Renew your firearms licence via your iPhone
There's an app for everything
Sussex Police plan to allow gun owners to renew their firearms licences using an iPhone app.
The app will be part of a suite allowing the public to access news, appeals and other services form their iPhone.
The technology push is intended to save £3m, freeing up valuable cop time, but means firearms applicants won't have to see the police face-to-face, at the form-filling stage. There will still need to be an interview and home inspection down the line.
This step hasn't gone down well following so soon after Derrick Bird's shooting spree through Cumbria, when he killed 12 people. The Cumbrian forces' firearms procedures are being reviewed as a result.
Gun control campaigners including Mothers Against Murder and Aggression and the Gun Control Network have spoken out against the plan.
Currently firearms applications require applicants to fill out the paperwork at pre-arranged police station meetings.
The mobile phone app proposals will be discussed with forces across England and Wales at the Sussex Police's social media conference in Brighton on June 25. ®
What's the point of making an iPhone app for this, when a website (accessible on all internet-connected devices and workstations) would be far more suitable?
Some middle-management idiot has been reading too many buzzwords.
There's a real world out there - it's a world in which (very rarely) events like Derek Bird, Thomas Hamilton and Hungerford happen.
Perhaps it would be better to have anyone applying for a gun licence to be psychologically assessed every year (at their own cost) before even being allowed to approach the police - would filter out a good 50% I reckon...
And New Zealand has one of the lowest.
In spite of having a per-capita rate of firearms ownership second only to the U.S. New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of violent crime involving firearms in the world. Similar statistics can be cited for Switzerland and Canada, both of which have high rates of private firearms ownership.
The U.K. also has some of the most restrictive firearms laws in Europe, yet it has the highest rate of imprisonment in Europe, IIRC something like twice the rate the Republic of Ireland
Not sure I can be arsed digging up citations for this but the last time someone went postal with a gun one of the papers in NZ had an article comparing rates of violent crime in OECD countries. The U.S. was third behind South Africa and Northern Ireland and NZ, Switzerland and Canada were close to the bottom, in spite of having fairly high rates of per-capiata firearms ownership.
One of the popular research methods books (either Freakonomics or The Undercover Economist) cites an empirical study that did find a correlation between (IIRC) access to handguns and rates of violent crime. The conclusion of the study was that the effect was statistically significant (i.e. low p value) but negiglably small (which is possible if you have a large enough sample) so it didn't make a significant difference in practice.
However, debate about firearms laws tends to be driven almost exclusively on emotional values and most participants are either pro or anti gun nut^H^H^Hlobbyists, so actually bringing empirical analysis in tends to be a fairly pointless exercise. The general standards of public debate on this subject tend to be of fairly poor quality and riddled with demagoguery and sophistry (look them up).
You will never have a watertight system. One can also see with 20:20 hindsight that most of the people do mass shootings had previous form with the Police and the Police had grounds to revoke their licence if they felt it appropriate.
I don't have a lot of time for arguments for psychiatric screening or 'legitimate' reasons for ownership. Estimates in the U.S. tend to run around 200+ million privately owned firearms. Implying that people who want to own firearms are somehow potential 'gun nuts' effectively requires one to make the argument that a very large proportion of the population of the U.S. are somehow of suspect mental fitness because they want to own a firearm. Fun as Yank-bashing is, that notion that half the population of the U.S. are potential wackos has no place in a debate with pretentions to rationality (see above).
I grew up with guns. Both of my parents were on the NZ universities smallbore team, my father won a blue for shooting. A few years ago we had to do some legal stuff about property titles and our family lawyer (who went to uni with my parents) brought his target where he scored a 100.10 and my father had marked it. None of these people could even remotely be described as 'gun nuts.' and they certainly weren't of low IQ (an academic, a lawyer and a science teacher) or any sort of danger to society.
I might even take up shooting again, and am probably more of a gun nut than any of them. However, I find it somewhat insulting that people should presume me to be mentally unstable simply because I enjoy shooting.
God knows there are enough other reasons to.