What Gun Control Advocates Can Learn from London’s Knife Attacks

The powers in London are grappling with a rash of stabbings and wondering what to do. The statist instinct is to take knives from the people. That’s the American response to gun violence and the British response to knife attacks. Yesterday The Express ran a headline: “London bloodbath: 60th violent murder in London just yards from Corbyn’s home.” Reuters reports that “London police investigated more murders than their New York counterparts did over the last two months, statistics show, as the British capital’s mayor vowed to fight a ‘violent scourge’ on the streets.”

But shouldn’t London be one of the safest cities in the west? According to the BBC: “The UK has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world. If you want to own a gun, it is very difficult to do so. In short, it has been designed to put as many barriers in the way as possible and to assume the worst, rather than hope for the best.” Such laws are being demanded by school children and leftists as the answer to school shootings and violence in America. What gives? What is the real problem?

Of course, the issue in both countries is complicated. However, we can’t ignore the breakdown of natural associations such as church and family and the aggrandizing of involuntary/artificial associations such as the State. Indeed, in the U.S., The Atlantic has reported that”[C]ontrolling for income and all other factors, youths in father-absent families (mother only, mother-stepfather, and relatives/other) still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those from mother-father families.” No amount of government benefits can compensate for the two-parent home and the civilizing effect it has on children. For thousands of years such homes have been the norm without Government assistance or meddling. In recent years, Government has done an excellent job of dismantling this basic institution of civilization and the result has been much violence. (See this report from The Heritage Foundation). Fatherlessness has been identified as a commonality in many recent mass shootings.

Moreover, individuals bent on engaging in violence will do so whether a gun, knife, or stick is the weapon of choice. London is an example of this. Also, we should think of prison violence where inmates are prohibited from possessing guns, knives, or other weapons, but are successful in harming their rivals and guards.

Taking weapons from law-abiding citizens who have a duty to protect themselves and their property is not the answer. Reformers ought to look at the growth of the state and how its displacement of church, family, and other associations has effected society for the worse.

William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books, Crossroads for Liberty, Reclaiming the American Revolution, and Patent Trolls.
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