War on Terror

London Bridge Terror Attack Shows Value of Responsible Gun Ownership

Responsible gun ownership could prevent terrorism.

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AdeRussell/flickr

Seven people were killed and 48 were wounded in London on Saturday when three assailants ran over some pedestrians on the London Bridge then rushed to nearby Borough Market to stab several more. (Police also accidentally shot an American tourist in the head while firing at the killers, wounding him nonfatally.) It was the third Islamist terror attack in the United Kingdom this year, and at least the eighth in Europe since the January 2015 assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France.

The deadliness of these attacks has not yet approached the level of terrorism seen in Europe in the early 1970s. Nevertheless, the ease with which news spreads around the world in the information age has contributed to the perception that terrorism is all around us. That perception is amplified by the decentralized nature of contemporary terrorism. Many of the attacks are said to be "inspired" by ISIS or other radical Islamist groups but, unlike larger-scale attacks such as 9/11 or the 2005 Madrid bombings, are not centrally planned.

Back in 2013, the head of Interpol suggested that widespread gun ownership could serve as a deterrent to terrorism. "Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem," he told ABC News after a massive assault on a shopping mall in Kenya. "One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security." But the latter isn't much of a solution, since it creates a new soft target just outside the security perimeter protecting the old soft target.

Meanwhile, strict gun control laws across Europe have not prevented the use of firearms in various terrorist attacks. As Reason's J.D. Tuccille pointed out last year, in Europe terrorists arm themselves on the black market. And when there are no guns, there are knives and vehicles.

The spate of terrorism in Europe could spur conversations about individual rights and security in a decentralized world. It ought to invite reflection on the wisdom of keeping civilians disarmed in a world where it's becoming more difficult to keep arms out of the hands of highly motivated people who want to do them harms. American gun control advocates, for example, often point admiringly to Australia, which passed sweeping restrictions on guns 20 years ago. Yesterday in Australia, a gunman who said he was inspired by ISIS killed a man and took a woman hostage before being shot and killed by police.

Responsible gun ownership would be a far more effective counter-terrorism strategy for Europe than erecting a police state, and it would have the benefit of not undermining their liberal democratic system in the process.

NEXT: British Attackers Identified, White House Endorses Air Traffic Control Privatization, Trump Complains About His Own Administration's Travel Ban: P.M. Links

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  1. “Responsible gun ownership would be […]”
    I agree.

    However, gun-proponents, at least gun-proponents in America, are unwilling to take the steps necessary to make “responsible gun ownership” synonymous with “gun ownership”. They only push for policies that support the latter, and have no interest in taking actual steps to ensure the former.

    Until gun-proponents fix that, the debate will continue.

    1. They only push for policies that support the latter, and have no interest in taking actual steps to ensure the former.

      I suppose they should be more definitive in enforcing quotations and portrayal of gun rights statistics too, right? If they can’t make their left-wing counterparts more responsible with free speech, then nobody should have free speech at all.

      Fuck off slaver.

      1. agreed. There is no such thing as responsible gun ownership. You have the right to own it period. If your irresponsible or dangerous you go to prison for a crime you committed. No crime…no prison.

        1. ^THIS

    2. As a gun owner, ardent admirer of the Second Amendment, and libertopian, I have no problem with legal requirements to require child safety locks and mandatory training.

      1. I have no problem with legal requirements to require child safety locks and mandatory training.

        The father of my own sons part of me understands your point and would consider a gun owner who didn’t lock or own a gun lock irresponsible. The other part has been shooting guns since age 8 and was trained by his father and grandfather who fought in a couple of wars and never locked the guns up. They just stored the guns and ammo separate and made damn sure that the lessons re: dangers of guns were learned and learned well from an early age.

        I think, at best/most/worse, places that sell guns should make locks and training information cheap/freely available. You can kill a whole lot more people a whole lot more agonizingly/quickly with chemicals from the under the kitchen sink or freely available from any gas station and there’s no licensing/training for things like that.

        1. I am for putting child safety locks on SWAT, DEA, FBI, ATF, CIA, Customs, BP, ICE and local cowboy cop and trooper guns at all times until the GO-Pee and Dems quit ordering them to shoot children over victimless sumptuary practices.

      2. require child safety locks

        Err….require that they be sold with the gun, or require that they be installed at all times? Requiring they be sold with the gun is a bit dumb*, but somewhat defensible…requiring they be installed at all times is just fucking stupid, though, and was already struck down by the Supreme Court in DC v. Heller.

        *If you have no children, or otherwise store your firearms in a place that’s already inaccessible to children, like in a safe, they’re useless as tits on a boar, and end up only adding to the cost of the gun.

        mandatory training

        I have no problem with people seeking training, and I encourage it, but the moment you make it mandatory is the moment you give the government the latitude they need to make it so expensive or arduous as to effectively revoke the right completely. See Chicago, where they required you to visit the range to train, and then banned all civilian ranges inside city limits. Fuck that noise.

      3. My idea of responsible gun ownership consists of offering firearms training in high school, or earlier. Familiarity breeds responsibility. All Americans should know how to safety handle and use a firearm.

        1. My idea of responsible gun ownership consists of offering firearms/knife/drill/scissors/nail gun/pointy stick training in high school, or earlier and/or more consistently.

          If you really look at brass tacks, “If we’d trained [X] more, we’d prevent more [Y] deaths.” X and Y turn out to be things like pharmacology and poisoning, water safety and drowning, and driving and vehicular more effectively/frequently.

          Not to say that we shouldn’t train/require training for firearms, but your average 80 yr. old who’s on the verge of being legally blind doesn’t generally accidentally put the gun in gear and discharge it through the front of their neighborhood grocery store or post office like they do their car.

      4. Mandatory? As in, at the point of a gun?

      5. I have never once had a child in any of my dwellings since I was a child myself- and I’m 53. Fuck off with the “safety locks”.

        Should we require “mandatory training” to comment on a website? After all, most Islamists “self-radicalize” on the internet. Should we regulate people’s 1A rights? Then, why is 2A different?

      6. Child safety locks make the gun take longer to make operational when you need it most. If you have kids in your house that is a good trade-off.

        And mandatory training (like mandatory background checks) enables the government to make a list of everyone who owns a gun, so they can round them up later. And history shows that scenario isn’t far-fetched at all.

      7. Well I do so pi$$ off.

    3. However, gun-proponents, at least gun-proponents in America, are unwilling to take the steps necessary to make “responsible gun ownership” synonymous with “gun ownership”. They only push for policies that support the latter, and have no interest in taking actual steps to ensure the former.

      And those would be…?

    4. The thing is, many pro-gun groups hold trainings and do a lot to encourage THEIR idea of responsible gun ownership. And those of us who have followed this debate have noted that most groups that talk about “responsible gun ownership” appear to mean “as little gun ownership as we can con the rest of you into tolerating”. So I find I can’t really take your point very seriously.

    5. By “debate” you mean Kristallnacht laws so that only the violators of individual rights have guns? Those old bumper stickers could more accurately read: When guns are outlawed, only looters will have guns!

    6. Reinstituting an organized militia would solve a lot more problems than mere 2nd amendment stuff. In particular a trained citizenry doesn’t actually have to be armed with guns in order to quickly self-organize and figure out how to respond to something like this (see shoebomber, underwearbomber, trainguyinEurope, 9/11PAplane, etc). Making those particular situations end up better and enabling the entire population to see that WE are the first responders is a huge benefit.

      But those who want gun control also want to fearmonger terrorism as well as violence. The last thing they actually want is an entire population that is a hard target, that is no longer scared of those who want to do harm, and that has no interest in abandoning that responsibility to a bunch of paid bureaucrats. Those who want to continue fearmongering will always oppose anything that serves to make that rhetorical tactic less effective.

    7. Are you a “responsible” free speech advocate? I think we need background checks, training, licensing, etc, before you can comment on a website.

    8. One troll, many commenters.

  2. “Responsible gun ownership would be a far more effective counter-terrorism strategy for Europe than erecting a police state, and it would have the benefit of not undermining their liberal democratic system in the process.”

    If only someone can name a country that has responsible gun ownership. The US sure as hell ain’t one. Plus I’m not sure the “liberal democratic system” hangs in the balance when requiring people to satisfy some common-sense requirements before they can carry firearms.

    FACT: Average of 30,000 lives lost per year to guns; 75 deaths due to terrorist attacks in the last 10 years. Anyone feel safer? Source:http://bit.ly/1FSBg4Q

    1. Over half of those deaths are suicides, and a tiny number are accidental or have anything to do with being irresponsible gun owners, unless you think intentionally shooting somebody should be categorized as “irresponsible”. America also has far higher rates of every non-gun related violent crime from most of the Western world.

      1. No America does not have high rates of violent crime in general. We are far less violent – meaning rape/assault/etc than most of Europe. The only crime where we are huge outliers is homicide.

        And yeah I do think a lot of that is for one simple reason – much of our population does not understand the difference between ‘brandishing’ and the 2nd Amendment (keep and bear). Brandishing – no matter what the weapon – has always and everywhere been illegal. But both city gangs and gun nuts on a 2nd amendment rally brandish all the time.

        1. brandish means: wave or flourish (something, especially a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement.

          open and carrying is not brandishing. Pointing a weapon at someone as a THREAT or waving it in the air like a retard IS brandishing. Holding a weapon in a controlled manner IS NOT brandishing.

          So fuck off slaver.

          Also point a weapon is not brandishing if the person is justified to do so. (I.E. Self-defense)

          1. An armed government agent or any stranger walks onto my property I am 100% allowed to point my weapon at them.

            So fuck off

            1. Except now the government agents shoot first and check if they violated your rights later.

        2. I’ve never seen any nuts at 2nd Amendment rallies “brandashing”.

          Holstered carry, or rifles slung over the back is not brandashing.

    2. If only someone can name a country that has responsible gun ownership.

      All countries have responsible gun ownership – many of them are countries where only the government is allowed to have guns and they’re responsible for millions of deaths.

      Average of 30,000 lives lost per year to guns

      Conveniently not mentioning how many of those were suicides and how many were killings of people who needed killing.

    3. If only someone can name a country that has responsible gun ownership. The US sure as hell ain’t one.

      Some people can be irresponsible with guns, but the vast majority of gun owners are quite responsible with theirs.

      FACT: Average of 30,000 lives lost per year to guns; 75 deaths due to terrorist attacks in the last 10 years. Anyone feel safer?

      And more than that die because of cars. So the obvious solution is to ban cars or make the obstacles to ownership so onerous that they are practically banned.

      1. Everyone I know who drives a car or has been in a car has been in an accident at one point in life sometimes more than one time. Of all the people I know who own guns which is most of the people I know we have never had an accident with a gun. I do know some people who have had to use guns in defensive manners. I have never had to ram another car in a defensive manner, at least not yet. Anecdotal yes but it just shows how bad statistics and comparisons are.

        1. Oh, at first I thought you were reinforcing my point by saying that most people who drive cars encounter some form of accident while very few gun owners can say the same with respect to their guns.

          Then toward the end, I wasn’t sure what you were trying to say.

    4. Switzerland

      Gun ownership may be more widely spread even than the US. Their homicide rate is close to non-existent. It is the last place any terrorist is going to try to attack ‘soft’ targets – so it has been decades since the last attempt.

      But the reality is that that doesn’t stop Euroweenie assholes from coercing Switzerland into complying with Eurowide gun control legislation. Because at core gun grabbers want to disarm the population. They don’t give a shit about ‘responsibility’. They want sheep.

    5. Ah, a hidden leftie, with your “30,000 lives lost per year to guns”. How many were lost by the hand of OTHERS on the gun? About 1/3 of that.
      How many killed at the hands of our vaunted (and “affordable”) health care system? According to Johns Hopkins, about 25 times more than are murdered by people with guns.
      Regardless, the biggest threat is the government itself; it always has been, everywhere, all the time.

    6. “The US sure as hell ain’t one.”

      Incorrect. Thanks to gun owners and the NRA, accidental child deaths by firearms have dropped dramatically in the past 100 years.

      Also, in the past 20 years, the population has grown by 150 million, and guns in private hands has grown by 150 million. And yet crime has dropped and firearm homicides have remained steady.

      So yes, the US is a country that has responsible gun ownership.

  3. *** takes deep breath ***

    OK, Escher/Stanley — Care to elaborate about “responsible”?

    1. The trolls, don’t feed them.

    2. Suck it, ECU. Rich – Challenge accepted. “Responsible” is that hypothetical state where everyone is just like the commentors here: sober, thoughtful citizens. Plus, my point is that the author’s point is purely rhetorical and therefore empty.

      We can’t even agree on what’s more important: (a) demonstrated improvements in social safety that are a consequence of reasonable limitations on who should posses guns, or (b) a no-holds-barred ability for almost anyone to load up on weaponry, regardless of the infringements on the rights of what I call “bullet recipients.” That’s not trolling. It’s trying to get at a first-principles statement of who we want to be: a society that’s accepting of 30k annual gun deaths as the price of freedom (aka the status quo), or some other state that reduces the gun carnage but doesn’t turn us into serfs. I’m guessing no one on this thread has lost someone to a stray bullet, a child finding an unsecured weapon, an escalated domestic dispute or a suicide, where, in a transient moment of human weakness a tragedy occurred by means of a handy gun.

      Oh, and regarding the “autos kill so we might as well ban cars” red herring: look at year-over-year, deaths-per-100 million-miles-driven stats: 2015 was one third the rate of 1980. If gun deaths were on the same flight path, the no-guns crowd would have no legs at all. source- http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topic…..lity-facts -Facts are stubborn things

      1. If you continue to fluff up your “gun death” statistics by including suicides why not add deaths when a gun was somewhere in the vicinity? Hiding in a closet or a drawer somewhere? Hey, you could probably double those irrelevant numbers if you tried harder!

        1. No, those numbers are not irrelevant: Suicides go down when guns aren’t as available

          Simply discounting all of the suicides by saying these people would commit suicide anyways is wrong. Suicide rates go down when guns are less accessible.

          1. Sadly your link provides no evidence (since you SF’ed it).

            As I recall the Aussie experience was a slightly reduced suicide rate with a fair amount of substitution of means. So yes it did go down, a little.

      2. (a) demonstrated improvements in social safety that are a consequence of reasonable limitations on who should posses guns

        Since 3% of our population (black males between 16-40) commits 50% of all homicides, maybe we can start there. Of course, most of them don’t really care about “laws”…

        a society that’s accepting of 30k annual gun deaths as the price of freedom

        Of course, more than 20K of those are suicides- are you “pro-choice”- or just pro abortion?

        1. last line made my night thanks. i am saving that for later!

        2. Well said, sir.

      3. “…a society that’s accepting of 30k annual gun deaths as the price of freedom…”

        Freedom to defend your life with deadly force, to be specific. You’re treating it kind of abstractly. You have to add up the lives protected by that freedom when evaluating whether the price is worth it. Not so obvious.

        Also, if you think there would be 30k less dead people a year if we only had gun control, you’re even more foolish. People murder each other due to social problems which don’t exist in nearly the same magnitude in other developed countries. Mexico has gun control but triple the murder rate of the US. It is absurd to insist on comparing our inner cities to distant suburbs in scandinavia rather than adjacent countries supplying many of our gangs even.

        The persistence of support for gun freedoms in the US is not the cause of the crime problems in the US, the need for increased self-defense is another effect of those problems.

    3. He probably means not shooting people, or at least most people would mean it that way. So if fewer of us were criminals, we might have better arms policies. But there are so few of them, how do you get them to stop?

  4. Who cares about the debates by gun-grabbers.

    The 2nd Amendment does not give them a leg to stand on and the courts should follow fundamental protection by reversing weapon restrictions.

    “Responsible gun ownership” is having more than one gun and plenty of ammunition.

    1. I agree, but I think there is some benefit in trying to sway the minds of people who are opposed to gun ownership in general. Many of them are not interested in being convinced or reviewing all the evidence, but convincing a few here and there makes a difference.

      I’ve found personally that taking anti-gun people target shooting does loads more to convince them than discussions about what empirical research exists and how relevant & reliable those studies are. I think a lot of what drives anti-gun people is a deep fear, once they experience using a firearm they start to understand it is a tool. I think observing the generally good safety culture (and politeness) you see at most ranges helps as well.

      1. My first exposure to firearms was in college, with a lot of terrible safety culture. I had way too many firearms discharged in my vicinity at the age of 18 for someone who had never gone out to a range. But even despite that, I found I got way more comfortable than I had been back home in my blue state

        Helps that a friend saved me and some other people by pulling out his much larger gun on a crackhead who was flashing his gun towards us

    2. For balance, think of the abortion debate.

      Some few on the left sound as if they are pro-abortion, as opposed to pro choice. The former is immoral to most, the latter can be debated by well intended people on both sides.

      The same goes for the 2A. Most people don’t find the “gun nut” attitude reassuring. Nor do they feel protected and safe while shopping next to someone open carrying in the store next to them.

      1. Because someone is a pants shitter and coward does not mean my rights should be restricted.

    3. exactly. If i had the money I would have a weapon in every room and on my person at all times but sadly…i can’t afford that. But I do have an M4 and an FN Five-Seven with an RBAV with aux armor and 10,000 rounds.

  5. Totally agree with the main thrust: a well armed citizenry.

    But, you seem to indicate that the fact that “terrorist” acts today aren’t all centrally planned is evidence that terrorism isn’t all around us. That is a non-sequitur. The fact that it is less centrally planned should actually give people more reason to fear terrorism, not less. (I am not arguing it IS all around us, just that this particular point doesn’t prove that it is less dangerous.) Since these would be much harder to stop by relying on government intelligence or armed forces to respond. Which of course, does indicate how important it is for the citizens to be armed.

    Of course, even though they are not centrally planned, there does seem to be a consistent thread to these attacks. If we could only figure out what it is………..

    1. Maybe it’s religious fanatics gunning down cowardly natives? That would go a long way toward explaining why progressive socialists are so terrified–not of guns so much as whack-job antiabortion prohibitionist mystics who, to them, seem a lot like Saracen berserkers. Robert Dear, Ted Cruz and Czar Sessions come to mind.

      1. You don’t have to be religious to be against abortion. I’m still just begrudgingly accepting of abortion and I’m completely non-religious.

  6. There was a terrorist attack in Arizona? The bastages….

    1. Those fargin’ corksockers!

  7. London Bobbies used to not carry guns. But when the Coolidge and Hoover Administrations used the Prohibition, Treasury, Customs, Border Patrol and Internal Revenue Bureau to focus on asset forfeiture to prosecute the War on Beer, American war veteran bank robbers moved to England to capitalize on gunless cops. There is an object lesson in this. Alcohol prohibition was a Mohammedan thing before the Methodist White Terror imported it into These States. Daddy Bush’s invasion of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire (to save a mystical royalist autocracy) promptly brought bombers, then hijackers to These States. The Cleveland Administration had better sense.

  8. A charged canister of bear spray would have helped just as much as a gun from what I can tell.

    1. I hang out on the British Army Rumor Service (arrse.co.uk) website and yesterday they were debating whether or not a person should be allowed to carry mace or other chemical irritants for self defense. This is a website that is probably more pro self-defense than 99% of U.K. forums and yet opinion was divided over whether or not to allow that, never mind firearms.

  9. What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t people [SCOTUS, bureaucrats] understand??

    1. “infringed” is one of those big words that adults use.

  10. Much as I’d like to have some sympathy for Londoners, there is a serious schadenfreude problem whenever I realize they elected a goddam Saracen berserker to head the city’s monopoly on the use of deadly force. Let ’em eat The Wrath of Sadiq Khan and his congregants until they vote in a Second Amendment.

    1. I’ll say this nicely – You win the award for worst, most ignorant, least informed comment. Your words prove you to be a racist, xenophobic ass. Go live with your tribe at Infowars.

      1. Interesting considering that your comments have demonstrated a lack of reading comprehension. And this comment in response to Hank demonstrates a lack of ability to observe the world around you as it is rather than how you want it to be. Kindly fuck off.

  11. NPR was fascinated for several days by how “quickly” the police put these assholes down. “Only” 8 unarmed bminutes of murder and running and screaming and sheltering in place.

  12. Krayewski stole the idea for this article from a Trump tweet.

  13. Dream on!

    A gun grabber generally won’t stop arguing for gun control until he’s dead. I’m not suggesting killing him, but rather that it is highly unlikely that any facts or logic will cure his madness. (A few might come to see the light if they can get out of their progie enclaves [that was my story], but even then, most won’t.)

  14. I’m generally opposed to gun control, but it seems really stupid to try to use this particular incident as an example of why gun control is a bad thing. Because, yes, the attackers likely would have been shot sooner had there been armed civilians at the scene, but, on the other hand, in absence of stiff gun control laws, the attackers themselves would have had firearms and three guys with guns and the element of surprise are going to be able to kill significantly more than 8 people in a crowded space before being shot down themselves unless you’re fantasizing that the restaurant and bar patrons all had their shooting irons sitting on the tables in front of them cocked and ready to fire.

    1. Element of surprise is lost in the first shooting. After that, everybody within earshot that has a gun (and who certainly all know what gunshots sound like as opposed to fireworks) will have their firearms in hand, ready to fire, much less sitting on a table.

      And the first good guys with guns to shoot at the attackers will immediately and dramatically interrupt or disrupt their plans.

      As it were, since no one had any ranged weapons on them, the only choice for the potential victims and victims was to run and allow the terrorists to continue according to their plans.

  15. I think a better way to make the point is that all of these terrorist attacks lay bare the idiocy of victim disarmament statutes. Shit happens, and when it does, it’s better to be prepared than unprepared.

    -jcr

  16. Careful with the term “responsible” gun ownership.

    Cody Wilson said in his interview with Reason that the gun control freaks have market tested the euphemistic deceptive term “gun safety” as an alternative for “gun control.”

    “Responsible” when used by these evil propagandists always includes the requirement for permitting/licensing, testing, classes/training, and taxes/fees. In other words, gun owners are expected to prove that they are responsible (enough) to meet some arbitrary government requirement.

    We do have to be careful not to trap ourselves with the wrong terminology.

    1. This is true. I hear this all the time in the news, ads, firearms safety classes, and other gun owners. Its pathetic.

  17. Everyone agrees that a murderer should be shot to death in order to end the carnage. The debate is only about what hat the liberating shooter should wear. That of a policeman arriving very late to the crime scene, or that of the victims protecting themselves and others by doing the policeman’s work of killing the murderer.

    Leftism is being mentally ill, being fooled by fraudsters. The lefty zombies say it is better to be killed than to not be killed. Evolution is still ongoing, as we see now as Europe is holocausted by its own stupidity and self-hate.

    1. The stereotypical leftist / statist perspective is one that is vastly insecure, paradoxical, and not even based in self-preservation (if that is the final straw for what motivates someone). It seems very much like a form of mental illness, some kind of delusion or dementia.

  18. Responsible gun ownership could prevent terrorism.

    Gun ownership could have prevented terrorism. “Responsible” gun ownership is what exists in Britain today, where people have to get permission to own, let alone use, a measly shotgun; and hunters have to rely on airguns (which are strictly regulated as well) to hunt rabbits.

    I have a bike. No one I know talks about “responsible bike ownership”. Why do you think that is?

  19. If guns were the cause of violence, you’d see mass shootings at gun ranges. You do not.

    An armed society is a polite society. How a society can both believe that bullies only target weaker foes AND that arming yourself is a bad idea is a society that is devoid of logic.

  20. Um if you’re going to argue that terrorist will still get guns on the black market so gun control doesn’t work except to hinder the response of an armed and vigilant citizenry shouldn’t you at least wait for an attack where the terrorists actually used guns? And shouldn’t you point to successful instances of these armed citizen responses?

    Just this weekend one disgruntled guy in Orlando killed 5 people in his office. Obviously, ready access to firearms makes a guy with a grudge more effective than a trained Jihadist cell (5 kills/pp vs 3.3). The self-radicalized San Bernadino shooters killed 7/pp. Shit a barely functional Adam Lanza had to get his mom to buy him the Bushmaster, but he then went on to kill 20 kids.

    Reason should stick to the high road and argue that these type of attacks are rare events and a terrible way to make policy, because the facts of the London attack and terrorists attacks generally don’t support gun-rights.

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