An overwhelming majority of British citizens want their country’s handgun ban repealed, according to the results of an on-line poll conducted by the Daily Telegraph, described Wednesday as the United Kingdom’s “most widely read broadsheet newspaper” by the Commentator.
As this column was updated Thursday, more than 14,900 votes had been cast in the unscientific poll, and of those, 12,603 support a repeal of the 1997 gun ban, an 84.35 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.
For anti-gunners on both sides of the Atlantic, it is a devastating rejection of the gun ban philosophy. The ban was enacted following the Dunblane school massacre. 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.”
But the Commentator also said this:
“But 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.”
Results of the poll were revealed Wednesday by the newspaper, which was still accepting votes as Examiner’s special late Wednesday edition was being written.
The Telegraph opened polling on May 24 and it did not take long for the votes to come 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 7.68 percent support for the next most popular idea, a flat tax, and left other suggestions in the dust. Those 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 indication that any of the suggested bills discussed by the newspaper will actually lead to legislation.
Next time anti-gunners in the United States point to Great Britain as a model they would like this country to follow, it is likely gun rights organizations and activists will point to the Daily Telegraph poll.