UK Gun Ban Not Working, Gun Crime is on the Rise

Criminals didn’t stop committing violent crimes after the UK cracked down on legal gun ownership earlier this century. They just started using acid and knives. Now, as criminals do, they’ve figured out how to bypass UK law by using stolen, antique, or decommissioned firearms to kill or injure their victims.

The UK has seen rising rates of gun-related crime over the last two years after a decade of decreases, according to a new report from the BBC. While rates of gun crime remain much lower than in the early 2000s, the latest increase has made headlines and is forcing British law enforcement to crack down on more unconventional means of acquiring firearms.

(Graph: BBC)

Many criminals simply steal firearms from those who own them legally. Murdered MP Jo Cox, for example, was killed with a firearm that had been stolen from someone who owned it legally with a license. While rates of gun ownership are much lower in the UK than the US, many in more rural areas own shotguns and rifles for hunting and pest control.

Non-firing ceremonial guns or race-starting pistols can also be modified to fire live ammunition and then transferred into the UK. The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) told the BBC that organized crime in Europe often purchases these guns legally and reactivates them by removing an obstruction in the barrel.

SEE ALSO: Britain Sees Rise in Acid Attacks after Crackdown on Guns

Other decommissioned firearms formerly used in war can be reactivated easily, depending on which European country dictates the decommissioning. According to the BBC, some European countries allow their firearms to be decommissioned in a way that allows for easy reactivation.

In 2017, Europol – the EU police agency – said, “The reactivation of deactivated weapons and conversion of blank-firing firearms are among the main sources of illegal firearms trafficked in the EU.”

One of the biggest sources of illegal firearms in the UK, however, is the antique firearm market.

“One of the trends which emerged over recent years is offenders increasingly using obsolete calibre or ‘antique’ firearms, which are easier to get hold of,” said the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).

Criminal elements purchase these firearms legally, reactivate them, and produce their own ammunition.

A registered firearms dealer named Paul Edmunds, for example, made headlines last year when he was arrested after his ammunition was linked to 50 crime scenes. He had been loading the ammunition to fit antique guns and selling it to criminal gangs.

The rate of gun-related crime in the UK is still lower than in the US, but the ingenuity of Britain’s criminals demonstrates once again that those who are willing to break the law will always find a way to acquire the tools of their trade.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • kane May 15, 2018, 4:37 pm

    It was my understanding that many firearms are smuggled throughout the EU. A major source of illegal firearms originate in Eastern Europe.

  • Area 52 May 11, 2018, 5:45 pm

    News articles about the an increase of crime because of the UK’s gun bans/ restrictions are nothing new. The same articles also could be found about Australia. However, I suspect the majority of the UK’s population is so neutered, that country will never get their gun rights back. The only exception of a conservative part secedes, but lots of luck with that. They still haven’t figured out what to do with their Brexit. In addition they have anti knife laws , anti hate speech laws , also known as muslim protection laws , they ruined their own country.

  • davida May 11, 2018, 3:06 pm

    One has to wonder what was ‘total offences ‘ that did not involve injury and death? ahh maybe average joes who kept there guns and did no crime? how does that make anyone safer?

  • ds May 11, 2018, 2:11 pm

    Wow, gun violence rose 50%! And gun deaths topped – 26! That’s for a country of 66 million people. Yea, what a waste of time. They could have had 15,549 like int he US. Not fair, US has more people? Well, per capita, had the US experienced the same death rate as US, they would have lost 3,207 people to gun violence – – more than the entire number of crimes committed with guns!! Sorry, but gun control makes common sense. Too bad the NRA doesn’t have any of that

  • SuperG May 11, 2018, 10:37 am

    When you import criminals, crime goes up. Duh. But disarming the citizens justifies larger and larger police forces, which creates jobs, even though it is at the peril of the citizenry.

  • Terry M May 11, 2018, 10:23 am

    Um, his chart clearly shows a rise in Gun Crime since 2015 and the rise is sharp enough to pay attention to. It is currently trending upward after a decade of decline. What does that tell us?

  • Winston May 11, 2018, 10:01 am

    Guns do not commit crimes any more than cars may drive drunk by themselves. People commit crimes and people drive cars while drunk. An adult with average grammar skills needs to edit these articles before they are posted.

  • Kyle Willey May 11, 2018, 8:34 am

    Mr. Michaels,

    I understand the point you are making. However, may I suggest that if you title your column about gun crime on the rise, you cannot then prominently display a run chart with a decreasing trend?

    I am certainly not in favor of similar laws here in the US. I agree with you in principle that if a person wants to use a weapon to commit an act of violence, then they will use whatever weapon is most easily at hand. If that weapon is not a gun, it could be a hammer, or acid as you pointed out, or it could be a rental truck. Complete abolition of guns does reduce run violence. Complete abolition of hammers would prevent hammer-related accidents too, but that does not mean that people will not hurt themselves by trying to nail something together with a crowbar.

    Your title made it sound like there was a rise in gun violence. A rise on occasion is to be expected in any run chart as part of normal fluctuation. However, your chart specifically shows a steady decrease overall of gun violence.

    • joefoam May 11, 2018, 10:24 am

      It sure looks to me that the most recent period on the chart shows a rise in gun violence (nearly 50%).

    • Robert Howard Webber May 11, 2018, 5:44 pm

      lower gun crime is being displaced by other crimes. pro gun zealots say gun crime will disappear if we ban guns which is false. if you want to make law abiding citizens felons for wanting to protect themselves your the evil one.

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