London Mayor Sadiq Khan tells citizens “there is never a reason to carry a knife.” Well, sure there is, if you can’t carry a gun. 

The murder rate in London has exceeded that of New York City for the months of February and March. And, because the UK has such tight restrictions on firearm ownership, most of the 50 homicides the city has recorded year-to-date have been stabbings.

Sadiq Khan sent out a tweet (below) that said, “No excuses. There is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

The point is that, if a nation bans firearms, or makes the process so rigorous that it’s impossible for citizens to obtain a license, substitutes will be found.

Some examples:

Two men broke into the southeast London home of a 78-year-old London pensioner and his disabled wife last Tuesday. One of the men, armed with a screwdriver, forced the homeowner, Richard Osborne-Brooks, into the kitchen where a struggled ensued. Osborne-Brooks managed to grab the screwdriver and stabbed his assailant to death. The second intruder fled the scene before police arrived. Unbelievably, Osborne-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murder. Charges were subsequently dropped.

Several neighbors questioned at the scene said the area had become increasingly dangerous. Muggings at knifepoint were occurring more and more frequently.

Police are worried about the safety of Osborne-Brooks and his wife because the intruder, who he stabbed, was a career criminal who came from a family of career criminals. They fear there may be reprisal attacks.

Men were seen unloading boards from a van to be used to secure the home against attacks.

Why don’t they just issue this man a license for a firearm and let him buy a pistol for self-protection?

Last June, three men used a shovel and a plasterer’s whisk as weapons to murder a 220-year-old man over a parking space incident at a Surrey service station.

Gun laws are very tight throughout the rest of Europe as well. That might explain why vehicle attacks are seen with more frequency over there. On Saturday, a van drove into a crowd in Munster, Germany killing 2 and wounding 30.

This list of crimes without guns could go on and on. Criminals can be very resourceful. If you take away their guns, they will make do with a knife, a screwdriver, a shovel, a plasterer’s whisk or a car. And some may even manage to obtain a gun.

A 2017 Pew study determined that 30% of Americans own guns and 42% live in households with guns. According to the Home Office, more than 700,000 firearm owners live in England and Wales and more than one million firearms and shotguns are covered by certificates. The 2011 census indicates that the combined population of England and Wales was 56 million. So, roughly 1.25% of citizens own guns as opposed to 30% in the US.

Firearm ownership laws in the UK are some of the toughest in the world. The government tries to make it as difficult as possible for citizens to obtain gun licenses.

Applicants for firearm licenses in the UK have to provide a very good reason for owning a gun. The right to bear arms is not considered an inherent right as it is in the US.

“Officers check the Police National Computer for a criminal record and they speak to the applicant's GP for evidence of alcoholism, drug abuse or signs of personality disorder. Social services can also be asked for reasons to turn down an applicant.”

Because of HIPAA laws enacted in the United States in 1996, such a conversation would be illegal here.

They also use “Independent referees to provide confidential character statements in which they are expected to answer in detail about the applicant's mental state, home life and attitude towards guns.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, alarmed by the recent spate of stabbings in the city, has now declared war on knives. As crime levels escalate in certain neighborhoods, citizens will be left defenseless. Muggers and other criminals will have knives and possibly guns or other substitutes making the citizens, who are determined to follow the law, easy prey for them. I would call Mr. Khan’s new knife control initiative a victory for the criminals.

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