每日英語跟讀 Ep.957: How American Guns Are Fueling U.K. Crime
Josh Bains was 28 when he was killed after an argument over a drug debt of about $50 just a few miles from the English village where he grew up — with a gun that had traveled thousands of miles from America.
His was one of a rising number of gun deaths in recent years that have British authorities worried about an expanding smuggling pipeline from the United States. The gun used to kill Bains in October 2018 — a Taurus Model 85 — is banned outright in Britain.
“I think Americans wouldn’t believe that something that they produce could affect people like us,” said Clare Bains, who was Bains’ stepmother. “If there weren’t all these guns, they wouldn’t be seeping out of America all over the world.”
Gun deaths remain extremely rare in Britain, and very few people, even police officers, carry firearms. But the growing presence of U.S. weapons on the streets, which has not previously been widely reported, comes as serious violent crime, like murders and stabbings, has risen sharply.
Most illegal firearms in Britain still come from Europe. But investigators seized hundreds of smuggled U.S. guns last year, a small figure by international standards, though experts say the number that police do not discover is likely to be far higher.
British police have traced some of the smuggled U.S. guns back to loosely regulated gun fairs in states like Florida. Investigators have also seized U.S. weapons being smuggled on a container ship and hidden in car engines.
Now authorities fear that after Brexit, when borders with the European Union will be more tightly regulated, the illegal gun trade from the United States could accelerate, especially given the Trump administration’s broad support for the gun industry.
“A major Trump administration goal is to globalize the firearms trade and facilitate exports, and if you’re facilitating legal exports, it’s almost inevitable that there will be an illegal diversion of weapons into criminal markets in other countries,” said Aaron Karp, a senior consultant for the Small Arms Survey in Geneva and a lecturer at Old Dominion University in Virginia.
The United States is one of the biggest legal exporters of firearms in the world, but hundreds of thousands of guns also illegally leak out of the country and fuel homicides, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In Britain, criminal groups primarily use knives for acts of violence. Knife crime reached a record high last year, accounting for around 2 out of every 5 killings. By comparison, only 33 people were killed with a gun.
But the number of illegal guns in circulation is growing. In the last year alone, gun seizures by Britain’s national policing body, the National Crime Agency, more than doubled, and firearm offenses have soared by 38% since 2015.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/356788/web/