Aug 11, 2011 12:19 AM GMT
During the Los Angeles riots in 1992, many store owners in the south central part of the city defended their property against marauding gangs with their own weapons, and succeeded in protecting their livelihoods and thousands of jobs that depended on them. And across the country, Americans admired their bravery, thankful for the Second Amendment to the US Constitution which protects their right to keep and bear arms, and thereby defend themselves, their families and their property. In contrast in London in 2011, shopkeepers were left at the mercy of feral, brutal thugs acting with impunity across whole swathes of the capital as the police were overwhelmed. If they had the right to bear arms and defend their stores with force, it would have been a very different story, and brutal looters would have met firm resistance.
Britain’s gun laws are among the most draconian in the world, yet the nation has some of the highest levels of violent crime and burglary in the West, and there is no shortage of gun crime in major cities such as London and Manchester. While criminal gangs are often able to acquire firearms on the black market, ordinary law-abiding British citizens are barred from owning guns for self-defence.
The riots in London, the West Midlands and the North West should prompt a renewed debate in Britain over the right to bear arms by private citizens. The shocking scenes of looting across the country are a reminder that the police cannot always be relied upon to protect homes and businesses during a period of widespread social disorder. The defence of life and property can never be entrusted solely to the state, not least when there is a complete breakdown in law and order. As we have seen this week in Britain, when individuals are barred from defending their own property from mobs of vicious thugs, sheer anarchy and terror reins.