Ah, my first nodeshell!
The phrase 'if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns' is often used by pro-gun rights groups and supporters and is also used by pro-gun control groups to as an example of how silly the pro-gun rights argument is.
Whatever your personal stance is on the issue, I can speak from experience that in the UK, the oft spoken phrase holds true.
After both the 1988 and 1997 firearms acts, gun crime has risen to higher levels than it had before the gun bans and never gone below the level it was at before the bans. That's right, after the gun control laws come in to play gun crime gets worse.
So far, the UK has banned all automatic and semi-automatic firearms with the exception of .22 rifles, all handguns except for antique black powder pistols and they have heavily restricted pump action shotguns to the point where they are essentially banned. The only permitted guns are bolt action rifles, which are very hard to qualify for, and break action single or double barrel shotguns.
To qualify to own a shotgun you will need a shotgun license, a character reference from one professional person who has known you personally for three years, a gun safe that has been approved by the government, bolted to the wall and floor of your home, inspected by the police and locked with a key that only the shotgun owner has access to or knowledge of its location.
For rifles you need a firearms license, which can only be granted to someone in a home office government approved shooting club and who has completed their probationary period, two character references and all the gun safe requirements as for the shotgun license. The government will tell you what you may own, and will only allow you the bare minimum number of guns that you need. They also allow you to possess a set number of rounds of ammunition, which you may not exceed. Failure to comply to any of these rules will lose you your license, firearms and may land you in jail.
Now, you may not use any firearm for self-defence at any time or under any condition, even if you are about to be killed in the most horrible way imaginable. If you do kill someone in self-defence, then it is off to prison with you for a very very long time.
Now if the idea that strict gun control policies stopped gun crime, the gun control legislation in the UK should have stamped out almost all gun crime. But it hasn't.
In fact, gun crime is a really big problem in the UK. It isn't as bad as in the US, but that doesn't really mean anything. You see, although there are a higher proportion of violent crimes committed with guns in the US, the UK has a higher number of violent crimes overall. These figures exclude murders and rapes, but the data for those two specific crimes is not comparable between the two countries.
Rapes are notoriously hard to record, due to the unwillingness of victims to come forwrds in many cases. Murders, on the other hand, cannot be compared between the US and UK due to data recording methods. The UK police record only deaths that result in after a conviction of murder for the killer has been passed, where as in the US, any killing of another person is immediately recorded as murder even if it was in self-defense, was lowered to a lesser crime or never even went to court. This results in an artificially low level of murders per killing in the UK, and an artificially high murder per killing rate in the US. In addition to this, the British PoliceForce has been found to record less than 50% of crime on occasions and to doctor figures to meet government targets for the reduction of crime.
In effect, as a purely theoretical example with no bearing on the crime rates of the UK and US, you could have one country that has 50% of a total of 100 crimes committed with guns, and another country where 10% of a total of 1000 crimes are committed with guns. There may be a higher percentage of crimes committed with guns in country 1, but in country 2 you are more likely to be a victim of a stabbing, beating or any other number of other nasty methods of murder.
Yet in spite of this, the Labour government of the UK and the Gun Control Network want more bans on guns. They have even moved onto banning all deactivated firearms that were put out of action before 1995 because they say that they are being used in crimes. Yet according to their own statistics, the total crimes committed with deactivated weapons counts for 0.04% of all gun crime each year. So never mind the other 99.96% of gun crimes, we will continue to concentrate on a tiny part of gun crimes and continue to unfairly target and persecute honest, law abiding gun owners.
All the while, illegally held guns are owned by those who don't give a shit about gun laws, what with them being criminals and all. The number of gun crimes committed by licensed and law abiding gun owners is almost nil in the UK, yet we are the only ones who are targeted in the never ending and ultimately useless quest for gun control.
I have never met any 'gun nuts' in the UK who rant and rave about gun laws, mostly because gun owners here are all very sensible and quiet people. The ones who are ranting and raving in the UK are people like the Gill Marshall-Andrews of the Gun Control Network, who begins foaming at the mouth at the sight of a gun owner or anything that might suggest that guns are not evil killing machines.
The result of this is that we have only one group of society who owns guns in a way that could be considered risky, and that is the criminal element. They are, in fact, very risky people to be given almost complete reign over firearms possession. British police do not carry firearms as part of their standard equipment, mainly due to the fact that when the UK adopted a police force, the people did not trust them to be armed since that may eventually lead to a government monopoly on power. Instead, the people had the guns and the police were just there to act as full time upholders of the law. If something bad went down, it was the average man on the street who gave chase with the policeman and assisted in the arrest of the criminal, in fact it was the duty of the people to do so by law.
However, in this day and age, the British people have been unfairly stripped of that right and are now supposedly protected by the police, who are of course never there as crimes are actually being committed. After all, what kind of criminal chooses to commit his crime in front of a policeman?
Furthermore, the police are even scaling back their firearms units and reducing their man power. This makes no sense in the face of rising gun crime rates and a largely armed criminal society preying upon an entirely defenceless society. British people aren't even allowed to carry pepper spray, or anything that could be used or is intended to be used as a weapon. It is completely illegal for Britons to carry anything for their defence.
The situation clearly betrays the government's lack of commitment to the protection of the British public. They couldn't care less about us, because the people making the policies are curiously exempt from such laws. They live behind layers of elite armed police, knowing that they can never be harmed. It is fascinating to me that these are the same people who have proclaimed that firearms are 'unacceptable' for self-defence in the UK, unless you are part of the government, in which case your safety is paramount and must be ensured at all costs.
Basically, Gordon Brown's life is more important than any other person in the UK's. Why? Because he says so. His mentality is right out of the playground, where he's the king of the castle, and we're the dirty rascals.