First off let me outline how we got our guns.
I had to apply for and be sanctioned for a Firearms
Certificate from the regional Police HQ firearms
department. I had to give ''good reason'' for
my request (which basically meant being an approved
range/club member) and also had to have listed
any guns (types thereof) I was planning on buying
in the future - if you like they were ''pre approved''.
This meant usually putting down anything that
was anticipated (and if anything was forgotten
then a ''variation'' had to be implemented - more
cost!). In earlier days there was also a shotgun
certificate separate from the rest - ultimately
the two were incorporated. Incidentally, each
gun type had to officially be eligible for some
class of acknowledged (on the books) competition
What then? - go buy one of the guns that was
listed by category - all details then recorded
on the certificate, logged at dealers and eventually
those details logged at Police HQ - yes, registration
par excellence! Then, ready for this? - buying
ammo. All calibers had an ammo max and purchase
figure - the max was the total amount legal to
hold and the purchase figure the limit on one
aquisition. Wonder why I reloaded ??
I was obliged to show local cops that I had a
means of secure storage - and to that end I built
a gun safe into a thick wall - concrete lined,
steel frame and 1/4" steel doors with secure
hinges, alarmed etc. I have old pics, somewhere
of that - lot of welding. Three five lever locks
I got into shooting more seriously around 1978,
having only done some shot-gunning and much pellet
rifle shooting in earlier years. I joined a local
small bore club and did more competition shooting,
pistol and rifle, and soon had my own guns for
that (Ruger MkII and BSA MkII Martini target rifle).
Not long after being involved in that club, a
guest shooter at one of the open matches was talking
about his shooting at an outdoor range where most
was centerfire handgun. That piqued my interest
and so started the main impetus to my shooting.
I bought my first wheelgun, a M27 Smith and that
was enough to get me started in regular competitions
there - after which the aquisition process over
the following years really took off! I finished
up with about 24 handguns (list to follow) and
quite a few longarms too. Some years I would go
to the annual pistol meet at Bisley during the
M27, M686, Trooper MkIII, Repro .45LC, Webley
MkVI, Webley MkIV, Enfield break top .38's (2),
Walther GSP in .22, Walther GSP in .32, Ruger
Redhawk, Ruger MkII, Cap&Ball .44, Charter
Pathfinder, BHP, Baby Browning, Ivor Johnson .32,
Smith M1917 in .455 - I forget the others right
now, there were more!!
Long arms - Enfield MkV Jungle, K38 Mauser in
.308, Mauser Obendorfe .22, Mini-14, Stirling
carbine, .577 Musketoon, Rem semi .22 (suppressed),
Troubles began as far back as 1987 - ''Michael
Ryan, Hungerford, Berkshire County, UK, Wednesday
19 August 1987 (sixteen people shot to death and
another fourteen injured, eight of them seriously.
The butchery ended only when the gunman, twenty-seven-year-old
Michael Ryan, was cornered in a school and turned
the gun on himself.''. He had gone around with
his AK clone spraying about anything that moved.
I had it on quite good authority he did not shoot
That provoked a predictable backlash and gave
the Gov' the excuse to ban semi rifles - forget
exactly when, probably coupla years later - and
so my Mini and Stirling had to be relinquished.
I got compensation for them but also got them
back finally, as wall hangers. Sad.
Things went on pretty much OK then until - ''March
13 1996, Thomas Hamilton, 43, left his home at
7 Kent Road in Dunblane, Scotland, with only one
thing in mind -- murder. At about 9:30 a.m., he
drove to the Dunblane Primary School with a pair
of pliers, four handguns and more than 700 rounds
of ammunition. Once there, he cut the telephone
wires on a nearby pole and then proceeded with
weapons in hand to a side entrance of the school.''
This debacle could have been prevented in fact
had the chief of police in his region disallowed
his certificate renewal as he was known to be
unstable, and somewhat keen on small kids etc.
However, it happened and of course the uproar
thru the sheep community was vociferous - ''What
- people are allowed to own guns - and
<gasp> keep them at home''!!!!!!
This was the absolute gift on a plate to the
UK Gov' - the chance they wanted to ban handguns
altogether (just think of all the extra votes
they could get!). The privilege could be revoked
- it was. Around September 1997 I had to relinquish
my collection. Many have said it was a whimpy
thing to do - well my answer to that was, when
guns are registered and ''they'' know exactly
what you have - and - you have responsibilities
to a family etc - where is the percentage in going
out in a bloodbath. Only to probably be labelled
- ''Good - there goes another gun nut"! I
chose to stay alive.
I was over time gradually in receipt of compensation
money - which hardly assuaged my sense of loss
and anger. The only remaining options at my old
centerfire club were shooting .22 rifles and pistol
cal carbines. or, rifle shooting at another club
with a suitable range. Sadly the NRA in UK was
way too small to have ever had any significant
voice or teeth. I all but ceased much active shooting.
Fortunately I kept the bulk of my reloading gear
- and am now pleased I did. Having crossed over
to marry my lady wife here in 2000 I was eventually
once more able to get back into shooting properly,
and actually sank quite a chunk of the proceeds
of selling up into that. Once I was legally able
to do so, I resumed my handgun passion and got
my CCW organized and the rest is pretty much history.
After what I had to endure in UK I am as strong
a protector of our 2A as anyone - maybe more so.
I watched the erosion of a mere privelage and
the extremes of anti gun paranoia - and know just
how easily the ''chip-chip-chip'' of incremental
legislation can damage things, even what we here
regard as a right.