On the afternoon of 22 May 2013, an off duty British Army soldier, Drummer (Private) Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was walking down the street minding his own business. Suddenly a car ran over Rigby and two men, British-Nigerians rushed out and attacked the injured and unarmed soldier with a knife and a meat cleaver, killing and almost decapitating him at 2:20 in the afternoon on a Wednesday in a highly traveled part of London. Nine minutes after Rigby was killed, unarmed police officers arrived but it was not for another five that armed officers shot and wounded the assailants.
Why did this happen? Why were the suspects not engaged sooner? Well, let's look at that.
In a country with a huge firearms tradition that includes Webley, Enfield, and BSA, gun rights in the UK have been eroded over the past century to almost nothing. In 1870, it became mandatory to license private guns. In 1903, the Pistol Act regulated handgun sales. In 1937, full auto guns were outlawed. Further restrictions on 1968 and 1988 tightened the screws on shotguns, rifles and even .22s. In 1997, privately owned handguns were banned and more than 160,000 confiscated. Even the UK's Olympic shooters fall under this ban and they are forced to train abroad.
There are still 4-million privately owned guns (6.71 firearms per 100 people) in the UK, however most of these are shotguns, and bolt-action rifles in the possession of some 800,000 licensed (registered) gun owners. By and large, many Brits are intimidated by firearms and the gun culture of the US is sometimes baffling to them.
The humble Swiss Army knife, with a non-locking blade less than 3-inches long, is about the most tactical thing that the average London resident can carry.
Even legally armed firearms are illegal to take these out in public for any reason other than (unloaded) transport to a shooting range for target practice or to hunt. Self-defense is not an accepted reason to have a gun in the UK and the concept of a CCW holder is foreign.
Known as "Riggers" within his platoon, was "a very bubbly character" and "a loving father" to his two-year-old son Jack, Drummer (Private) Lee Rigby was only 25 when brutally killed.
In the UK, even owning and carrying with you mace or other chemical sprays, knives with a blade over three inches long or capable of locking, or stun guns are illegal.
Hindu cattle are better prepared to fight off aggressors. Luckily there are lots of well armed police around...
Are British Police Really Unarmed?
No less than 134,101 law enforcement officers in 43 large departments patrol England and Wales. However, some 95% of these officers are armed only with impact weapons (batons) as well as Guy Ritchie would say "bad breath and colorful language). The other 5% are a little better off.
Police in most of the UK are armed simply with an expandable ASP-type friction baton. They stand ready to use them when needed, but thats about all they have to work with.
Most large police forces in the UK (London, Kent, Bedfordshire etc.) have small Armed Response Units. These teams are akin to what we think of in the US as SWAT or SRT teams. These officers are well armed even by US police standards typically with Glock, S&W and Walther handguns, HKMP5 submachine guns, HKG36C and L85 5.56mm rifles, and the occasional police shotgun such as a Rem 870 or Mossy 500. The officers that make up these select units are further divided into Authorized Firearms Officers (AFOs) which generally carry only a handgun and are trained in its use, and Specialist Firearms Officers (SFOs) which get to play with the good stuff.
These officers finally arrived some fifteen minutes after Muslim fanatics hacked Drummer Rigby up with edged weapons. This could be because just 6000-armed police officers patrol all of England and Wales, with a population of over 56-million citizens. When you calculate that only 25% of these officers are on duty at any given time, this could mean a single armed law enforcement officer on patrol for every 37,300 citizens.
In the United States, there are over 800,000 municipal, county, and state law enforcement officers, or about 1 per 256 citizens. Add to this over 10-million CCW holders and you have a lot of guns walking around in the states.
In a recent poll in which the Telegraph asked Brits to 'submit issues that should be addressed by Parliament' nearly 80% of respondents asked that the 1997 ban on handguns be repealed. It seems that crime, since the ban, has increased. Terrorism has reared its ugly head. Moreover, people just really miss their guns-- especially when the government may not be there to protect you.
We dumb colonials figured this out back in 1776.