Saturday, August 14, 2004


"Fear" is enough to disarm people?

"Pitcairn Islanders have been ordered to hand their guns to British authorities amid fears a six-week sex trial on the island could lead to violence, officials said today. Seven Pitcairn Island men face 96 charges over allegations of sexual abuse. Some of the alleged offenses were committed up to 40 years ago. The trials, which are due to begin on the island on September 23, have caused rising tensions in the tiny island community. Pitcairn Deputy Governor Matthew Forbes, who is based in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, said the island's governor, British High Commissioner to New Zealand Richard Fell, had ordered residents to surrender their firearms, which they use for hunting and shooting coconuts out of trees. If people do not hand in their guns, authorities will legislate to suspend all firearm licences on the island and guns would be taken from residents, he said. Mr Forbes said the island's 47 permanent residents held about 20 weapons.... the British governor's order drew "immediate, stunned reaction from Pitcairners on and off the island." ... "we are being treated as if (we) are a murdering, suicidal bunch of good for nothing sex-crazed cowboys"... islanders regularly used guns to hunt wild goats for meat, shoot breadfruit and coconuts from tall trees and occasionally to shoot sharks."


John Lott on the Swiss experience: "Swiss gun laws have already started to give up some of this freedom that they are so well know for. In January 1999, nationwide regulations greatly restricted people's ability to carry concealed handguns. But the new proposals - including registration - represent the greatest challenge to Swiss traditions. As some Swiss point out, registration in other countries has often preceded confiscation.

Registration could supposedly help identify criminals and prevent them from getting guns. For example, if a gun is left at the scene of the crime, registration could allow it to be traced back to the criminal who used it. Nice theory, but it just doesn't work. Despite spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of man-hours by police administering these laws in different areas of the United States (such as Hawaii, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.), there is not even a single case where the laws have been key in identifying someone who has committed a crime."

The irony is that to stop crime Switzerland is seeking to emulate the strict gun-control regulations of its neighbors, when the reverse should be the case. Neighboring Austria, France, Germany, and Italy, all with stricter gun-control laws, had murder rates during 2000 that were 21 to 112 percent higher than Switzerland's".

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