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Comment Re:British police rarely carry weapons (Score 1) 292

Interesting points, but I disagree: Criminals can and do call the police when crimes are committed against them. I accept they might not if they have a personal distaste for all law enforcement, or if it might lead to them being suspected of a crime, but I don't know how common either of these cases are. I admit that not having seen a handgun around where I live is poor evidence. A better indication would be how often people charged with crimes are found in possession of a firearm - which would inevitably lead to an easily provable additional charge. In my, (quite extensive), experience of criminal cases, I've only seen a handful of such charges.

As to the geopolitics and war on drugs, the UK is much more similar to the US in terms of the severity with which it pursues and prosecutes drugs offences than the rest of Europe. Its maritime borders are hard to police and drugs flow in from North Africa, the Middle East and more recently MDMA labs in India. However, you do rarely see the police in paramilitary gear (they use that for policing protests...) and I doubt they have access to tanks. This reinforces my point: when the legal side has regular access to weaponry, the other side acquires it too. When the legal side is not regularly armed, the need for criminals to arm themselves similarly diminishes.

Comment Re:British police rarely carry weapons (Score 1) 292

The thing about the right to bear arms is that non-criminals exercising it encourages criminals to acquire firearms too.

In the US, criminals arm themselves in order to protect themselves. If you know the owner of the house you're breaking into may well have a firearm, then you are far more likely to carry one yourself. If not, why burden yourself with one? Particularly if - as in the UK - it will result in a more severe sentence if you are caught.

A gun is not much use for most crimes - even robbery can be effectively carried out with a knife - and so despite the fact that they are available on the black market, most criminals in the UK do not routinely carry them. The main exceptions to this rule are gangsters who frequently deal with other gun-toting criminals. Even then, it's pretty rare, I live in a poor part of central London and I have never seen a handgun.

Comment Re:Just for the record, only UK subjects (Score 1) 366

The courts interpret the laws that have been passed by parliament, this includes those costitutional laws that set out the boundaries referred to by RodgerDodger.

I believe that the American courts are allowed to interpret the constitution and decide whether the government is allowed to do something or not. To put it in your somewhat disingenuous tone: the USA has a written constitution, but no-one knows what it means until the courts tell them.

Comment Re:Just for the record, only UK subjects (Score 3, Informative) 366

The UK doesn't have a written constitution, but it does nonetheless have a means of administration prescribed by parliament - a constitution.

Some laws are held to be 'constitutional'. The Bill of Rights 1688 for example (on which the American Constitution was partially based if I recall correctly), which limits the power of the monarchy. The Human Rights Act 1998 is another example.

It is of course possible for parliament to abolish any one of these laws - and I believe the same is the case in America, although a special majority of some sort is required to ammend the constitution. Beyond that somewhat technical difference, it's a similar system.

By convention, the Queen is said to have the right to be consulted, the right to advise, and the right to warn. Technically she has a right to veto legislation, but this last occurred in 1709 and if she attempted it today, I suspect there would be a constitutional crisis leading either to a general election or a referendum on the monarchy.

As it happens, the current monarch is noted for having been reasonably good at her job. She has experience of eleven Prime Ministers and the events of half a century - whether or not you agree with her constitutional position, she is currently an extremely useful resource to the government.

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