This week’s outrage comes from England, a country whose failed gun-control experiment we’ve often reported on.
You may recall that in March of 1996, a deranged man walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and killed sixteen children and one teacher. In the aftermath of this heinous tragedy, British politicians sought to reduce violent crime by enacting an injudicious ban on all handguns. Handgun owners were given a February 1998 deadline to turn in their firearms--and they did. The UK was supposed to become a much safer place--but it didn’t. Not by a long shot.
Gun-crime statistics for the first five years following the gun ban proved very different from that which was forecast. Gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled, and the incidence of murder with firearms rose 65 percent. Robberies and muggings also increased dramatically. It is reported that England alone has nearly 400,000 robberies each year, a rate nearly one-quarter higher per capita than that of the United States.
Yet, after banning guns and rendering their citizens virtually defenseless against now-emboldened thugs¾even jailing victims for trying to defend themselves from criminal attack with a firearm¾the authorities still seem to have no limits (or room for common sense) in their coddling of perpetrators and their harassment of the law-abiding.
In a recent article posted on http://www.thesun.co.uk/, it was reported that Mark Goldberg heard a noise at his window one recent night and discovered a drunken teenager on the ledge, apparently trying to break in. While his wife called police, Goldberg confronted the teen, who then fled. Goldberg pursued and caught up to the teen, tackling him and escorting him back to the scene of the crime. Incredibly, after handing the intoxicated trespasser over to authorities, Goldberg himself was arrested for assault!
The 38-year-old father of two now fears he will lose his Ministry of Defense job as a result of the situation. Said Goldberg, “This country has gone barmy. You can’t even protect your own family in your own home any more.”
In another recent case, the Western Morning News (UK) reported that a 53-year-old English bus driver and U.S. Civil War hobbyist was convicted of importing working firearms after he brought several Civil War-era firearms into the UK.
Jeremy Couchman, who suffers from kidney disease and bad lungs, is facing a prison sentence for importing the firearms, and fears he may die in prison if convicted. His brother, Mark Couchman, said the defendant had been “shredded” by the convictions, and “could well die in jail with this.” He went on to say that his brother was a “good and gentle man and a useful citizen who has been brought down by his hobby.”
Couchman told the jury during the six-day trial that he understood from the section of the law on antiques that everything over 100 years old was antique and required no certificate to import.
So what we have here is a 53-year-old bus driver with serious health problems, who, through pursuing his hobby, has had his life turned completely upside down by the overzealous enforcement of ridiculously strict laws. He faces an extended prison sentence for importing antique firearms he thought were legally obtained. That’s outrageous.If you see something that you feel would be a good candidate for the “Outrage of the Week!” section, please send it to: [email protected]. Please be sure to send additional background and citations where available.