You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door.
Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled
whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are
moving your way. With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your
bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber,
then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out
One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder
brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The
blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while
the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you
pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble.
In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few
That are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make
them useless. Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform
you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First
Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to
your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably
plea the case down to manslaughter.
“What kind of sentence will I get?” you ask.
“Only ten-to-twelve years,” he replies, as if that’s nothing.
“Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”
The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper.
Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two
men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and
relatives can’t find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep
down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both “victims”
have been arrested numerous times. But the next day’s headline says
it all: “Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.” The thieves have
been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type
pranksters. As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national
media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving
burglar has become a folk hero.
Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he’ll
probably win. The media publishes reports that your home has been
burglarized several times in the past and that you’ve been critical
of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the
suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you
would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to
allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.
A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven’t been
reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take
the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you.
Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It
doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.
The judge sentences you to life in prison.
This case really happened.
On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk , England ,
killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was
convicted and is now serving a life term.
How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once
great British Empire ?
It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable
law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that
handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license. The
Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns
but all firearms except shotguns.
Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any
weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all
Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after
the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally
disturbed Man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets
shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were
The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun
control”, demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all
privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a
Nine years later, at Dunblane , Scotland , Thomas Hamilton used a
semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a
For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally
unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with
which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after
week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a
total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later,
Sealed the fate of the few sidearm still owned by private citizens.
During the years in which the British government incrementally took
Away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to
armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities
refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened,
claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own
a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged
while the real criminals were released.
Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as
saying, “We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”
All of Martin’s neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and
several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young
thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a
collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or
stolen by burglars.
When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were
given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being
good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who
didn’t were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison
sentences if they didn’t comply. Police later bragged that they’d
taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.
How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been
registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.
An email I received…