Tuesday, November 17, 2015

For My American Readers

I'm getting rather upset by so much misinformation on the interwebz about gun laws in France. I realise Americans love their firearms and consider their possession to be the solution of all problems (though the USA seem to be marching down the cliff together with the rest of the West), but in my opinion, one should always first inform himself on the matter before making statements on the net.

The possession of firearms is NOT prohibited in France, it's regulated. Fully automatic weapons are prohibited, semiautomatics including handguns are subject to licensing, other types of firearms should be registered while historical firearms (according to this site it includes revolvers, while that one denies it) are free for everyone. It's really not that difficult to acquire a license and according to the Dutch site I've linked above many stores don't even ask for it. (More on gun laws in France here and here).

While I'm not sure where they stand on concealed carry, the truth is that people in Europe usually don't take weapons with them while attending a hard rock concert or drinking a beer in a cafe because it's generally safe over here, outside of certain neighbourhoods (though it's becoming less so). People purchase guns to protects their homes and other property (shops) from burglary, they don't go through the day planning on participating in a firefight with terrorists (which may change very soon, unfortunately).

There is really little excuse for so much ignorance in the age of broadband:)


  1. Housewife from FinlandNovember 18, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    It is beyond my understanding how concealed carry would protect anyone from suicide bombers. When you realize bomber is wired you are already dead. And trying to shoot him you would just trigger the bombs anyway.

    I would suggest that mostly people in Europe do not by guns to protect to protect something. I would say that 99 % of legal guns are for hobbies; hunting, competitive precision shooting and such.

    And as you pointed out, Europe is still very safe place to live. And we still have some civilization left.

  2. Well, it may be different in France. I heard stories of the French acquiring handguns legally for the reasons of self-defence. You just have to go to the police and follow a course on how to handle weapons. France apparently allows self-defence with lethal force, which isn't officially allowed in many other countries. The laws are simply not the same in every European country.

    I think our American friends meant that if people in the theatre had been armed they could have shot the terrorists, which may or may not be the case. I can follow this line of the argument, but to say that all French are wimps because they aren't allowed to own arms is simply not true.

  3. Sanne,
    As an American who lives in the UK, I often hear the argument that Americans should give up their guns. I always say that this will never happen, as gun ownership is ingrained into our psyche.
    I grew up around many people who owned guns, but I was uncomfortable having one in the home when my children were small. I never knew anyone to use their weapons irresponsibility. But it is never those type of people that we should be concerned about.
    I wholeheartedly agree with France' ban on automatic weapons, as I fail to see how any law-abiding citizen would find this obscene instrument of death necessary. Only the military and police should require such things, and I agree that tighter regulation should be in place with regard to any gun ownership.
    It is however, as you say, the illegal weapons trade that is flourishing everywhere, and I don't see how we can begin to get a handle on the problem until we somehow address the issue.
    Personally, I agree with you.. We just don't think of having to carry a gun whilst we are going about the business of living.. I hope we never have to, but we are seeing a rapid disintegration of all the things we took for granted, certainly in my lifetime.

  4. Christine, I'm not at all against "gun rights", especially since it's an important part of the American culture. I think gun ownership gives an equal chance to the vulnerable, such as women and the elderly. I think French laws are quite reasonable, pity that our lawmakers apparently value the well-being of criminals above this of their potential victims. I was just trying to correct the misapprehension about France and their attitude to weapons.

  5. Yes, Sanne' ... We must try and find balance as a society, and you are also correct about educating ourselves about other cultures. I think many people are getting too much information on Facebook, which we know is not always correct regarding the facts.
    Thank you for a timely reminder about the importance of educating ourselves regarding other cultures and countries. An expression comes to mind; "Open mouth.. Insert foot". These days, we are sometimes very quick to do this :-)