Londoners die for want of a gun

Defenders of the Second Amendment couldn’t have asked for a greater gift than the spectacle of unarmed policemen and defenseless citizens standing by helplessly while rampaging hordes of youths burned London and beat up and murdered innocent residents.

Europhiles endlessly remind us of the superiority, compassion and refinement of the European social democracies.

But the anarchy that raged in England couldn’t happen in America. At least not in my neighborhood, where every third house contains a hunter with a gun safe full of pistols, shotguns and rifles.

We’ve ceded many or our liberties to the government, but so far we’ve hung on to the right to defend ourselves and protect our families and homes. We pay our cops to do the same.

Not so in England.

Police there are armed with little more than a smile. As demonstrated by the recent riots, they are virtually powerless to counter violence.

Even such nonlethal responses as water cannons and rubber bullets are debated in Parliament.

A shocking column last week in the Wall Street Journal by law professor Joyce Lee Malcolm detailed the ridiculous lengths to which the Brits have gone to level the playing field between criminals and law-abiding citizens.

It’s part of the American DNA that if hit, you have the right to hit back.

But in England, crime targets risk prison for killing or injuring an attacker. Homeowners have been charged with murder for killing an intruder.

Burglars who hurt themselves breaking into a house can sue the owner.

Police called to crimes in progress can do little but shrug and wait until the carnage is complete to dust off the victim.

We have our flaws in America. But we have the common sense to recognize the difference between those who obey the law and those who break it.

Although a few places, most notably Washington D.C., have stripped their citizens of the best means of self defense, for the most part responsible gun ownership is still an acknowledged right.

Londoners had little more than cricket bats and frying pans to fend off the marauders. Private gun ownership is limited. It’s even illegal to have a knife with a blade longer than three inches.

The gun-phobic in this country blame widespread legal gun ownership for violent crime.

But in England, where only the bad guys have guns, crimes committed with handguns have increased 40 percent since they were banned in 1997.

In the 10 years since Michigan liberalized its concealed carry law, more than a quarter million residents have received weapons permits, without the predicted rise in gun violence.

But there has been an increase in the number of citizens trained and prepared to protect their communities from falling into anarchy. 

Nolan Finley is editorial page editor of the News. Read his recent columns and blog at and watch him at 7:30 p.m. Fridays on “Am I Right?” on Detroit Public TV, Channel 56.