Piers Morgan and the Failure of British Gun Control

David Paulin, an Austin, TX-based freelance journalist, covered Hugo Chavez's rise to power while based in Caracas as a foreign correspondent. He also reported from the Caribbean while based in Kingston, Jamaica.


It’s a strange omission: liberal pundits like CNN’s Piers Morgan are fulminating over America’s “gun culture” following Newtown’s school massacre — yet they seem blissfully ignorant about what happened after Britain’s draconian handgun ban following a school massacre in Scotland, in 1996, eerily similar to Newtown’s.

After the ban, more than 160,000 law-abiding citizens gave up their handguns. The idea was to stop gun violence. But ironically, crime-related gun violence jumped a whopping 40 percent in the two years after the ban. And since then, gun crime has continued to soar at an alarming rate. Anti-gun liberals may be aghast, but as that old NRA bumper sticker stated: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” One wonders how long before guns are used in another massacre in the United Kingdom; or perhaps next time it will be done by a madman carrying a can of gasoline.

Piers Morgan, an urbane native of England, surely knows what happened after Britain’s gun ban. But like others anti-gun media elitists and politicians (whose children are defended by armed guards at upscale private schools) Morgan avoids discussions of the complexities and nuances of gun control and their impact on ordinary people — that is, law-abiding gun owners. “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?” Morgan told Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, during a discussion about gun regulations that included proposed bans on large clips and military-style weapons like the AR-15 used by Newtown, Connecticut’s shooter, Adam Lanza. Now, an online petition demanding that the smug Brit be deported is drawing tens of thousands of signatures.

Morgan surely knows about Britain’s failed effort to reduce gun violence – and how those efforts backfired. Even the lefty BBC took notice — explaining that the 40 percent surge in gun violence suggested the handgun ban was “targeting legitimate users of firearms rather than criminals.” Specifically, the BBC explained that “The Center for Defense Studies at Kings College in London, which carried out the research, said the number of crimes in which a handgun was reported increased from 2,648 in 1997/98 to 3,685 in 1999/2000.” Moreover, it noted there was “no link between high levels of gun crime and areas where there were still high levels of lawful gun possession; that “of the 20 police areas with the lowest number of legally held firearms, 10 had an above average level of gun crime. And of the 20 police areas with the highest levels of legally held guns only two had armed crime levels above the average.”

Interestingly, the massacre in Dunblane was hardly the case of an upstanding citizen inexplicably exploding into a murderous rage. Thomas Hamilton, the 43-year-old shooter, had been on the radar of law-enforcement authorities and townspeople for some time, just as Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was on the radar (both to school officials and townspeople) for having significant mental health issues.

Yet in each case, nothing was done.

Hamilton was a closet homosexual and serial child abuser. Interestingly, police were aware of his proclivities for young boys. Parents had lodged a number of complaints about Hamilton’s sordid behavior as a Scout leader and in other youth groups. Yet Hamilton, a shopkeeper and registered gun owner, was never brought to justice by legal authorities. It’s an issue that came up repeatedly after his rampage, provoking charges that police engaged in a cover-up regarding Hamilton’s sexual crimes. Suspicions of police negligence were further aroused when records pertaining to the sexual abuse allegations were sealed for 100 years (ostensibly to protect Hamilton’s abuse victims). Although Hamilton escaped legal prosecution for molesting children, he was nevertheless shunned by townspeople. His shop went out of business. And community leaders prohibited him from leading or organizing anymore groups for boys.

On March 13, 1996, Hamilton took his revenge, entering the Dunblane Primary School with four handguns – two 9 mm Browning HP pistols, and two Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers. All of them were legally held. He carried 743 bullets.

He fired 109 times and killed 16 children, ages 5 and 6, shooting them at close range in a gymnasium. He murdered their teacher as she tried to protect them. He shot up other parts of the school, then returned to the gym where he committed suicide by putting the barrel of a handgun against the roof of his mouth and pulling the trigger. Fifteen others were wounded in his rampage.

Britain, to be sure, has not experienced another massacre. But given the number of handguns still in Britain – now mostly in the hands of bad guys and not good ones – it’s only a matter of time before another massacre happens. After all, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws (and madmen) will have them. And if they can’t get their hands on a gun, they’ll find another means to kill.

Interestingly, some anti-gun elitists who would deprive ordinary law-abiding citizens from owning firearms seem unconcerned about madmen obtaining nukes in Iran and North Korea. They entertain the naive delusion that the United Nation’s Security Council and Human Rights Commission will keep these madmen at bay, just as they naively believe the United Kingdom’s mostly unarmed police officers can keep growing gun crime at bay.

One thing can be safely inferred about Thomas Hamilton’s mental state: He had no reason to fear that an armed policeman might quickly show up: Scotland’s police, like England’s famous bobbies, are mostly unarmed.

Piers Morgan, for his part, says that in the unlikely event he’s deported, he may broadcast from the Caribbean island-nation of Jamaica, part of the British commonwealth. Does Morgan know that Jamaica has one of the world’s highest murder rates? And that obtaining a handgun permit there, especially for non-Jamaicans, often drags on for months and months?

Good luck, Piers.

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  • Mary Sue

    This is one of those things that Piers Morgan doesn't let get in the way of a good rant. (the facts)

  • Miranda Rose Smith

    Now, an online petition demanding that the smug Brit be deported is drawing tens of thousands of signatures.

    The stupid loudmouth has a right to freedom of speech.

    • Adheeb

      The Constitution protects the rights of American citizens. Foreigners are permitted to come, live and work in the country at the pleasure of the government. Now that America has a king too, Mr. Morgan's comments are probably very welcomed by the king.

    • Ted G

      Of course he does, but he is a non-citizen, a guest in this country. We have a right to tell him he is not welcome. In fact we certainly have the right to ask him to leave.
      He insults our people, he insults our freedoms. In actuality he actively foments sedition and treason to our Constitution which doesn't grant them but simply acknowledges those rights. Those are our rights, not privileges! They are not negotiable!

    • Donald

      You do understand that the petition is yet another expression of freedom of speech, correct?

      He can say what he wants, and so can the rest of us. The petition has no legal standing, just an expression of our right to speak our mind, out loud.

      You have a problem with this?

  • harrylies

    Britain has not had another Dunblaine, and it's murder rates are lower than the United States. The only way to keep idiots away from guns is to keep guns away from everryone.

    British people are not more moral than Americans, but having less access to guns gives them the lowest murder rate in the G-8. Britain as a member of the EU has hundreds of thousands of Polish workers living in peace and harmony. The US should realize they can have the same with the Mexicans.

    • john butala

      The homicide rate outside large American cities is about the same as most European areas. The highest American murder rates occur in the American cities with the hightest percentage of Black and Hispanic citizens who while comprising 25% of the population, account for well over 50% of the violent crime and homicide rate in the U.S. These violent American cities also have the toughest gun laws.
      Where I live in the state of Wisconsin there are probably more guns than there are citizens.But outside Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, the homicide and violent crime rate is virtually indistinguishable from most European cities. The metropolitan area where I live has over 125,000 residents. The homicide rate for the last ten years has been about one or two murders per year. And half those murders were committed by gang members or drifters from outside the area.

      • FactsRule

        Last time I checked, 6% of the population, Black males, committed annually 40-80% of violent crime; rape, robbery, & murder. If you ad in all of the Hispanic male crime, it must be far more than just 50% between the two.

        • thixotropic

          And if you looked at the backgrounds of that small number of men committing the vast majority of these crimes, you’d find that they grew up in severe poverty and abuse. You don’t solve problems like that by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens — that just leaves us unable to defend ourselves, and doesn’t solve the problem of these young men — that’s a separate issue that desperately needs to be addressed, as it is the *cause*. Guns are just tools. If we don’t address causes, we won’t prevent crime.

          My sister was abducted by that type of man, just released from jail, who’d stated his intention to kill someone that night to a neighbor. He picked her. Her gf chased after him with her handgun, and the man dropped my sister and ran… but he’d almost gotten away with her, into the woods. There was no time to call the police, let alone wait for them to arrive.

          My sister’s life was saved by that gun. Think about that, because it could easily be your sister, your wife, your girlfriend: targeted, raped, and murdered. Think a gun ban will stop that from happening? This criminal didn’t have a gun — and didn’t need one. Her was double my sister’s weight, and well-muscled.

      • John Gaither

        I grew up around guns in a southern Utah. When I was in grade school one of my classmates was killed outside her home when a hunting rife discharged. A highschool classmate went to jail for killing someone while hunting. In high school a kid I played football against was killed when his roomate was cleaning his gun. A relative accidentally shot and killed his wife. A few years ago I was visiting there and the police and ambulance showed up down the street because a domestic argument ended in a shooting. Someone I worked with in Houston shot and killed someone at his door thinking it was a home invasion which it turned out not to be. On another job in Illinois a co worker nearly had his leg taken off by a shot gun blast. They were all white people, except for the one in Houston they all occurred in rural areas, no one was preventing a crime, no one was taking on a tyrannical government, no one was fighting evil doers and none of them were murder. Those are cases where I had some direct connection they don't count the other hunting accidents, domestic disputes, deaths due to accidental discharges that occur where everyone keeps an arsenal in their home.

        What is it 12000 a year in America killed with guns (27 of them killed by a white man just recently, the mass killings are mostly by white men you notice) but those evil Brits kill what…maybe 40 or 50 a year… for the Japanese it is literally one or two. What Limeys need is more glocks and Beretta and AK-47s and Street Sweepers and Bushmasters. They don't know the fun they are missing and they would also be better able to protect themselves. And the Japanese, they are pathetic, talk about gutless.

        • bilybux

          im 57 years old in my life ive know 4 people who were shot either you are one unlucky sob or you are full of it oh im white also but i never shot anyone

        • Jay

          Jonnyboy

          And cars killed 30,000+. Add up knives, chainsaws and small woodland creatures, we have a lot more banning to do!

        • UCSPanther

          Like one replier said said, either the people you hang out with are very accident prone and/or crazy, or you are just full of it.

          I will not, WILL NOT give up any of guns because of incompetent morons who are suffering the consequences of Darwinism at work, criminals, or psychos any more than I will give up my snowblower because some idiot in the next town lost his hand to one because he thought it would be a good idea to stick his hand in the discharge while the impeller was still engaged, or my air nailer because some clown in another town got careless and spiked his hand to the wall…

          As always, logic trumps emotion, and you fail epically.

        • Mary Sue

          so you know some nominees for the Darwin Awards.

          So what?

      • Dunblaine Ghost

        harry lies"

        The perpetrator of the Dunblaine massacre could have easily driven a car into a group of kids & ran over them. He could have thrown it into reverse & finished the job 7 then gunned the engine to ram survivors.

        The is evidence to suggest that the perpetrator of the Dunblane Massacre was a pedophile
        Do you want to talk about that?

        After allegations came out he lost his business & was very bitter.

        Do you have enough cameras in Britain to prevent someone from snatching school kids & becoming a serial killer?

        Didn't think so.

        Do you take crime seriously & investigate it. Or do you let it fester until there is a big blow up?

    • Rifleman

      Keeping guns away from everyone isn't even remotely possible. Spotting psychos and predators early and removing them from society is.

    • Donald

      Hop right on over here and take the guns from the "Mexicans," and show us how to do it. That's a good boy.

      (You are also a racist pig, but what the hell, your character is in your name).

  • logdon

    There were of course the 52 people murdered by Pakistani descended muslims on the London transport system.

    They used fertiliser and peroxide. Some had travelled to Afghanistan and at least one was known to the security services.

  • Alex Kovnat

    Spectacular massacres, like Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, grab the newspaper headlines much as an airline disaster killing 200 (or whatever) people is more likely to make for a horrifying headline on the 6 PM news than an auto accident that kills one, or perhaps a few people at a time.

    I would be curious to know: How many people are killed in the UK during the course of armed robbery, where the weapon was, if not a firearm, a knife? How many people in the UK are killed or terribly injured during the course of home invasions or carjackings, without regard to what weapon the perpetrator used to commit the crime? How does the UK's recent crime rate, compare to the USA?

    Years ago, the UK had a lower firearm murder rate than the US. But from what I've heard, they also had fewer fatal stabbing as well. Apparently their lower murder rate wasn't due to fewer guns, but because they were more civilized than us Americans. Is this still the case now?

    • Lady_Dr

      Yes, they were ore civilized, but they also had fewer blacks and Moslems both of whom (as a group) are prone to violet crime. Demographics is the name of the game.

      • C.R.

        Demographics is only part of the problem–its cultural Marxism which deliberately caused the demographics problem!

  • pagegl

    What percentage of the US murder rate is due to gang violence?

  • C.R.

    Piers Morgan is a useful idiot–and people like him should not be allowed to come and live in the USA–he obviously does not appreciate the blessings of the USA and what he has here!

  • UCSPanther

    Dear Pierce: If you don't like the US, then STFU and GTFO!

  • Ghostwriter

    I saw recently a video on a similar topic of FPM. It was about the English protesting a proposed ban of fox hunting. They also had a message for Americans. Don't make our mistakes. Learn from them. I don't know if anyone will post that video here but it would be appropriate regardless. As for Piers Morgan,I've never seen his show so I can't comment on it. I only hope that one day,they'll give Jeremy Clarkson a show in this country on BBC America to compete with Piers Morgan's. I've heard about a feud the two of them have had for many years now. It would be interesting to see how it would play out in this country.

  • Bright Knight

    Piers Morgan is a …. ok…. I don't write it… but everyone can have a guess
    Liberals and facts – it never worked

  • 080

    While interviewing economist John Lott, Piers Morgan called him a liar. We know John Lott's book on guns. We are now waiting for Piers Morgan's book so that we can make up our own minds.

  • calcoolidge

    Free Speech only guarantees that one won't be jailed for excercising the right. All other consequences remain on the table.

  • Spiritof1776

    Go home you RED COAT!

  • thixotropic

    Lanza did NOT use an AR-15 in these shootings — he used handguns. The .223 Bushmaster he had was found in the trunk of his car (I’ve seen the news video of he police removing it from that location). Small wonder, as a gun that size is difficult to sneak into a school!

    So why the claim that he used that gun? It’s scarier-looking and therefore much more mediagenic than a handgun. That they would lie about which gun was used points to an agenda that has nothing to do with what actually happened at Newtown and everything to do with banning the guns most useful in defending one’s home and life at any distance greater than 30 feet. As in, defending oneself and one’s property against the tyranny that the founders specifically warned us about — a major reason they put together the Second Amendment to begin with. Disarming the citizens is what tyrants always do, so we need to be very careful and think clearly about this issue — reacting emotionally because the victims were children will not help us make wise decisions.

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  • pistolpackinmama

    piers morgan is nothing more than a babbling IDIOT… when will the MEDIA FIRE him, and send him to the British Moslems, tooo bad it wasn't piers, instead!!!!

  • Steven

    Lol, you’re using 1997 data in 2013. Try looking at gun crime in 2013. 35 gun deaths, a gun homicide rate of 1/40th if the USA. And gun crime in general down by 50% from 1996. Oh, homicide dare the lowest since 1984.
    Whoever wrote this gas never been to Britain and knows nothing about how or why Dunblane saw. Us give up our rights to gun massacres. In 2012, us had 16 mass shootings ( That’s 4 or more victims), since 1996, the UK has had 1. Given this was written in 2013, bad it happened in 2011!!! It tells you what shirt of research went into this crap.