Rare is the British politician prepared to challenge the post-Dunblane gun restrictions, so it is a welcome change that Nigel Farage has criticised the draconian prohibition on all hand-guns brought in by Blair’s Labour administration. He notes the ludicrous position in which the nation’s medal-winning shooting team have been placed, having to leave the country to train.
He does not, unsurprisingly, call for a return to US-style liberality, such as existed 100 years ago, merely that licenced individuals be permitted to keep a hand-gun at home, as long as it was stored securely. Even such a moderate (in my view) position is too much for the establishment, from whom various spokesmen have denounced his comments as “inappropriate” and “irresponsible”, as if the bare mention of the subject will cause harm to the public (perhaps by inspiring them to think for themselves).
What should not be overlooked is that the laws as they stood at the time of Dunblane would have prevented the perpetrator Thomas Hamilton from possessing his weapons, if the police had applied them. Why exactly they did not has been the subject of speculation ever since – and only speculation due to the shroud of secrecy which was draped over the matter by the authorities.
The sad fact is that once a right has been surrendered, it is incredibly difficult to reclaim it. In the case of guns, any incident which followed a liberalisation would be blamed on the politicians who enacted it. There is always what is seen, and what is unseen, and every negative event would certainly be seen, whereas no one would be counting the times when a crime was prevented from even occurring by an armed citizen. So, the likelihood of a change in the law as proposed by Farage remains close to zero.