Tonight I am off to see the Borough Commander and his boss as a member of the Ealing Riots Scrutiny Review Panel. I am keen to hear at first hand the details of the police response to the Ealing riots and to have the opportunity to ask on your behalf the questions we want answered.
At the end of September I was in Richmond, Virignia visiting my American in-laws. I was taken to a shooting range by my father-in-law to shoot his Smith & Wesson 45 and 9 millimetre automatics. These are kept loaded in a gun safe in his bedroom. My father-in-law, like many Americans, cherishes his Second Amendment right to keep a gun for his self-defence. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The whole American gun thing is alien to us in Britain today and it comes at huge cost. The rate of gun deaths in the US is 30 times that in the UK, see here.
It is worth noting though that those that advocate the Second Amendment in the US cite the 1689 English Bill of Rights and the historical right of an Englishman to be able to have arms to defend himself as the historical source of their right. The Bill of Rights says:
That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.
In the UK we have a different history to the US and we have been content over the last 300 years or so since the Bill of Rights to allow the state to ever tighten its monopoly on the use of force. The riots in August have not caused us to question our choice and neither do I think it should. But, if the police are to hold a domestic monopoly on the use of force they must use it, and use it effectively, to keep us safe. I donâ€™t keep a gun at home like my father-in-law. I donâ€™t want to. But, I donâ€™t want riots in my town that leave me and mine undefended. August must not be repeated.