In an article in The Scotsman newspaper (page 13, Friday August 15 1997) the first shots in the media war against legal ownership of pistol calibre carbines were fired. The article was headed "It's lethal, it's lightweight, and it's completely legal" under a rather blurred photo-reversed (loading gate on the wrong side) picture of what appeared to be a Winchester Model 66 with a carbine length barrel. (There was also a rather nice picture picture of The Duke with his trademark "big-ring" Model 92.)
The author's by-line was "Andrew Collier on how gun laws are being shot through by the gun lobby" (quite what "the gun lobby" is in the UK is beyond me, if such exists they seem particularly ineffectual to me).
Other choice quotes:
"McGhie does not want to play at being Clint Eastwood or John Wayne or Sylvester Stallone. He just wants to take his polished new toy, load it up, and blast away at a target in an enclosed firing range until his blood surges and his head pumps.
He is not the only person in Scotland paying hundreds of pounds to snap up such aggressive and potentially-lethal weapons by mail order from the United States or Brazil."
(Don't ask me why Sylvester Stallone, I've never noticed Sly in a Western, but "Rambo" always has to get in there somewhere. And no, it isn't legal to mail-order guns from abroad, without getting an import license as well as a firearm certificate, neither is an easy thing to do.)
"Some Scottish forces, including Lothian and Borders, are refusing to issue licences for these guns."
(Another example of the Police making up the law off their own back. Begs the question as to what the guy is complaining about if the police are refusing to issue permits.)
"The certificate holders want to use these to replace their handguns. If they are doing that, then there is no point in the Government having a ban on handguns in the first place. Each individual chief constable grants firearm certificates at his discretion, and has the right to refuse."
Inspector Douglas Muir, of Lothian and Borders Police Licensing Department.
(Inspector Muir refuses to reply to my letters, and clearly feels he has the God-given right to make up the law as he goes along, which is a pretty common attitude within the British police nowadays.)
"The Scottish home affairs minister, Henry McLeish, says that the Labour Government has a commitment to look at all forms of gun-licensing, and has suggested it may eventually move against other types [of firearms] too."
(Tell me something I don't know. I suspect further gun bans within the next two years.)
"Ann Pearston, who helped lead the Dunblane Snowdrop campaign for gun controls, says last night that it now appeared that while the letter of the law was being obeyed, its spirit was being breached. "Despite going through the long drawn-out procedure of getting the legislation changed, it now appears that we are going to end up with exactly the same number of weapons in circulation. I think the police fear is that this is just handgun ownership by another name.""
(Rent-a-quote Pearston pointing out that when they said they only wanted to ban handguns because "they are particularly dangerous" what they really meant was they want to ban all guns because they are dangerous.)
The "gun-lobby" spokesmen included a "Colin Greenhill" who, from the description, sounded like Colin Greenwood. Clearly Mr Collier held to the usual journalistic standards of accuracy in the compilation of his article. The "pro-" statements were the usual anodyne nonsense that impresses no-one, least of all me.
Further gun bans are a very short period away. Legislators and public opinion have clearly determined that the "sporting purposes" argument doesn't wash, and that the right to keep and bear arms can be denied with impunity in modern Britain. Take note USA.