Saturday, September 24, 2005


A reader has just sent me the following article, apparently an editorial from the October issue of "Model Engineers Workshop" magazine. The magazine is not online, however, so I have not been able to verify it. One hopes it is an urban legend, but with the British gun paranoia it sounds all too likely

And then the Workshop Police?

I am told that some bright spark in Whitehall has come up with the idea that workshop machinery should be registered in much the same way as cars.

Apparently this has been set off by worries that decommissioned or replica firearms could be turned into weapons. (Presumeably by an army of disaffected octogenarians) If so, then this would have serious implications for all model engineers. All such schemes cost massive amounts of money to set up and administer, so who pays, and how much? What machines would be covered? To be properly effective, it would have to cover every Black and Decker Drill, since with attachments and ingenuity, even these can be converted to operate as precision lathes.

An Email query on this to a government contact is at time of writing still, after several weeks, unanswered!

This looks like yet another hare-brained idea spawned by a Civil Service bureaucrat, probably holding an Oxbridge "first" (history, arts, or political science?) but with zero qualifications as regards practical life experience; clearly not enough to do and too much time to think (but without the attention span to properly think through).

For my money, because of the growing numbers of metal detectors, the future threat in unauthorised firearms will come, not from reactivated replicas, but from new high tech designs using ceramics, carbon fibre and advanced plastics. Thinking laterally in terms of weapons of modest destruction, just consider the
possibilities open to any anti-social teenager with a radio controlled plane and a box of fireworks.

Virginia: Gun show owner, patron, may file law suit: "The owner of a gun show targeted by federal law enforcement for a half dozen undercover enforcement operations may join with some of his customers in filing a federal class action civil rights lawsuit against the agencies that participated in the operations. Virginia State Police (VSP) records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Cybercast News Service confirm that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted 'Task Force' undercover surveillance and enforcement operations in connection with six gun shows in Richmond, Va., between July of 2004 and June of 2005. Richmond City and Henrico County, Va., police also assisted in at least some of the events. Steven Elliot, owner of C&E Gun Shows, noted that all of the shows listed on the VSP records were hosted by his company."

Illinois: Gas station worker fires at robber: "A gas station attendant who was robbed early Sunday turned a gun on the robber, who was arrested hours later by police. No one was injured in the robbery, which occurred shortly after 6:30 a.m. at the Clark gas station, 3606 N. Prospect Road. The employee told police a man, later identified as Derek B. Horn, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue bandana over his face, and carrying what appeared to be a handgun, called him to the register. The clerk then surrendered an undisclosed amount of money.As the robber fled the store, the attendant grabbed a revolver under the counter and gave chase. While outside, the gas station employee yelled for the robber to stop before he then fired two shots in the robber's direction, but the robber kept running."

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