Cumberland Shootings: LA Statement

In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Wednesday 2nd June 2010
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199,

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url:


The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today calls for the relegalisation of civilian gun ownership in the United Kingdom as the only way for ordinary people to protect themselves against gun massacres. [This news release is prompted by the killings of at least five people on the 2nd June 2010 in and around the Cumberland town of Whitehaven.]

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:

“This outrage will certainly bring calls from the police and other victim disarmament advocacy groups for further gun control. However, bearing in mind that civilian ownership of handguns was outlawed in the two Firearms Acts of 1997, we fail to see, unless the murder weapon was a shotgun, what there is left to be outlawed.

“The Libertarian Alliance notes that these shootings would have been extremely difficult in a country where the people were allowed to arm themselves. We understand that the killer, Derrick Bird, was able to drive in perfect safety around Whitehaven, shooting people at random. None of his victims was in any position to return fire. Only when armed police could eventually be brought in did he feel it necessary to run away.

“In the United States, at least one campus shooting was brought to a premature end by armed civilians. The same is true in Israel, where many members of the public go about armed. Only in a country like England, where the people have been systematically disarmed, can a killer go about like a fox among chickens.

“The Libertarian Alliance believes that all the Firearms Acts from 1920 onwards should be repealed. The largely ineffective laws of 1870 and 1902 should also be repealed. It should once again be possible for adults to walk into a gun shop and, without showing any permit or proof of identity, buy as many guns and as much ammunition as they can afford. They should also be able to use lethal force, at home and in public, for the defence of life, liberty and property.

“Only then will ordinary people be safe from evil men like Derrick Bird.”


Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 700 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press –– the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

21 responses to “Cumberland Shootings: LA Statement

  1. However much as I agree with this, the great unthinking public will not see that guns do not kill people – people kill people.

  2. Spencer Whitlock

    Brian Mickelthwait has commented on this press release over at Samizdata,

  3. Pingback: Libertarians respond to Cumbria by calling for more guns | Liberal Conspiracy

  4. Paul Robinson

    ” It should once again be possible for adults to walk into a gun shop and, without showing any permit or proof of identity, buy as many guns and as much ammunition as they can afford. They should also be able to use lethal force, at home and in public, for the defence of life, liberty and property.

    Only then will ordinary people be safe from evil men like Derrick Bird.”

    Nothing to add that, really! It is spot-on.

  5. I agree completely, Sean. Sadly, the 4 questions that will probably be banned from any public “debate” on this issue will be:
    1) Would Derrick Bird have been able to kill so many if ordinary, law-abiding UK citizens could carry the firearm(s) and ammunition of their choice in public?
    2) Would Derrick Bird have been able to kill so many if ordinary people at least bought and used body armour (which AFAIK is legally unrestricted, but is difficult for many to obtain)?
    3) Why bother with further restrictions on firearms ownership when the vast majority of gun crime is carried out with unregistered weapons anyway?
    4) Derrick Bird held both shotgun and firearms licences for years without any problem before June 2nd. Given the reality of cases like Jean-Charles de Menezes, may we look forward to seeing the police legally disarmed as a precaution, too?

  6. John Watkins

    Are you absolutely mental, or is this some cunning satire?

    I actually agree with the first post – “guns do not kill people – people kill people”.

    But give more people guns and more people will kill people.


  7. I’m afraid I agree with John Watkins, at least partially – tho’ I don’t know whether he is filled with common sense or MSM manufactured “outrage”.

    The idea that allowing *everyone* to have a gun would prevent something like this is pretty damn stupid and goes to the heart of what I criticised elsewhere here which is the ideological libertarian (who also defends sundry other garbage like porn or what have you).

    Look, someone like this would absolutely *not* be “deterred” by other people owning firearms, nor would transforming the whole of Britain into Dodge City with everyone holstered and packing heat “just in case” stop something like this. You will, in fact, have far more of this kind of thing. You only have to look at the Chavs to realise that there are a growing number of people in this country whose “mechanism has gone”. “Deterrence” is an argument from consequences, it is a utilitarian argument and assumes a rational calculating actor – this taxi driver obviously was neither rational nor calculating and so would never have been “deterred”.

    The argument for firearms ownership is at heart an ethical one, that a man has an *absolute* right to defend his own life FULL STOP. So asking for licences for self-defence should be a valid reason for having a gun but don’t expect the country to necessarily be better for it. The problem is not the guns but the citizenry. After all, gun ownership as a “right” dates from the Bill of Rights and onwards; those people had no mass media and went to church every Sunday. Modern man is a complete mental basket case by comparison.

    A more adult approach when something like this happens would go a long way – this just pegs libertarians as “crackpots”, and understanding nothing about human beings or timing. A better approach would have been to put a press release saying “case for firearms ownership unaffected” or some such. Not blaring into the middle of a human tragedy with blind ideology. And stupid ideology if I might say so.

    Where do these “lone gunmen” come from? Why do they do these things? Better questions to ask. Of course, an argument could be made that this whole country is generally mentally ill, after all the same people shrieking for gun control will be the same ones in an ostentatious but short-lived show of grief and will also be the same ones who go straight home and turn on the TV and watch twice as many murders in the same night and think nothing of it.

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  9. Totally agree. I wrote a bit of a diatribe on this topic earlier today. Can be found at:

  10. Posted this on Tim Mongomeries page earlier:

    I am posting the below for the third time.

    I have posted this info on numerous blogs over a period of years and am more and more annoyed that almost NOBODY ever responds to it.

    My postings above have got just two short responses (both from “British Watcher”). The first was some non-sequitor about “this country does not have to fear invasion” which has absolutly nothing to do with my posting and when I pointed it out he came back with some nonsense about a “free and fair press is our defence against tyranny”–that’s bad news because we don’t have a free and fair press NOW, never mind standing to ready for the day dictatorship arrives.

    The lack of response to the dire information I keep posting seems to illustrate what Uncle Joe Stalin said:”The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million just a statistic.” It does seem that people can get up a head of steam about 12 deaths (I am VERY sympathetic to the loss of 12 lives in Cumbria.It would be a poor tribute to those lost lives to continue down a path of putting many more lives at stake by submitting to an ever more arrogant and dictatorial state)while being utterly disinterested in the deaths of tens of millions.

    It seems almost a kind of hypnosis that people read the facts and figures below without understanding or seeming to care about what they mean.

    They mean that, statistically, over the last 100 years, you are MUCH more likely to be murdered by your own lovely Government than you are to be shot by a spree killer. Going indoors and locking up provides no defence against the state at all.

    So one more time:

    In the 110 years since 1900 approximately 170 million human beings have been murdered by armed agents of assorted states. I am not referring to casualties of war (which add about another 80 million to the numbers)but to human beings rounded up, gassed, shot, starved and worked to death in assorted gulags, concentraition camps etc, all of them disarmed(total gun control was one of Hitlers first laws in 1933)and under the guns of the state. I am not sure how many people have been murdered by private individuals over that 110 years but I think it quite likely that the “police” (in the broadest sense of lumping cops/soldiers/security services together) have in fact murdered more people over those years than the criminals have. Do I want a world where only the states thugs are armed?.Do you? Think about Labour’s 13 years of attacks on our freedoms. In a land where political scum start off trying to tell you HOW to live it is only a matter of time before they start deciding IF you live.Why is it that people become so highly agitated over the terrible deaths of 12 people when MILLIONS have died just as terribly and now one seems to care let alone learn the lessons about the dangers of being disarmed and helpless in the face of evil.More guns not less.

    PS: In case you think that the above is just history and it won’t ever happen again please consider a few details:
    -The President of the USA now says that anyone on Earth can be declared a terrorist and assasinated without ANY due process of law whatsoever, US citizens or not.
    -The same President is now trying to railroad through laws that will enable US citizens (they can already do it to everybody else)to be arrested without any legal protections, held for ever, tortured and executed by military court with no defense or appeal, all incomunicado.
    -An Indian scientific journal has quite openly published a scientific paper on research into the use of ultrasound as a means of torture.
    -13 years of every possible attack on our freedoms New Labour could mount

    It goes on endlessly–look on the blogs concerned with freedom. You will find one outrageous attack on freedom after another, esp in the West.

    Also, the possibility of dire economic events gets stronger by the day. The Greek bail-out might last six months. Spain and Italy owe huge fortunes they can’t pay.The PIIGS defaultcould drag down the rest of Europe. The new Government talks of 6 billion cuts when it will take cuts 30 times that size just for the UK Govt to break even with tax take/spending. The US must find 5 to 6 trillion dollars this year to pay of its last lot of loans. It is already keeping hyperinflation temporarily at bay by paying banks not to lend.

    The economic conditions may soon be not only as bad but much worse than the 1930s, the age of dictators.

    There are very bad people in this country (same everywhere)who would be very happy to take advantage of economic chaos to set up brazen tyranny–BNP, assorted Marxists, certain religionists and others. Hitler came to power with acclaim from the people of Germany.The “free and fair press” lasted about a week.

    I read a newspaper article this week about a German husband and wife who dared to distribute 200 hand written postcards condeming Hitler during the war. They were denounced, tortured and beheaded.God bless them for their courage. A well armed people might be able to do rather more against would be Hitlers of the future.

    Millions have died on this planet longing for the means to protect themselves and their loved ones.

    More guns not less.

  11. Paul Robinson

    On the whole, I am not keen on mindlessly reciting slogans, but occasionally, well known sayings hit the nail on the head with such accuracy, that I just can’t help myself.

    “If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns”.

    To me, this is self evident. I realise that some (probably most) other people have different views. However, in the shadow of the Cumbria massacre, this is probably the wrong time to try to have a rational discussion on this matter. No doubt the more hysterical members of the press will be arguing for more draconian gun control measures, though how you can be “more” draconian, when guns are to all intents and purposes banned anyway, is beyond me.

  12. Pingback: Calls for tighter gun control in wake of tragedy | Left Foot Forward

  13. “A well armed people might be able to do rather more against would be Hitlers of the future.”

    I don’t think so given how low quality most people are. They are more likely to use their guns to round up dissenters, if it is marketed in the right way. Besides, Germany had far wider gun ownership in 1933 than the UK has today. Hitler was elected – by consent. And it then went on to arm its entire population for war and no-one ever did a thing.

    Just as it isn’t guns that create nutcase spree-killers, it isn’t guns that create resistance to tyranny. This country will have its tyrant and the pee-pull will love him.

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  16. Did licensing shotguns in 1967 lower gun crime and gun massacres?

    Did banning self loading rifles in 1988?

    Did banning pistols in 1997?

    Has gun crime (and gun massacres) gone up with each restriction brought in? The answer is yes.

    Don’t dail 999. Obtain a gun instead.

  17. Pingback: The inevitable gun control pontification « Rambles and rants

  18. Graham Davies

    Excellent statement.

    It looks like the ghoulish gun grabbers have indeed wasted no time in calling for the banning of shotguns, which fits in well with two ruling class objectives: complete individual disarmament and the destruction of British farming.

  19. Those who would enslave you consider a few innocent lives to be of no consequence, if their deaths help advance their cause.

    So, if this fellow was known to be unstable, it certainly isn’t inconceivable that he was urged or pushed over the edge to do this. Psychology works both ways, you know.

    You may recall the weeks of coverage that the Natalee Holloway/vanderSloot case got. Everyone who had ever come into contact with them was interviewed in depth.

    Do you think the same attention will be paid to this guy’s life and associates? If not, you can safely assume there’s a reason that something is being covered up.

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