Zero Tolerance, Zero Smarts

So here’s a little tip from me to you. If you’re in the UK, and you see a gun lying around, for god’s sake don’t take it into the police station to turn it in. You’ll immediately get arrested, charged with possession of a firearm and you could face five years in jail, minimum, just like Paul Clarke does.

Every time I read this story, I’m in more and more disbelief. Clarke, an ex-soldier, noticed that there was a bag in his garden that wasn’t his. He looked in it and saw a gun and a couple of cartridges. So he took it into the police station to get it off the streets. As soon as he handed it over, he was arrested. A jury found him guilty, and a prosecutor and judge both said that his intentions for possessing the weapon were irrelevant. What the hell? What happened to the letter versus the spirit of the law? And by that logic, shouldn’t all cops be locked up too? After all, they possess a weapon. It doesn’t matter that their intentions are to only use it to defend themselves. They possess one, it’s against the law, clang, slam, into the big house ya go.

So what are you supposed to do if you find a gun laying around? Even if you know you can handle weapons and are quite capable of turning this in, are you supposed to call the cops and have them waste their time to come get it? Why couldn’t you be a good citizen and turn it in?

His sentencing is on December 11. I hope we hear what happens to him. I hope this causes enough of a stir that something happens to overturn the charge.

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