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05 February 2013

Gun Control? Surprise! Europeans, Like Americans, Resist Any Gun Ban

From The Irish Daily Mail

Insulting, arrogant, or just ignorant? I will let you look at the latest big-news picture of Barack Obama and judge for yourself.

On Saturday the White House released this photograph of the president taken, according to officials, at Camp David on August 4th last year. The picture shows Mr Obama firing a shotgun -- identified as 'a rifle' by some gun-ignorant national wireservices. 

This was produced as proof of Mr Obama’s recent surprise claim that he goes ‘skeet shooting all the time.’ Skeet are clay pigeons. 

The claim, made in a magazine interview, was apparently meant to show the president’s sympathy with gun owners. 

Sympathy? He is trying to override Congressional and State powers and take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens in defiance of US Constitutional protections. Then he garnishes this power-grab with a picture of himself firing a shotgun. It is about as sympathetic as a burglar offering to make a homeowner a cup of tea in the midst of ransacking his house. 

The picture didn’t work, not least because the president is seen holding the shotgun in a way that screams ‘clueless.’ 

It convinced no one, and left even the Democrat-loving White House press corps asking the president’s spokesman: ‘Why haven’t we heard about the president’s shooting before?’ The answer that came back was, to sum up: ‘Err, umm.’ 

But here is where Mr Obama gets really insulting, arrogant and ignorant all at once: he went on in the interview to say: ‘I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting [which is what Americans call shooting] that trace back in this country for generations.’ 

‘For generations?’ Try, ‘for centuries.’ Shooting started in America in 1607. 

Anyway, ‘hunting’ is where Mr Obama ends his ‘respect.’ What he leaves out is any respect for the men and women who have firearms to protect themselves and their families. 

More, he leaves out any respect for the right – and this is the foundation of the Constitutional right ‘to keep and bear arms’ -- to own and carry guns as a defence against a government turned tyrant. I’ll get to that in a moment. 

Mr Obama is trying to project the idea that ‘legitimate’ gun-owners are sportsmen and the elite. Everyone else must be a white Christian male gun-nut who needs federal control. 

Yet in December 2011, Bloomberg News had a look at who are the gun owners of America today. Gays, Jews and single mothers were well up on the lists. The report pointed out that women are more interested now in carrying firearms, ‘because of the unprecedented numbers of them who have trained in firearms in the military and law enforcement in the past 30 years. Some 250,000 women have served in combat zones – and often in combat roles – in Iraq and Afghanistan, returning with a familiarity of firearms.’ 

Then there are the Pink Pistols, homosexuals who have permits to carry concealed weapons and train under the motto: ‘Armed gays don’t get bashed.’ 

As for the Jews, Dovid Bendory, an Orthodox rabbi in New Jersey who heads Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, wants more Jews to carry concealed weapons: ‘I ask Jews all the time, “Are you prepared for an active shooter in a synagogue? I believe we are woefully unprepared for such an attack.’ 

Most of all, though, Bloomberg covers the American women who live alone and want protection. The statistics are there: ‘Including single mothers, about half of all women now live without spouses.’ 

A neat .38 calibre revolver can protect a woman coming home alone from a night shift, or protect her from a violent ex, or protect her and her child from pervert intruders. 

But Mr Obama mentions no ‘respect’ for such people. His ideal is to take away guns from plain citizens and leave guns only with government officials and their cronies – and, inevitably, with criminals. 

That’s not going to happen. The people will hang onto their guns, even if it becomes illegal to do so. An opinion poll reported on January 20th in the Washington Times showed that two-thirds of US gun owners would defy any federal gun ban – and the two-thirds included more than half of the Democrats polled who said they own guns.

That should be no surprise. Restrictive gun laws, in America and across the world, always result in vast non-compliance. 

What would be created by any attempt by the US Federal government to take guns would be a form of bureaucratic terror. Millions would hold onto unregistered guns, while searches would be directed by heavies from government agencies of the homes and business premises of anyone ‘suspected’ of breaching new controls on gun ownership. 

The elite who want to hold firearms would be exempt of course, through laws giving them privileges, or through selective enforcement. Ain’t that always the way? As I pointed out last week, while our justice minster is stripping out Garda protection from rural Ireland, he and his family sleep safe at night with armed Garda protection outside their house. 

The sort of gun controls President Obama wants to bring into force across America are already in force in New York State. Which is why in New York the black market in guns is thriving. 

In December, J.D. Tuccille wrote on about New York’s restrictive gun laws. Mr Tuccille’s own search for a legal permit became so frustrating and insulting that he ended up buying an AK-47 through connections. It was legal in much of the United States, but definitely illegal in his home State of New York. And it cost him about a third of the cost of a New York-legal pistol. 

Which is why you should not be surprised to learn from him that NY city ‘has roughly 37,000 licensed handgun owners and about 21,000 rifle and shotgun licenses, the running guesstimate [from official justice department publications] of illegal firearms stands at two million, give or take a bit.’ 

New York City’s situation with guns is mirrored in Europe. Mr Tuccille quotes from the Small Arms Survey at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva: ‘Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states.’ 

‘Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries such as the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones.’ 

Here in Belgium where I live, according the Swiss research, in 2003 there were 458,000 legal firearms, and roughly two million illegal guns. 

In Germany those figures are 7.2m legal, and between 17 and 20m off-books guns (that is a German police union estimate). 

Free people want guns: according to a Time magazine report, in the Czech Republic the number of guns held legally and in private ownership soared from 123,300 in 1992 (three years after the collapse of the Communist regime) to 562,320 in 2001.

Free people want guns because guns help keep them free. That is why the US Bill of Rights locked in the right of the people ‘to keep and bear arms.’ It was for the establishment of an armed citizenry which could defend itself against outside aggressors, and against tyrannical government. 

For I will remind you of this. When President Obama was making his demand to inflict new gun laws on the American people, he spoke about the children murdered at Newtown. He also mentioned other children killed in other school shootings.

But he left out certain children, indeed, children whose deaths and suffering are never mentioned by the gun-control fanatics: which is why the words Ruby Ridge and Waco may be meaningless to you.

Both were reckless assaults by federal agents on Americans and their children.

How bad were the attacks? At Ruby Ridge in remote Idaho in 1992, federal agents started firing at members of the Weaver family without even calling for surrender. The unarmed mother, Vicki Weaver, had her face blown off by a federal sniper as she held her 10-month old baby in her arms. She was shot at her cabin door as she pulled it open to allow her unarmed young daughter to get to cover.

At Waco in 1993, federal agents turned up at a religious settlement saying they wanted to execute a search warrant. By the time they left, 76 men, women and children were dead.

Sometimes, you see, Governments turn violent and evil. Which is why, as Mr Tuccille puts it, 'given a choice between complying with restrictions on firearms ownership and defying the law, a clear majority of people in most jurisdictions have chosen rebellion. The tighter the law, the more obvious the rebellion, to the point that the vast majority of firearms in civilian hands in Europe are owned outside the law.'

'If history is any judge, that's probably a good thing. But even if you don't agree, this is a world in which civilians are well-armed, and intent on staying that way.'

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