Yet another shooting in the States and Obummer is beating his head against a brick wall once more about gun controls. His frustration is clear. For one moment I thought he was going to get cross – and why the hell not? After all, he’s got going to get re-elected so why doesn’t he just go for it?
I confess an interest in all this because a few years back now I used to shoot for a hobby. In fact I was pretty good and represented my county at Standard Pistol. Then a bloke walked into a school and shot a load of kids. Like the bastard in America this week, the guns he held were legal. He had a firearms certificate. I would question why he had some of them because, for example, a Walther PPK is fuck all use for target shooting. It’s a short range killing weapon. Don’t let those James Bond films kid you when he shoots the guy off the roof while running along the street because you’d do well to hit a barn door if you were standing inside the barn!
But I digress, The point is that the UK government had a knee jerk reaction and banned hand guns. So responsible shooters like me paid the penalty for the police not checking firearms applications properly. The Yorkshire Ripper used to kill people with a hammer, but they didn’t ban hammers…
Two things come to mind. The first is when I applied for my certificate. I took the application to a hostile police Sergeant who bluntly told me that if he had his way, nobody would be allowed to have a gun. I explained to him that I wouldn’t join a shooting club, undergo a training course, attend regularly for 6 months and then put myself through positive vetting to get hold of a gun if I wanted to pull an armed robbery. I’d just go down the Fulham Road and get a gun from a bloke in a pub who would charge me about £500 and then give me £250 of it back if I returned it unfired. “You might have a point” he conceded.
The other thing was when I imported a Colt Python .357 magnum from California. Gun controls in the USA? Don’t make me laugh! I had to jump through hoops here to get all the paperwork to allow me to import it. I walked into a gun shop in San Francisco and just bought it like a pack of cigarettes. The only thing they were concerned about was whether I was flying home non-stop because if I put down in New York on the way then I was committing and offence by transporting a firearm across a state line!
Mind you, I’ll never forget the customs officer’s face one early morning at Heathrow when I went through the red channel. He was about to go off shift and when he came out to see me he said “This better be good!”
“Trust me” I said. “It’s a cracker…”