21 November 2005

GUN FACTS.

First lets get the gun problem into perspective. In the UK, you have more chance of winning over a million pounds on the National Lottery than of being shot dead.

The UK has one of the lowest gun death rates per head in the world at (1999 figures),(0.22 per 100,000 per annum), this compares to the US rate of (6.08 per 100,000 per annum).

In the UK, there has been a fall in gun deaths since the introduction of a partial handgun ban in 1996 and a total handgun ban in 1997, from 358 in 1995 to 163 in 2003.

The increase in firearm incidents is linked to increased use of replica, paintgun, airgun and other less lethal firearms that are still legal.

There are over 140,000 police officers in the UK, up more than 11,000 since 1997.

Of which 11 police officers have been shot dead in the last 20 years.

In terms of fatality, being a police officer is one of the safest occupations.

At around 1 death per 100,000 per annum, it is more than 100 times safer than being a fisherman (123 deaths per 100,000 per annum), and it is actually a safer job than the average (2 deaths per 100,000 per annum).

From today's Guardian;

36 police officers have died in the line of duty in England, Scotland and Wales in the past 20 years - 11 shot, 10 stabbed and three beaten to death, while 12 were killed by vehicles.

· PC Sharon Beshenivsky was the sixth woman out of 1,600 officers to die in Britain since the formation of the modern police service in 1829. The last female officer shot dead was PC Yvonne Fletcher, 25, outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. Women make up 21% of the 43 English and Welsh forces.

· Sixty people were shot dead last year, down from 70 in the previous 12 months.

· Police believe there are almost 300,000 illegal guns in Britain. Much gun violence is gang and drug-related. Three-quarters of those killed or maimed in shootings in London are black, as are 80% of the gunmen, statistics mirrored in several other English cities.

As this report shows, the best way to increase your chance of being shot dead, is to keep a gun in your home.

I think these figures demonstrate just how much mis-information there is on this subject put out by the media in cahoots with the gun lobby.

22 comments:

  1. lots of interesting stuff deleted

    I think these figures demonstrate just how much mis-information there is on this subject put out by the media in cahoots with the gun lobby.

    Really? I haven't been aware of any significant lobbying for the relaxation of gun laws. There's the "right to use lethal force in defending one's home" crowd, but that's a separate issue, and one which is pretty well covered under existing law.

    Who in their right mind, other than farmers, wants a gun in their house anyway?

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  2. Your summary of the situation is excellent: it's not very dangerous in absolute terms, but there's a lot of hysteria. I'm not sure whether you meant to say "anti-gun lobby" - there isn't really an organised gun lobby in this country, just target shooting clubs and farmers.

    Opinion from people I know on this subject seems to be divided into "people who had (access to) guns as kids, either via school or farm, and can't see what the fuss is about", people who live in cities and are worried about random violence, people who are nowhere near any violence but get very worked up about what they read in the papers, and people from Northern Ireland who are tired of the Troubles.

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  3. With Michael Howard saying 'we need to re-evaluate the ban of handguns' at the last election and newspapers making it seem like gun crime is out of control, this is strengthening the gun lobby's calls for a relaxation in gun controls.

    The NRA in the US, fearful of its own situation, is helping fund gun organisations worldwide.

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  4. But again, Neil: What gun lobby?

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  5. What the gun lobby are up to. We can't let up resistance, the BASC are even using the 2012 Olympics to try to loosen gun legislation.

    Look how pro-gun this wikipedia article is, which deliberately confuses the violent crime and homicide rate with the gun death rate and also fails to mention that the increase in gun crime is down to LEGAL firearms such as replica guns, airguns, paintguns etc.

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  6. Eben: I haven't been aware of any significant lobbying for the relaxation of gun laws.
    There's a strong lobby within the police force (lots of links at The Policeman's Blog, and the NRA isn't exactly quiet in the UK. Given that the Government seems quite inclined to do what the police force tells it to at the moment without calling it into question, I find this a teensy bit worrying.

    Peter: "people who had (access to) guns as kids, either via school or farm, and can't see what the fuss is about"
    I'm one of these people who had guns as a kid, but I'm also one of the people making the fuss. When I was a teenager I used to shoot (targets, nothing with a face) competitively, but we were always taught to treat the guns with respect. I remember being told to shoot a torso made of damp clay with a 2.2 rifle (the idea being that the clay was about the same density and consistency as a real torso), and being amazed and horrified at the size of the hole the bullet exited through. Nothing like a bit of imaginative illustration to scare you silly about guns. I've friends whose gun clubs used to do the same thing with whole (dead) pigs, which scared *them* silly, but cost rather more and wasn't as recyclable as clay...

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  7. Erm... there is no 'gun lobby'. I'm pretty sure I've never heard anyone in this country ever say there should be a relaxation of gun laws... quite the opposite.

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  8. William: The official Tory Party position is that laws banning handguns should be relaxed. Michael Howard made much of this in the 2005 election, and front bench Tory spokesman have reiterated this stance since. Read Boris Johnson's attitude to guns for example. There is a considerable 'sports' lobby in this country. Gun Mart has a significant readership and campaign on this issue and the NRA from the US are spending money all over the world to protect their position.

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  9. HI Neil, this is Katrina Anon...
    Even the pro gun people here have to admit that there is a pro-gun lobby. What is wrong with that and how does that differ from the anti-gun lobby?

    More to the point why can you not use a gun to defend yourself? While it is true that in the GBR your chances murdered by gun are smaller, your chances of being murdered are not.

    I am not sure what the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies are in GBR, in the USA but if the police do not protect you you have no recourse for their failure. You cannot sue the police even if they do not make a best effort.

    So by being disarmed, we are making the weakest among us potential victims for criminals. That means if you are a woman and confronted by rapist, you must endure whatever you are forced to face. Hopefully you will be alive and not have any permanent injuries before the police arrive no matter how long it takes them to get to you.

    On the other hand if you have a firearm, the mere fact that you produce it may alone chase off the criminal. Even if it does not your chances are even against the criminal.

    There is growing body of evidence to support this. It has caused some organizations to just ignore this data and just say it is part of the gun lobby. One person a member and leader of the anti-gun lobby in Canada in essence said, "don't bother me with the facts (that more guns does not equal more deaths)"

    Why should this be so hard to understand? If more guns equaled more death then gun shows should be the most dangerous place to get killed by a gun. However, these are among the places you are least likely to get killed by a gun. These are places where the guns are disabled by a a cable tie and ten of thousands of rounds of ammunition are available. Why wouldn't a thief or crazed individual not use a firearm to take what he wants??

    Comparing the US to GBR is not a good comparison. GBR does not have the diversity of the US population or the environment that breeds criminality that the US has.

    Also there are other countries that have laws as restrictive or more so, that have high murder rates with guns and much higher than the US. So GBR might be more the exception rather than an example of success.

    Well its getting late so I will leave it here.

    Oh, Neil, BTW my wife is hanging out near Dublin this week. I wish I were with her because I think it would be fun to meet and discuss Dr. Who with you...

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  10. Hi Neil, this is Katrina Anon...

    I went back and read the 2005 article you cited from the Guardian. Among the facts you cut and pasted into your post you skipped the following paragraph for some reason:

    Gun crime in Britain has almost trebled in the past eight years, from 4,903 incidents in 1997 to 11,160 in the past year, 28% of which involved imitation weapons. Sixty people were shot dead last year, down from 70 in the previous 12 months.

    Maybe I am wrong, but wasn't 1997 the year GBR banned firearms? So gun crime has trebled (I guess thats tripled in US slang) from 1997-2005? Not only that, 72% were committed with real firearms. I am not sure what weapons would fall into replica category, but some may be fireable weapons known as zip guns.

    So in 2005, with a huge moat around GBR there are 300,000 illegal firearms, gun crime triples, no government accountability for civilian altercations armed thugs, and no acceptable means for civilians to protect themselves against criminals.

    Geeze, I am glad I live here (I am sure Neil does too).

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  11. So by being disarmed, we are making the weakest among us potential victims for criminals

    No. The weakest are always potential victims, armed or not. Comparison of the USA and UK utterly fails to take account of the fact that the USA has a culture, tradition and infrastructure that operates in favour of gun ownership and gun use. I know it is really hard for some pro-gun people to understand, but there are large numbers of people who live in Britain who have precisely zero desire to own a gun.

    In the scenario you paint (anon/Katrina), it is surely just as likely that the rapist will take the gun by force and continue the rape, or will carry a gun too - what has been gained from that?

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  12. Hi Urko, this is Katrina Anon...

    No, I do not find it hard to understand people who do not want to own firearms or use one to protect themselves. That is a personal choice and one that should be protected.

    Unless you are prepared to use a firearm to protect yourself (they are other uses for firearms such as hobby, hunting, cowboy action shooting, etc), then you should not possess one for this purpose.

    I would also say that your opinion that some gun owners do not understand why some people (maybe many people) do not want to own firearms is bit too much. I would rather say that it is more proper to say that very few gun owners do not understand nondesire to own a firearm. Please realize I say that in the very nicest way, because blogs and e-mail do not convey tone. I decided to read the tone of your post as very positive, insightful, and instructive.

    To those ends, you should realize America is a place vastly different then Europe. In large areas of this country, services may be sparse. Police are not able to patrol these regions and local citizens will likely have to protect themselves since the law may be a 1/2 hour or more away...IF YOU WERE ABLE TO CONTACT THEM BEFORE THE LINES WERE CUT...

    It does not amaze me when a European does not understand this, but when one of our Presidential candidates fails to undertand this makes me wonder just where is he from (Obama).

    However, you are wrong in your assertion "just as likely" to have the firearm used on the victim. In fact, if you check many news stories about this, the armed victim frequently averts the crime without firing a shot. This is only logical since the criminal generally only attacks those that are weaker then they are. When confronted with an armed victim, the criminal is suddenly equal or at least on a level playing field with the potential victim.

    I am going to have to go back and check my notes since I found some very interesting history about this and how "More guns=more death" was disproved.

    In short, the economist that discovered this, was really looking for something of interest for his class. He did not look just at the overall statistics but did in depth research in statistics. I think he was very much surprised to find that presence of a firearm in the possession of the potential victim frequently prevents the crime. Further many of these crimes are not reported for a variety of reasons.

    But I do have some questions about your point that the criminal will merely take the firearm away from the victim. That is a rather bold assertion and one that is not borne out by the facts.

    1. Do you think the rapist that takes the firearm away from the victim (as oppposed to running away), was going to stop at crime of rape or was probably planning all along to murder the victim?

    2. By what means may a potential victim protect themselves?

    3. Do you support victims being able to use deadly force against against a criminal?

    4. Why should the government be immunized against suits for failing to protect citizens from crime and not allowing them the means to protect themselves?

    5. Do you regard a rape (or any similar type of crime) as non-violent as long as the criminal only uses the threat of force?

    6. If the public is disarmed, shouldn't politicians and elitists also be denied armed protection?

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  13. Hi Neil, this is Katrina Anon...

    Yep Neil it might be true about being shot dead, but on the other hand you are probably more likely to be killed in other ways. The only thing you have gained is not being killed by a gun and being put into further peril without a means of defending yourself.

    This point was further driven home while I was reading info on some UK gun control lobby sites. Since the UK stole firearms from its law abiding citizens, they have had to dispatch more armed police today than they did in 1996. If guns are off the street and that is suppose to have made things safer, then why are the armed police encounters increasing dramatically?

    This foolish, gun-seizing endevour has reached new heights of desparation. Now the gun control lobby wants to outlaw imitation (toy) guns. The latest target of this lobby are "airsoft" guns. It is almost humorous to read the text since it seems to imply these toy guns are being smuggled through the docks of the UK and being used to arm vast waves of terror groups.

    These guns look tremendously realistic, very much like military counterparts. I would be at a loss to figure out how you could make one fire a real bullet. The materials these toys are made of just could not contain that kind of energy a cartridge would contain.

    Now the gun control lobby is also fearful that imitation weapons could be activated. Again I am not sure how you could build anything as reliable as the fireable weapon they are trying to mimic. The materials imitation guns are made from just cannot contain that kind of energy.

    More to the point, however, if the gun laws are effective then where are these imitation weapons getting their ammunition? There should not be any ammunition for these guns to be used, yet apparently there is. The government obiviously has been ineffective in cutting the flow of ammunition and critical gun parts.

    Things are getting so desparate that at least one gun control reports that the UK should consider registering knives. To be fair I am sure that means swords and the like, but pray, how are you going to stop people from manufacturing their own edged weapons? All you need is a stiff piece of material and a brick. Heck the prisons are full of improvized weapons, do you think the streets will have less?

    Something else that is lost on the ignorant can be seen in America. In America you cannot purchase today a foreign made machine gun. They just aren't imported (you can buy domestic ones). The criminals are using these foreign made machine guns not domestic ones (too difficult to get). That means these machine guns are being smuggled in with drugs. Big fat surprise.

    So if you cannot stop the illegal drug trade you are not going to stop the illegal firearm trade. It makes a lot more sense to have legal firearms among your populus to counter the illegal ones.

    Attached are a a few stories from American news sources where citizens defended themselves from home invaders. The citizens had lost almost all of their advantage yet still prevailed. One 81 year old was told by his attacker to give up his gun, unlike Neil thinks, the 81 shot and killed his attacker. If he had not had the gun he probably would not have been as lucky.

    Take your time and read these when you can:

    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2008/03/21/homeinvasion_0322.html
    http://www.saukvalley.com/articles/2008/04/11/news/local/a40950b63c29ed01e9754fa4f44770cb.txt
    http://www.chron.com/commons/persona.html?newspaperUserId=jreynolds&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckUserId=jreynolds&plckPostId=Blog%3AjreynoldsPost%3Ac88d406e-769b-4cf3-a75f-f8da86fb4b88&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest
    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/Apr/22/crime-report-man-shoots-carjacker/

    CATO on Gun Myths
    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4706

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  14. Hello Katrina -

    I think you need to distinguish between two sets of people: those who believe in gun *control* and those who believe in gun *prohibition*. I belong to the former class; Neil and most of the so-called 'gun control' groups in the UK belong to the latter. I have no problem with background checks and licensing for firearms. The problem is that the gun prohibitionists have complete contempt for those of us who have gone through the strict vetting of the UK licensing system. They just don't want us to have guns full stop. They don't want farmers to have shotguns. They don't want target shooters to have target rifles and pistols. They don't want game keepers and hunters to have sporting rifles. Regardless of what licensing regime is in place, they don't want any private ownership of firearms. They are fanatics and share some of the same psychological defects as animal rights nutters.

    Now the gun control lobby wants to outlaw imitation (toy) guns

    It's already been done. It is now an offence to buy or sell a 'realistic' looking toy guns.

    These guns look tremendously realistic, very much like military counterparts. I would be at a loss to figure out how you could make one fire a real bullet

    They can't. Any replica firearms that could be readily converted to live firing were already controlled under 1982 legislation. The new law just banned toy guns that can't be converted. It is bullshit law.

    Now the gun control lobby is also fearful that imitation weapons could be activated

    They are lying. The replicas that could be converted were banned 26 years ago.

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  15. stephen: In every society you have to make a value judgement about the harm certain things cause and the benefits and joy they bring.

    Handguns are simply too dangerous to be accepted by society as playthings. You may disagree and think the 30,000 annual deaths in the US is worth it, I and many others think it is not worth it just so a minority can enjoy their handguns. This is not an extreme position - it is the position shared by the majority. If you want these weapons legal then argue these deaths are worth it, but you know the truth will not persuade anyone, so you have to lie and pretend that guns are harmless fun and even protect people. That lie will just not wash when the stats from the US are just so frightening to us in Europe. It is madness, and like the tobacco and oil companies that deny smoking causes cancer and manmade climate change, the gun lobby denying that guns are dangerous is just plain wrong.

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  16. Handguns are simply too dangerous to be accepted by society as playthings

    For once, Neil why don't you respond to what I have written rather than dishonestly misrepresenting my views?
    Handguns are not 'playthings'. On that we can agree. That is why I support firearms licensing, so that as far as practicable, firearms are kept out of the hands of unsuitable people.

    If you want these weapons legal then argue these deaths are worth it, but you know the truth will not persuade anyone, so you have to lie and pretend that guns are harmless fun and even protect people

    Where did I say that guns are 'harmless fun'? As a licensed firearms owner, I am well aware of the huge damage that can be inflicted by careless or wanton misuse of firearms. That is why I support the *licensing* of firearms.

    That lie will just not wash when the stats from the US are just so frightening to us in Europe

    Actually I would quite happy to have the firearms laws that operate in the rest of western Europe. In fact, target pistols are perfectly legal to own under licence in all other western European nations, including the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland.

    It is madness, and like the tobacco and oil companies that deny smoking causes cancer and manmade climate change, the gun lobby denying that guns are dangerous is just plain wrong

    I never denied that guns are dangerous. Are you are capable of having a rational debate about what sort of firearms licensing regime we should have in the UK or would you rather trade insults?

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  17. Stephen, I do not support licensing less we have what happen in England is afflicted on the USA. !!!HOWEVER!!!I support background checks to weed out persons with backgrounds that would prohibit firearm possession.

    I am sure the NRA (USA’s National Rifle Association) would support common sense gun laws. They would point out that the majority of the gun laws on the books have little to do with common sense and everything to do with banning and discouraging ownership.

    Still, Stephen, I will concede your point and will refer to those gun control lobbyists as gun abolition lobbyists instead.

    Handguns are simply too dangerous to be accepted by society as playthings. -- NH

    Neil, like Stephen, I do not regard firearms as playthings even if they are used in sports. If you treat firearms as playthings you can become careless and that is how accidents happen. If you follow basic firearm training this all but eliminates accidental shootings.

    You may disagree and think the 30,000 annual deaths in the US is worth it, I and many others think it is not worth it just so a minority can enjoy their handguns. This is not an extreme position - it is the position shared by the majority. If you want these weapons legal then argue these deaths are worth it,… -- NH

    Neil, again you ignore that these stats are largely, if not damn near exclusively, from criminal enterprises; gang banging as we call it here in the USA. Most of the high capacity, rapid fire firearms used by this element are smuggled in to my country with the shipments of drugs, bypassing legal outlets. Smuggling firearms are so easy and valuable to crooks and thugs, this too is happening even in England.

    Back to the 30,000. The more salient observation would be how much larger would that number be without firearms? That may be difficult to equate, by John Lott’s analysis some years back found a number of crimes are prevented merely by the fact that an armed citizen was present.

    I have submitted to this blog a host of links to original sources of crimes prevented by the presence of firearms. People that would have received grievous harm at the hands of some thug or a group of thugs were either run off or stopped by an armed citizen. These are the stories that made the news, and there is no telling how many others were never reported.

    One of the links I posted involved a crime committed against a family in March of 2008. The thug broke in and wanted the TV and cash. Finding none, he told the man and woman to take off their clothes. While the thug was eyeing the undressing woman, her husband tackled the armed intruder. During the struggle the wife retrieved a family pistol and shot the thug and her husband (through the arm). They also had two daughter in the house ages 8 and 14, if memory serves. Being armed probably saved the lives of that family of 4, and absolutely saved them from what the thug was probably planning to do before he killed them.

    I find interesting indeed that you have not commented on how a citizens may defend themselves. At least in the USA, the Supreme Court has ruled on June 26, 2008, that citizens may use firearms to protect themselves and that is right protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. This right of self defense is apparently lacking in the EU Constitution, and I suspect, the government cannot be held either civilly or criminally liable for not protecting average citizens from crime.

    I am sure Chicago’s mayor Daley comments must have made the news in your country. Paraphrasing his comments I agree with what he said. He was saying that the wealthy, elites, and government people have little to fear from guns, it is the poor that have more to fear from guns. Yes, that is true (since I am one of the poore schomes) but has he given up his personal body guards so he can live like the rest of us disarmed poor? Considering how many of his citizens are killed every night, why hasn’t he raised the taxes already to protect them more? Since he hasn’t put more police on the streets to protect his citizens, Neil, is Daley saying Chicago’s contribution to those 30,000 deaths is worth in the name of banning firearms?

    … but you know the truth will not persuade anyone, so you have to lie and pretend that guns are harmless fun and even protect people. That lie will just not wash when the stats from the US are just so frightening to us in Europe. It is madness, and like the tobacco and oil companies that deny smoking causes cancer and manmade climate change, the gun lobby denying that guns are dangerous is just plain wrong…

    I may have done a little editing, but I think I saved your concept and context.

    I think I have shown that there is plenty of evidence that guns do protect people (follow my links) so I will summarize in this paragraph. John Lott’s and other studies have borne out that more guns equal less death. When you read gun abolitionist lobby reports, pay particular heed that they generally only mention gun crime and not violent crime. Violent crime includes gun crime. Lott and other discovered that when guns are banned, gun crime generally does indeed go down, however, all crime including violent crime, generally do go up and that criminals favor gun free areas.

    Next subject, so far, the only person in this blog that thinks gun owners think guns are harmless seems to be Neil. Modern society is full of dangers that we manage every day. We do not ban everything that is dangerous. Certainly only a few will argue that only the smallest proportion of firearms are ever involved in a death.

    So let me put this into terms that a non-gun owner may relate to. No one wants to ban bikes (something that I believe are near and dear to both Neil and me). Yet many, many more children are killed every year riding bikes then by guns (ref CATO – Gun Myths). So if you truly wanted to save the lives of children, you would plow your efforts into banning them from riding bikes. The lives you save would be hugely, hugely more per annum than the number killed by guns.

    Further, even if you have a successful gun ban, and were concerned about kids getting killed from firearms wouldn’t you want some kind of education program to tell kids to stay away from guns? Then why does the gun abolitionist lobby oppose the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Program which teaches children STOP, Don’t Touch!, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult when they spot a firearm. There is absolutely no depiction of firearms being used, just telling kids to stay away from guns.

    Neil mentions a denial issue among gun owners, et al. The denial problem is not one for gun owners but rather the gun abolitionist lobbies. When I see the number of armed police encounters in that gun free zone know as Great Britain, have gone up by 53% since the ban went into place, and the police want to change the way they compute gun crime stats so they can show fewer gun crimes not more, someone is certainly denying something. When the gun abolition lobbies take aim at toy guns and wants to start registering knives, someone’s gun confiscation plans just aren’t preventing crime. Generally such desperate activities also signal that these groups are deflecting the public’s attention so that they do not lose any more support.

    My interpretation of that information suggests (as opposed to proves) that gun abolition is not working and that the public is starting to notice. When the abolitionists are getting upset about efforts to get .22 pistol back in the law abiding hands, I think people are looking at America and seeing that people are able to defend themselves from thug or thugs and noticing that their gun free country is not. They look at the rich, the elite, their politicians, and see that they have their own body guards (or weapons maybe) and know they do not feel their very real fears. I think they are beginning to see gun abolition is failing.

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  18. The previous post was from Katrina Anon...Sorry I forgot to address it...

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  19. Hi Neil, this is Katrina Anon…

    I haven’t written here for a while.

    Well we had our Louisiana State Black Powder Shootout. Smokeless was allowed too. A great time was had by all.

    Sorry to disappoint, but no one got shot, went crazy and mowed down spectators, guns were not stolen either. Now participant, Crazy Emmitt, did get his nose scratched by a piece of lead. Any other injuries were no doubt the result of eating too many hamburgers or hot dogs.

    A funny thing did happen while I was promoting this event. I was decked out in all my cowboy duds, complete with my 45 pistols and a double barrel shotgun. Anyway, the photographer and I tried to cross a busy street to get a better picture. Would you believe the traffic would not part for a guy slinging all that hardware? We were there for a while and police station was just one street away and we never even got a cop to check us out!

    Anyway, if you are curious picture and links appear below:

    Ponchatoula Times (better pictures)

    The Daily Star (better story)

    Florida Parishes TV Channel 17(talking head, nothing from the range or shoot)

    P.S. Neil, I will have other stuff soon…

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  20. PS Neil, from Katrina Anon...

    BTW, my picture will be there on the Ponchatoula Times for about a week

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  21. Hi Neil, this is Katrina Anon...

    You may want to post this in your sections on the futility of war, but it also shows the futility of gun abolition:

    Afghan Gun Market

    Just goes to show given time the British home grown gun market may put guns in the hands of criminals instead of law abiding citizens...

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