A True Story

The Shotgun

You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump
outside your bedroom door.

Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers.

At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your

You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it.

In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds something that looks like
a crowbar.

When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and
fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while
the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside.

As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble. In
your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are
privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was
never registered..

Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you
for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will
probably plea the case down to manslaughter. “What kind of sentence will I
get?” you ask. “Only ten-to-twelve years,” he replies, as if
that’s nothing. “Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper.

Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are
represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can’t find an unkind word
to say about them..

Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both
“victims” have been arrested numerous times.

But the next day’s headline says it all:

“Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.”

The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type

As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up,
then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he’ll probably win.

The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times
in the past and that you’ve been critical of local police for their lack of
effort in apprehending the suspects.

After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next

The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven’t been reduced, as your
lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the
injustice of it all works against you..

Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man.

It doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar
and wounded a second.

In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.

How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once great British

It started with the Pistols Act of 1903.

This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and
established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.

The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but
all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by
private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford
mass shooting in 1987.

Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down
the street shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were

The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun
control”, demanded even tougher restrictions.

(The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan
used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic
weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or
worse, criminals.

Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners.

Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity
and demanded a total ban on all handguns.

The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearms
still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most
gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came
to be seen as vigilantism.

Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened,
claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun.

Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real
criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying,
“We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”

All of Tony Martin’s neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several
elderly people were

severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the
consequences. Martin himself,

a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three
months to turn them over to local authorities.

Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few w o didn’t
were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they
didn’t comply. Police later bragged that they’d taken nearly 200,000 handguns
from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and

Kind of like cars. Sound familiar?



“…It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds..” –Samuel Adams

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