As the story of the tragic shooting in Seascale emerges the talking heads are predictably turning their attentions back to gun controls. This isn’t your average shooting you see, not a gangland killing between criminals, not even such a case where innocents have been caught in the crossfire, for this is a registered and licensed gun owner that has gone on the rampage leaving at least twelve people dead and as many injured, some critically.
The theme of the next few days is probably going to be one of wondering how we still allow people (even highly vetted ones) access to guns, how can we call ourselves civilised if we allow them and a total ban is the only way these tragedies can be avoided. There may even be some hastily-written legislation.
“Look at the Americans!” they’ll wail. “People go postal over there all the time!” You can’t disagree with that, can you?
Yes. The way to mitigate, if not prevent incidents like this is to increase the availability of firearms, not reduce it. The armed police apparently only got it together to chase the guy when he was already on his way to the woods to top himself. Regular police aren’t armed and crucially neither are the public, leaving the crazed Bird unmolested as he wandered around and killed a dozen people.
The anti-gun lobby will point to the States and say that gun availability there is a factor in the incidence in these crimes but it is also apparent that the worst atrocities happen in places where guns are not allowed like shopping malls and schools.
If we had more liberal gun laws in this country it is very possible that Bird would have been stopped by a member of the public long before he reached a dozen victims. I know I would feel safer knowing that decent, law-abiding folk were armed as a matter of course.