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  1. #1

    Default An Historical Perspective

    How often has it been said that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it? These are two quotes I found going through some old stuff from the long defunct British "Guns Review" magazine edited by the outstanding Colin Greenwood.

    "(Home Office Minister) Douglas Hurd justified the additional 1988 controls as "a better balance between the interests of the genuine sportsman and the safety of the public as a whole." The gun fraternity's acceptance that guns are only for sport not for defense ensures that the balance is always tipped against the gun owner. If guns make no positive contribution to personal or public safety, the public's concerns about safety must always override gun owners' interest in sport."

    There are three things to be noted about that passage

    1. Note "the genuine sportsman." Who is genuine and who is not and who decides? I submit that the guy who used to turn up at Cecil Payne with a beautiful LE No 4 with white ceremonial sling and fire exactly twenty rounds two or three times a year is as entitled to that as an international competitor.

    2. Note the assumption that firearm ownership is always counter to public safety, hence the notion of "balance."

    3. British citizens have been successfully brainwashed against firearms for a century, but my experience in SA has been that there is no significant objection to firearm ownership except that fomented by GFSA and the media.

    "When the Home Office imposed major new restrictions on gun clubs, the chief executive of Britain's NRA affirmed his assent by simply noting that "the government saw a need." In the US, the notion that a civil liberties group or a national shooting organisation would support a reduction of freedom simply because "the government saw a need" is almost too absurd to contemplate."

    To which my response is "precisely." There's the difference between accepting loss of liberty and defending it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: An Historical Perspective

    Here's a personal reminiscence that shows how far we have gone down the road to prohibition, and hopefully to provoke some thought as to what we should be aiming for.

    My grandfather lived in an old two room stone cottage, one of twenty or so built in rows of five or six next to a secondary tar road. The “roads” between blocks of cottages were dirt tracks wide enough only for walking. Those familiar with the north of England will conjure up a fairly accurate picture. The other side of the tar road was open veldt, mostly rolling grassland with scattered trees.

    These cottages were lived in by old people, mostly men. They were typical of their generation - they wore trilby hats and three piece suits complete with pocket watches and chains, and tobacco stains. They were nearly all WW1 vets and I regret not having asked them about it. My grandfather’s cottage was at the end of a block of five. The cottage at the other end was occupied by Bob Baron, a tall lean character. He and one of my school mates Ian Carter had struck up one of those “old man and boy” friendships. Ian was (rare for a youth in UK) keen on shotguns and Bob had a pair of exposed hammer Damascus barrelled doubles on a rack above his fireplace. Shotguns were uncontrolled in those days (nineteen fifties). Ian had carte blanche to go into the cottage even when Bob wasn’t home (they didn’t lock their doors) and take a shotgun to shoot some wood pigeons that were plentiful in the trees in the nearby veldt. He would do that, clean the gun and leave a pigeon or two for Bob’s pot. He and I were fourteen years old.
    Shotguns on a rack on the wall in an unlocked cottage, and a fourteen year old youth having free use of them to shoot for the pot within two or three hundred metres of suburbia attracted no attention and was not thought of by anyone as being in any way out of the ordinary.

    Before the 1969 Arms & Ammunition Act in South Africa, you went to see the magistrate and if he couldn’t find anything wrong with you in a five minute interview, he gave you a permit to purchase which you took to the gun shop and chose your piece. All done in one hour, no fuss, no bother, no licence, no central register, and best of all no SAPS.

    Our gun law is well out of kilter with what the public thinks reasonable. In the nineteen eighties my late wife and I lived in Sandton. She worked at Concor Construction’s head office at Crown Mines. One day she arrived home carrying three or four Checkers bags (all inside each other to create a stronger bag). Inside was a seven and half inch Uberti single action 44 mag. Her friend Sergio Zossi (now in Italy) was a supervisor on a big mine contract at Carltonville. One of his buddies wanted to sell the Uberti and Sergio wanted to buy it but not before somebody had tested it. So his buddy handed it to him, he took it to Concor's head office and handed it to my wife who handed it to me. I tested fired it and sent it back down the line. Between the three of us we had that gun for about two weeks. All of us in the chain were guilty of a jailable offense, my wife and Sergio twice. But none of us thought it abnormal and only I knew it was an offense.

    More recently, but still a few years back, a friend of my wife handed a small quantity of 38S&W ammo to my wife. Her husband had cleaned out his deceased uncle’s belongings and figured that the best thing would be to hand the ammo to me. Again four people were in violation, but saw nothing wrong with that.

    Yet here we are, already stuck with a horrendously complex and hostile FCA, and faced with regular attempts to make us even worse off. Where are we going, ladies and gentlemen ? We need to be well past defending our position in the hope that what gets done to us next time leaves us with something however little it might be. We need to insist on something much better. How to do that is the question.

  3. #3
    Moderator Skaaphaas's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Historical Perspective

    I think the global village concept will have a much bigger influence on policy.

    While the average South African is pro-gun (just have a look at the rate of uptake of SD licences among the eligible population in the last 15 years), the average worldwide opinion is not.

    I don’t think, realistically, we’ll ever see the times you described above again.
    Not all who wander are lost.

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    Default Re: An Historical Perspective

    Quote Originally Posted by Skaaphaas View Post
    I think the global village concept will have a much bigger influence on policy.

    While the average South African is pro-gun (just have a look at the rate of uptake of SD licences among the eligible population in the last 15 years), the average worldwide opinion is not.

    I don’t think, realistically, we’ll ever see the times you described above again.
    Agreed.

    Particularly in countries with established "welfare" systems which more or less removes the desire or need for self-reliance and firearms are just a part of that. You know, the type that say oNlY tHe PoLiCe ShOuLd HaVe GuNs and they typically see firearm owners as <insert MSM propagated pejorative here>.

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