A few years ago there was a Photoshop’ed image making the rounds in the gun rights community. It showed a bunch of brits marching against “knife violence”. It was obviously a fake image because for years we had been saying “What’s next? If you take our guns you’ll be back to take our knives and then our axes until there is nothing left.”
We were told “It will never happen.”
Lots of videos and news articles flow across my feeds and one was interesting given the current pushes of gun infringers, the police showing up at a man’s door to confiscate his firearms. The video thumbnail didn’t give enough context so I clicked through to watch. What I observed was eye opening.
First, this is taking place in Great Britain, where they are subjects, not citizens. There is no “right” to keep and bear arms. Instead you have a privilege granted to you by the government to own a limited selection of firearms.
The modern history of gun control in England starts in 1903 with the “Pistols Act”. This was one of those “it isn’t a big deal so why fight it” sort of laws.
It said that before you could purchase a pistol you had to either had to have a gun license or game/hunting license or be able to prove it was only going to be used on your own property. There was another clause that allowed you to purchase a pistol if you had a signed statement from the police saying you were going to be out of country for at least six months.
In other words, this was a step in getting firearm owners registered.
There was no real control because you could get a gun license by going to the post office and purchasing one, on demand.
If there were calls of “Slippery Slope!” nobody cared enough and nobody believed it.
After WWI the communists were pushing everywhere. There was a huge influx of firearms into the country and the government was afraid of civil unrest. This lead to the Firearms Act of 1920.
This changed the requirements for owning a firearm from just buying a “gun license” to getting a “firearm certificate”. A firearm certificate was good for three years and specified the firearm and amount of ammunition that the holder could possess. It didn’t require serial numbers but just a list of firearms.
The issuing of certificates was via the local chief of constables and was a “may issue”. The applicant had to have good moral character and good reason for needing a certificate. Good moral character is my turn of phrase and may or may not be in the actual law.
The slippery slope was in action but again, without a culture of firearms, the people that were most affected lived in places where the local chief constable granted certificates. Those that lived in cities didn’t grant as many but there were not as many applicants.
You ended up with the sort of mish-mash that you see in New York or California where depending on where you live the ability to get a CCW was either nearly impossible or as easy as asking and paying your fees. This was so well known that the State of New York actually made an exception for New York City which said that CCWs from the rest of New York State were not valid in New York City.
In 1937 they passed another Firearms Act to tighten up the requirements. It raised minimum age to purchase from 14 to 17. It extended the act to cover shotguns and smooth-bore weapons. It required the military to issue Firearm Certificates for machine guns, allowed the Chief Constable to add conditions on firearm certificates.
Finally it removed self-defense as a good reason for wanting a firearm certificate. “firearms cannot be regarded as a suitable means of protection and may be a source of danger.”
The slippery slope shows itself yet again. This is just another small step.
In 1968 they passed another “Firearms Act”. This included bans on certain weapons. Extended shotgun requirements from just SBS to all shotguns. It also introduced a more complete version of “prohibited person”.
It is unclear from my source (lazy, single sourcing it today, and not root sources) doesn’t make it clear which of the firearms act required every firearm to be registered with serial numbers.
By 1988 they needed still another firearms act. Still more restrictions and the gun owners barely whimpered.
In 1997, knowing who owned firearms, what makes models and serial numbers they had, and how much ammunition, the government banned most guns and went collecting.
Still more gun control showed up in 2006.
In 2022 a person in Great Britain still needs government permission to own a firearm. What firearms are allowed is strictly limited. The firearm and shotgun certificates have to be renewed every 3 years. Many Brits store their firearms at an RFD (think FFL with storage facilities) because of “safe storage” laws.
Being a government this means that things don’t work right nor do the work rapidly. The following video talks about the police going around to take weapons from “shooters”. A shooter in Britain is somebody that shoots firearms.
The police managed to mess up people firearm certificates, leaving firearms off or leaving the list of firearms blank. As far as I can tell this means tat the shooter could be in violation of British law because they have a gun that is not listed on their permission slip.
These shooters contacted the right authorities to get things correct.
In one case the police showed up to take the firearms while “things were being figured out.” Of course afterwards it proved difficult for the person to get their firearms back.
In another case the police removed a shooter’s firearms because he “had a new medical diagnosis” He had been diagnosed with a learning disability but the police took his firearms and required him to get a psychiatrists statement that he wasn’t a threat to himself or others. Even after that he had difficulties in getting his firearms back.
Later they came back again because of their mistake on his firearm certificate. This time he stood his ground and refused.
In order to protect is firearms from confiscation, he now stores them with his local RFD.
All of this sounds so much like the infringements that are being pushed here in the states.
This is why we never stop fighting for our rights. We don’t compromise. “Will Not Be Infringed!”
So go watch the video. It is worthwhile to see where gun control can lead. And remember, London is suffering from huge amounts of violent “knife crime”.
When you get done watching, there is the final point.
Did you notice that the arguments are the same “shooters are the most law abiding” was the one that got me.
But the one that was sickening to me, was how gently the fought back. They aren’t fighting for the right to keep and bear arms. To be free Citizens, they are fighting for the government to give them their permission slips back. They can’t even conceive of freedom from the government control.