Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Oi mate! Wanna buy an AK47?"

From Helsingin Sanomat: "The state as arms-dealer"

I'm no gun-nut, but that's an AK in the picture isn't it? And the gesticulating policeman isn't telling you how many rounds it could fire a minute, or how many layers of police body armour it could pierce. Nope, he being an auctioneer-for-the-day and selling it. That's one of the many job skills it appears that a Finnish police officer might need - to be the auctioneer when selling back to the public seized, previously illegally held weapons. Hesari quotes Jouni Laiho from the Ministry of the Interior’s lotteries and firearms section*:
“Yes, it sounds strange, and it doesn’t look very good..."
You don't say Mr Laiho.
"...but what is the alternative? Who is going to sell them?”
Here's a totally radical solution: don't fucking sell them.

There was an auction planned for today, first the government announced that as a result of the Kauhajoki tragedy they wouldn't auction off hand guns at the event (but presumably assault rifles are just fine?) . This "concession" was clearly met with a nationwide, collective "FFS?!" and after brief rethink the whole auction was canceled. But just the whole farce makes you shake your head at how the Ministry of Interior could end up in such a monumentally stupid position. I've met many fine, dedicated and smart people working in the civil service, but this sort of thing make you want to cry and the idiocy bureaucracies can sometimes produce.

Meanwhile different parts of the government and other public figures piss about suggesting how they could fiddle with the current Finnish gun laws, but how it probably wouldn't help much. The suggested shifting of responsibility for granting gun licenses from the cops to the medical profession is being strongly and sensibly resisted by the doctors, but shows that debate is totally missing the point: either just ban the public ownership of handguns and be done with it (as many seem to want), or carry on as before and accept the chance that once every few years some nutter is going to butcher a handful of his or her fellow citizens. Those who want to keep their hand guns should just man-up and say that's a risk they're willing to take with theirs and others' lives.

And for our Minister of Interior, who thinks guns don't kill people, people kill people, she should remember Eddie Izzard's wise words - "...but they help".

I had fun looking up that last link and because it's all so horrible otherwise, here's more Eddie on the dangers of monkeys with guns:

*This section is probably like the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF): considerably less fun to work for than it might sound.


Anonymous said...

That looks a lot more like a shotgun.. Definitely not an AK..

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

It doesn't have a magazine in but it's definitely an AK of some type. Both the stock and the wooden body in front of where the magazine goes is distinctive. Have a look at these pics: you can see some drawings there of AK47s without the distinctive curved magazines.