View Full Version : Europeans own guns - just illegally

12-22-2008, 7:55 PM
This article from the Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2008m12d22-Gun-laws-and-crime-rates-dont-always-mix-the-way-you-expect) is very interesting. The bottom line is that lots an lots of otherwise law abiding Europeans still own firearms even though they are illegal and/or unregistered. Refer to this if someone says we in the US own so many more guns than others.

The Times of London recently carried an interesting report about the public response to a violent terrorist attack.

[T]wo such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. ... Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.

If you're scratching your head, that's because the newspaper description is of an incident in 1909. At the time, the UK had no restrictions on private firearms ownership to speak of. People owned guns and carried them in public.

If you wonder what the crime rate was like with all of those well-armed Brits wandering around ... Well, there were about 9.6 murders per million people (PDF) in 1900. That dipped over the years, to a low of 6.2 per million in 1960 -- and then rose to over 14 per million by the end of the 20th century.

The strict gun control laws that we associate with Britain today really began with the red scares of World War I and were implemented thereafter, with handguns finally banned in 1997. So the murder rate seemed to first dip and then soar even as gun laws grew ever-tougher.

Which isn't supposed to be how it works in disarmed Europe, is it?

Well, European countries certainly have lower -- often, much lower -- murder rates than the U.S., but we tend to exaggerate their disarmed status. That's because most mainstream media comparisons of gun ownership dwell on official figures. How many guns Americans legally own vs. how many Germans legally own. That makes sense to American eyes, because most guns here are perfectly legal. That's exactly what gets gun control advocates so hot and bothered when they start crunching numbers. They want guns further restricted and made less common.

But less common isn't always what you get. Those official gun ownership numbers actually compare apples and oranges. That's because Europeans own an awful lot of guns outside the law. As of 2003, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey (PDF), "Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states." The survey adds, "public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones."
Read the rest at the link (http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-Liberties-Examiner~y2008m12d22-Gun-laws-and-crime-rates-dont-always-mix-the-way-you-expect).

Hat tip to Dave Hardy.


12-22-2008, 8:03 PM
Well, England is not really Europe, it is more like Hawaii.:)

12-22-2008, 8:05 PM
Don't you just love how gun laws are aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and all they do is keep them from the common person...or, in the case of Europe, they don't keep them from anyone.

It's nice to see that Europeans and Americans alike both love their guns and keep them, no matter what.

C.G. - England is only like Hawaii if Hawaii is mostly cold, rains a lot, has not so good food, and people talk funny...ok, it's Hawaii, but cooler, temperature-wise.

12-22-2008, 8:08 PM
Well, England is not really Europe, it is more like Hawaii.:)

more like hell!

12-22-2008, 8:13 PM
Seems like the only news here is that it was in the news.

BTW, how the hell does the Small Arms Survey get people to fess up to the fact that they have illegal guns?

12-22-2008, 8:23 PM
The only Mauser C96 'Schnellfeuer' I have ever seen lives in a basement in Germany...


12-22-2008, 9:11 PM
C.G. - England is only like Hawaii if Hawaii is mostly cold, rains a lot, has not so good food, and people talk funny...ok, it's Hawaii, but cooler, temperature-wise.

It is still warmer than most of Europe in winter time (not so in summer). But what I really meant to say is that the Brits are islanders (just like Hawaiians).

But getting back to the thread, there are plenty of Aussies that have dogs that ran off with their weapons and buried them somewhere in the back yard, as well.

12-22-2008, 10:01 PM
there plenty of illegal stuff especially in the former yugoslavia and eastern bloc countries. people will own what they want no matter what some politician says. i guess 40 yrs of communism/socialism teaches people what freedom means and what it takes to keep it. my cousin has a real m70ab2 and several grenades and other evil stuff in croatia and i bet theres a lot more then that. all that small arms survey stuff is pure guess work no one knows how much illegal stuff there really is. people arn't that dumb.

12-22-2008, 11:12 PM
Very interesting! Thanks for bringing it up here, Gene.