Monday, April 04, 2011

More of that old time British Nanny-state insanity

British subject Andrew Richardson was working on a remote Texas ranch in 1981 when he was bitten by a rattlesnake.  Once he recovered and went back to work, his boss lawfully gave him a .22 caliber revolver with which to dispatch other snakes, in order to prevent a repeat of his unpleasant experience.

After leaving to work in the Middle East a year later, Richardson completely forgot about the pistol and it ended up in a shoebox in storage back in England along with many of his other household items until 2008, when he turned the contents of the storage unit over to an auctioneer for sale.  A worker found the pistol when inventorying the items and contacted the local police.

Richardson, a person with no criminal history who was by then working in Massachusetts, got five years in an English prison for his 27-year-old innocent error.

Here's the part of the story that illustrates perfectly how the draconian penalties being meted out over there are actually more about the British "authorities" controlling the subjects through fear and intimidation than about any so-called gun "safety":

"During the prosecutor's questioning as to why I hadn't handed it in during the 2004 amnesty (I was working abroad at the time and didn't know about it), the judge inquired whether I'd considered throwing it into a stream. The air thinned in the courtroom as 40 people sucked in their breath in shock. My reply was along the lines of: 'I thought that would've been the most careless thing anyone could do, your honour.'" 

How can a jurist be so hopelessly stupid?

Richardson fortunately was released after serving only eight months once his appeal was granted, but he isn't by any means the only law-abiding British person to be caught up in this kind of legal nightmare.  There's this fellow:

"Then there's the tale of the senior bank director. An avid countryside sportsman, he attended a shoot in Essex one Friday, but instead of going home to Surrey, stayed in his Belgravia house over the weekend as he had city social engagements. His 12-bore [shotgun] was locked in the gun cabinet on Friday evening, but a nosy neighbour who saw him carrying it indoors, secured in the right place, called the constabulary. He was arrested and imprisoned: his licence address was Surrey, so locking it up in Belgravia constituted both unlicensed possession and concealment."

And this poor lady:

"A 73-year-old charity shop proprietor found a package of old clothes outside her shop, with a handgun wrapped in them. She closed the shop and took it straight to the police, whereupon she was arrested for possession of a lethal pistol, and imprisoned on remand pending trial."

Jailed for doing the responsible and moral thing.  That will surely encourage the peasants to engage in more of the same behavior, no?

We're sure the violent crime rate in England dropped noticeably once these dangerous businesspeople were safely locked away, even though at the very same time "22% of youths caught carrying concealed handguns in London were let off with a caution."

These are exactly the sort of repressive, unfair, freedom-sapping and ultimately doomed-to-fail policies that rabidly anti gun politicians such as Chuck Schumer and Carolyn McCarthy as well as organizations like the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center envision for this country, which is why Second Amendment advocates fight so hard to prevent that nightmare scenario from ever becoming reality.

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