By Alan Gottlieb
When the British daily newspaper The Telegraph asked readers which of six suggested measures they would like to see introduced in the House of Commons, reader response was surprisingly tilted toward one significant proposal, but you probably won’t hear about it from the U.S. media.
Of the six suggestions that included setting a flat tax and placing a term limit on the office of Prime Minister, what drew more than 86 percent of the reader support was a proposal to repeal the handgun ban of 1997. Because this is an unscientific poll, the results will be doomed to a media black hole, but it should send a clear signal to gun prohibitionists in the United States that their habitual use of the United Kingdom as an example of domestic tranquility where guns are concerned just took a direct hit in the credibility department.
At last check, more than 20,400 people had responded to the on-line poll. Support for ending the handgun ban was at 86.4 percent, leaving all other proposals in the political dust.
The next highest vote getter is a suggested measure on the “greening of public spaces” followed by a proposal to ban spitting. The flat tax comes in fourth on the priority scale with a scant 6.4 percent of the votes, and limiting the Prime Minister’s terms could not even muster two percent support among respondents.
Parliament adopted the handgun ban following the tragic 1997 Dunblane massacre of school children; an incident that created an aftermath of emotion not unlike our own Sandy Hook tragedy. Law-abiding British citizens were forced to surrender their handguns as some sort of panacea, but violent crime in the United Kingdom has actually gone up, and self-defense with a firearm has gotten people in considerable trouble.
Americans learned from the British mistake, save for the anti-gun lobbyists who are determined to destroy the Second Amendment. Now it appears the good citizens of that island nation have also realized that banning gun ownership by lawful people does nothing to discourage criminals or crazy people from committing heinous crimes. In this country, we have been able to derail efforts to ban entire classes of firearms, realizing that the unilateral disarmament of good people only makes bad ones bolder.
There could be a strong connection between the Telegraph reader response and the recent brutal murder of a British soldier in broad daylight by a couple of extremist knife-wielding Muslim nut jobs. That incident reminded people that one must be able to fight back, and to defend oneself against a knife attack, it’s best to have a gun. Millions of law-abiding Americans understand that principle and have obtained concealed carry licenses and permits, and soon the residents of Illinois will join fellow citizens in the other 49 states in that regard.
The right of self-defense is the oldest human right, and the British experiment at public disarmament failed as miserably as our own gun bans in Chicago and Washington, D.C. The ten year Clinton ban on so-called “assault weapons” was just as ineffective against crime.
While the poll results for the Telegraph are not scientific, they are a red flag to Parliament that many of their constituents have realized the gun ban was a terrible mistake. Getting their firearms rights restored is not likely to be easy for British citizens, and here on this side of the Atlantic, gun owners are determined to prevent Congress from doing the same thing.
Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.