Gun prohibitionists on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to ignore the tsunami of support among respondents to a Daily Telegraph poll for repeal of the handgun ban in Great Britain.
The newspaper sought public reaction to a half-dozen proposals for legislation that might be introduced in the House of Commons. Removal of the handgun ban, adopted in 1997 in reaction to the Dunblane school massacre, drew more than 84 percent of the vote, eclipsing all other proposed subjects combined.
The Daily Telegraph is described as the United Kingdom’s “most widely read broadsheet newspaper” by The Commentator.
As this story was filed with TGM, more than 14,190 votes had been cast in the unscientific poll, and of those, 11,955 supported a repeal of the handgun ban, an 84.24 percent vote. It far out-distanced votes for several other measures that Britons would like to see introduced in the House of Commons, according to the newspaper.
The Commentator noted, “While gun crime soared after the British ban in 1997, rates of gun violence have fallen, especially in British cities, following more spending by police forces into tackling gun crime. Police in England and Wales recorded 5,911 firearms offences in 2011/12, a reduction of 42 percent compared with nine years earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.”
The Commentator also reported that “statistics from the United States show that guns are used by citizens to defend themselves around eighty times more often than they are used to take a life.
“A recent study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy concluded that there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime in countries internationally, that is, ‘where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are highest’,” the Commentator said.
The Telegraph opened polling on May 24 and votes immediately began rolling in. Regarding the handgun ban repeal suggestion, one reader observed, “After all, why should only criminals be ‘allowed’ to possess guns and shoot unarmed, defenceless citizens and police officers?”
Support for the handgun ban repeal eclipsed the support for the next most popular idea, a flat tax, and left other suggestions trailing in the distance. Those proposals included a term limit for Prime Ministers, a ban on spitting, the greening of public spaces and closing something called the “child maintenance loophole.”
The suggestions were part of a discussion the newspaper reported about “Private Member Bills” that could be offered to Ministers of Parliament. According to the newspaper, “under Commons rules, any MP can introduce a bill, but only a few are ever debated.”
There is no obligation for any of the suggested bills discussed by the newspaper to actually be introduced in Commons.