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Wednesday, 8 April, 1998, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Reaction to the US handgun issue: Brits keep out
Many Americans were hostile to the idea of interference in their laws from abroad - and from Britain in particular.

Of course it's your business. This is just a debate not a policy setting session! If Americans really think they don't have a problem with their gun laws then fine. I do fear however that SOME Americans' frame of reference is somewhat skewed by their lack of knowledge of societies outside of the US. Trust us when we say it may be normal to carry guns in the US, but isn't anywhere else in the civilised world.
Keith Rollett, UK

Many Yanks seemed a bit pissed off with the so-called Brits sticking their noses in where they don't belong. As a serving British Army Soldier maybe you now know how I feel every time YOU stick your noses into Northern Ireland's affairs.
Mr R Doyle, UK

You snobbish Brits. For all enternity you'll be sticking your noses into our business. You've had your rights taken away under your noses. All you can picture is an assault weapon-toting "hick". I've never owned an assault weapon (never will), but I own guns. And I'll keep on owning them. Even now the state of Wisconsin is adapting its state constitution to further protect our rights. It's time the majority of legal gun owners stop taking the blame for the few who don't treat guns with respect. The liberal media has perpetuated the view of anti-gun anti-hunter views for too long. Leave us to our own, please. You have no right to preach to us.
Joseph Manske, United States of America

After reading the above I have decided that you Brits have a lot of nerve commenting on Americans banning guns. The comments I have read are just not that smart.
Jack Brown, USA

Chill out people - it's just a forum for discussion. We're not coming over for another Boston Tea Party!
Of course it's a decision for the American people to take on their own. Other talking points have focused on very British issues but have attracted comment from all over the world - it doesn't mean everyone else wants to tell us how to run our country. Many people in the UK will have strong views because of their reaction to the Dunblane tragedy. In the aftermath of that the UK reacted as it saw fit. The Americans are just as capable of drawing their own conclusions from their own tragedies based on a culture that has developed over the centuries since they kicked us out!
Neil, UK

Britons have never been appreciated for imposing their own views upon Americans. Charles Dickens was slated in the American press for, amongst other things, speaking out against slavery when he visited America. Thankfully, people still read Dickens' books and don't keep slaves in America so maybe attitudes will change.
Ian Butcher, USA (Brit ex-pat)

It was the ownership of firearms that allowed the U.S. to throw off the yoke of oppression great Britain had placed upon our citizens. If our government tries the same thing we'll still have the ability to resist. It's called America: deal with it.
David Sutera, USA

1. Britain's opinions have little weight in USA 2. Rifles (not handguns) were used in Jonesboro. 3. This didn't happen before "Gun Free School Zones". 4. Studies show that crime drops where citizens can own/carry guns. 5. Most violent crime in US is committed without guns. 6. Doctors' malpractice kill 5 people for every 1 person killed with a gun (including suicide). 7. The American Revolution started with an attempt by Britain to round up our guns (Lexington/Concorde).
Patrick Henry Larkin, Jr, USA

Leave the Americans to make their own decisions with regards to this subject. As one of the US contributors has rightly said - that was what they fought for and won a long time ago. The US has a completely different culture and history to that of the UK, and the residents of the US should not be lectured on their rights. The US has proudly and with great dignity and determination held on to their individual rights through history, and we should respect them for that, and follow their example.
UK residents should try harder to assert their own individual rights, and stop trying to mess with other people's rights. In short, we should leave the Americans alone, and use logic and reason as a process of increasing our own rights. Emotional responses have no place in the gun debate, and serve only as a knee-jerk reaction that will always decrease the rights of the individual.
S Barnaby, UK

I find it quite incredible and very disturbing that the majority of Americans see it as important to bear arms. As a Brit it certainly is my business - we all share the same planet.
Steve, S E England, UK

I don't see what business it is of ours. If Americans want to go around killing themselves through their own ignorance why should we care?
S Evans, Norway

First of all, who is Britain to tell the US what to do with its internal affairs. If you don't like it here, don't come over. We told you this over 200 years ago, and we're telling you again.
Tim Lau, USA

It would appear by the other comments you've hit a nerve on this side of the Atlantic. But, then again, the reason the "right to bear arms" is IN the Bill of Rights here is because the British tried to disarm us before the Revolution.
Tom Carlin, USA

For those Americans who have taken the opportunity to voice their anger at Britain's interest in what is strictly an 'American' concern I say...'Then get the hell off our website!' You want nationalism...there you are. The safety and security of the world's children should be an international concern. America prides itself on being the world's policeman. It can't police its own backyard!
And please! Spare us those pathetic references to history. One chap laughably recalled Napoleon's victory over Europe. Sir, Napoleon was beaten although admittedly it took time. It would seem, however, that thousands of children will die before American ignorance and arrogance are laid to rest. And as for WWII? I'd like to attribute the victory of the allies not to US intervention but to Soviet manpower...and, of course, the RAF who held the line over Europe while America was still pussyfooting around over whether or not to fight.
Go voice your support for handguns to the parents of the children who died.
Chris Pallaris, England

Free men are armed - slaves aren't. Our gun laws are none of your business. You made a terrible mistake by banning handguns (Remember 1940?), and there is no reason we should follow your example.
J. P. Harrison, Texas, USA

It is interesting that a country such as England could be interested in promoting the reduction of civil rights in another country. If you examine the statistics, I believe you would find that banning firearms in your own country has led to an increase in crime, as well as the increase in the use of other types of weapons.
Bruce Beswick, Canada

The gun was what made the USA free from the tyranny of Britain. Gun control has never been the answer and it cannot happen here. The British may have rolled over, but not the USA.
H Howard Lewis Bloom, USA

In a country where one is not deemed responsible enough to regulate ones own alcohol consumption before the age of 21, how can you expect minors to treat tools of death with the respect they deserve?
Malcolm Smye, UK

Considering that most if not all the Arkansas deaths were the result of hunting rifles that are legal in the UK, I wonder what the point of banning handguns would be. Sounds like you are just trying to take political advantage of someone else's tragedy.
Richard Walker, USA

One British person declared: A constitution which gives people the 'right' to bear arms is a constitution which will allow sick individuals with sick morals to run amok in the society it creates. Yes, that's the risk we take in America. But it is better to suffer an infrequent tragedy than to live in the sterility of life-sapping controls by GOVERNMENT gone amok..
Dave S, Washington State, USA

Many comments from the USA seem annoyed that this issue is being discussed in the UK, saying "mind your own business". Surely the greatest Freedom is that of speech and free expression and everyone should have the chance to say what they feel.
A D Stannard, UK

Why is the gun issue in America so important to the people of the UK? Guns should not be banned and more laws are NOT needed. If only the courts would enforce the existing laws and punish criminals the crime rate would drop even more than it has in the past few years.
Glen Swaim, USA

I find it sadly amusing that a nation where young hooligans routinely bash each other to death at soccer matches deems to lecture the US on violence.
Paul Theodoropoulos, USA

Not only is it guaranteed in our Constitution but it is a God given right to have the means for self protection!
Harvey Styers, USA

What business is it of yours? In the early stages of the last World War you came begging for guns and we sent you a lot of our personal guns so you could defend yourself from Hitler. Now you've banned them again and your gun crime rate has gone UP! Please don't meddle in our affairs. Guns save 2.5 million lives every year here in the US. This has been proven by government and private studies. Unfortunately, you no longer have the option to defend yourself.
Mark Cooper, USA

What business is it of yours to ask this question? You're deeply deluded if you think we Americans care what you think of us. The reason this sort of garbage goes over well in the UK is simple and can be summed up thusly: There is still no such a thing as a British Citizen. You are all, by definition, SUBJECTS of the Crown. I am not anybody's "subject".
Jacob J. Rieper, USA

Absolutly not. Run your country your way. Leave ours alone and we will save your butt next time some 2 bit third world country comes after you. Perhaps we should discuss your problems in Ireland. Keep your elitist opinions to yourself!!!
Keith H, USA

In response to Keith H from USA who sums it up very well. How a nation that routinely sticks it's nose into Northern Ireland can say we have no right to comment when American negligence leads to the deaths of children is quite beyond me!
J.Douglas, UK

We kicked you out of our country years ago for reasons you should already know. So what gives you the right to infringe on OUR liberty? We do not tell you what to do with your Queen or your little island so mind your own business. The police in our country do not have to "protect us" individually so it is up to the individual to protect himself or herself. History has proven that a defenseless society is ripe for a dictator to do his will, such as Hitler did in Germany. If the Jews had been armed, the history of the Third Reich may have been vastly different. Not to get your knickers in a wad but perhaps I should jog your memory a bit more and remind you of what Napoleon did to your puny particle of a land mass. The armed citizen is why America is still the greatest nation in the world. I can not understand why a nation smaller than my state of Texas would presume to tell America what to do with our Bill of Rights.
Hunter Mcwilliams, USA

The SUBJECTS of the Queen are not the people to be asking this question. You have chosen your destiny. Guns are not the problem. Not enforcing the laws we have to deal with the problem and general lack of respect for each other is part of the problem. It is my constitutional right as a CITIZEN of the US to own a handgun. I will not allow the actions of a few sad examples of humanity to take the guns of law abiding people away.
Joe Fuller, USA

The right to keep and bear arms is one of the fundamental foundations of this country. It is part of our national personality. The rights of law abiding citizens should not be imposed on in response to the actions of a few criminal individuals. As for the British opinion on this issue, while every person is entitled to their opinion, this matter is none of your concern. Make whatever laws you please in your land, and leave us to ours.
Jarrod Wickline, USA

This is not an issue for the UK or any other country. The opinions of those outside of the United States simply don't matter. I would rather live by our Constitution and Bill of Rights than that of any other country (re:"the fact that they're saddled with a bill of rights which is 200 years out of date.").
Steve, USA

See also:

29 Mar 98 | Talking Point
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
30 Mar 98 | Talking Point
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
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