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Monday, May 25, 1998 Published at 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK


America and handguns: No to a ban

Send your comments. Please include details of your name and country.

With half the households in the USA having at least one gun, banning them would make 50% of the people lose all respect for the law. Just like here in the UK, albeit just 0.1% of people possessed pistols and revolvers confiscated by the government, and now think that British justice stinks.
Jack McEvoy, England

The United States of America was created free, and will remain so only as long as its peoples have the means to defend themselves from enemies within and without. To believe that disarming the population will do anything but increase the ability of the criminal element to rob, rape, etc. is not only foolhardy, but downright stupid! We have as much to fear from the government, because when disarmed, citizens become subjects of the whims of governmemt and its liberal steering committee.
Michael J. Taggart, USA

I am from Scotland but now live in Michigan, and I see how Americans cling to their guns. How many more children have to die before, it becomes a wake up call. Obviously there are underlying reasons why things like this happen but quite simply if a kid can't get a gun, he can't shoot anyone. Unfortunately the gun lobby in this country are the least intelligent, trashy and narrow minded segment of the country, but also the most belligerant and vociferous, so it seems like people are resigned to the fact that nothing will change.
Kathleen Collier, USA

The banning of one particular form of firearm will not solve anything. It will merely entail those bent on evil acts to use other methods or other weapons . What we should be doing , especially in the U.K, is looking at the methods of licencing , perhaps a more vigorous check on the applicant for a firearms licence might pay dividends . On the evidence of the U.K. since the 1997 Handgun ban nothing has changed. It has not stopped the criminal use of such weapons, nor was it ever likely to. In the case of Britain there are just too many illegal weapons being allowed to enter the country which are falling into the wrong hands.The handgun ban has only served to persecute a minority group that was already extremely law-abiding , and to inflict a severe cost upon the taxpayer of this country to the detriment of other areas that would really benefit society such as hospitals and education. I feel that if we in this country had been allowed to have debated the issue without the hysterical and emotional rhetoric from certain areas of the media and without the emotional blackmail that emanated from a pressure group , a more logical , rational and sensible outcome would have been achieved .

The banning of handguns will not increase public safety because it is not the firearm but the individual who has control over it that is to blame. The situation in America is vastly different to that here . They have personal firearms for protection, we in Britain do not . We use firearms purely for sport, they do not . It seems to me that in the recent cases including Jonesboro there was easy access to the weapons by the children involved . Perhaps if they applied some of Britain's more stringent security regulations some, maybe not all, of the tragedies could have been avoided .

What, however, is undeniable is the level of crime reported in the different states. Those with a more liberal gun control stance appear to have far less crime, or certainly violent crime , whilst those that have had strict gun control suffer far from a greater incidence of such crime . New York state and Washington D.C. being just two classic examples. I hope my 'twopence' worth has been of interest, if not use.
James McNair, England

We have many thousands of "Gun Control" laws on the books already (federal and state); no doubt several of which were violated by the teenaged murderer in Oregon. Laws WILL NOT stop a person determined to do violence. This kid wasn't stopped by the "GUN FREE SCHOOL ZONE" law; but his teachers and other school staff were stopped from having the means to deter/stop acts of violence on the school property by that very same law. I am willing to bet that the kid NEVER would have even considered perpetrating his act if he knew that he might meet an equally armed, but LAW-ABIDING person. GUN CONTROL LAWS DON'T WORK! They never have and they never will.
Mary E Caherty, USA

Firearm ownership is a God given right. The right to protect yourself is also God given. The responsibility of increased violence and crime lays between the decay of a moral society and the denial of the same.
David Lagomarcino, USA

The situation in in USA may be unique, but evidence suggests that guns save far more lives than they end.In Oregon, handguns are already prohibited to those under 21. I believe that statistics in the UK support the theorey that violent crime is significntly less in those areas of UK with a high proportion of gun ownership. The people of the UK have been misled too. Making laws in the highly emotionally charged state following a shooting is hardly the time for calm and reasoned debate.Mass killings, no matter what the method, is a reflection on the state of society more than the availability of method.
Colin Easton, Australia

If that same person had used a knife, or a bow and arrow or whatever instrument, would people be trying to ban them? No, I don't think so. My answer is no don't ban hand guns.
Bear, Australia

The effort to ban handguns would directly attack the 2nd Amendment to our constitution. That effort may split this country, and cause internal warfare. There are a lot of people who would definitely like to take part in the opposition to a measure such as this.
Serrd, USA

The media must accept its responsiblity for a lot of what is happening around the world, all the violence they promote on TV and the movies is without excuse all they see is $$$$$ with no regard for the effect these shows are having on young immature minds, you don't have a gun problem you have a people problem, we have always had firearms in our society and you should be looking at the real issues instead of blaming every problem you have on guns
Brian Kay, Australia

Banning handguns will not solve the problem. You need to look at what is causing this sudden surge of teenage violence. Something is dreadfully wrong in the way you bring up and educate your young. Maybe limit the the media and movies need to be looked at, a constant diet ot violence must do something to these young people. However I would bring in strong laws to ensure owners of any firearm keep it in secure storage and away from all except those that have firearms licences.
George Baczocha, Australia

It is not the firearms that need control it is the potential perpetrator of the crimes. The unrestricted violence metered out over TV, Videos etc combined with a lack of interest and censorship of busy parents that needs monitoring and action.
Lyndsay Semmens, Australia

Strict gun laws do nothing but restrict the law abiding citizens. Look at the record in this country after the so called uniform strict gun laws, two policmen shot, three dangerous criminals shot their way out of a maximum security prison in Queensland. These criminals were on the run for over two months before they were caught. They were armed to the teeth. In its wisdom the Government has taken the right for people to defend themselves with a firearm. A death sentence in the above circumstances.The police cannot protect the people, every day we read of bashings of old people, home invasions and the like yet we are not allowed to use afirearm to defend ourselves.An off duty policeman was knifed to death a few weeks ago and knives are now becoming the in weapon.If they cant get a gun they will use whatever. Strict gun laws don't work.
K.Brenton, Australia

So many deaths are caused by automobiles, but no one blames the automobile itself. Should we ban automobiles, trains, planes, etc.? Why blame a firearm used illegally? The person using the gun should be held fully acountable for thier actions no matter what age, sex, ethnic background, etc. The smallest percentage of guns world wide are used to commit crimes. Guns legally ownd and used by responsible individuals have never been the problem, but criminals are not concerned with laws and mock them in every country. Criminals using guns in the commision of a crime should face jail sentencing of manditory life sentances instead of getting a slap on the hand and turned out on the streets in six moths. The commision of a crime involving firing of the gun should be net with the death sentance. Recidivism amoung criminals is so high that police officers can count on facing that criminal armed again with a gun stolen from a police officer, military institution, or a criminal black market operation. Disarming law abiding citizens is not the ansure. Again I ask you, do you hold the automobile guilty of a death of another person, or is the drunk driver who opperated the automobile the one who should be held accountable? In countries who have banned the use and ownership of firearms by civilians, criminals still use them in the commision of crimes. Those criminals should be removed from the streets and sentanced acording to their crme against society. We may then see some relief from the career criminal.
Gordon S. Dempsey, Alaska, USA

The USA is a very large area, much unlike your small island. Liberal philosophy and stacked courts with judges who hold same have ruined the USA judicial system. Murderers should be put to death swiftly, whether adult or child. No psychoanalysis should be needed. The person did the deed. ( A rock is a lethal weapon; e.g., check the Greek word lethos. Centuries ago murderers were stoned_a ban upon rocks?) Guns are extended swords, nothing more. They are tools, and when misused they can kill; so, too, can a shovel. Privately held guns give the citizenry a measure of self-defense from a rising police state. Europe has had a long history of such, if I recall correctly. What the USA desperately needs today is to enforce the laws that are "on the books." Death to all murderers will stop the same.
Wayne Mattingly, USA

Your country has been totally disarmed recently. Very few "free" countries allow the private ownership of weapons. At some time you will succumb to occupation by a foreign power or your own government and the people will be powerless to defend themselves. We as United States citizens must maintain our constitutional freedoms to protect ourselves from China, Russia and the NWO. Giving up our guns is NOT an option; Nor are guns the problem. With our current leadership in the executive branch, it is no wonder society is becoming dysfunctional. No leadership and lies from Clinton et al. sends a terrible message to our youth.
Ron Patton / FreeRepublic poster, USA

Thank God there is so much water between us. You decry the constitutions, you give up rights as if you were all sheep, and you submit to privacy invasions that are deplorable. Can we add more water?
H Howard Lewis Bloom, USA

I am an emergency physician and am always armed. As in all countries that have no legal gun ownership, only the criminals, government, police and military have guns. I do not trust any entity and neither did our forefathers. Our Constitution is written to protect ourselves from tyranny and opression. Many posters to this thread do not understand because as in Australia, your guns are gone as is your freedom.
Diana Fite, M.D, Texas

US gun laws are not lax, enforcement of them is. Reputable studies have shown that firearms are used defensively over twice as often as they are to commit crimes. Disarming law abiding citizens doesn't disarm criminals.
Kris Bedalov, USA The people of Britain are free to make their own decisions regarding gun ownership, but should not force their decisions upon other countries. You tried that once before on April 19, 1775, at Concord Bridge. We told you then what we thought of gun control.
P J Mcbride, USA

Put the blame where it belongs, on the parents. We have had access to firearms as kids since this countries founding. The problem over here has only been within the last 10 or so years. So it is time to find out WHAT HAS CHANGED.
Mark Smith, USA

Never in America's history have there been so many restrictive laws on gun owenership/puchase. A scant 31 years ago in New York city no less, one could frequently see people carry their target rifles with them on the NY City subway system. And you know one even considered SHOOTING a fellow human being in the process! The attitude adopted by society that there exists no personal responsibilty for one's actions has a signficant impact on the youth of today. Gun possesion has been a cherished component of American life for more than 200 years,only in the past 30+ yrs has it manifested as a problem.
Mike Root, USA

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