Gun toting granny

There has been quite a bit of chatter on the blogosphere about an 80 year old woman who has been jailed for five years for possession of an illegal firearm.

Dick P and The LPUK have both done good posts on this story and received some varied comments.

The general consensus seems to be that 5 years is a bit harsh to say the least. Many are arguing that this is a total travesty of justice, that the gun laws are too draconian and that this woman committed no crime. A point of veiw that I am fully on board with.

The handgun laws were brought in after the Dunblane massacre, in order to "Make sure this never happens again". Later there was a minimum sentance of 5 years imposed, because some people though the government were "not doing enough". These laws were brought in under the pretece of protecting the public. We all know they have not done what they were supposed to do. "This" has happened again, gun crime has increased and all legitimate gun owners have been penalised.

Now we are jailing old ladies for having an heirloom, for the protection of the public. Now we are trying to jail people for handing in weapons they found.

The BBC reports the gun was found hidden under her matress after the police searched her house. They were searching for her son because they had an arrest warrant.

Some commenters have suggested that storing the gun under the matress is very suspicious in itself. The judge did not beleive her suggestion that she removed it from the walk in wardrobe to keep it away from the kids.

There has also been comment that as her son was been hunted by the police, and as he had many previous convictions (dont know what for), then that somehow incriminates her.

Lets take a look at the gun in question before we answer those:

STV Scotland gives us a little more information than the BBC.

As quoted in the BBC article,

The weapon was sent for examination by firearms experts who concluded that it was a Czech-made pistol dating back to about 1927.
STV completes the quote,

A firearms expert described it as "a trophy of war". It was found to be in poor external condition and had a faulty safety catch and trigger mechanism, but was in working order and could fire bullets.
I would suggest that the issue here is not where she chose to store the weapon. Its what she intended to do with it. She obviously did not intend to use this gun. She didnt even have any ammo and probably couldnt pick any up for a 1920s weapon all too easily. Should we not instead, be questioning the wisdom of jailing this woman for 5 years? The wisdom of creating a crime where there is no victim and suggestion of there being one, then following through with the full letter of the law.

And as to the suggestion that her son was a toe rag; she was the one charged with this "crime", not him. Therefore, his charachter (or lack of it) is not the issue here.

She has had this gun in her posession for 29 years since her dad died. The harshest punishment should have been confiscation of the weapon, but under our current laws, this was not an option. Only full criminal trial followed by the minimum prison term of 5 years. Im sure the original handgun laws were not intended for cases such as this, but everytime you over regulate, every time you clamp down, every time you take another liberty in the name of public protection you create more and more unintended consequences until the balance tips and you start to punish the innocent.

Simple common sense was all that was required here. But sadly.........


The Filthy Engineer said...

Bucko said...