As many know, the United Kingdom has some of the strictest gun laws in the western world. Following two mass shootings (Hungerford, 1987, and Dunblane, 1996), extremely strict regulations were placed on ownership of semi-automatic rimfire rifles and shotguns of any kind, while ownership of semi-automatic centerfire rifles and carbines and handguns was outright banned, and these already in the hands of legitimate owners were confiscated and destroyed. In the turn of less than a decade, the United Kingdom lost a long heritage of hunting and sports shooting, with the closure of many gun ranges going right along, and witnessed the collapse of gun industry. At the same time, other pieces of legislation severely crippled the right of the British people to keep and bear arms as had been established by the Common Law for centuries, and the British isles witnessed a sharp rise in violent crime as law-abiding citizens found themselves unable to defend themselves from criminal attacks, or outright prosecuted by law when they did.
And yet, in this dark era of disarmament of honest British citizens, the voice of common sense hasn't been killed. One of Britain's best known newspapers, The Telegraph, is in fact running now its yearly poll between its readers to establish which new law should be submitted to the House of Commons under the Private Members Bills. Under Commons rules, any Member of Parliament can introduce a bill, but only a few are ever debated. The ballot to decide which members get time for such debates was held on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013, and James Wharton, the MP for Stockton South, came top of the ballot.
The readers of The Telegraph did not disappoint, and provided a raft of ideas that will be submitted to MP Wharton to be debated. Six of these caught the eye, and are now under ballot on The Telegraph's website, to see which one will have a chance to be debated in the Commons. The most interesting is definitely the sixth, proposed by a reader that goes under the nickname of "Colliemum": a repeal of the UK handgun man, and thus the reopening of pistol shooting ranges and of the possibilities for British citizens to possess pistols and revolver. The proposal seems to have some good old common sense foundation: "After all, why should only criminals be 'allowed' to possess guns and shoot unarmed, defenceless citizens and Police officers?"
Of course, we couldn't agree more. And, as a matter of fact, the anti-gun crowd has always been exploiting the momentum of tragedies such as Hungerford, Dunblane, Columbine or Sandy Hook to try and − sometimes successfully − pass sweeping legislation that so far only affected law abiding citizens, leaving them unarmed and easy prey for criminals of all sorts; it's now our time to exploit the momentum caused by the outrage following the assault and brutal murder of an off-duty British soldier in Woolwich, London, last May 23rd. A general feeling of defenselessness grasped the many eyewitnesses of the attack, who were later confronted by the two knife-wielding assailants and somehow forced to record their deliriant claims for several minutes before armed Police could reach the place and neutralize them. Now, many start to realize how this could have been avoided if the soldier himself, or somebody in the crowd, would have been legally able to carry a gun. In the sixteen years of existence of the 1997 Firearms (Amendment No.2) Act, there has been no better moment to try and pass more permissive gun laws in the now crime-ridden United Kingdom.
We thus ask all our followers − especially those who live in the United Kingdom − to poll on The Telegraph's website. As of May 27th, 2013, h.15:19 (GMT+1), an overall 7,479 persons voted already, and the handgun ban repeal proposal is first on the list, scoring 75.49% with 5,646 votes. This must NOT lead you to think that your vote will be useless, as "it is going to win anyway": results may vary, and being the poll not binding, the House of Commons may not be forced to debate the proposal if it will not have enough strenght. Everybody's urged to vote, vote, vote, and to make others vote as well. Let your voices be heard, say it out loud: we've been unfairly stripped of our gun rights, we've been scapegoated for the crimes of two madmen. Now, we want our rights and our guns back.