A private solution to state failure

It is often said that the first duty of the state is the protection of its citizens. The police force in the UK received a 47% increase in its budget between 1997 and 2008. Yet there has been for many areas of the country no noticeable decrease in crime or the fear of crime. When the police do venture into neighbourhoods that suffer from large amounts crime they are more often than not seen as an alien force, there to stop and search large sections of the community on the most frivolous of grounds doubtless invoking legislation intended for terrorists rather than youths on the high street. 

The ability of the police to help to defend the citizenry to the extent that all the population regardless of income may enjoy security from crime is a myth put about by the police federation, the policeman’s trade union and their political masters. However, law abiding citizens need not pay the price of the state’s failure to perform one its most basic function. Liberalizing the UK’s laws on firearms would provide immediate private protection where government protection fails.

Opponents of liberalising our gun laws claim that the more guns available the more homicide, burglary and violent crime. This is wrong. Switzerland has over two million firearms in private homes and has a homicide rate lower than the UK at 0.66 per 100,000. And readily available firearms for personal protection are not without precedent. In 1900 when the England had close to no gun control laws, the homicide rate was 1 per 100,000. It is now 1.66 per 100,000. 

The US is often used as an example of what happens when gun ownership is let loose. However, homicide rates in the US have very little to do with the availability of guns and are much better explained by cultural and societal factors. Over the last two hundred years, homicide rates in New York were five times higher than in London even when neither had gun control laws.

Private security in the UK is usually too expensive to be accessed by most small shops or residential areas.  Indeed, the capability of private security guards to deter and confront wrongdoers is limited by the amount of force they can exercise. Because of the state's monopoly on firearms, people are dependant for their security on a public body notoriously unresponsive to their interests, resulting in a poor quality service where police will arrive after a crime has been committed with almost no ability to actually catch the offender.

A citizenry which is armed would not disintegrate into a mass of homicide and armed robbery. Rather, it is one in which the law abiding majority feel that their property and persons can be adequately protected. In the UK, those who have firearms are either criminals or agents of the state. It's high time this was addressed in favour of the citizens wishing to live their lives without fearing outlaws or the inadequacies of government law enforcement.

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