The Libertarian Party UK is very upfront regarding our position on firearms, legislation and the individual’s rights to self-defence. The publication of our manifesto in 2019 laid it all out, however, as we frequently have people probing our stance it’s worth taking the opportunity to explore further.
It seems terrorism is an increasingly common part of life in the UK these days. A knife attack on London Bridge was one of the more recent such instances wherein an Islamic terrorist, wearing a bomb and carrying knives, was subdued by members of the public.
It’s the details of how these civic minded individuals stopped the attack that has started a few conversations current government would rather not discuss. The heroes’ means of defence included a shop display Narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher. These makeshift weapons, found by sheer luck, were the only reasons more life wasn’t taken.
In an interview posted by Breitbart news in 2017, President of the Crime Prevention Research Centre and author of “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws”, Dr John Lott, openly advocated the public carrying of concealed handguns as a means to stop and deter terrorism.
Dr Lott said, “With a permit to conceal handguns, the terrorists don’t know who to worry about. They don’t know whether, when they attack, if somebody there can shoot them. It changes how they hit targets and attack.”
And it’s true! Currently, in acts of terrorism the perpetrators target people they know can’t fight back, as they are disarmed. The lack of means for defence makes us all easier targets for those with a mind to commit mass murder.
In reference to the Charlie Hebdo attack, Dr Lott said, “look at the policy responses after the London terror attack or after Paris, the normal reaction is to put police on the street.”
“In Paris… the response was to put 10,000 police and troops on the street.”
Noting that there were eight off-duty police officers at the Bataclan, he said, “At the time, it was illegal for off-duty police officers in France to carry [a firearm]. One can only imagine how that situation might have turned out differently if even a couple of the officers had been armed. As of June, last year, France has changed its policy to be able to allow off-duty police officers to carry.”
Of course, this observation by Dr Lott is completely factual, the Bataclan attack was a massacre where innocent unarmed concert goers were lined up, tortured and executed by Islamic extremists armed with machine guns. If there had been even a few armed concert goers in attendance they could have changed the course of history and the fate of 130 innocent people.
However, even just to state this truth in the UK can result in police coming to take away your firearms license and personal property: like the owner of the YouTube channel ‘EnglishShooting’, Callum Long Collins, who dared to state this truth on one of his videos. Yes, we do have thought crime in Blighty. His license was revoked and he was labelled as having, “a forum for extremism.”
Dr Lott observed that uniformed police officers are “often the first targets” in terror attacks, and that even more police or armed military personnel cannot cover all possible targets. He said, “I know no other solution than to allow people to carry.”
When asked if relaxing UK firearms legislation would make firearms easier for terrorists to obtain, he said, “you have to understand when you ban guns the people most likely to obey those rules are going to be the most law abiding citizens. Look at the attacks in France. They used machine guns – it’s illegal for most people to own semi-automatic guns, yet it didn’t stop the terrorists getting automatic machine guns.” “What you have to do is take away the strategic advantage that these types of terrorists have. That is, to allow a lot more response by allowing civilians to carry as well as arming police.”
The Libertarian Party UK wants to have the uncomfortable discussion, avoided by many MPs, about firearms legislation and the right of self-defence for the citizens. The Libertarian Party also calls for a review on the current bans put in place for legal shooters, the system by which licences are granted and who gives them, the immediate decriminalisation of Pepper sprays and other non-lethal means of self-defence and to look at every conceivable option for stopping terrorism on the UK streets.
Northern Ireland currently operates a system for concealed carry (Personal Protection Weapons) with great success. The system is not abused, plain clothes carriers are not a problem and it offers them a level of protection we on the mainland can only dream of. Meanwhile, the mere mention of having such a system here, like that of our fellow citizens over the sea, sets most politicians into hysteria.
We think it’s time to open the floor for the discussion.
Mike Lindsay Libertarian Party Firearms Spokesman