Tuesday, 23 February 2010

US & UK Gun Law & Liberty.

Cork Graham, in a comment below on the petition regarding Scottish gun law wrote:

Man...this is one of the many reasons my Graham's of Montrose ancestors left Stirling, by way of County Antrim for South Carolina in 1774: religious freedom and an opportunity to hunt freely.

...At least I still get to shoot my bunnies with a pellet gun in California: http://corksoutdoors.com/blog/central-california-mega-cottontails-with-a-22-cal-pellet-gun/

Though we'll see how long that lasts while we continue following British government with every coming year...Keep up the fight, Lads!


A tired and rather grumpy Hubert wrote in reply:

Thanks for your comment Cork,

I guess that the act of the English government here is actually to devolve gun laws to Scotland so that, in this, they can be self-determining. I don't really have a problem with that except it seems that when the Scots have their own gun law they'll probably choose to outlaw air rifles. To me, an English air-rifler, this seems like a poor outcome for Scotland's air hunters but, in a way though, it's a separate issue and I can't find myself disagreeing too strongly with the wish of the Scots to be self-determining if that's what they want. To be honest this grant of the right to home rule here doesn't strike me as being that comparable to the persecution that spurred the Pilgrim Fathers to take ship or proof that the same repressive culture still reigns on these shores.

I can't really see that there's much in the argument that the UK has a particularly grim gun culture when compared to the US either. The gun laws are wildly different over here and hunting is squeezed, that's true; but I guess it's also true that in most UK inner cities you can still pop out for a pint of milk without having to consider whether to go with Kevlar or a concealed carry - and it seems to me that there is something to be said for this state of affairs. The US has much to recommend it - I continue to nurse pipe dreams about Montana and Northern California and I'm sure I'm not alone in this among UK hunter-folk - but I'm not quite sure I think that, when compared to the U.K, it's the land of milk and honey over there.

The much-derided NHS do patch people up over here without enquiring as to their economic well-being beforehand and if the States were to copy us in this I dare say that there's a few less-well-off inner-city folk who might also welcome a touch of free health care after catching a stray from one of the many drive-bys on offer in the Land of the Free.

Fraternally from across the pond,

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  1. Personally, I would not go to the USA if you payed me. It was my wish over 40 years ago, but I am glad I came to Australia instead. I have the freedom I dreamed of here, and without the crime rate of the US. Would not swop for quids!
    Regards, Le Loup.

  2. I can't speak for all of the US (and I know nothing of Australia), but the little corner I live in we hunt fairly freely, we leave our doors unlocked during the day. It is not all bad. No my son is chomping at the bit to get over to check out the UK.
    Keep up the good writing Hubert.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Doug & Le Loup.

    I'm sure the States and the UK and Oz are all fine places to live and also places that have their problems - problems with crime, poverty, the economy and the impossible profession of government - too.

    I'm also sure that I'm better off posting when I'm not in quite such a bad mood.


  4. As I wrote, Bobby, I was as crabby as hell when I posted this and, on reflection, I simply shouldn't have done; but it's done now and so it can stay.

    I should have responded solely in the comments under Corks' original Scottish Gun Law remarks to the effect that I simply don't agree with him. I don't agree that it's right to understand the US as having a fundamentally more enlightened political system than that of the UK; I don't agree that devolving Gun Law to the Scottish Parliament is, in itself, a bad thing or that this political process is in any way analogous to the religious persecution suffered by some of those who became the first European settlers in North America; I don't agree that Obama pushing for Universal Healthcare, say, can be rightly understood as an attempt to import an anti-libertarian, repressive social policy from the 'Old World' into the U.S; I don't agree that because I own and hunt with an air rifle that I can therefore be understood to be a supporter of any particular formal or informal political creed.

    For what it's worth I don't personally much care for describing rabbits that have just been shot as 'bunnies', either. I think that there are good reasons for making an effort to avoid playing into the caricature of hunters that PeTA, say, wish to portray as the reality. I don't think that taking the life of an animal for food is an amoral act or that the real pleasures and satisfactions to be gained from the discipline are necessarily in any way callous or sadistic. In part, I want to make a case in this Blog against hunting as a thoughtless and pointlessly cruel 'sport' since it need not be anything of the kind. I try to avoid joyless preaching here but I do also try to make an effort not to use terms like 'bunnies' since I frankly don't think that they do hunting any good at all (and in this I agree with the views put forward at: http://ethicalhunters.blogspot.com/2009/11/respect-for-quarry.html).

    That being said, posting my rather pointlessly sarcastic and grouchy comment in response to Cork's was a poor way of making any of these points.


  5. Enjoyed both post and response, Hubert, especially this part...

    "I don't agree that because I own and hunt with an air rifle that I can therefore be understood to be a supporter of any particular formal or informal political creed."

    Unfortunately, there is sometimes a rigidly doctrinaire tendency over here to do just that, and if you happen to deviate you're considered a deviant, pejoratively speaking...

  6. Hubert,

    Ah, makes sense now. Thanks for explaining things. I've always been impressed with your humility and tone, so this post was a little jarring. But, we all have our days, and my wife will attest to mine!

    I understand completely your points about the effects of voting power concentrating in urban environments. People naturally tend to promote those activities in which they can participate, and it's a fact that hunting just can't be easily pursued in an urban environment.

    Unfortunately, increasing urbanization seems to be the trend in industrialized nations around the world wide, including the USA, though we have a ways to go before we reach the population densities that you live with in the UK and surrounding environs. So I definitely empathize with your plight. Once a large portion of a society loses the desire to tromp around getting dirty with gun in hand, they also tend to lose patience with the minority in their midst who do enjoy doing so. At that point, the political controls follow slowly but surely.

    It's really hard to sustain a hunting culture, and it is a culture that must be sustained, when you live in a large city. I've noticed that with my children now that I live in a large city (Memphis, Tennessee) as opposed to the small town where I was raised. So many of the skills necessary to stalk and take game only come about with much, much practice. And practice is harder to come by in urban/suburban environments. It can be done, but logistics are more complicated when everything involves getting into a car and driving 40 minutes. Sigh. The days of a boy and his friends walking down the street, rifles in hand, to spend some time in the woods have come and gone it seems. In my opinion, that's our loss as a society.

    BTW, I hope that the Scots (and English) don't choose to constrain hunting with airguns. They are such a great way to control the rabbit population in densely settled areas. And much fun to boot!


  7. Hubert

    i took took the bait on this one, but I think its probably best to leave it be. I did permit myself a wry smile at the words

    'left Stirling, by way of County Antrim for South Carolina in 1774: [seeking] religious freedom'

    My Chookie friends have a word for the diaspora of Scottish gentlemen who came to their shores. They weren't known for their belief in individual or religious freedom were they?

    PS just for the record my political affiliation? Always and forever on the side of the underdog.

  8. I read this blog with growing envy, knowing the closest I come to shooting rabbits, pigeons or even rats comes out of my printer as practice target.Consider yourselves extremely lucky: here in the Netherlands we are not allowed to hunt anything even though the guns we are legally allowed to have are are many times more powerful....