Pippa's Well-Armed Parisian Adventure

Pippa Middleton's latest foray into the headlines courtesy of her companion, Romain Rabillard's, somewhat inept gun-safety demonstration, almost slipped right past me. Normally, I would have learned of the incident during the course of my wife's regular evening reading of items of interest in People magazine, but after the latest issue arrived, I successfully barricaded myself in my office with a glass of Knob Creek. Fortunately, Google News transmitted what my wife could not, and so I learned what the rest of the world already knew: Pippa remains easy on the eyes, and France is a bit better armed than American mythology would have us believe.

In the U.S., at least at the extremes, Team Blue partisans often like to pretend that Europe is a unified whole where civic peace reins and tough gun laws keep weapons out of civilian hands. Team Red fans generally consider Europeans to be a bunch of sissies willingly disarmed by their governments.

In fact, savvy firearms aficionados will tell you, it's all a lot more complicated than that. Gun laws, as befits a collection of closely packed countries who have traditionally — and justifiably — viewed each other with a great deal of suspicion, vary widely. France's own regulations are probably less burdensome than what you'll find in New York or New Jersey.

And Rabillard wouldn't have had much difficulty navigating those regulations. As a legal advisor to weapons-maker Heckler & Koch, it wouldn't be too difficult for him to get a gun or the legal advice needed to navigate any necessary paperwork to make it legal. The brain required to refrain from waving said firearm at journalists with cameras he would be expected to provide of his own accord.

But it wouldn''t be all that surprising if Rabillard hadn't bothered to dot all of his legal "i"s and cross his red-tape "t"s. That's because gun laws in Europe are at least as divorced from actual gun ownership as tax laws are from tax payment. According to the 2003 Small Arms Survey (PDF) at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, in most of Europe, "public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones." In France, the survey found, that meant 2.8 million legal firearms, and 15-17 million illegal guns, in civilian hands.

And recently, one of those hands, perhaps wired to a slightly under-powered brain, was right next to Pippa.

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  • Timrek||

    Uhh..First?

    But really, how is it that Pippa and friends can be criminally charged for the douchey actions of a less than well-wired car mate?

  • jdtuccille||

    No charges so far. And, from what I've read, the only one likely to be in the hot seat is Rabillard.

  • Timrek||

    Initial reports that I read suggested she could be charged and the penalty could be as severe as 7 years in prison.

  • ||

    Not bad, Europe. Especially you, Germany and France.

  • R C Dean||

    Almost gives you hope, doesn't it?

  • ||

    I've always been much more positive about Europe than many of the posters here. People like to get stupid about the Europeans but they fail to understand how closely related, culturally, we are to them.

  • ||

    I ONCE SPENT A WEEK IN THE FRANCE AND COULDN'T FIND NO GOOD FOOD ANYWHERE

  • ||

    Warty, you can't just ignore all of that delicious escargot. I don't what they make it out of, but apparently it's a delicacy, just like fish eggs.

  • ||

    Eastern Europe I notice is not factored in the table. UKR is not entirely hostile to gun ownership. Given their recent history, I couldn't imagine why.

  • ||

    I think it's EU countries as of 2003.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I've always been much more positive about Europe than many of the posters here.

    Figures.

  • ||

    Come at me, bro!

  • WarrenT||

    I've never understood where people get the mental concept of Europeans being Europeans rather than being partisans of their localities.

    England is a smallish place compared to the US but yet they manage to have as many, if not more, regional differences than we do.

    And from what I've seen and in both serious articles and programs as well as lighter fare this is the case all over Europe.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're just Europe West, with more cowboys, Indians, and black people than Europe. We tended to be a little more independent and commerce-minded than most Europeans, but that distinction is fading.

  • nicole||

    Why do you hate the Finns? So many guns, so many vowels...what's not to love?

  • ||

    I don't hate the Finns, they did very well for a bunch of morose nutcases.

  • ||

    Finland is the most fun-friendly European state outside of Switzerland, if I remember correctly. I think being invaded by Russians enough times might have something to do with it.

    Behold, the baddest man ever.

  • RBS||

    hunted with Finnish president Urho Kekkonen.

    I read that as "hunted Finnish president..."

    This guy's story would make a cool movie.

  • Drake||

    White Death.

    A man after my own heart - scopes are for pussies.

  • T||

    There comes a certain distance where they're essential. I don't give a shit how badass you are, once you're trying to go past 1000 yards, you need a scope. For most people, it's between 600 and 800.

  • R C Dean||

    I would say that for most people, its a lot less than 600 yards.

    For me, because I just haven't shot over iron sights in decades, more like 100 yards.

  • Drake||

    Correct form and a little practice is all it takes. Marine recruits don't make it out of Boot Camp if they can't pass the Known Distance course that includes 10 shots at 500 yards with iron sights on the M16. It used to be 600 yards with the M1 and M14.

  • WarrenT||

    I'm guessing all those unregistered totals are under-counts. Especially in oft-invaded countries.

    Many a garden and flowerbed is rich is extra iron, I'm sure.

    And not just pistols and rifles either. Do you think the allied forces were able to police up every dropped MG42 or MP40? And whatever else might have been left lying on a battlefield or rout route.

  • Drake||

    Heard the stories of Polish farmers oiling their gardens to keep the buried Krags, Mosin-Nagants, etc... from rusting.

  • ||

    I've seen more handguns here in Prague than I ever saw in the US. My former Czech business partner open carried for years. Europe is not a monolithic entity even if it is pretty much monolithically socialist.

  • ||

    Europe is not a monolithic entity even if it is pretty much monolithically socialist.

    True. It's quite, ahem, balkanized, if you will.

  • Bingo||

    My understanding of Czech gun laws is that once you get the permit from the sheriff-like local bureaucrat pretty much anything goes outside of machine guns. And getting the permit is supposed to be about the same difficulty as getting a CCW in the States.

  • ||

    I think most of the guns I've seen were unlicensed, usually concealed in the waist band and caught getting into a club or falling out of someone's waist band in the metro. But no one seemed terribly worried about having them or getting caught with them. Of course I don't go out to clubs or ride the metro late at night like I used to.

  • ||

    I'm very, very disappointed in Sweden.

  • ||

    They still manage to pull off an almost-respectable per capita figure. When you have a small population, it's easier to achieve a higher concentration of both death metal and guns. It is known.

  • ||

    Swedish metal has been declining in quality lately. Maybe they need to invade Finland and take some...oh, wait, they're totally outgunned. What a shame.

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT SWEDEN

  • ||

    You like ABBA and ACE of BASE, don't you? Freak.

  • ||

    Groovster, it was you who, much to my delight, was an honest to goodness Ace of Base fan, right? I hope my drug-addled mind didn't make that up.

  • ||

    "I saw the SIGN...and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign."

    Guilty as charged, Dagster.

  • ||

    Excellent. You are awesome. Now I know what I will be chairdancing to this afternoon.

  • Ted S.||

    All Dagny wants
    Is another baby
    She's gone tomorrow but
    All Dagny wants
    Is another baby, eh eh eh

  • Wilt Chamberlain||

    Meh, Norway and Finland were always superior in my opinion, metal-wise. Gothenburg was always bad, and their heavier stuff doesn't really compare. Although I could be biased, I like black metal way more than death.

  • ||

    There were a few good Swedish bands in the 90s, but they suck now and haven't been replaced. The Gothenberg scene mostly sucked, but that's the case with any scene. Finland is the best nowadays, though.

  • Wilt Chamberlain||

    Oh, almost forgot that Sweden had Opeth, there's a point in their favor. Outside of prog though, I don't think I have many modern Swedish bands.

  • ||

    Amon Amarth is probably the leading one now, and while they're fun, they're overpoweringly silly.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones.

    But they like those unenforced laws kept on the books so they retain the option of hitting certain people with targeted prosecutions.

  • ||

    He is clearly a massive douche and looks the part, but manages to pull off a kind of greasy attractiveness... at least with the scruff. Sans scruff in his shmancy law firm website photo, he just looks like a dweeb.

  • ||

    The goggles fail me...he looks like a younger Roger Rees. Yeah, that douchenozzle.

  • ||

    "The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength."

    Sad is the man who shaves. He knows not how little chicks dig it.

  • ||

    Are you still rocking the Opie beard? Or is it now a playoff beard?

  • ||

    I still look like Opie with a shaved head. But if my beard must have a descriptor, I guess it can be a deadlift beard.

  • Hell's Librarian||

    Haha. I was just thinking that guy has hipster douchebag written all over him.

  • ||

    Yeah, my first thought was that he's a total douche. But my second thought was that I'm kinda jealous of his douche lifestyle, as it seems to be working quite well for him.

  • np||

  • ||

    I want a Sig 550...:(

  • ||

    So go buy one.

  • ||

    Oh yeah, I'll just go out to my local select-fire store that specializes in non-exported foreign rifles and pick one up. Moron. Buffoon. Retard.

    I will get a SIG 556 when I have some more cash, though.

  • ||

    I meant the civilian version (the 556), poor man. Maybe I'll go buy one just to be a dick.

  • ||

    Send me naked pictures of you holding it. Preferably with a boner, please.

  • ||

    But I already sent you those pictures of me holding my CZ 97B, naked, with a boner!

  • Loki||

    Alt Alt-Text: "I don't always wave guns at photographers, but when I do, I prefer H&K."

  • Drake||

    Fuck yeah - we are still number 1 at something. By a long shot. I bet we are pulling away from everyone else as these numbers are 5 years old.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....by_country

  • T||

    My reading of the original report indicates they're way, way light. I've got several pre-68 weapoins that are completely unpapered in any sense, so I have a pretty good idea the America numbers undercount.

  • T||

    Hmm. I wonder if any Germans might be willing to part with some of their unregistered cultural heritage? I would seriously love me an original StG-44 or MP-40.

  • Drake||

    I'm waiting for these guys to start importing to the U.S. Apparently they are available in Canada.

    http://www.hza-kulmbach.de/ind.....61&lang=en

  • T||

    Sweeeeet. I hope they can manage it.

  • Mensan||

    Who is Pippa Middleton?

  • R C Dean||

    Some chick with a dynamite ass. What more do you need to know?

  • Mensan||

    I need to know why I've never seen this alleged dynamite ass. I'm also wondering why she's famous. I've seen the name on magazines at the supermarket checkout, but I have no idea who she is. I realize that I could solve that problem quickly with google, but at this point I'm intentionally avoiding that out of some unfounded principle.

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