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UK Self Defence and Weapon laws

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    Does anyone agree with any or all of these?

    These are petitions on the direct gov website currently. I am interested to see how many if any you agree with. If not why not?

    This is a long post. You can just respond to one point if you cannot be bothered reading the whole thing. Just look at 1 or 2 of the numbers if you dont have time.

    1. *Legalise purchase and carry of non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray*

    Currently these are "section 5 weapons". The same category as mortars, rocket launchers and explosives. If you you are caught in possession of one of these you could end up in some pretty big trouble. If you use one for self defence you could end up in some pretty big trouble as well. Stun guns, pepper spray, CS gas all fall in this category (along with rocket launchers of course).


    2 of the many examples I could find of people getting proecuted for possession and use of non lethal weapons

    - A couple were mugged at knifepoint. The male uses pepper spray on the mugger and gets away. The incident is caught on CCTV. The male gets a 6 month suspended sentence, 60 pound fine and 200 hours of community service. The female gets 20 hours of community service + a fine.
    - A nightclub owner who confiscated 2 stun guns from customers locks them up in the backroom. He forgets to hand them in to the police immediately. The police find them. He gets 53 weeks in prison for possession of 2 section 5 weapons.

    Waste of time and money in my opinion.

    2. *Repeal the 1988 and 1997 Firearms Acts*

    These acts were knee jerk reactions to 2 tragic events involving firearms. I do not think they have done any good considering they have not stopped firearm crime. After the handgun ban was put into place, hand gun crime went up a considerable amount. I have seen statistics showing these acts have done nothing to decrease violent crime.

    3. Absolute right to self-defence within one's home

    The petition on the website

    "The law regarding self-defence should be altered to make explicit that a householder is entitled to use any and all measures against an unlawful intruder within their home without fear of prosecution or any requirement to demonstrate proportionality or 'reasonableness' of response."

    similar to the "castle doctrine" in the USA

    4) This isnt a petition, this is a thought of mine. One other problem I have is that self defence/security is not a legitimate reason to own a weapon in the UK. The police are not always reliable. It may take them 5,10,15,20 minutes to arrive depending on where you are. Its not always possible to contact them quickly. Non lethal weapons are illegal, there are heavy restrictions on knives. What exactly are you meant to use to defend yourself? Even if you can use knives they arent always effective, neither is swining objects and for most people neither is a physical battle. What are you meant to do to defend yourself? The criminals do not follow the law. They are armed with all sorts.


    Before you answer please take these into consideration:

    - Do not keep using the USA in your arguments. I will give you a few things to think about. The USA has always had a problem with violent crime and gun crime. The UK has never had such a large problem. Gun crime and violent crime in the past was never as bad as the USA. The UK has never had a big problem with gun crime even before these firearm acts were put in place. Firearm possession has sky rocketed in the USA in the past decade whilst violent crime has decreased in the past decade.

    - "Gun crime is not a problem in the UK". I would say it is to some degree however it has only risen since the firearm acts were put into place so have they really worked?

    - Saying "I dont feel like I need a gun or a non lethal weapon" is not a good argument in my opinion. This is not the case for everyone. Violent crime happens everyday in the UK, peopels houses get broken into everyday and someone is probably raped everyday in the UK. Also I do not condone the use of drugs, I dont want to people to use drugs and I dont use drugs but I dont use that as a reason for them being illegal (I actually believe in 100% legalization). You dont think you need any protection until someone is in your house or someone is mugging you.

    - Another point about the USA. You can talk about the USA all you want but why not mention other countries with less restrictions than the UK e.g czech republic or switzerland or finland. These places have comparable gun crime to the UK. Why dont you you talk about Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico? These places all have incredibly strict gun laws yet gun crime is even higher than the USA. Why? because other factors influence violent crime.

    - I am not advocating a system like they have in the USA. Atleast not yet. These suggestions are things which could be put into place immediately and in my opinion benefit law abiding citizens. I am not suggesting concealed carry or open carry just yet and I am not suggesting everyone turn into a cowboy and have wild west shoot outs.

    - I am not stubborn. If you can genuinely show/explain/prove that Britains weapon and self defence laws are effective, sensible and do not in fact harm innocent citizens then I will change my mind.




    yes pics are small, but you can see the trend
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    While I don't feel that I can specifically respond to any of your points I thought I give my 2 cents on firearms laws in US and UK.

    I simply advocate a "status quo" approach to these laws, based on pragmatism rather than my moral objections.

    I feel that due to the huge gun culture and the large circulation of guns both illegal and legal I'd be both impractical and immoral to make a law that would only restrict guns for the law abiding citizens, subsequently making many people defenseless against heavily armed criminals.

    On the other hand here in the UK we have no such culture, hence much less circulation of firearms. I just feel like its common sense that if you made guns legal then the amount of guns will only increase for illegal use.
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    (Original post by muddywaters51)
    Do not keep using the USA in your arguments. I will give you a few things to think about. The USA has always had a problem with violent crime and gun crime. The UK has never had such a large problem. Gun crime and violent crime in the past was never as bad as the USA. The UK has never had a big problem with gun crime even before these firearm acts were put in place. Firearm possession has sky rocketed in the USA in the past decade whilst violent crime has decreased in the past decade.
    Another point about the US is that using statistics for the US as a whole ignore the fact that gun laws vary widely from state to state and city to city. Places where crime is high like DC, NYC and Chicago had handgun bans up until recently and still have very tough gun laws.
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    If we have relaxed gun laws we are likely to get armed policemen, both of which would have negative impacts upon society.
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    (Original post by antimilitarist)
    If we have relaxed gun laws we are likely to get armed policemen, both of which would have negative impacts upon society.
    Have you been in London in the last.....10 years? If so, you might have noticed that virtually all motorcycle officers carry firearms.
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    Not that I want to make it easier for criminals to get more powerful weapons, but something seriously needs to be done to avoid the country criminalising self defence like a bunch of brainless morons.

    A couple were mugged at knifepoint. The male uses pepper spray on the mugger and gets away. The incident is caught on CCTV. The male gets a 6 month suspended sentence, 60 pound fine and 200 hours of community service. The female gets 20 hours of community service + a fine.

    Seriously, **** this country.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    Have you been in London in the last.....10 years? If so, you might have noticed that virtually all motorcycle officers carry firearms.
    I meant all types of police officers everywhere as they are in the USA.
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    I'm split on the gun laws. I own guns in the U.S. but I can see that not making guns easily available does have a valid argument. I can't comprehend why you would not permit people to have non-lethal selfdefense items such as pepper spray or stun-guns.
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    I agree with the first for practical reasons. Self defence is sometimes necessary and escape not always a practical or the safest option, so I don't see the problem with legalising things that can be used very effectively defensively but have little to no scope to cause any permanent harm in the hands of someone who might misuse them. No point legalising guns, in that case - self defence is the only legit argument for owning a handgun, and once that can be equally achieved through non (or, more accurately for tasers and such, less) lethal weapons there ceases to be any reason to own something designed to kill people.

    I strongly disagree with the castle doctrine. It's hard for me to get across just how strongly. Lethal force should always be an absolute last resort only to be used to prevent an imminent, serious threat to your and others lives. I do acknowledge that there's a debate to be had over whether you should be required to attempt retreat or not inside your own home (essentially whether your right to defend your own home trumps your requirement to make every effort to avoid seriously injuring or killing someone in cases where the outcome is pretty much the same with regards to your personal safety). If that debate comes down on the side of defending your own home, then yes, there will be more cases of legitimate use of deadly force in defence of your own life in your home than there will be out of it. But giving people a carte blanche to murder anyone who crosses their threshold? Certainly not.
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    I don't agree with point 3. While I think people shouldn't have to be afraid of getting punished for defending themselves, I don't think you should give people a free pass to do whatever they like to an intruder. Say someone breaks into your house, and you stab them with a knife. In hindsight that might not have been the most appropriate way to defend yourself (they may not have been armed for example), but at the time you don't know that and it's clear that the act was in self defence. It's reasonable to assume that an intruder is likely be a threat to your safety, so in that case I don't think the homeowner has done anything wrong.

    But imagine if there was absolutely no need to show that it was a reasonable response? That would give people free reign to do what they like to an intruder. They could knock them out and then torture them. Clearly that isn't self defence.

    So I think the law should be more lenient towards people defending themselves. I don't think there's enough recognition that when threatened in your home, you're not necessarily going to think rationally and the well being of the intruder will be last in your list of priorities. But at the same time I don't think there should be free reign to do whatever you like against anyone that so much as trespasses on your property.
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    (Original post by Carecup)
    While I don't feel that I can specifically respond to any of your points I thought I give my 2 cents on firearms laws in US and UK.

    I simply advocate a "status quo" approach to these laws, based on pragmatism rather than my moral objections.

    I feel that due to the huge gun culture and the large circulation of guns both illegal and legal I'd be both impractical and immoral to make a law that would only restrict guns for the law abiding citizens, subsequently making many people defenseless against heavily armed criminals.

    On the other hand here in the UK we have no such culture, hence much less circulation of firearms. I just feel like its common sense that if you made guns legal then the amount of guns will only increase for illegal use.
    I dont think its correct to say guns are illegal in the UK. Certain guns are illegal and there are heavy restrictions placed on the type of weapon you can get legally. The suggestions I made wouldnt make all guns legal and I do not advocate a system like the USA for the UK alteast not currently.

    Right now I feel as though innocent UK citizens are defencless. Their only option really is the police who can never and will never be 100% effective.

    (Original post by PicardianSocialist)
    Another point about the US is that using statistics for the US as a whole ignore the fact that gun laws vary widely from state to state and city to city. Places where crime is high like DC, NYC and Chicago had handgun bans up until recently and still have very tough gun laws.
    I dislike constant comparisons between the USA and UK as arguments for gun laws. These people never mention any other countries. There are a number of reasons why the USA has high gun crime and the law is not what makes violent crime in the USA. Changing the law in the USA in its current position would only harm law abiding citizens.

    Yes a lot of gun crime does happen in inner cities and "gun free" zones or areas where weapons are heavily restricted.

    If the USA banned all guns tomorrow, I would predict gun and violent crime to increase and it would solve nothing.

    (Original post by ckingalt)
    I'm split on the gun laws. I own guns in the U.S. but I can see that not making guns easily available does have a valid argument. I can't comprehend why you would not permit people to have non-lethal selfdefense items such as pepper spray or stun-guns.
    Neither can I. The reason is that criminals use them (as far as I know). The thing is criminals are criminals. Criminals dont obey the law. If its illegal or not then they will get their hands on it. I am not advocating a system like the USA has in states like Arizona, Montana, Texas for the UK. I am suggesting laws be altered and reformed in a way that would benefit law abiding citizens.

    (Original post by Concept186)
    I agree with the first for practical reasons. Self defence is sometimes necessary and escape not always a practical or the safest option, so I don't see the problem with legalising things that can be used very effectively defensively but have little to no scope to cause any permanent harm in the hands of someone who might misuse them. No point legalising guns, in that case - self defence is the only legit argument for owning a handgun, and once that can be equally achieved through non (or, more accurately for tasers and such, less) lethal weapons there ceases to be any reason to own something designed to kill people.

    I strongly disagree with the castle doctrine. It's hard for me to get across just how strongly. Lethal force should always be an absolute last resort only to be used to prevent an imminent, serious threat to your and others lives. I do acknowledge that there's a debate to be had over whether you should be required to attempt retreat or not inside your own home (essentially whether your right to defend your own home trumps your requirement to make every effort to avoid seriously injuring or killing someone in cases where the outcome is pretty much the same with regards to your personal safety). If that debate comes down on the side of defending your own home, then yes, there will be more cases of legitimate use of deadly force in defence of your own life in your home than there will be out of it. But giving people a carte blanche to murder anyone who crosses their threshold? Certainly not.
    When someone breaks into your house you have no idea if they are armed or not or what their intentions are. They could be a serial killer armed with a knife and some rope, they could be an unarmed petty thief after your TV and nothing else. You have no way of knowing and in that situation there isnt really anyway of finding out. The fact is you will be scared out of your mind and the last thing you need is the thought in the back of your mind that if you harm them it could come back to ruin the rest of your life.

    I think you should feel comfortable in your own home and you should feel safe. I dont have any desire to kill anyone but if someone came into my house I would like to know I am backed by the law. Right now I dont feel that way. I feel like anything I do could potentially backfire on me (me get hurt) or if I harm the intruder it will lead to some kind of legal trouble in the future.

    I also dont think Im alone in this. I have no desire to kill anyone and I think a huge majority of law abiding citizens do not have any desire to kill someone. If this law did get passed I doubt there will be a bunch of people jumping for joy that now they can finally kill someone.

    I find the idea of having to retreat from your home because of an intruder pretty disgusting.
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't repealing the 88 and 97 firearm acts result in pistols and semi-autos falling under section 1 restrictions? Pretty sure you won't get a FAC if your only reason for wanting a gun is for self defense so you would have to look at a complete rework of our firearm legislation although i do agree with your points in principle apart from;

    "The law regarding self-defence should be altered to make explicit that a householder is entitled to use any and all measures against an unlawful intruder within their home without fear of prosecution or any requirement to demonstrate proportionality or 'reasonableness' of response."

    cmon, if someone walks in on a teenager trying to steal something and the kid turns around and tries to run away it's hardly justifiable for that person to then turn the kid into a piece of swiss cheese. I agree that our proportional response laws are grossly out of touch with reality and they should be loosened considerably but can't support a law that could result in an unarmed person trying to flee being nailed in the back just because they tried to steal something.
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    (Original post by Darth Stewie)
    Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't repealing the 88 and 97 firearm acts result in pistols and semi-autos falling under section 1 restrictions? Pretty sure you won't get a FAC if your only reason for wanting a gun is for self defense so you would have to look at a complete rework of our firearm legislation although i do agree with your points in principle apart from;

    "The law regarding self-defence should be altered to make explicit that a householder is entitled to use any and all measures against an unlawful intruder within their home without fear of prosecution or any requirement to demonstrate proportionality or 'reasonableness' of response."

    cmon, if someone walks in on a teenager trying to steal something and the kid turns around and tries to run away it's hardly justifiable for that person to then turn the kid into a piece of swiss cheese. I agree that our proportional response laws are grossly out of touch with reality and they should be loosened considerably but can't support a law that could result in an unarmed person trying to flee being nailed in the back just because they tried to steal something.
    I thought I mentioned in it point 4 or suggested it. I do think that security and self defence are legitimate reasons to own a gun.

    I might not be able to tell he was a teen, I might not know if he was armed, I wouldnt know what his intentions were and if he was running around my house I couldnt be 100% sure where he was going and what for. He might be running for a weapon or to get his friend. He might be running out only to return the next day.

    You cannot judge or analyse a situation while youre in the middle of it. I wouldnt be seeing an unarmed petty thief teen in my house wanting to get out. I would be scared and would be seeing an intruder and I wouldnt know his intentions or if he was armed. If he appeared to be running I away there is no gaurantee it is to get out of the situation.

    Any law you change it to is not going to be perfect. Someone will lose out eventually, or treated unfairly. The current system has those who lose out occasionally. Maybe the law described is not the best it can be but it is better than the current in my opinion.

    I have seen suggestions very similar, the only difference is they make it explicit that the onus is on the prosecution to prove beyond doubt that you did not act in self defence and that the intruder was of no threat. Even this will still have those are treated unfairly.

    Basically right now I dont feel like the law backs me 100% to defend myself and the law restricts me from having the tools to do so. What am I meant to use to defend myself?
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    (Original post by muddywaters51)
    2. *Repeal the 1988 and 1997 Firearms Acts*

    These acts were knee jerk reactions to 2 tragic events involving firearms. I do not think they have done any good considering they have not stopped firearm crime. After the handgun ban was put into place, hand gun crime went up a considerable amount. I have seen statistics showing these acts have done nothing to decrease violent crime.
    Well, I don't think they were designed to stop firearm crime. As you say, they were "knee jerk reactions".

    The reality is that before the handgun ban, less than 1% of the population owned hand guns. So any increase in firearm crime has nothing to do with these acts.
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    (Original post by DorianGrayism)
    Well, I don't think they were designed to stop firearm crime. As you say, they were "knee jerk reactions".

    The reality is that before the handgun ban, less than 1% of the population owned hand guns. So any increase in firearm crime has nothing to do with these acts.
    Do you know what they were designed to do? To stop spree shootings? I can think of 2 spree shootings since that have occured. So if it was to stop gun crime or if it was to stop spree shooting has it really achieved what it set out to do? All the while disarming the innocent.
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    (Original post by muddywaters51)
    Do you know what they were designed to do? To stop spree shootings? I can think of 2 spree shootings since that have occured. So if it was to stop gun crime or if it was to stop spree shooting has it really achieved what it set out to do? All the while disarming the innocent.
    They were not designed to stop firearm crime because relatively few people had guns. As I said before, they were knee jerk reactions to please the public.

    The main point was that talking about increases or decreases in hand gun crime since the gun ban are pointless.
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    (Original post by DorianGrayism)
    They were not designed to stop firearm crime because relatively few people had guns. As I said before, they were knee jerk reactions to please the public.

    The main point was that talking about increases or decreases in hand gun crime since the gun ban are pointless.
    ok fair point but if gun crimes and violent crime is increasing do you think its right the innocent a law abiding citizens are disarmed?
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    I agree with 1 and 3. 1 seems like a no brainer to me, I can understand why people would disagree with 3. I don't know the details of 2 but I don't know why you would need a hand gun for legit reasons.
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    (Original post by Sternumator)
    I agree with 1 and 3. 1 seems like a no brainer to me, I can understand why people would disagree with 3. I don't know the details of 2 but I don't know why you would need a hand gun for legit reasons.
    ok if you believe in 3 then what do you think people should defend their homes with?

    Ill explain 2 a little more

    Repealing the 1988 firearms act would put less restrictions on the type of shotgun and rifle people can own legally
    Repealing the 1997 firearm act would mean people would be able to purchase handguns legally in the UK

    In point 4 I suggested that self defense is a legititmate reason to own a firearm as it currently is not. You can agree with 2 without agreeing with 4.
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    (Original post by muddywaters51)
    ok if you believe in 3 then what do you think people should defend their homes with?

    Ill explain 2 a little more

    Repealing the 1988 firearms act would put less restrictions on the type of shotgun and rifle people can own legally
    Repealing the 1997 firearm act would mean people would be able to purchase handguns legally in the UK

    In point 4 I suggested that self defense is a legititmate reason to own a firearm as it currently is not. You can agree with 2 without agreeing with 4.
    Non lethal weapons ideally. I am all for shooting intruders dead but there are very few occasions when people need to use lethal force to defend themselves so it is not worth the extra deaths (of law abiding citizens) that would come from easily accessible firearms.

    I can understand why you would want less restirctions on shotguns but if people could defend there home with those why would they need handguns as well?

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