[nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen]
I didn't want to have to write about this so soon, but since the gun control lobby couldn't even wait 24 hours before exploiting the Cumbrian massacre, a few things need saying.
1. Storing ammunition separately
From The Guardian:
Gun control could have prevented Cumbria shootings
... Cumbria police were quiet about the firearms for a while – no doubt while they trawled their firearms-ownership database. Now they have acknowledged Bird was a gun owner.
The issues then become fairly simple, the incident utterly preventable. If firearm owners were not permitted to store guns and ammunition at home, the incident could not have happened.
... Keeping guns separate from ammunition would make such incidents preventable – and our communities safer places.
This is ignorant and arrant nonsense, typical of knee-jerk something-must-be-done pundits. How would this work? The police can make sure people are storing guns correctly by doing spot checks. Fine. Firearms have to be in a locked cabinet at the registered address. But—and this is the important bit—the police know how many guns the owner has. If you force farmers to store their ammunition elsewhere, they will just keep a couple of boxes in the bedroom.
Even if there is a record of how much ammunition has been bought, there is no way of checking how much has been used. So you buy two boxes, say you've used one of them and keep the spare box out of sight. Why wouldn't you? If you make ridiculous and unnecessary laws, even the most responsible and upstanding people will not respect them. Potential murderers definitely won't.
In any case, none of this would have prevented the Cumbrian tragedy. As became clear soon after The Guardian rushed out this op ed, it was a premeditated crime.
2. The handgun ban
After Dunblane, Lord Cullen's report recommended that guns should not be kept at home (the shooting lobby fought that recommendation tooth and nail, claiming it would destroy the sport [giant straw man - TFS]). In the event, a massive wave of public outrage saw handguns banned entirely [in 1997].
Yeah, and that made such a difference didn't it?
3. How much ammunition needs to be kept?
From the CiF comments—one of many making the same point:
I cannot understand the need to allow people to have weapons and huge amounts of ammo at home. Why do people need them? I've heard people talk about farmers having a purpose, but how often does a farmer actually need to fire a shotgun? Does he need to do so on such a frequent basis that he needs enough ammo at home to kill twelve and injure many more?
What quaint metropolitan view of country life is this? The ruddy-cheeked yokel occasionally popping out of the house to take a pot-shot at that pesky fox.
Listen here townies, if you go out lamping, you would hope to shoot maybe 10 to 30 rabbits. You need, therefore, a minimum of 10 to 30 bullets. Except you're going to miss. Probably quite a bit. So depending on how good a shot you are, you're going to need at least forty rounds of ammunition. The same applies to pheasant shooting. And if there's more than one of you, you're going to need that much multiplied by the number of guns used. See how that works?
4. Blame capitalism
Just when you think you've seen it all. Just when you think the left has scraped every barrel. Just when you think they have exhausted every avenue of self-parody, you get this...
Neil Clark: The egotistic culture of free market capitalism is to blame
Fuck you, Neil Clark. Fuck you to hell and back, you blood-sucking socialist parasite.
5. Ban, ban, ban
It cannot be overemphasised how rare these events are. As The Guardian says, in its more thoughtful editorial...
Such rampages are not unknown in Britain. But they are so rare that each is deeply etched in the national memory.
Indeed. The media coverage of such an extraordinary event as the Whitehaven massacre is wholly understandable, as it was with Fred West, Harold Shipman and Dennis Nielsen (none of whom used guns, of course) and for the same reason. It was incredibly unusual. The death toll from killing sprees of this kind in the last few decades works out at around 1 person per year. That will no comfort to the relatives of those who died, of course, but if you want to create punitive laws on the basis of a fatality rate of 0.0016 per 100,000, get to the back of a very long line.
Exceptional atrocities like this tell us nothing about the society in which we live. The people who commit them are so twisted and, by definition, unusual that they tell us nothing about ourselves. But those who instinctively turn to the state for more prohibitions as a response to even the most freakish events, those who expect the government to prevent every act of evil and those who exploit a distant tragedy to further their own agenda tell us a great deal about themselves.
There's only one person responsible for the events in Cumbria and he's dead. That's all there is to it.