Gun Control: Making Heroes Into Criminals

The case of SAS Sergeant Danny Nightingale has gotten pretty much zero coverage on our side of the pond. But it illustrates perfectly how government, in the name of this or that social good, turns ordinary citizens into criminals.

In this case, not just an ordinary citizen, but a war hero.

Sgt. Nightingale was an SAS operative in Iraq where he was given a 9mm pistol as a token of appreciation from an Iraqi counterpart. He brought the pistol home, and was arrested for illegal gun possession.

He pleaded guilty, throwing himself on the mercy of the court and expecting some leniency given his record and the circumstances under which the the pistol was acquired, but he was sentenced to 18 months.

18 months because a special forces soldier had a gun.

And his job in the SAS? A sniper. You wouldn't want a sniper to have a gun. That's dangerous!


Today, after a long public campaign, Sgt. Nightingale's sentence was suspended and he was released. Thank God for small favors from the government that sent him to prison in the first place:

SAS Sergeant Danny Nightingale was dramatically freed today after winning an appeal against a conviction for his illegal possession of Glock 9mm war trophy.

Three judges suspended his sentence after a special hearing in the Court Martial Appeal Court today.

The sniper's wife, Sally, who had said her husband didn't want "to get his hopes up", wept as the judges said he would be released immediately.

After he walked free from the cells at the Royal Courts of Justice tonight, he hugged his wife and father in the main hall of the building as he wiped away tears.

Gun control isn't just a bad idea because it takes away our natural right to self defense, it's a terrible idea because it makes laudable behavior a crime.

Even if we were to admit that reducing the number of guns in a population generally would bring down the number of those killed in violent crimes, wouldn't that generalization not apply here? That is, even in the UK certain highly trained and highly trusted individuals in the police forces are expected to carry weapons. It's considered a good thing.

This guy, Sgt. Nightingale, has much more training and has been in positions of trust much higher than even those limited number of police officers who carry weapons. Think about it: the British government gave him guns and then trusted his judgement as to when it was appropriate to pull the trigger or not. And the circumstances under which he could exercise that judgement were much broader than those under which a British police officer could exercise that judgement.

The government spent a great deal of money teaching this man how to handle weapons, and then a great deal more money prosecuting and incarcerating him for the very thing he was trained to do!

In this way gun control criminalizes behavior that is otherwise considered a good thing.

It places it in a very different category than, say, drug use. As a small "l" libertarian, I believe drugs -- all of them -- ought to be legalized. But I also believe drug use is almost always a bad thing. The same with prostitution. It should be legal, even though it's bad.

I actually think that the act of paying someone for sex makes someone a bad person. Both the John and the hooker are engaged in grossly immoral conduct.

I think the same thing about drug users. If you use drugs, you are bad.

Yet, in both cases, the government ought not to prevent the action based on the principals of limited government, free contract, and preventing harm only when there is a third party directly and negatively affected without consent.

Guns, on the other hand, are not inherently bad. Owning a gun does not make one a bad person. In fact, in many instances -- such as the case of Sgt. Nightingale -- there is a very strong argument that owning the gun improves the person's ability to act morally.

Far reaching gun control, then, is in a special category of government evils. It punishes good people for doing good things.

How can a society be expected to long survive when deviants are lauded but heroes are labelled villains? It can't.

Posted by: Rusty at 01:12 PM


1 I served in 155mm artillery and i am not allowed to have 98-pound explosive devices. Being a sniper on the job does not make him immune to the laws in his peaceful home town where no one ever acts in a violent way, ever. When he comes home from the war he must resume his role as a disarmed, hapless subject of the welfare state just like everyone else. No really, how could he not know that england does not allow casual ownership of guns?

Posted by: Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder at November 29, 2012 01:26 PM

2 Damn good read. Well worth copying. Governments so often are stupid assholes. I think that I should post this to my facebook page.

Posted by: grego at November 29, 2012 01:37 PM

3 Oh, Storm Saxon's, the government of england can go straight to hell with its increasing muzz population.

Posted by: grego at November 29, 2012 01:42 PM

4 I appreciate your arguments, but they only apply to his former position, that of "Warrior". He now has a new position, that of "Citizen". The rule you seem not to comprehend is -- CITIZENS ARE SERFS. Serfs do not --repeat, DO NOT!-- get to carry weapons. If such a thing were allowed, the Citizen/Serfs might use those weapons against those who function as "Destabilizers". The Destabilizers are necessary because THEY provide a reason for overwhelmed citizens to elect useless appeasers like Red Ken Livingstone, or Boris Johnson, or George Galloway to positions of power. (Gag, spit!)

Posted by: A_Nonny_Mouse at November 29, 2012 03:17 PM

5 Here is the problem with your statement,Rusty.
"I believe drugs -- all of them -- ought to be legalized."

So your standard drug user either cannot get a job or is fired because they screw up or do not show up for being wasted. Next they steal because they need ...MONEY for their drugs. Then I shoot the miserable twit for breaking into MY house to steal and I live in The USA and am armed.

Posted by: Kafiroon at November 29, 2012 03:48 PM

6 The case has nothing whatsoever to do with whether gun control is legitimate. Its totally about whether the law applies equally to everyonone or some are exempted.
I dont agree with gun control as it is at its absurd extreme in the UK, where its a criminal offense to sell or make a realistic plastic model of a gun. But this guy knew the law and that his pistol was illegally possessed. If he wanted to keep it as a souvenirhe could do so legally and easily...he just had to have itformally deactivated at a price of a couple of hundredUK pounds. He could even do it himself (though without the certification).
The rest of your "argument" just falls apart from thereon. You CAN make a case for legalised firearms, I believe that. But the idea that this episode has anything to to with it is anon-sequiter.
Meanwhile, what irritates me more is your denigrating prostitution. Has any man EVER had sex without paying for it?
No woman I have ever discussed it with thought so.
Making the transaction open and straightforward rather than disguised as something elseis in my estimation the ultimate criterion of civilisation.
This is one area in which European countries are defintitely superior to the UK or the USA.

Posted by: Axel at November 29, 2012 04:48 PM

7 A_Nonny_Mouse, You are right on the money. The difference citizen to subject is huge. 'Bama welfare jerkoffs and commies just love the idea of disarming the public so their supporters can steal and rob at large. Spit.

Posted by: Mark at November 29, 2012 07:24 PM

8 When you outlaw a behavior, you surrender your ability to regulate it.

Posted by: You Have An Ugly Goat at November 30, 2012 02:25 AM

9 YHAUG, where do you stand when it comes to disarming America? You are a cop and I respect that, however, will you be a good German and obey orders? The Constitution is explicit.

Posted by: Mark at November 30, 2012 01:02 PM

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