I have long believed that disarming citizens in any country has a perverse effect in the police forces of that country. As citizens become less armed, police become more heavily armed and more violent. Citizen/police contacts become more dangerous to citizens. When asked to explain the basis for this thing I strongly believe, I’ve had a hard time making a clear argument. I think it is true, but I don’t know why it’s true. I’ve considered several possibilities such as criminals becoming more violent since they have less to fear from victims and that in turn making the police more wary and more violent; or more cynically thinking that the cops are just acting like criminals because they also have less to fear from citizens who are not criminals.
Now Frank Miniter in his new book shown above [click the image to go to its Amazon page] has apparently vindicated my long-held belief with actual data from England, a country that is different, but not all that different from the United States. After all, England is the mother country and the common law of England became the law in the United States after 1789 except as it has been changed by statute or Judicial decisions since then. It is a verifiable fact that since England outlawed all private firearm ownership in 1997 police shootings of innocent
citizens subjects has risen dramatically. In one to the worst incidents a man carrying a cane was shot dead when an armed response unit mistakenly believed he was carrying a rifle. Even if the cane had been a rifle the man was not pointing it at anyone and just shooting him should not have been justified. But as the right of self defense has been curtailed for citizens subjects in Britain the right to shoot first and ask questions later seems to have been expanded for police.
Miniter also highlights the role guns play in undergirding freedom by showing the negative consequences of gun control in the lives of the disarmed. He does this through a brilliantly written history of gun control in England during the last century.
He shows how gun control in England – once allowed following World War I – incrementally increased until the “Firearms Act of 1997 banned the private ownership of handguns almost completely.” In the aftermath, as law-abiding English citizens remained largely disarmed, the police have gone from carrying no arms “to becoming ever more heavily armed.”
Miniter suggests this has resulted in an “emasculation” of the British people via gun restrictions that undermine, rather than sustain, “more liberty, more courage, and a more self-reliant people.”
I always knew it.
Miniter’s book is terrific. He shows how the gun has sustained freedom and if the gun doesn’t have a similar future in America our liberty in all matters will be in jeopardy. It’s true that while “God made men, Sam Colt made them equal.,” or “Abe Lincoln freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal.” A gun makes an 85-year grandmother equal to a 25-year old home invader, or at least gives her a fighting chance to stop his aggression and save her life.
Awr Hawkins ends his essay this way:
Although Miniter takes various avenues throughout the book, the reader is certain to see that the central point never changes: the gun has been key to freedom’s past and is indispensable to freedom’s future.