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Old August 19, 2011, 01:05 PM   #1
British Bobby
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My take on why gun-restriction works in Europe but not in the US

Hi guys, don't know if this is the right place to discuss this, so apologies if I'm in the wrong section, but here goes.

This is my take on why stricter gun-laws in the US would NOT help decrease gun-crime particularly. I am a police officer with the Strathclyde Police Force in Glasgow in the UK and I have grown up in Britain and Greece, both of which have near-impossible laws when it comes to civilian gun ownership.

I believe it all hinges upon the fact that the US has some many factories actually producing weapons, whereas European countries have so few (many don't have any). Such a large part of the US economy involves the producing and selling of fire-arms that it's only a logical consequence to have so many gun-stores and shows that are legally licensed to sell-them as 3rd parties.

In Greece and the UK, I have yet to stumble upon a gun-store, I need to search for one online just to see if one exists anywhere near me.

This off course means that STOLEN handguns are virtually non-existent on the streets, thereby rendering gun-crime one of the lowest concerns. It's basically only organised crime that carries guns, and they smuggle those in from other countries.

I honestly don't believe gun laws would really make much difference in the US, but I am very grateful that countries like Greece and the UK, which have some VERY dangerous and deprived areas and are full of hot-heads, do have these strict laws in operation.

Anyway, those are my 2 cents.
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:11 PM   #2
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While it is likely that some of that plays a role...

It really hinges on the fact that America was built when we got tired of oppression... to attempt to severely increase gun restrictions would result in many seeing it going all deja vu all over again...

That and the fact that we are a free people... not serfs in a kingdom.

And that pesky constitution, declaration and bill of rights too...

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Old August 19, 2011, 01:14 PM   #3
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Don't the bad guys steal the firearms from citizens when they rob their home?

Oh yeah... I forgot that your government FORCED the serfs to turn in most of the firearms that could be used to curb violent crime...

I realize not everyone has the intestinal fortitude to use fist, knives and clubs to get real up close and personal with the person you are content with brutally killing in self defense...

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Old August 19, 2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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Off course culture also plays a great part, but don't forget that in Crete, the largest island of Greece, which is infamous the world over for it's violent vendettas between families, the people came to terms with the fact that their culture would not be tolerated by the law.

Up until the late 80's you'd still hear of occasional 30-40 year old blood feuds claiming lives, but it pretty much came to a halt in the 90's.

I liken the US gun-culture to be more akin to the UK pub/drinking culture. It generates TOO much money that they country would face financial bankruptcy if it tried to illegalise it as a pass-time.

Between you and me, as a police officer, I can't tell you the amount of times I've been in fear for my life by drunken idiots on the street here. At least if someone has a gun, you MIGHT be able to talk some sense into them... but not if they're drunk and angry!
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:20 PM   #5
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What does the term "surfs" mean? I'm not acquainted with it.
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:28 PM   #6
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serfdom
I use it as a free person to describe those who think they own something or feel that protection by authorities is okay and that the price in freedom is worth it...

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Old August 19, 2011, 01:30 PM   #7
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Only takes one bad apple to spoil the lot !!

Perhaps it's because we believe that all people should have the God given right of self protection. The police are there to clean up the mess and at times not very well. I'm happy for you if indeed you are happy with your laws and restrictions. ....

I sincerely welcome you to the forum.

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:34 PM   #8
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I wholeheartedly agree with someone's right to protect themselves, I wouldn't be a police officer if I didn't think so. I just feel that in the UK and Greece hand-guns are not a necessity to do it.

In the US off course I think it would CRIMINAL to pass ANY law that prohibited a citizen to have at least 1 fire-arm in his own home. With all those guns around, i would not feel safe without one myself.
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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So in the UK a 110 woman doesn't need a gun to protect herself from a brutal 230 pound rapist / killer?

I think the concept of "needs" or "necessary" is the issue with which we in the US have odds - we don't want the government to tell us what we are allowed to have or "need", and have that decision codified.

Interestingly enough, violent crime occurs all the time in England and throughout Europe, including the use of firearms in those violent crimes.

If violent crimes take place, with or without firearms, why shouldn't I have the right to defend life and property with all means necessary?
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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Never take a knife to a gun fight !!!

It escapes me now but recal reading about and ancient people who did not believe in the bow and arrow. Thought that the bow, was not worthy of a true warrior. A neighboring tribe did, had bows and arrows and used them quite effectively to destroy the first. ......

Quote:
I just feel that in the UK and Greece hand-guns are not a necessity to do it.
I respect your feelings and you certainly are entitled to them. Would ask that you in turn, respect ours. Sounds like; The Golden Rule ....
We do our best; In our own best ways !!!


Be Safe !!!
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:55 PM   #11
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In the US off course I think it would CRIMINAL to pass ANY law that prohibited a citizen to have at least 1 fire-arm in his own home. With all those guns around, i would not feel safe without one myself
Many of us cannot fathom why we cannot own what we want in regards to firearms...

It is a cryin' shame I gotta pay a $200 fee to own full auto...

Brent
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:01 PM   #12
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Welcome to TFL and glad to have you.

With what we've been watching here in the US on the news lately, you've earned your paycheck and Thank You for your services.

Not getting into our Constitution or even why the 2nd Amend. was written and instilled therein in the first place, do you have financial knowledge of the US economy to support your opinion that our economy is that dependent on gun production that thats the reason we're allowed to own guns?
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:11 PM   #13
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To answer the original question is simply history.
Europeans have always lived under a feudal system of Lords, Kings, dictators, etc. The people were, and still are, subject to the authority of the rulers. The people are accustomed to that system and don't really understand differently.
America was born of rebellion against authority. We are still rebellious and guard our hard earned freedom jealously.
In America authority to govern is granted by the people to it's elected officials. Not the other way around. Although, I have to admit, at times it may look like those elected are trying to become rulers and change that system.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:21 PM   #14
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Gentlemen, we are not in any way disagreeing about the US citizens' right to carry arms, all I'm saying is that I don't feel the same necessity exist in the two countries I grew up in.

Quote:
So in the UK a 110 woman doesn't need a gun to protect herself from a brutal 230 pound rapist / killer?
In my opinion a taser/stun-gun would be a better choice. easier to use and not risky of killing others in the process.

Quote:
do you have financial knowledge of the US economy to support your opinion that our economy is that dependent on gun production that thats the reason we're allowed to own guns?
Not first hand knowledge obviously, my statement is based on the information others have claimed to be privy to. In my 2nd year at university, I had an American exchange student living in my flat. His father worked with the Springfiled Armory and said the gun industry generated an annual revenue of over $3 billion.

Obviously I can't speak for how much of the total US economy that accounts for (in the appropriate context) but I can imagine that should those figures be correct, they must translate to not only a great deal of income in general, but also a massive amount of workers. manufacturers and total end products.

When I spoke of near-bankruptcy I wasn't being serious, I was just using hyperbole. But in conjunction with the unemployment, lack of exports etc that would follow any reduction of the size of the gun industry, I imagine, in my admittedly humble knowledge of business and finance, that that would increase the loss to a country's economy.

Either way, I don't in any way wish to come of as adversarial in any way. Modesty forbids me from having too strong an opinion on the subject, i just thought would be interested to know that while I feel gun-laws have a positive influence in my countries, I doubt they would in yours.

No offense meant to anyone or to their sense of national pride.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:22 PM   #15
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In Greece and the UK, I have yet to stumble upon a gun-store,
Perhaps you should stumble into one of the Scottish gun makers like Dickson and Son or David McKay Brown.........or wander into Purdey, Boss, Holland and Holland, Atkin Grant and Lang, and about 2 dozen others?????

While the UK may not produce the volume, they have a large number of gunmakers

Until recently, most Euro countries were fairly homogeneous in their ethnicity, whereas the US is far from that. People like to "stick with their own" so to speak, so the multi-cultural diversity scene, coupled with some harsh societal ills blamed on various different ethno-centric groups leads to more conflict here, thus, many feel, the need for more guns, whereas in Europe many felt safer and thus the ability of the government to enact gun control laws was simpler and easily accepted by the masses.

Now that immigration in Europe is making things ugly - youths in England, and various Eastern Europe/Middle East groups, etc. many are starting to wonder about not being allowed to protect themselves.

Maybe this will lead to some reversal, but I doubt it - governments hate giving up control
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:26 PM   #16
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To answer the original question is simply history.
Europeans have always lived under a feudal system of Lords, Kings, dictators, etc. The people were, and still are, subject to the authority of the rulers. The people are accustomed to that system and don't really understand differently.
America was born of rebellion against authority. We are still rebellious and guard our hard earned freedom jealously.
In America authority to govern is granted by the people to it's elected officials. Not the other way around. Although, I have to admit, at times it may look like those elected are trying to become rulers and change that system.
I'd have to disagree with you on that one my friend. Greece was under Ottoman rule for 400 years, and even after our liberation in 1821, we have still seen 2 World Wars, a civil was, the Balkan wars, a military dictatorship in the late 60's to mid 70's and on some level felt the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish military in 1974.

As a nation Greece has a very troubled history in the last 100 years, having fought nearly half a dozen wars and only had a string of 36 years without military or political conflict. But we still do not license our citizens to carry arms, even though our Police do.

Last edited by British Bobby; August 19, 2011 at 02:33 PM.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:32 PM   #17
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Perhaps you should stumble into one of the Scottish gun makers like Dickson and Son or David McKay Brown.........or wander into Purdey, Boss, Holland and Holland, Atkin Grant and Lang, and about 2 dozen others?????
off course there are gun-makers, I never said there weren't. But apart from the fact that they cater to sporting guns (hunting rifles and shot-guns predominantly), I have lived in Glasgow for nearly 4 years and have yet to walk casually down the street somewhere and see a gun store. They are out there SOMEwhere, just not EVERYwhere

Quote:
Until recently, most Euro countries were fairly homogeneous in their ethnicity, whereas the US is far from that. People like to "stick with their own" so to speak, so the multi-cultural diversity scene, coupled with some harsh societal ills blamed on various different ethno-centric groups leads to more conflict here, thus, many feel, the need for more guns, whereas in Europe many felt safer and thus the ability of the government to enact gun control laws was simpler and easily accepted by the masses.

Now that immigration in Europe is making things ugly - youths in England, and various Eastern Europe/Middle East groups, etc. many are starting to wonder about not being allowed to protect themselves.

Maybe this will lead to some reversal, but I doubt it - governments hate giving up control
Ah, now here we are virtually in complete agreement. Racial diversity and race relations obviously have a great deal to do with the violence any society faces.

Obviously guns, crime etc would be of no consequence if people had more love and respect for the sanctity of human life and their fellow human beings. But I hardly think that's something that will ever cease to be the case.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:51 PM   #18
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Gentlemen, we are not in any way disagreeing about the US citizens' right to carry arms, all I'm saying is that I don't feel the same necessity exist in the two countries I grew up in.

BB - good point. thank you for the frank & respectful discussion.

Quote:
So in the UK a 110 woman doesn't need a gun to protect herself from a brutal 230 pound rapist / killer?
In my opinion a taser/stun-gun would be a better choice. easier to use and not risky of killing others in the process.

There are a thousand scenarios where one form of self-defense force would be better than another, such as a home invasion with multiple robbers - you don't want to get up-close-and-personal with several attackers simultaneously - the stun gun / taser is not effective at range.

Also, given the recent upsurge in violence in England recently, armed, law-abiding citizenry would have been a great deterrence to the foolish cowards who chose to "express" their opinions by rioting, vandalism, looting, and brutality.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:55 PM   #19
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Welcome to TFL!

British Bobby, and enjoy the information and discussions you find here!

Quote:
I'd have to disagree with you on that one my friend. Greece was under Ottoman rule for 400 years, and even after our liberation in 1821, we have still seen 2 World Wars, a civil was, the Balkan wars, a military dictatorship in the late 60's to mid 70's and on some level felt the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish military in 1074.

As a nation Greece has a very troubled history in the last 100 years, having fought nearly half a dozen wars and only had a string of 36 years without military or political conflict. But we still do not license our citizens to carry arms, even though our Police do.
Now, just look at this statement! In a land where the "common people" are not allowed their own guns, you have had many wars. Look at the rest of Europe, and see where general gun ownership is not allowed, or heavily licensed and restricted. Some nations have suffered many wars, others have not. There is much, much more involved than just ownership of guns by the general populace.

The rather strong statements by some about how in the US we are free, our nation formed in rebellion, etc. may seem a bit over the top to some, but there is more than a nugget of truth in those attitudes.

The US, "awash" with private gun ownership, suffered its last internal war a century and a half ago. The make up of our nation, both in its peoples, its politics, and its geography certainly has much to do with our level of gun ownership, and yet, we have not fought a war amongst ourselves since ending the last one in 1865.

Many of us think that due to our legal right to be armed, combined with our system of democracy, is what has prevented the internal wars, armed bands, coups, and other things suffered by many european nations in the last century and a half. I know there are many other factors as well, but many of those factors are present in nations that do have wars amongst themselves.

There are many, many things that go into making up the history of a nation, and the US is unique in many ways from ALL the other nations on earth. We do have our troubles, and we do have our faults. We do make mistakes, after all we are human like everyone else. So what is it that makes the difference? I think it is our general belief in the principles set forth in our founding documents, something unlike anything that had come before.

The US believes in the rights of the indiviual, over that of the state is the best and most moral system of government. No other nation has done this to the degree the US has, and even though we don't always do the best possible job living up to that ideal, we keep trying.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:56 PM   #20
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British Bobby,

Please study our Constitution and our case law in which the people of the US have sued different fascits of our government in regards to our right to bear arms and this may change your opinion of why our gun laws are as they are.

Though our gun laws are thankfully not the same as yours, neither is the structure of our separate governments. We have a Supreme court in which the people of the US can appeal to if our government is misrepresenting our Constitution.

The will of the people here in the US have secured our current guns laws/rights by insuring our Constitution is adhered to. Our gun laws have nothing to do with the revenue the gun industry provides.
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Old August 19, 2011, 03:03 PM   #21
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Joyce Lee Malcolm has written about this extensively, but the facts are that the UK has the highest per-capita violent crime rates in the "developed world" (UN data) since 1993.

One cannot separate the prospects of acting in self-defense and being jailed for it, but the UK has done all it can to deny the means to the law-abiding for self-defense, with firearms, handguns particularly, being just part of the banned items. Yet, as elsewhere in Europe, gun crime is accelerating and guns are freely available to criminals. And they on an island.

Fixing the moral and ethical environment is just part of the problem. Depriving anyone of the effective means of self-defense abrogates their right as a human being to live other than by tooth and claw.

No sir, the European gun controls don't "work", except to makes criminality a safer profession. the "shall issue" experience in the US affirms this.

The question is not whether crime levels are tolerable, or less here than there. The question is how low can crime rates be driven. The law-abiding are not the problem. Stop treating them as if they are.
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Old August 19, 2011, 03:05 PM   #22
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Obviously guns, crime etc would be of no consequence if people had more love and respect for the sanctity of human life and their fellow human beings. But I hardly think that's something that will ever cease to be the case.
If that were true, there would be no militaries, no police forces, and no governments. It would be a perfect Utopian world.


The only reason firearm restrictions work in European countries, is because the people allowed themselves to be disarmed. In my opinion, it did absolutely nothing to lower crime rates. It just changed the weapons being used. (There was a reason for the recent knife ban. (Last year, I believe?))



The reason "gun control" won't work in the U.S., is because citizens built this country. We built this country with muskets and rifles. It was the only way to attain our freedom. Now, our government is slowly turning itself into an entity that many U.S. citizens see as very similar to the British Empire we fought so hard to leave behind.

As such, tens of millions of firearms are kept by citizens of this country, not to defend one's self from common criminals; but to defend one's self (and one's freedom), from our own government. As long as citizens keep firearms to defend their freedom, there will be ways for criminals to get them, as well. As long as criminals can get their hands on firearms, "gun control" will do nothing.

Just as is the case in the U.K., there are only two ways to handle firearms:
1. Allow them.
2. Disarm everyone.
There is no "happy medium" that can be found in between.

---
Not all firearms in this country are kept for the above reason, of course. Aside from recreation, many people in the U.S. still help put food on the table, by hunting. Last year, alone, my family harvested nearly 1,000 lbs of meat from game animals. Half a ton of meat saves a lot of money.
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Old August 19, 2011, 03:09 PM   #23
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By what standard do you conclude that gun restrictions in Europe work? The UK apparently has a violent crime rate (though less gun crime) than the US.

You are assuming that if gun possession by law abiding citizens were more prevalent, crime would necessarily increase, therefore, European restrictions= less crime. That may or may not be the case.

In the US over the past 25 years, a vast number of restrictions have been eliminated. In the early 80s, only a few states allowed citizens to carry concealed weapons, now over 40 states have laws requiring the issuance of a license (or allowing concealed carry without a license) unless a valid reason (such as a criminal record) can be shown not to. A few have a discretionary system, and only 1 of 50 prohibit it (and it is likely that they will very soon be forced to allow it by the Supreme Court). Also during that time, our violent crime rate has dropped to the lowest in forty some years, and the homicide rate the lowest in thirty some years.

When confronted with deadly force, the firearm is the best equalizer. Stun guns, pepper spray, etc are much less effective, and in some cases are next to useless.

The right to preserve one's life is the most fundamental of rights. To deny the effective means of doing so is simply immoral.

As far as the financial aspect, even if the total revenue is $3 billion (also taking into account that many US produced guns are by foreign owned companies like Glock, Beretta, etc), that is a tiny drop in the bucket of the US economy. Gun control groups here in the US like to assert that our big rich gun companies own right wing politicians, but that is simply ludicrous drivel.

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Old August 19, 2011, 03:57 PM   #24
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IIRC Violent crime in the UK went up dramatically after the Great Gun Ban of 1997. I was stationed the UK in 1998. It was made clear to us that criminals were not to be assaulted if they were stealing our things. If we were to so misguided as to physically interfere with Mr. burglar, we were likely to be in more trouble than he. It wasn't said, but I couldn't help wondering if the local authorities would like us to help the poor oppressed burglar load our stuff into his vehicle so he could be on his way. From what I could tell property crime wasn't considered a big deal in the UK, judging by all the burned out cars I saw on the A11 near Thetford. The magistrates don't take it too seriously either, Time served plus a fine seems to be the best way to deal with one man crime waves. Assault & battery isn't serious unless your kicking a dog. Then it's a big deal, and you WILL do time.

Firearms in the UK, from what I could tell, were/are considered the purview of the very rich and/or noble. It would seem the govt would prefer to keep it that way, judging by the loss of rights involved in legally owning one. I called the Norfolk Constabulary and asked what I would need to do to own a firearm: The firearm must be stored in an approved storage device secured to a wall in your house. The ammunition must be stored separately in a similar manner. I forget how much the license was, but it wasn't cheap. IIRC, the local constabulary can search your house to verify security of your firearm any time they feel like it. Make it expensive, difficult & invasive enough and no one will bother. Assuming your willing jump through enough hoops, where would you shoot it? Talking to average working class brits, I was left with impression that it wasn't something they thought was realistic. There, of course, were those that recoiled in horror at the thought that a gun might not be evil. Culturally the UK has programmed people to not think about protecting themselves. Therefore having an effective means to do so isn't brought up much in polite company.
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Old August 19, 2011, 04:03 PM   #25
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Quote:
I believe it all hinges upon the fact that the US has some many factories actually producing weapons, whereas European countries have so few (many don't have any). Such a large part of the US economy involves the producing and selling of fire-arms that it's only a logical consequence to have so many gun-stores and shows that are legally licensed to sell-them as 3rd parties.
Imagine the boost to European country's economies if gun laws were relaxed EU-wide...

Perhaps gun manufacturing employment and gun store sales would help to reverse a failing collective economy? Or not. Maybe making Turkey a full member would be a good start.
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I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.

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