Four million illegal guns in Britain

From The Independent:

Up to 4m guns in UK and police are losing the battle

‘IoS’ investigation: Another week, another horrific shooting. The culture of illegal firearms is running out of control

By Sophie Goodchild and Paul Lashmar
Published: 04 September 2005

And is anyone surprised?  Did anyone think the ban would be any more effective than the ban on recreational drugs?  The only thing they accomplished with the ban was drive the number of valid defensive use of firearm in protection of innocent life to almost zero.  And what do they think the proper solution to this is?  Why it’s as if it came out of the book “When Prophecy Fails“:

After many years of campaigning by the gun control lobby, a ban finally came into force in May 2004, making it illegal to own a blank-firing replica gun without a firearms licence.

I shake my head in amazement at why the politicians over there are still allowed to breath.

So much for gun control

Ahhh…. It’s nice to see editorial writers whacking the anti-freedom liberals with a clue by four–even if it is in Canada instead of the U.S.:

When we first read the headline in last Thursday’s Sun – “Feds taking aim at gun violence” – we thought that there must have been some mistake.

Gun violence? What gun violence? We have a very expensive national gun registry that was put into place to ensure that every firearm in Canada can be tracked. We have cumbersome regulations in place that make it more difficult for Canadians to buy guns. We have armies of bureaucrats shuffling paper to and fro to make sure that everything related to guns in this country is all very above-board and law-abiding.

So there can’t possibly be any gun violence in Canada!

Back in late 1994, when then-justice minister Allan Rock first unveiled the gun-control program, he declared, “This tough new gun-control program will improve public safety and also send a strong message that the criminal misuse of guns will not be tolerated.”

Eleven years later, the Liberals are suddenly worried about gun crime because Toronto has been blitzed by gun violence. In a more sane country, Toronto would realize that the gun registry has been exposed as an expensive waste of money and would punish the Liberals for lying to them by voting them out. And the Grits would shut down their useless registry and put the money into actual police officers fighting crime.

As we said, these lessons are all going to go unlearned.

True.  The lessons will go unlearned.  But at least whacking them alongside the head a few times and giving them a special mention for When Prophecy Fails provides some satisfaction.

Update: American Realpolitik comments on this same editorial about the succession talk in western Canada inspired in part by the oppressive anti-gun laws imposed on them by the east.

Right to murder bill

Florida’s bill, soon to become law, which explicitly says you may use deadly force to defend yourself from serious injury or death is being called a “right to murder” bill by the anti-freedom people:

“It’s literally mind-boggling in its audacity,” said Arthur Hayhoe of Wesley Chapel, president of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “If I make a mistake, all I have to do is repeat the NRA’s magic words: “I feel threatened.’ ” I call this the “right-to-murder’ bill.”

I suspect the real problem is that Mr. Hayhoe is feeling threatened.  After this law has been in effect for a couple of years and the crime statistics come in he will loose all traction with the population at large.  He will be like the crazy guy predicting the end of the world on the street corner.  No one will pay him any attention and that will be a very uncomfortable position to be in.  And of course after making these crazy predictions of the end of the world and being proved wrong he will make even more predictions and push his crazy, disproven viewpoint even more.  It must really suck to be an anti-freedom fighter these days.

James Carroll should read “When Prophecy Fails”

It looks like he meets all five of the conditions and he responds just as predicted.  He rants:

Iraq is a train wreck. The man who caused it is not in trouble. Tomorrow night he will give his State of the Union speech, and the Washington establishment will applaud him. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead. More than 1,400 Americans are dead. An Arab nation is humiliated. Islamic hatred of the West is ignited. The American military is emasculated. Lies define the foreign policy of the United States. On all sides of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there is wreckage. In the center, there are the dead, the maimed, the displaced — those who will be the ghosts of this war for the rest of their days. All for what?

The chaos of a destroyed society leaves every new instrument of governance dependent on the American force, even as the American force shows itself incapable of defending against, much less defeating, the suicide legions. The irony is exquisite. The worse the violence gets, the longer the Americans will claim the right to stay. In that way, the ever more emboldened — and brutal — “insurgents” do Bush’s work for him by making it extremely difficult for an authentic Iraqi source of order to emerge. Likewise the elections, which, as universally predicted, have now ratified the country’s deadly factionalism.

I suppose I should give him a pass on this–he writes for The Boston Globe.

Iraq election, WW III, etc.

I’ve been reading and listening and without doing 2+2=4 type of calculations just getting a gut feel for what is happening and what will happen I have a prediction to make.  Prophecy is always tough to get right and it’s easy to end up looking like an idiot.  But my guess is that 10 years from now the war we are fighting against the Muslim Jihad warriors will be over and election day, January 30, 2005, in Iraq will be the equivalent of the battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. civil war.  The turning point in the war.  Although there will still need to be a lot of fighting, deaths, and there will be lots of screaming and wailing by the losers (including the Democrats in our country), the end will known to anyone that studies the problem.  There could be something bad things happen, we could still get some nukes detonated in a few of our cities, but the days of the Muslim extremists will be numbered and we will be counting them down.

When “Ballistic Fingerprinting” fails

This is an even more blatant example of When Prophecy Fails related to the ballistic fingerprinting debacle.

Leah Barrett, executive director of CeaseFire Maryland, said police are not using the database enough, instead relying on a national ballistics database that only has ballistics images from crime scenes. As a result, she said, the national database can’t lead investigators directly to the specific firearm that produced a recovered ballistic image unless the gun is eventually recovered.

She said scrapping the state program could deal a setback to better ballistics imaging.

“I think it’s a real tragedy because other states are looking at New York and Maryland to see how we succeed with this,” she said.

To see how we succeed with this.”????  The possibility it has failed is apparently not in her domain of thought processes.

“Ballistic Fingerprinting” fails

If you are even the slightest bit ‘connected’ in the gun rights movement you will already know about what happened in Maryland.  They implemented a database of fired bullets and shell casings from all new handguns sold in the state.. This was an attempt to track down the owner if a bullet or shell casing were found at the scene of a crime.  Gun owners and manufactures told them it wouldn’t work.  They did it anyway.  Now they find out it didn’t work for all the reasons they were told it wouldn’t work plus some at least one new reason.  That reason is that different materials take on the markings differently.  Some bullets are made primarily of lead, some have copper jackets, and some even have steel jackets.  There are numerous alloys of lead too, some even use silver.  Shell casings are made of brass, aluminum, and steel.  If the manufacture supplied a bullet and shell casing made of one material and the criminal used another then the chance of a match is greatly reduced.

What amuses me the most about this is that the system failed and they suggest an alternate scheme that I am certain will also fail.  I have posted on it here:

This qualifies Maryland for a When Prophecy Fails mention.

Others have commented extensively on the report from Maryland:

I have included the entire Maryland report below for those interested in the details.


2. Integrated Ballistics Information System Remains under Scrutiny




The Maryland Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS), operational since October 1, 2000, provides police investigators with a tool to focus an investigation around a firearm. Chapter 2,

Acts of 2000 (Responsible Gun Safety Act of 2000), required that manufacturers submit a test-fired shell casing with each handgun shipped for resale in the State.

The dealer then sends the casing to the State Police after the gun has been sold. The IBIS system receives the casing from the dealer, and firearms investigators and technicians perform a full analysis of the casing. The investigator uses microscopic technology to identify striations and other markings

that are unique to each individual gun. The striations are formed when the gun is fired, as the firing pin strikes the back of the casing, creating a unique series of identifying marks. The aim of the system is to create a massive database of identifying marks, so that any spent shell casings recovered at a crime scene can be compared against the IBIS database, to try to identify the gun used in the commission of the crime. Based on then-current handgun sales statistics, the State Police anticipated that 30,000 cartridge casings would be received annually for input into the IBIS system. As such, the system was designed to hold around 300,000 casings over a 10-year period.

The system has thus far received around 35,000 cartridge casings for input, including around 2,000 from trooper-issued semi-automatic 40-caliber Beretta firearms. There have been 160 requests to match crime-scene casings with the IBIS system, resulting in four “hits” or matches.




DSP anticipates continued maintenance supplies and personnel costs of $435,269 for fiscal 2005 to continue to operate the IBIS system. Initial start-up costs of $1.4 million were absorbed in fiscal 2001. IBIS requires one full-time equivalent position to maintain the system. DSP’s Forensic Unit currently assigns three forensic examiners to this program, each devoting one-third of their time to the IBIS system.




The State Police are concerned about the lack of hits yielded by the IBIS system, and there have been problems with the system. Some of these problems are the result of operational failings and others simply the result of circumstance.


Number of Cartridges Stored – No Link to the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN): Chapter 2 of 2000 included ‘external safety lock’ requirements and the shell casing identification provision. Gun manufacturers were required to add ‘integrated mechanical safety devices’ to firearms, as well as external safety locks to any firearm sold in Maryland.


These two provisions made up an effort by the General Assembly to make the prospects of accidental shootings less likely. These two mechanical requirements, coupled with the requirement to test-fire the gun and submit the cartridge casings, has effectively reduced the number of firearms sold in the State. While DSP had anticipated 30,000 casings submitted annually from 215 qualifying manufacturers, the number of casings received since October 2001 stands at around 34,000 from only 49 manufacturers.

In essence, the guns most often recovered from crime scenes are not sold in Maryland, and therefore, not linked (via cartridge casing) to the IBIS system. DSP has also indicated that .38 mm revolvers are often used in crimes, and these guns are less likely to leave spent shell casings.

The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) division of the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have a system in place, similar to the Maryland IBIS system. The NIBIN is a system that uses identical technology to IBIS, to create a national database of crime scene shell casings and bullets. However, a memorandum of understanding between the ATF and State and local law enforcement agencies prohibits the linking of NIBIN to any State or local system, such as IBIS. In that the guns used in Maryland crimes are less likely to be sold in Maryland, the inability to link IBIS to NIBIN prevents the largest field of possible matches from being searched.


Time to Crime: The Maryland IBIS system has been in place since October 2000. Criminology research suggests that if a legally obtained firearm is going to enter the stream of criminal activity, it takes between three and six years for this to occur. This ‘time to crime’ statistic indicates that the guns and cartridge casings inventoried in IBIS since 2001 will start to match firearms used in crimes from 2004 to 2007. The statewide deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) inventory saw a similar preliminary waiting period until the number of matches increased dramatically. The DNA database began in 1994, had its first hit in 1998, and has had 72 hits to date. Of these 72 hits, 39 have come in 2003.


Glock Casings Unreliable: It has been learned that cartridge casings submitted by Glock firearms did not match the casings recovered from the same gun at crime scenes. As a result, all cartridge casings submitted by Glock were flagged in the IBIS system, and a list of the guns affected by the problem has been generated. Any firearm sold in Maryland from the list was also flagged. The Glock Company indicated that this problem has since been resolved.


Change in Striations As Firearms Age and Break-in: Research suggests that as firearms age and are broken-in the internal characteristics of the firing pin may change which will result in different striations being left on the spent casings. This makes the casings submitted by the manufacturer less reliable. The more the gun is fired, the more the striations will change.


Modification of Firing Pin by User: Gun users with working knowledge of the assembly process can alter the firing pin of the weapon, which would significantly change the striations left on the cartridge casing.


Different Cartridge Casing Materials Used: There is no standard material used to make cartridge casings. These different materials absorb the striations differently. Additionally, if a different material is used in the manufacture process and by the user, it is possible that a spent cartridge casing will not match the casing stored in IBIS.


Increase in Database Size Decreased Likelihood of “Hit”: As the number of similar guns stored in the database increase, the likelihood of a match decreases. As an example, there are approximately 2,000 cartridge casings from Trooper-issued firearms. Tests have been run, using spent casings from these guns, and the system has not yielded a match in the top 15. However, the more experienced the examiner who inputs the casing, the more likely that the input will be accurate and reflect the unique characteristics of the gun.


Remote IBIS System Failure: DSP purchased a remote IBIS unit to run a search of the found cartridge casings and to submit the findings to the IBIS database to be tested for a match. This device has not worked due to overheating and data transmission problems. The manufacturer has since stopped producing these units. Not only can these casings found at crime scenes not be compared to IBIS while on-site, but DSP cannot link to any other State forensic facility.


Future and Alternatives


A new technology exists to perform a similar task as the IBIS system. This version of nanotechnology creates a ballistic ID or fingerprint on cartridge casings. The technology would create a number or symbol on the firing pin of the weapon, and this marking would be transferred to the cartridge casing each time the gun was fired. However, this technology would have to be done at the manufacturer level and would lead to resistance from the industry. Research suggests, however, that this ballistic fingerprinting method would be less expensive and more accurate than the IBIS, as the “serial number” imprinting removes the subjectivity inherit in digitizing a visual set of striations. DLS recommends that DSP comment on whether, in light of circumstantial difficulties, this program has justified continued operation.



If you find you are riding a dead horse, dismount

This is another When Prophecy Fails example.

Joyce Lee Malcom is a history professor and has been beating up on the British about their weapons control laws for a long time now.  She wacked them pretty hard again yesterday about people getting prosecuted for defending themselves.  The following is just the start.

There is an old Navajo saying,

“If you find you are riding a dead horse, dismount”.

But public outrage over the prosecution of householders who injure burglars and one of the highest levels of violent crime of any industrial country, don’t seem to have convinced Tony Blair’s “tough on crime” government to switch horses. They find dismounting unnecessary and risky; the horse is fine, the spectators are over-reacting. All that is needed is a slight shifting of the saddle bags, clearer signals to the horse, a check-up by its chief veterinarian, and the public will find they were mistaken. Unfortunately, this blinkered approach will not bring the horse back to life, or, more importantly, protect law-abiding people.

I’m proud of my F+ grade

Actually, it’s my state, Idaho, that got the F+.  The Brady bunch released the 2004 Report Card.  Someone else will probably beat me to it or I would do a correlation between the grades of states and their violent crime rate.  Correlation doesn’t prove causation (gun control may not cause crime), but if the correlation doesn’t exist you can be pretty sure there isn’t a causation (lack of gun control does cause crime).

You would think that it would eventually sink in to these people that weapons restrictions don’t make people safer.  But that’s not the way it works.  This is just another When Prophecy Fails example.  If certain conditions exist when you are proven wrong you will become an even greater advocate for your failed ideas.  This model for human behavior is so powerful the book, or at least the model, should be required teaching material for all kids in about the 8th grade.

Natural disaster, Islam, When Prophecy Fails

A few days ago I questioned whether aid to the tsunami victims would alter the anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.  Now we have reports of previous aid efforts to Muslim after natural disasters failing change the attitudes towards non-believers.

After Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815, killing 100,000, a Christian Science Monitor report notes that “imams on the northwest coast of Java preached that the eruption was a sign of Allah’s displeasure at infidel rule, and urged a violent jihad, according to Sartono Kartodirdjo, am Indonesian historian.”

 Likewise, after the eruption of Mt. Krakatoa in 1883, according to historian Simon Winchester, “the Dutch made this superhuman effort to bring relief to the area because they were aware of the significance of the event and that the Muslim clerics were quickly making political capital from the event.” But the relief changed no hearts, and Muslims mounted a violent assassination campaign against Dutch officials.

There are signs of similar thought processes in present day Muslims:

…the South African Mufti Ebrahim Desai, the imam of an “Ask the Imam” feature at a Muslim question and answer site, made a statement that, had Powell known of it, might have diminished his confidence in the effect of the aid. The questioner asked (spelling and grammar as in the original): “The west is often criticised by Muslims for many reasons, such as allowing women go to work. But shouldnt the west also recieve praise because its always them who intervene when muslims r being tortured, they stopped Milosovic kiling muslims and sent their own troops to the country, they r usually the first to send aid when theres a flood, they r also intervening in Isreal and condeming them killing Muslims, so should we appreciate their efforts or not?”

 Desai’s answer was brief: “In simple the Kuffaar [unbelievers] can never be trusted for any possible good they do. They have their own interest at heart.”

One might think this doesn’t make any sense.  That surely they must realize that we have helped far more Muslims than we have harmed.  Sorry, but you would be wrong.  It is irrational to expect people to be rational or at least to use the same rational as you.  A far better model for human behavior is expressed by the out of print book When Prophecy Fails.  If certain conditions exist the believer (of any type, not just religious) will become even more fanatical about their beliefs and increase their proselyting and conversion efforts when predictions fail.  In this case their predictions are about Allah being good and non-believers being evil.  And the result is predictable with the When Prophecy Fails model:

God is angry with Aceh people, because most of them do not do what is written in the Qur’an and the Hadith,” said the Indonesian imam Cut Bukhaini. “I hope this will lead all Muslims in Aceh to do what is in the Qur’an and its teachings. If we do so, God will be merciful and compassionate.”

…a recurring phenomenon of Islamic history: when disaster of any kind strikes, it is all too frequently interpreted as having been caused by a failure on the part of the people to be Islamic enough. So the result is a renewed fervor, and new miseries for non-Muslims inside and often also outside the Islamic state in question. It is beginning to look as if the tsunami may be another occasion of this. There is nothing wrong with focusing and reforming one’s actions in the face of the reality of death; the potential problem here is that when the Muslims “wake up,” as they are being called to do now in Indonesia, they will direct their attentions not only to matters of individual piety, but to that other Muslim obligation, jihad.

It is still my belief that we have to “attack” their youth.  We have to destroy their culture via a “corrupting” influence.  Osama bin Laden made it very clear–we have two choices:

 If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation.

Relearning old lessons

Even though Stalin killed between 8 and 20 million of his own people there are people who still think of him as a great leader:

“As a leader of the country, Stalin did much,” Gryzlov said. But “what I think to be his extremes in his domestic policy, they certainly did not do much for his image.”

Russia NTV television said a poll of 1,600 Russians taken by the respected Levada Center showed that only 31 percent consider Stalin to be a cruel tyrant, while 21 percent think he was a wise leader. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The poll also found 16 percent thought that “our people will never be able to do without a leader like Stalin.”

I could always see, via a twisted sort of logic, how present day Hitler admirers could maintain their belief system.  If they had been raised to believe they were the “superior race”, that Jews were the spawn of the devil (blah, blah, blah…), and there was some great Jewish conspiracy to rule the world then Hitler was “just solving the Jewish problem”–the Final Solution (you know about the First Solution don’t you?  Interesting story for another time).  Sick chain of “logic” and “facts”, but you can sort of see how they got from “point A” to “point B”. Then there are the faith based nut cases, “god(s) said it, I believe it, that settles it”–we must kill the infidels.  Okay.  Facts and logic are irrelevant to them.  And if you were an underling of Saddam Hussein I could see how you would either adopt his viewpoint and admire him, quit his employee, or go insane.

But what about some of the other really truly evil people such as Stalin?  Surely decades after he or his thugs could put a bullet in your head any person could see “his extremes in his domestic policy” could not be compensated for by his abilities as “a leader of the country”.  But apparently not.  I suspect there are two ways to continue to believe what is clearly wrong and one or both are at work with these people.

  1. People have an exceedingly strong tendency to believe what they want to believe.  Many of the Jews walking into Auschwitz surely knew better but yet wanted to believe “Arbeit Macht Frei“ (Work Will Set You Free).  And so they believed it rather than take at least one guard out on their way in.
  2. When Prophecy Fails again impresses me as a absolutely brilliant piece of research into the human mind.  Basically there is a psychological cost involved with changing your mind and you will be willing to pay a very heavy price in order to avoid it.

Now that I see people who lived under Stalin can admire him and think of him as a “wise leader” I now can fathom how Bill Clinton is admired by a similar percentage of our population and people in this day and age still clamor for more gun control.  It doesn’t have anything to do with rational thought, it has to do with being human.  And as I have said before, it is irrational to expect people to be rational.

Gun crime is up so ban toy guns

In the U.K. they have already banned real guns.  But crimes committed with guns is way up so the only thing left to do is ban imitation guns which is what these morons have proposed now.  This really should be a post for when prophecy fails.  I’ll get around to that later.

Complete article follows:

Greens call for tougher gun control

22nd Oct 2004

Conference proposes restrictions on imitation firearms

In response to rising levels of gun crime (1), the Green Party’s autumn conference, currently taking place in Weston-Super-Mare has endorsed tough new proposals on gun control.

The Green Party backs restrictions on the sale and ownership of imitation weapons and decommissioned weapons in response to the massive rise in their use in crimes.

Green Party Chairperson and Home affairs spokesperson Hugo Charlton commented;

“These measures are urgently required in order to combat the growing problem of crimes committed using imitation weapons. These replicas are dangerous; they are used in a growing number of crimes; they must be taken off our streets.”

“Our proposals on the licensing of active firearms will put public safety above the convenience of shooters: those applying for gun licences will bear the cost of the necessary psychological tests; they will be required to produce character references; they will be made to bear the cost that

Charles Bailey, founder of the “Don’t shoot” campaign, endorsed the Green Party?s position: “The Greens are taking the issue of gun crime seriously. They are putting forward policies that will really stop the incidence of gun crime on London’s streets.”

(1) Yesterday the Home Office released figures showing a 3% annual rise in gun crime over the past year. The figures also show a 35% rise in crimes involving imitation.