd credible suggestions for further UK gun control laws, NOT ONE would have prevented this specific incident.

  8. What Clayton said. Actually, the guy had held a gun owner’s license for fifteen years prior to this incident, with nary a hint of trouble.

    Part of what makes the whole British gun licensing scheme so bizarre to me is that Hamilton, the guy who murdered all those children in 1996 was exactly the kind of person that discretionary licensing should have prohibited from owning handguns: there were repeated complaints that he was showing an unhealthy interest in children; he had been kicked out of Scouting because of complaints of actions that were not quite criminal; he set up his little chance to get little boys alone, until word got around about him. And this creep managed to have a handgun license–something that most completely squeaky clean sorts in Britain had no chance of getting whatsoever. There are credible reports that suggest that Hamilton and local police officials were…close, and this might have played some part in how such a creep could get and keep a license.

  9. MikeB302000,

    And the fact that he was one of the good guys is certain to be a factor.

    Short of an out right ban and confiscation — what would have stopped this person?

    Short of 24/7 monitoring of everyone, what would have stopped this person?

    While you are answering those questions, why don’t you tell us what would have stopped the people responsible for the recent attacks in China?

    You know the ones — the ones were knives were used to kill and injure kids?

  10. Bob S., poses the following brain-teaser:“what would have stopped this person?”

    This is another of the pro-gun trick questions to which there is no real answer. For one thing it would be conjecture. No one can know such a thing as “what would have,” about anything.

    For another thing it infers that the gun control folks claim that strict enough laws will stop ALL crime. No one claims such a thing. Only you guys say we claim it.

    So, there is no law that would prevent all crimes in all situations. But you know that already, you just like making the argument as tedious as possible.

    How about this: England has strict laws and the result is fewer of these incidents than the U.S., rated by population of course. That means the laws they have on the books are already working.

  11. The population of the US is about 5 times that of Great Britain. The last time they had one of these events was 1996. That means, making an awful lot of assumptions, if we passed British style gun control in the US we could expect to have one of these about every 3 years. That doesn’t sound like successful policy to me.

    Especially since the body count in these things is usually determined by the tactics of the shooter, and how quickly someone else shows up with a gun. If you’re in a country that’s largely been disarmed, even with most police being disarmed, that’s going to take a while… and when someone finally does show up with a gun, there’s a good chance they aren’t going to be very skilled in its use, or reluctant to use it altogether. That’s how the body count in Mumbai got so high.

  12. mike,

    You really need to read “The Samurai, the Mountie and the Cowboy” by Dave Kopel. Actually that goes for everyone on the blog who hasn’t. Basic sociology, there are far too many cultural and historical variables (poverty and income distribution, population homogeneity and historical individual vice collective violence rates to name a bare few) involved in crime to ascribe “strict gun control laws” any real bearing on overall crime or violence rates. That’s within a given single country, trying to make cross-cultural comparisons on crime in general and gun control laws in particular are almost useless as even among superficially similar countries the variables get far too diverse and impossible to control for to act as determinants as to what laws that might seem to work in one nation would work in another.

    Gun controls can’t be shown to help reduce crime with any statistical significance at all (mass killings by any method, you can’t just point to guns and have any intellectual integrity, are outliers in any country when controlled for population) and, with due respect to Mr. Lott, most studies don’t show any real improvement by loosening them. The key issue is freedom, even if there is a harm to it, freedom should have primacy over control. Since no harm can be definitively shown, freedom wins hands down over “what might happen” fears and “but it has to be the guns” causal fallacies.

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