British police have netted dozens of illegal firearms including an AK-47 assault rifle over a month-long period, with stringent gun control measures having failed to stop the weapons from circulating.
Twenty-four illegal firearms were “seized, confiscated, or handed in” between December 15th 2018 and January 27th 2019, according to the Daily Mail, although other reports suggest more than 120 guns and roughly 2,000 rounds of ammunition were taken into custody during the National Gun Surrender, originally set to run from January 21st to Febrary 1st.
Martin Parker, of the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), told the Mail that the volume of guns and ammunition being received by its laboratories for forensic analysis is at its highest point in a decade.
All in all, the number of firearms possession offences in Britain has risen by an astonishing 87 percent since 2012 — despite draconian and ever-increasing restrictions on legal gun ownership.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) July 11, 2018
Firearms were once freely available throughout the British Isles, although gun rights began to be curtailed in a significant way in the wake of the First and Second World Wars, and were severely restricted in the wake of a school shooting in Dunblane in 1996.
Dunblane, the only mass-casualty school shooting in British history, was unlike most American school shootings in that it involved an adult man targetting a primary school — equivalent to an American elementary school — rather than a teenager or young adult targetting a high school or university they attended or had attended themselves.
The restrictions banned handgun ownership virtually overnight — but firearms offences involving handguns increased some 40 percent in the two years following regardless.
This is perhaps unsurprising, considering how few gun crimes involved legal firearms: In Scotland, where the Dunblane massacre took place, only 44 of 669 homicides had involved firearms of any kind in the five years from 1990 to 1995 which preceded the handgun ban, and only 3 had been legally held — 0.4 percent.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) April 29, 2015
Heavy restrictions on legal gun-ownership across the European Union have not prevented gun massacres such as the radical Islamic terror attack at the Bataclan from being carried out, largely as a result of an often porous external border making it easy to traffick firearms, grenades, and other military-grade weapons into the bloc.
Internally, the EU member-states have had their frontiers largely abolished by the establishment of the borderless Schengen area, infamously described as “effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists” by former INTERPOL chief Robert Noble.
As an island nation outside Schengen with only one land border with another country — Ireland, also outside Schengen and also an island nation — the United Kingdom has generally been better equipped to mitigate the trafficking of illegal firearms than Continental Europe, the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles notwithstanding.
As with illegal drugs and illegal migrants, however, the country remains vulnerable to firearms smuggling by sea.
For example, law enforcement recently detained twelve people including a Border Force official suspected of attempting to transport eleven firearms, with magazines and suppressors, along with roughly 75 pounds of cocaine and 15 pounds of heroin.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 9, 2015