Backer of British gun ban recants a little
Ian Bell was one of the principal backers of the (final) British gun ban, in the wake of the Dunblane school massacre. Today, he takes a somewhat different position. It's a long article, and he still has a visceral dislike for guns, but he ends:
"Back then, I believed every word. America had, and has, too many of the instruments that Thomas Hamilton found so alluring. Yet almost 11 years on, what do I read, and what do I say?
I read of three London teenagers murdered in the space of 11 days. I read of firearms "incidents" spreading like an epidemic across our cities. I read of Tony Blair holding a Downing Street summit on a crisis that seems - call me naive - a greater threat to many communities than any terrorism.
What I say then becomes obvious: my idea didn't work. In fact, I begin to thread certain fears together, like links in a chain. Here's one: if even London teenagers can provide themselves with the means to kill 15-year-old Billy Cox in his bedroom, guns have become commonplace, so commonplace that every would-be terrorist worth his salt must be armed to the teeth. Bans have failed utterly.
Let's concede that all the bans have failed. That doesn't mean we should also fail to ask a practical question. Britain has become a security state in recent years. Nobody strolls unmolested through customs these days. There are terrorist suspects, so they say, at every turn. So why, precisely, are handguns still getting into this country?"