See bottom of post for brilliant response from another Brit who purportedly lives in the same town as Mr. Hammond.
To all at GunsSaveLives,
I’m sorry guys, you have got it wrong. Guns don’t save lives, they take them. Since I am not a US citizen you might wonder what I know about it. I live in the UK where gun control is much tighter. That’s not to say we don’t have gun crime, every now and then some lunatic goes on the rampage with a gun (usually one they legally have access to). In fact one of the worst shooting incidents we have had recently in the UK began a few miles from my home (Derek Bird shot and killed 12 people and injured 11 others on 2 June 2010). But I don’t believe that arming ‘good people’ would have helped. Being able to use a gun effectively to defend yourself and others and avoid harming bystanders is a skill beyond most of us. Soldiers are trained for years to do exactly that. Nevertheless if you look at some of the video footage available from the battlelines in places like Afghanistan you can see how chaotic and confusing a firefight is. The idea that a well intentioned member of the public is going to be able to operate at that level is not credible, there will be carnage and more innocent life will be lost.
I have lived and worked in the US. In that time I found Americans to be intelligent, hard-working, humourous, generous and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. And yet on a couple of occasions when visiting friends I was astounded to be shown the collection of firearms they kept in the house. Honestly, if they told me they kept a live lion in the basement and sent the kids down there twice a week to feed it I could not have been more dumbfounded. I could not make sense of it. Why would these civilized, sensible people want these things around?
It’s time to take a deep breath, do the difficult thing and put your guns down. You won’t be giving up your rights or your heritage or dishonouring your past, you’ll be taking a positive step to becoming a safer, better place to live. Tackle the social issues that underlie some of the gun crime, deal with the gangs, teach your kids about citizenship, social responsibility, hard work and respect. Please don’t divide your society in two and mow each other down in a hail of well intentioned gunfire.
PS. I have an idea for a Burmashave sign for you:
She heard a noise.
She drew her gun.
Such a shame.
It was her son.
Thank you for offering your opinion that we Americans should surrender our arms and live as you do in Great Britain.
Our answer to that?
One word: NUTS!
You write: “you’ll be taking a positive step to becoming a safer, better place to live.” Oh, really?
Let’s compare modern Great Britain with the United States, shall we?
While Great Britain has fewer gun-related murders, its citizens are truly getting themselves savaged by violent criminals.
Where does the United States come in?
Let’s do the math, shall we? 2034/466 = 4.3648067 times the violent crime in the gun-ban utopia of Great Britain.
And frankly, it’s not the United States as a whole that face firearm-related violent crime, but rather the urban centers filled with Obama voters who are enduring the brunt of the violence, and ironically they have made the choice to have very low rates of lawful firearm ownership, sort of like you have in Great Britain.
With all due respect, the folks in Great Britain would be vastly better off re-establishing the right to self-defense from violent attack and allowing residents to once again own firearms. In the 1800s, firearms were pretty readily available to Britons and frankly, a gentlemen did not go unarmed to certain parts of the city after dark.
For whatever reason, you Brits disarmed yourselves early last century and America had to bail your sorry arses out during that one particular war, sending our personally owned firearms over to your citizens so you wouldn’t be speaking German today.
I offer to you the following example (pictured at the top of this entry) from the National Firearms Museum:
When the British army lost most of its arms on the beach at Dunkirk during WWII, John W. Hession was one of many Americans who responded by loaning a rifle for British use.
As this bolt-action Springfield rifle, SN 264631, was Hession’s prized competition piece, a gun that had successfully competed in the Olympics, at Bisley Range in England, and in the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio – Hession placed specially engraved plates on the stock denoting its importance.
The front plate, which asked for the rifle’s return after the defeat of Germany, may be the reason this piece was returned to Hession after the war.Heinlein purchased this former military issue bolt-action rifle in his later years and used it for informal target shooting, mentioning a similar rifle in his novel, The Number of the Beast.
Serving as an issued standard battle rifle for the United States military through two world wars and many other minor conflicts, the Model 1903 rifle was based in part on the Mauser Model 1898 design. The Springfield M1903 was manufactured at Springfield Armory in Springfield, MA, and also under government contract at Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, IL, and later at Remington Arms in Ilion, NY. Rock Island manufactured this rifle design only from 1904 to 1920.
Over one and a half million examples were produced prior to 1941, and with the start of WWII, production began again at Remington and at Smith-Corona, a typewriter and mechanical calculator company in Syracuse, NY. The new Model 1903 was designed as the M1903A1 to distinguish the newer production from older manufactured rifles that could have heat-treating issues with the receiver in certain serial number ranges.
Regular Americans used guns as many as 2.5 million times each year to thwart crime and the overwhelming majority of those don’t involve firing a shot.
They are the ultimate point-and-click interface. You write: “Being able to use a gun effectively to defend yourself and others and avoid harming bystanders is a skill beyond most of us.”
Well, maybe for you. With a few hours of training on the weekend, a person that we Americans would consider of average intelligence can be quite skilled in the fundamental operation of a personal defense handgun and the tactics which will further assist in coming out on top against an untrained, unpracticed criminal adversary. It’s hardly rocket science.
The Brits visiting the United States I’ve met have taken to firearm shooting skills like a duck to water after a couple of hours of simple, easy training. Their grins and excited looks speak volumes for their new-found enjoyment of shooting.
So thanks for your impassioned plea that we disarm ourselves to make the work of criminals easier, and to offer ourselves up as subjects (as opposed to citizens) without the ability to overthrow a future tyrannical government.
We already fought two wars to shed the yoke of that sort of thinking from the likes of British people like yourself. And as much as I love the queen, her son is a douche for cheating on his wife with what surely must be one of the ugliest women in all of Great Britain.
Lastly, let me tweak your sign proposal by just one word to better reflect the overwhelming majority of American gun owners:
She heard a noise.
She drew her gun.
Such a relief.
It was her son.
All the best getting victimized.
Oh yeah, and you can have Piers Morgan back.
To all at GunsSaveLife:
I too, like Mr Hammond. live in Cumbria in the UK.
I think that’s as far as the similarities go.
I know rather more about the Derrick Bird shootings than he ever will, having known Derrick since the mid ’70s.
His rampage could indeed have been curtailed if citizens were allowed defensive arms here, or possibly never have happened due to the deterrent factor of not knowing if an armed citizen might confront him.
As things stood, he knew he had a national disarmed victim zone in which to carry out his crimes, just like a “gun free” school zone.
Mr Hammond plainly doesn’t realise that many, if not most firearms owners in the US practice shooting more than either the Police or Military do – certainly the case with those I know.
Like Mr Hammond, I too spend a lot of time in the US & everyone I know has firearms at home.
Their children know about firearms too Mr Hammond & that familiarity & education in their safe handling & use ensures guns aren’t imbued with any mystique to make them in any way “special” or objects of desire.
I’ll tell you why I think Americans keep themselves armed Mr Hammond; it’s because it is their natural Right to do so & Rights that aren’t exercised are soon lost.
You talk of them not having to give up their rights whilst advocating just that & in a manner that would only make sense in a dream like Utopia.
Do you think those with criminal intent will give up their guns first Mr Hammond, because they haven’t done so here in the UK?
Do you think people in the US haven’t spent decades tackling gang culture, social deprivation & other woes of society Mr Hammond?
From what I’ve seen, the effort is both ongoing & far greater than here in the UK.
Our violent crime rate is more than DOUBLE that of the US Mr Hammond & I invite you to consider why that might be.
I know what I think it is makes the difference & it isn’t being nice to violent thugs.
One last thought for you Mr Hammond: It is all too easy to see the US as very similar to the UK because of historical origins & a mutual use of the English language.
That isn’t so, as the US has its own very distinct cultural, societal & political differences that you have plainly missed in your time there.
As for myself: Given the freedom to choose, I’d be over the Pond & asking to be allowed to stay in the blink of an eye – but only so long as the US holds on to the freedoms we in the UK have let slip away.
Mike the Limey
Mr. Hammond responded last night and I just had an opportunity to append his comments.
I’ll let them stand without further comment as I believe my earlier response needs no repeating.
And folks, I’ve deleted three or four comments and edited a few more. Remember: We’re family friendly here, so keep the language PG-rated or better. Also, Mr. Hammond is not issuing personal attacks or hurling vitriole, so there’s no need to attack him personally.
Mr. Hammond responds: Jan. 24, 2013
Thanks for all the replies, especially the one from the person who hopes I get mugged! Says something about some of the people who subscribe to this website don’t you think?
I’d like to respond to each and every one of you but that would take a long time and there wouldn’t be any point. So I will keep it brief.
Firstly my original e mail specifically concerned gun crime, not violent crime. Mr. [B]och was good enough to acknowledge this in his response but then quoted statistics for violent crime.
I’m not pretending the UK is some kind of crime free nirvana, but if we had more guns then I’m convinced more of these violent crimes would homicides. The statistics seem to support that, the US tops the charts for civil gun ownership (270 000 000 guns, where do you keep them all?) and the US has one of the highest firearms related death rates in the
developed world. So, simple maths says more guns = more deaths (good people and bad people alike).
Believe it or not I have I have fired a gun. Even more it incredibly, I did so on a range right here in the the UK. And I enjoyed it too.
If we are ever attacked by a hoard of flesh eating monster paper targets I’ll be as prepared as the next man to defend myself. I don’t regard myself as combat ready though, I think I’d be a bit deluded if I did.
PS As for Piers Morgan, sorry we don’t want him back.
Piers, old boy, it’s pretty rough when your own countrymen don’t want your sorry carcass back!