The Consequences of Guns Handguns and other firearms have a long tradition in American civilization.
Introduction Is it possible for a nation to go from wide-open freedom for a civil liberty, to near-total destruction of that liberty, in just a few decades?
As the century closes, the right has been almost obliterated. In studying the destruction of the British right to arms, this Essay draws conclusions about how slippery slopes operate in real life, and about what kinds of conditions increase or decrease the risk that the first steps down a hill will turn into a slide down a slippery slope.
For purposes of this Essay, the reader will not be asked to make a judgement about the righteousness of the former British right to arms or the wisdom of current British gun prohibitions and controls. Instead, the object is simply to examine how a right that is widely respected and unrestricted can, one "reasonable" step at a time, be extinguished.
This Essay pays particular attention to how the public's "rights consciousness," which forms such a strong barrier against repressive laws, can weaken and then disappear. The investigation of the British experience offers some insights about the current gun control debate in the United States, and also about ongoing debates over other civil liberties.
This Essay does not require that the reader have any affection for the British right to arms; presumably, the reader does have affection for some civil liberties, and the Essay aims to discover principles about how slippery slopes operate.
These principles can be applied to any debate where slippery slopes are an issue. Part II of this Essay briefly sets forth the legal background of the British right to bear arms, as it developed from ancient times to the late nineteenth century.
Part III describes the unimpaired British right to arms of the late nineteenth century and the changes in popular culture that began to threaten that right. Part IV describes how social unrest before World War I intensified the pressure for gun control, and finally resulted in the creation of a licensing system for rifles and handguns after the war.
The gun control system was gradually expanded in the s, relaxed in enforcement during World War II when Nazi invasion loomed, and then re-imposed with full force.
Part V focuses on the turbulent s, and how the government enacted a mild licensing system for shotguns, in order to deflect public cries for re-imposition of the death penalty, following the murder of three policemen by criminals using pistols.
Part VI describes how the British gun licensing system is administered today and how police discretion is used to make the system much more restrictive, even without changes in statutory language. Part VII analyzes the conditions that have created the momentum for the gradual prohibition of all firearms ownership in Great Britain, and how isolated but sensational crimes are used as launching pads for further steps to prohibition.
In Part VIII the Essay looks at how armed self-defense has, without statutory change, gone from being a "good reason" for the granting of a gun license to being prohibited.
The decline of other British civil liberties in the late twentieth century, such as freedom of speech, protection from warrantless searches, and criminal procedure safeguards, is discussed in Part p.
Finally, Part X summarizes and elaborates on some of the conditions that make possible a fall down the slippery slope. Throughout this Essay, parallels are drawn between British history and the modern gun control debate in the United States, because the issue of whether any particular set of controls will set the stage for gun prohibition is one of the hotly contested questions in the contemporary discussion.
Wrenching Freedom From the King--The English Bill of Rights and the Right to Arms It began as a duty, operated as a mixed blessing for Kings, and wound up as one of the "true, ancient, and indubitable"  rights of Englishmen.
From as early as the defense of the realm rested in the hands of ordinary Englishmen. Under the English militia system, every able-bodied freeman was expected to defend his society and to provide his own arms, paid for and possessed by himself.
The only early limitations placed on gun possession were for the misuse of arms by appearing in certain public places "with force" under a royal enactment  or by using them "in affray of the peace.
Historians view the widespread individual ownership of arms as an important factor in the "moderation of monarchial rule and the development of the concept of individual liberties"  in England during a period when absolute, divine-right royal rule was expanding as the norm in continental Europe.
This included the militia of armed freemen as well as direct political rivals. Through a series of parliamentary enactments, they tried registration of possession, registration of sales, hunting restrictions,  possession bans ostensibly aimed at controlling illegal hunting, restrictions on personal arms possessed by the militia,  warrantless searches, and confiscations.
When William of Orange and Mary arrived to begin their reign on England's throne, the country's political leaders recognized the need to rein in any tendency of the new monarchs toward the excessive royal power the nation had just suffered under James II. Thus, William and Mary were required to accept a "declaration of rights" as a definitive statement of the rights of their subjects.
That declaration was later enacted as the Bill of Rights.
It contained only two individual rights applicable to the general public: Furthermore, it only effectively limited the monarch, not the Parliament. Even though the Bill of Rights was by its terms to be upheld "in all times to come," nothing one Parliament does can constrain the actions of subsequent Parliaments.
The Anglo-American legal world would not implement a genuine constitution untilwhen newly-independent Virginia created her first. The experience under the Stuarts, demonstrating the political uses of disarmament, convinced many in the Convention Parliament that there was great danger to the security of English liberties from a disarmed citizenry.
Since the new monarchy was to be a limited one, the members saw both a personal and national interest in the ability of ordinary Englishmen to possess their own defensive arms to restrain the Crown.
After much discussion and numerous revisions, the right to arms evolved into a statement that "the Subjects which are protestants may have Arms for their Defense suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by law.
The vague clauses about arms "suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law" left the way open for legislative clarification and for perpetuation of restrictions But though the right could be circumscribed, it had been affirmed.
The proof of how comprehensive the article was meant to be would emerge from future actions of Parliament and the courts.
The Recorder of London, the equivalent of a modern-day city's general counsel, gave this opinion in The right of his majesty's Protestant subjects, to have arms for their own defense, and to use them for lawful purposes, is most clear and undeniable. It seems, indeed, to be considered, by the ancient laws of this kingdom, not only as a right, but as a duty; for all subjects of the realm, who are able to bear arms are bound to be ready, at all times, to assist the sheriff, and other civil magistrates, in the execution of the laws and the preservation of the public peace.
And that right, which every Protestant most unquestionably possesses, individually, may, and in many cases must, be exercised collectively, is likewise a point which I conceive to be most clearly p. This did not mean, of course, that Englishmen enjoyed perfect civil liberty, as those in the United States frequently pointed out.Approximately one-third of families with children (representing more than 22 million children in 11 million homes) keep at least one gun in the home.
Gun owners keep firearms in the home for hunting and recreation (60 percent) or for protection and crime prevention (40 percent)". One in three American households currently keep at least one gun in their home. Children who are exposed to handgun violence, are more likely to develop psychological disorders.
As a result, they are more likely to have an aggressive behavior, and experience post-traumatic stress condition associated with gun violence. Historical Notes, 43, The Libertarian Alliance, London, The Tudor monarchs tried to prevent hunting with crossbows, and later with firearms, by commoners by setting a minimum annual income from land as a condition of hunting, or of possession of crossbows and handguns.
They were unsuccessful and, after first liberalizing the prohibitions, Henry VIII's government repealed them in In March two children, 11 and 13 years of age gunned down a total of 13 people in a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Of the 13, nine survived and five people, classmates and teacher, died as a result of the shooting (Liesen, Owens).
A page about Crowsnest, Alberta, describing the history of its industry and society, its layout, accommodations, tourist attractions and recreation. Handguns in Households with Children Guns in America are a problem as bad as the drug problem: 43% of households that have children have handguns in them; 10 children die every day from handguns, approximately one every 2 ½ hours.
That is the same of a classroom of children every two days.