Not long ago, I was approached by a man and woman from the UK who wanted some training and the chance to shoot guns. They were in the United States on vacation and one of the items on their vacation list was to find a certified instructor and have the once in a lifetime chance to “experience what it’s like to be American for a few hours with the legal right to shoot rifles and guns.”
They told me that in the UK, they could not own guns and they really did not understand this “passion” Americans had for firearms and shooting since, (in their words) “guns are dangerous tools of violence and kill people.”
Wow… Those of you who know me, know how well that statement went over.
I quickly corrected them by telling them that actually, “Guns save lives.” In fact, 2.5 million times last year, law abiding citizens in this country used guns in self defense situations and saved lives… and… that 90 million gun owners in America with over 300 million guns, killed no one last year. I stressed that gun ownership by law abiding citizens actually decreases crime and mentioned that a study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy discovered that nations that have more guns tend to have less crime. I rounded out that little lesson by putting a loaded gun on the range counter in front of them and explained to them that this gun can’t DO ANYTHING WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF a human being handling it.
Point of that lesson: People…. not guns… are killers and people who want to kill can use any number of objects to accomplish their mission.
Of all the instructors in this country for this couple to select for their training, John and Susan (not their real names) had no idea that, in addition to being an NRA and State Certified Instructor, I am probably one of the most outspoken of gun rights advocates/activitists in this country and even further right than the NRA on the issue of Gun Control Laws. ( I believe the 2nd Amendment stands alone. I do not support ANY FORMS of infringement including background checks, carry permits, or the government determining who is and is not fit medically to own a gun.)
Of course, after a day of firearms training and shooting a variety of guns and rifles, the two admitted they had a great time and both became pretty good shooters… however, after training, one of them made the comment that “as wonderful as it is that Americans have the right to own guns, this sort of liberty would not work in the UK and it’s best that people in their country remain unarmed.” I couldn’t reisist that bait.
I bit… and began a conversation with the two of them with the intention of helping them to see that in America, the 2nd Amendment is not about guns. It is about the choice between dependence and independence…
This peaked their curiosity and opened the door for a discussion that I hope, opened their eyes and minds to the real meaning behind this “passion” as they described it, that Americans have for defending the 2nd Amendment.
John said that in the UK, there was very little gun crime since “the gun ban”. However, when pressed on the issue, he admitted that criminals still had guns… only law abiding citizens did not have them, but, he said, in the UK, if you are approached by an assailant, all you have to do is simply GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT and they will usually go away without killing anyone.
I asked him what he would do if the assailant wanted his wife… then what? Are you going to stand by and watch him rape and brutalize your wife, your daughter and do nothing? He was silent for a moment…. his expression changed and I could tell he had never even considered the possibilty that HIS family could be victimized before his eyes.
After careful consideration, he said, “well, even if I had a gun, in that situation, I’m not sure I could have the heart to actually shoot someone.”
I remember thinking, “Gee, I’m glad I’m not his wife or daughter.” His wife, Susan, spoke up and said, I would shoot an assailant who was physically assaulting anyone in my family. I remember thinking, “gee, good thing someone in that family has a set.” (She was a better shooter anyway.)
John said, violent crime doesn’t really happen “that much” in the UK anymore. I said, in other words, crime pays in the UK because criminals have a defenseless population of next victims.
I then asked him how long does he think it will be before the criminal element takes control of the UK and how will the law abiding citizens stop it? After all, in the 20th century, 170 million people have been annihilated by their own governments AFTER BEING DISARMED.
History has proven that it is only a matter of time before the bad guys with guns take over and control the good guys without guns. So… you understand now, why Americans are so passionate about being armed… It is not and has never been about “guns”… It is about LIBERTY… because with the bad guys, it is not and has never been about guns… it is about “control.”
Once again…. silence… deep thought… then…. it was.. “Honey, what do you think about moving to the U.S.?” SIDE NOTE: JUST FOR THE RECORD: Regardless of what this UK citizen claims, here are some truths about what has happened there as since the gun ban.
- Despite the very strict ban on guns in the UK, the overall rate of violent crime in the UK is about 4 times higher than it is in the United States. In one recent year, there were 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the UK. In the United States, there were only 466 violent crimes per 100,000 people during that same year. Do we really want to be more like the UK?
- The UK has approximately 125 percent more rape victims per 100,000 people each year than the United States does.
- The UK has approximately 133 percent more assault victims per 100,000 people each year than the United States does.
- The UK has the fourth highest burglary rate in the EU.
- The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
- The nine European nations with the lowest rate of gun ownership rate have a combined murder rate that is three times greater than the nine European nation with the highest rate of gun ownership.