When I was a little bastard (I know, some think I still am) and the world was still in black and white (I can prove it, I have photos) we were allowed to own an airgun at 13 years old.
However, we were not allowed to buy one. A responsible adult, someone over 18, had to buy it for us.
I stil wonder about that. I’m not sure I was a responsible adult at 21 and I’m still not entirely sure at 58. But anyway, we could carry those airguns in the street as long as they were either broken open or in a cover. Nobody batted an eyelid. Try it now.
In Scotland you now need a licence for an airgun. Any kind of gun powered by compressed air. Including those toys that fire plastic BBs that won’t penetrate paper at 10 yards. I saw this coming and sold my air rifle for the cost of postage well before it happened. I didn’t expect my son’s old toy BB guns to be affected but they were and he had to hand them in along with a little .22 feeble air pistol I still had. The licence costs more than those guns were worth.
The ‘Gat’ and ‘Diana’ pistols are still a grey area. They are not powered by air. The barrel just throws the pellet. Best ditch them anyway.
I also sold my crossbow some years back due to what can be best described as ‘financial embarrassment’ and if you’re out there and don’t want it, I am now in a position to buy it back plus storage costs. They aren’t licenced. Yet.
Real guns though. Actual gunpowder and bang and so on. I’ve never owned one. Never felt the need. I learned self defence in a country where guns were frowned upon before being banned. When you can take someone down with a plastic spatula, why mess with bullets?
Oh I’ve had a go. I was pretty good with a live round .22 at a student gun club tryout but joining and buying a gun would have eaten into my beer budget way too much. Priorities ae important.
I also had a go at clay pigeon shooting with a shotgun. I was crap at it. I could have done far better with a bow.
Guns are not for me. All the cleaning and security, I can’t be arsed with it. I have a kitchen knife display that I’m pretty good at throwing, aside from the dedicated throwing knives and axes, and lots of woodland to bury you in if you attack me so the lack of guns doesn’t bother me.
I know how to kill you with a pencil. It’s not hard and your corpse won’t even bleed until I’m long gone. Guns are far too noisy and messy.
In some parts of the world, having a gun is a very useful thing. If I was attacked by a bear or a cougar, the spatula trick won’t work and the thrown knives will just annoy it. In some parts of the world that’s a real issue. In Scotland, well we have wildcats but they tend to stay clear of humans unless seriously provoked. They aren’t big enough to eat you and you’re in far more danger from a domestic cat that likes to curl around your legs on the stairs.
We do have vipers, the most poisonous snake in the UK which is not really very far up the poisonous snake list. It can kill you but the survival rate is high. The other two common ones are the smooth snake and the grass snake, neither of which are poisonous but they’ll bite you anyway. All of them shy away from humans, these are not cobras nor rattlers, they won’t come looking for you.
In the UK then, you don’t need a gun to protect yourself against dangerous animals. We don’t really have many and the ones we do have are scared of us already. At the moment, the most dangerous one is a spider and if it’s on your arm, shooting it is not the best option.
What about criminals?
I said at the start of the gun ban, and stand by those words now, that I have never owned a firearm but anyone wanting to break into my house wouldn’t have known that for sure before the ban. Now they do know for sure. That does not make me safer. I could have shouted ‘I’m getting the gun’ if I heard someone in the house before the ban. If I shout that now they’ll just laugh.
Also, I could have bluffed with a replica gun before, but it’s unlikely to work now. So instead I’ll get the sledgehammer or the wood axe or some knives and not shout anything at all. This makes the criminal less safe too. I have to assume he is armed. And since criminals can still get guns, I have to assume he has one.
In the old days I could have bluffed with a replica pistol and made him lie down until the police arrived. Now? I’m going to take him from behind with the sledgehammer. And since I’m a considerate chap, I wouldn’t want to take the police away from their important work prosecuting hate speech – I won’t have said a word anyway. I’ll just clean up and dig a hole in the woods. The police are 20 miles away anyway, by the time they got here I’d be dismembered and the house ransacked.
The UK’s gun ban has not made us safer. I have a few friends who used to enjoy pistol shooting at gun ranges. They kept their guns at home in locked safes and their children would rarely even see them- and would not be allowed to handle them. I never even saw their guns, they wouldn’t get them out just to show them off and I didn’t ask. Their sport is gone now.
Clay pigeon shooting with shotguns is still a thing. So is, I believe, shooting grouse and pheasant although I have never partaken. Eating things while picking buckshot from your teeth holds no appeal for me. I recall being given some rabbits that had been shotgunned, many years back, and while the free meat was much appreciated at the time, you had to find all the pellets.
We still have deer-hunting with rifles here. Sounds like too much work – I can buy venison in Aldi if I feel so inclined and I wouldn’t have storage space in my freezer for an entire deer. It just wouldn’t be practical, a lot would be wasted and I despise waste. Oh I go fishing and I’d consider hunting rabbits (I’d dress as Elmer Fudd, naturally) although since rabbits actually have warrens in the garden that’s not really sporting. I could shoot them from the living room window.
Farmers usually have a shotgun or two around. Some people in the UK have guns still (no handguns, apart from criminals) and I’m fine with that. I don’t want one, but I have no objection to anyone else having one. I don’t even care who has a handgun. Aside from criminals.
You know, the handgun ban in the UK had absolutely no effect on criminals. Their guns were illegal anyway, the law made no difference to them – except that now, they know their victims are unarmed.
Well, not with guns anyway, but then I never was 😉
Kids can’t even have capguns now. They don’t fire anything, a roll of caps moved up behind the hammer and they went ‘bang’ and made a little bit of smoke. I had several as a kid, one was a toy shotgun that used the roll of caps. We had a lot of fun with them and guess what? Very few of us ever went on to get a real gun (I didn’t) and those that did only used them on shooting ranges for sport.
The caps in a plastic circle that fitted inside a toy revolver were even better. A huge bang and a lot more smoke. Modern kids will never know the fun of that. Well, my granddaughter will. I have a plastic machine gun in the attic that makes sparks and noise. Best make sure she never takes it outside.
In our gun free Utopia there are shootings all the time now. A few days back there was a shooting and a grenade attack in Manchester. Grenade? This is a country where you can get ID’d buying a teaspoon and someone got hold of a grenade? A country where under-16s cannot buy Christmas crackers because of the Explosives Act (I am not making this up) and where shop staff are told to ID anyone buying alcohol if they look 25 or under, even though the legal age to buy it is 18. In the UK you can get married at 16 but you can’t buy a kitchen knife until you are 18…
And yet criminals can get hold of a grenade?
What the hell is the point of making laws to contol people who already ignore them anyway?
Ah, of course. The point is not the control of criminals.
It’s to control the rest of us.