In response to terrorist attacks which have occurred across the EU and the world with illegal firearms, the EU has decided to get tough.. On legal firearms.On November 16, the EU gave it’s second security report¹, one of the latest in a line¹ of reports and actions with a focus on ‘security and anti-terrorism’ which seems more focused on banning civilian firearm ownership and punishing citizens than it does stopping terrorism and increasing security.
Attacks throughout Europe have largely followed a similar pattern. When firearms are involved, they’re largely illegally¹ sourced¹ and¹ transported¹ and being unable to stem the tide of illegal weapons, it seems counter productive to remove a method of self defense. Banning firearms does not curve violence performed with the same illegal firearms which were used to set legal restrictions in place.
What about gun violence in general? Well, according to the Flemish Peace Institute, “where there are more firearms, the total number of homicides is not consistently higher or lower”¹. In fact, of 6,700 incidents of gun violence looked at in the 2015 fact sheet, only 1,700 were from murder or violent crime.
Is it a good idea to arm civilians? According to the then Secretary General of Interpol Ronald Noble, “In the hands of law-abiding citizens, guns can and do save lives”¹ he was reported as saying after an attack lasting several days in Kenya¹. A message which only echoes louder after attacks like those which happened in Paris.
So, why should civilians have firearms? Because in reality, criminals will use firearms whether they’re legal or not, by nature of being criminals. Forcing the population to remain unarmed does little more than line up the ducks for the shooting gallery.
For those who are opposed to civilian firearm ownership, it may be an interesting discussion to have with an armed criminal when informing them that their illegally obtained weapon is illegal.
Update: A day after a Christmas market in Berlin¹ was attacked¹ by an ‘asylum seeker¹‘ in a truck killing 12, the European Commission reached an albeit diminished agreement. It claims that these measures are not just to stop terrorism but to combat murders with firearms¹. Despite not citing their figures showing legal firearms are the majority used for murder and violent crime¹, it’s safe to expect¹ that the EU will try for a full ban again in the near future.
Perhaps trucks should be banned next.