Dunblane Massacre Resource Page

Boris Karpa on the GCN

These are a few comments about the Gun Control Networks' Student "Education" Pack. I haven't pointed out all the lies, just the most obvious ones.

I have quoted only those parts of the "Education" Pack I'm directly commenting upon.

My comments are in italics.

With love, Boris Karpa <karpa@netvision.net.il>
Self-Defense Network representative in Israel.


Guns are dangerous objects. They have the potential to:-

That's why most people are scared of them - but the potential power of guns to frighten, damage, injure and kill is exactly what makes them attractive to some other people.

From those gun-enthusiasts I have spoken to, this might not always be the case. Many are interested in guns because of their "cultural value" Weapons and interest in them have been a part of human culture for years. Some people associate guns with the carnage they unleash in irresponsible hands, others - with the violence they may prevent in the hands of the responsible. Remember - the fact that you are part of the first group, doesn't mean that other people are too. Some gun enthusiasts are sadistic maniac that collect guns for their capacity for evil, but others don't. From my acquaintance with these people, most of them don't.

This text is simply hate speech, trying to create a false image of gun enthusiasts as evil psychopaths wishing to collect huge amounts of weapons to exterminate as many innocent people as possible. That's obviously garbage.

Most guns are designed specifically for killing, to be used by the military and police. In the wrong hands they are the tools of crime and terror.

Actually, that is not exactly right. First of all, the prime purpose of most guns is to deter an attacker, criminal and invader. If the army didn't have guns, we'd be invaded by somebody who did. But the fact that the army uses guns to protect us doesn't imply they are using them to kill. The ability to do so is usually sufficient. Second, most types of guns used today were invented to be used by civilians, e.g.

The actual difference between a civilian and a military weapon is purely political. In fact, there was a civilian semi-automatic grenade launcher made in Switzerland for civilians in the 1970s.

Note the assumption that any hands except those of the military and police are 'the wrong hands' - including yours.

Civil societies control dangerous objects in the interests of everyone's safety. Guns should not be an exception, yet the issue of gun control is controversial.

First of all, please note the jump in logic - they are assuming guns should not be an exception - as if it wasn't the point they wanted to prove. Besides, with the exception of guns, there's practically no "dangerous" object whose ownership is "controlled". (We do control dangerous substances like drugs which have no legitimate use, but that's another issue) In the Western World, you could own a plane or a car without a license, and as long as you didn't drive it on public property. If we applied the same logic to guns, you could have any gun which had a conceivable legitimate use (e.g. anything except NBC weapons) in your apartment, and as long as you didn't carry it in public, you'd be fine.

The problem is how to balance the right of ordinary people to be safe from gun violence, and the wishes of gun enthusiasts to own and use guns.

Logic gap again! How do we know that the right of ordinary people to be safe is opposed to the wishes of gun enthusiasts to own and use guns? Isn't that part of what they are trying to prove?

In most developed countries gun "rights" are restricted. To get a license people usually have to prove they need to own guns (for sport, hunting, vermin control and, more rarely, for self defence). They also have to prove they're emotionally and mentally fit to use them.

Among some of the exceptions from this rule are U.S., Switzerland, Austria (where some guns are still available without licensing) - countries which don't strike me as "underdeveloped".

In the United States some people say it's their "right" to own guns because it's included in the Second Amendment to their Constitution. But not everyone believes that, and there are always debates about it. The issue has recently come to the fore again because Attorney General John Ashcroft has advised interpreting the Second Amendment in favour of gun owners.

Which he did because that was what a federal court ruled, but never mind. How do you interpret "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The gun control debate is about how much everyone's safety is compromised by the people who have guns.

And whether everyone's safety is compromised by the people who have guns.

Gun enthusiasts say screening procedures are there to make sure that all legal gun owners are trustworthy and competent people and OK to own even the most dangerous weapons without causing risk to the public. But medical and psychiatric experts say screening procedures can't predict the future behaviour or state of mind of a person who applies for a gun license.

Then what is the point of a licensing system?

The experts are right - licensed gun holders kill and injure many innocent victims.

References to Michael Ryan, Thomas Hamilton, Martin Bryant, Robert Steinh�user omitted to save space

Many innocent victims? The examples above where of single, isolated nutcases, at least one of which (Hamilton) was legally supposed to have his guns confiscated long before he had committed his crime (being that he was linked to child abuse). More to the point, the licensing and, even more so, registration of a weapon, discourages the owner from committing a crime with that particular weapon (whatever its effect might on other forms of crime). Here in Israel I know for fact that crime with legally owned guns is almost non-existent. As far as the British Home Office says, only a miniscule fraction of British gun crime is with legally owned guns. Another interesting comparison might be with Russia where less than 5% of all gun crime is committed with legally held guns. (Russian Ministry of the Interior). In general, criminals use guns that they stole or illegally manufactured, because of the cost difference. The principle is still true in places where guns are not licensed (in the USA, only 0.7% of guns used in crime are bought legally.

Data from several countries show that the level of gun violence is linked to the level of gun ownership, (see International Aspects) so more guns mean more risk, for gun owners themselves as well as other people–

From which countries did you collect this data? Gun violence (which is, by the way, only a subset of violent crime in general) is dependent on many factors. For example, let's compare the murder rates (per 100,000) of a few randomly chosen countries:

The Netherlands (1998): 10.87 (!)
Luxembourg (2000): 14.01 (!)
Switzerland (2000): 2.25
Israel (1998): 2,22
USA (2000): 5.51

These are drawn up randomly from the INTERPOL website. The dates are the last years from which reports have been available on the website.

American gun enthusiasts see things differently. They say more gun ownership means LESS crime. But there's very little objective support for this view, and most academic research says the opposite is true.

This opinion is not limited to Americans - or gun enthusiasts. And the scholars who support it are not such a small minority that it would be safe to disregard them. Some of the people who, in their works, have supported (wrongly or not) the opposite view are:

And so on, and so forth. These are not the only people who I could refer to (John Lott, Jr. comes to mind).

The gun lobby say they like guns and shooting, and if they want to have dangerous weapons we should let them. They say they have a "right" to own guns if they want to. They don't look at how dangerous it is, or how it affects other people.

That is not entirely true. If you look at the gun lobby historically, more and more people are in it because they believe "gun rights" will make people safer. Also, many people who are not gun enthusiast support or have supported gun rights. For example, I may mention Malcolm X, Condoleeza Rice, Oliver Stone, Harry Browne, and Ron Paul (no particular order).

To find out more about the main arguments for and against gun control see:

Note how all the books mentioned are ridiculously anti-gun. How is the IGCSE student supposed to find out about arguments against gun control?


campaign summary omitted from analysis

What about the information that's coming up about the 100-year info ban? [Not on the summary]


(omitted from analysis)


Because of tight gun control the British gun crime figures are low in comparison to many other countries, but low numbers are always subject to fluctuations that aren't always statistically significant.

As I pointed out earlier, many other countries with gun control tougher or as tough as Britain have higher official murder rates. However, when speaking of violent crime in general (of which gun crime is only a subset), a recent U.N. study comparing the violent crime rates of the worlds top 20 industrialised nations puts the U.K. on the first place. As I recall, the UK violence rate was climbing consistently at least for the last 50 years.

See Chapter 3 of Criminal Statistics England and Wales at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/firearms1.html


The latest figures for Scotland from the Scottish Executive (2000) show:



Replica weapons

(omitted from the analysis)

Replicas encouraging very young people to become interested in guns

What's wrong about being interested in guns?

(omitted from the analysis)

Replica guns are illegal here in Israel. No effect on crime or terrorism whatsoever.

Air weapons

(omitted from the analysis)

The Home Affairs Committee took evidence on the use of air guns in 1999, and recommended to the Government that they should be licensed. The present Government haven't done this, partly because of worries about the cost of licensing air guns and hours of work it would involve. But many people, including gun control advocates and animal welfare groups, believe the cost of air rifle crime makes the expense and work involved in controlling them very worthwhile

They did it in Israel, and it didn't work.

Deactivated weapons


Banned in Israel, too. Same result.

Minimum age for shooting

Under present law children of any age can use weapons and shoot if they are supervised. Some shooting organisations encourage children to handle guns by talking about shooting as fun. But some people believe getting interested in guns at too an early age can lead to an unhealthy attachment to guns.

What is an "unhealthy attachment?" Is a model plane collectors' attachment to his toys "unhealthy" (even though he wouldn't do a day without them)? Define "unhealthy" please?

They think such dangerous weapons are not safe for children. In 1999 The Home Affairs Committee recommended that the Government should bring in a minimum age for using real guns. The Government didn't do anything about this.

Because the Ministry of Education claim such practices are very healthy and educative.

Field sports

Field sports (game shooting, deer stalking) and clay pigeon shooting have not been affected by the recent legislation, and there aren't any proposals to ban any of these shooting activities.

Some concerns about the firearms used in field sports have been raised by gun control advocates and by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

These include:
The way shotguns are licensed means that a shooter with one license can have a lot of shotguns. This encourages owners to have more guns.

How does letting people have more guns encourage them to do so? How does letting people do something encourage them to do it at all. I may, legally, own a whole bunch of porn videos (which are obviously a bad thing). Does that encourage me to own them?

The use of multishot rifles and shotguns - guns that fire more than one shot without reloading are significantly more dangerous.

But such guns are necessary for most shooting sports.

Posted: 31 Mar 2003