Issue of Personal Protection Weapons raised

Both Jim Allister and Arlene Foster have called for a reversal of the current policy whereby former members of the security forces personal protection weapons are removed unless a “specific threat” is known to the police. As Allister notes some of the latest terrorists “…were active and seasoned Provisionals. So, they have not only Provo training, the Provo mentality, Provo weapons, but also retain the intelligence gathered by the Provos. Thus, they know where ex-soldiers and policemen work and live. Hence, it is highly predictable that, just as with the Provos, ex-security personnel will be on their target list.” Foster has suggested “…the threat to serving and former police officers and security personnel is at its highest for a considerable time.” In light of this there seems little alternative to a reversal of the current policy.

  • veritas

    Anyone not under threat shouldn`t have a gun…

  • The SF leadership are also targets; perhaps they should also be given guns…presuming they don’t already have any.

  • Turgon

    I agree with you but forgive me for stating the obvious: terrorists do not always advertise the fact that they intend to murder someone. I think that is part of the whole being a terrorist bit.

    We know that the IRA often targeted ex members of the security forces, politicians and indeed all sorts of people. Since at least some of the dissidents are IRA terrorists it seems logical to fear that they may target ex members of the security forces. As such allowing these people to keep firearms although not ideal is necessary.

  • Dec

    Jim Allister: “Provos…Provos…Provos…Provos…Provos…”

    Subliminal or what?

  • ArchiePurple

    Catholic Observer: Everyone of the Provo thugs that you see around McGuinness, Adams and Co have been granted a licence to carry side-arms….probably the only licenced weapon they have handled, plus McG and the Grisly one both have personal protection weapons and I’d guess people like Maskey, Kelly and Herman Munster also have them.


    What is the point like Thatcher still looking under her car in the morning, besides they will just burn their houses down or go for softer targets such as next of kin who are not armed up.

    The worst petrol bombs I have seen used are ones that have been mixed with antiseptic hand wash gel which the police use too wash their hands in the field and Vaseline they are like sticky bombs a cheap versions of napalm.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hence, it is highly predictable that, just as with the Provos, ex-security personnel will be on their target list.

    It’s also predictable that the Provos themselves are on their target list.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    it does sound fair.


    As the election gets closer the faint whiff of political expediency starts to gather pungency….

  • I think it’s safe to assume that political figures will have ppws or, if not, will be able to obtain them. The problem is that ex-RUC, UDR & PSNI are targets even if specific individual threats have not been made.

  • Did Jim and Arlene or their press release folks get their information from the previous day’s Belfast Telegraph?


    Any mention of Loyalist guns yet? Mmmmmmm….thought not! Ulster Resistance? Mount Vernon? C Company? Doesn’t get much of a mention on here from the Ultra Unionists does it? The events of the last week surely reinforce the view that Loyalists MUST now disarm. The vast majority of people in both communities have reaffirmed their opposition to violence so WHY the continuing excuse for the Uncle Andy’s? I don’t take anything away from the leadership that senior Loyalists have given this week but if they believe what they say; that the PSNI must be allowed to solve the murders WHY the excuses for them to hold on to the weapons? It just shows up the decommissioning issue as a Republican responsibility only and exposes Unionist/Loyalist hypocrisy.

  • KieranJ

    The only folks in Ireland allowed to carry weapons should be An Garda Siochana, the single legitimate police authority on the island.

  • joeCanuck

    Seems like a no-brainer to me (especially in light of recent events. Former members of the security forces in N.I. should be allowed personal side firearms if they feel they need them.

  • fin

    the same people on here and in Stormont calling for weapons for ex-forces people anre also the the very ones who claim the IRA of all hues are mere sectarian murderers, hence surely all unionists are equally at risk and all unionists should be issued a weapon.

    On the other side as LURIG pointed out we have yet to see unionist paramilitaries decommission so all nationalists should be issued with a weapon.

    Possibly do a weapons amnesty in reverse were you can call into your local police station and if you haven’t got a firearm they’ll give you one.

    Lets get everyone ‘tooled up’ and then we can all feel a lot safer.

    (and no Archie, none of the people around the SF leadership have a ppw, this question was asked by Jeffery in the Commons in 2007)

    Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals in Northern Ireland have been issued with firearms certificates for the purposes of carrying personal protection weapons to protect elected members of Sinn Fein. [110565]

    28 Feb 2007 : Column 1407W

    Paul Goggins: There are no individuals who have been issued with firearm certificates for the purpose of carrying personal protection weapons to protect members of Sinn Fein. The chief constable will not permit anyone to have a personal protection weapon to protect someone else.

  • Padraig

    Considering the amount of stars in the Universe, it is probable that many of them sustain life.

    Considering these many life forms exist it is probable that many of them wish us harm.

    Considering this it is very possible that many of these inimical highly intelligent life forms have or intend to visit this planet to whack us.

    Considering this we should, ALL OF US, have personal weapons, preferably lazers since being so intelligent they could probably get our addresses from the phone book.

    So there!

  • Padraig

    Even the Fenians.

    The space aliens might kill us too!

  • Danny Boy

    Having a gun might make retired policemen feel better, I suppose, but how likely are they to have a chance to use one in the event of a terrorist attack? Being blown up, or shot from behind or a concealed position, seems a more realistic possibility.

  • fin

    The old RUC would have protected us from this alien threat, but, thanks to SF I don’t think the PSNI could restand an alien attack, and we don’t even have watchtowers anymore to give an advance warning, we’re doomed, doomed.

  • Some of the shorter new recruits in their uniforms already look like little green men.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a little known fact that you can protect yourself against aliens by burying your head in the sand.
    Some people here should be good at it.

    codeword is “space”; hehehe

  • Harry Flashman

    Here’s a shocking and radical idea; every free born adult citizen who is not a criminal is allowed to defend himself, his family and his property with firearms if necessary and the government can go boil its head.

    What? Shock! Horror! Treat citizens as competent intelligent adults? No way! The government knows best, government workers should be the only people allowed to defend citizens from crime, after all government workers are so marvellously efficient at everything else they do.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if the people of Northern Ireland had the same constitutional rights as American citizens with regard to their Second Amendment the so called “Troubles’ would have been over in two weeks, in fact there never would have been any “Troubles”.

    But no, we must surrender our minds, we must trust government workers, they know better than us, we are morons, only the government workers know how to solve our problems.

    Bullshit, let freeborn citizens defend themselves and everyone will be free. Only tyrants distrust armed citizens.

  • McGrath

    I feel threatened by a reprisal attack by the UVF / UDA / RHC / etc. As these groups consider any catholic a target and have demonstrated they dont particularly care if they get that part wrong, may I have a personal protection weapon?

    What are your recommendations for innocent people to protect themselves from these still heavily armed groups Turgon?

  • Paul


    Because american citizens are so much less likely to be murdered?

    Lol thats got to be assinine post of the week….. so far

  • _

    Here’s one for Joe and Fin :o)

    Stick “I am not Nigel Dodds”
    into google. ( You’ll need the quotation marks around it.)

  • fin

    haha, love it, the poll sez 7023 people think Robbo is an alien too, I respectfully request that this website is put into the librairy at Stormont so SF MLA’s can refer to it during speeches.

    And yes, I am now convinced Nigel Dodds is an alien, can I have a personal protection weapon just in case.

  • fin

    Harry, regarding post #21, its not quite that way, the government rushed through legislation some years ago along the lines of you can’t press charges against someone for injury if they’re bringing charges against you without approval from the court.

    Its in this issue of Private Eye. Why, because the only people availing of it are the police when people are bringing charges of assault against them.

  • Because american citizens are so much less likely to be murdered?

    Lol thats got to be assinine post of the week….. so far

    Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Canada has very similar laws in relation to gun ownership and its murder rate is much less than the American one. America’s murder rate has more to do with its culture and social problems. New York has had very restrictive licencing laws since 1911, yet its violent crime rate was one of the highest in the country up until the 1990s (when the NYPD adopted ComStat). Criminals will always get hold of guns, banning guns simply means that you’ll leave the law-abiding majority impotent to defend themselves from those criminals.

  • Harry Flashman

    That’s right Paul, Jeez how did I not see it? I mean the fact that Northern Ireland had the strictest gun control laws in the western world prevented all those murders between 1966 and 2009 didn’t they? Yes, it’s amazing how disarming law abiding citizens protects them from being murdered by criminals isn’t it?

    Asinine? Yup, that sums up the idea that making sure only outlaws and dodgy government agents have access to guns makes free citizens safe.

    I state now unequivocally that if there had been a “2nd Amendment” clause in the Irish constitution not only would Northern Ireland never have been allowed to develop as it did after 1921 but the dreadful atrocities of the Troubles would never have happened.

    But then why argue with sheeplike people who believe that being utterly defenceless against the murderous intentions of terrorists, gangsters and state supported thugs is the best way to protect them and their family’s well being?

    Sheep bleat loudest just before they are rounded up for the slaughter.

  • joeCanuck

    Canada has very similar laws in relation to gun ownership

    Not in the least bit true. If you take a gun safety course in Canada and don’t have a criminal record you can get a licence for a rifle (non-automatic) or shotgun for hunting. It’s virtually impossible to get a licence to own a handgun.

  • Harry Flashman

    What would have been more effective in 1968 in Derry; a situation where decent law abiding citizens had to get beaten up and their property violated by armed policemen in order to have their basic political rights respected and then to see their fellow citizens shot down like dogs in the street for the crime of asserting their civil rights or a situation where the people of Derry could drive three miles across the border for the previous fifty years and buy all the guns and ammunition they wanted and if the Northern government had a problem with them they could come and deal with it on equal terms?

    The Left has been so efficient in brainwashing people against the idea of an armed and ready citizenry (naturally, no free and armed citizens ever willingly submit to state control) that sheep like people can’t think for themselves about the benefits of allowing free born adult citizens to stand up for themselves against those who would do them harm.

  • fin

    Harry, I’m sure some years ago SF had an issue about the high number of private gun licenses in NI and the silly number of gun clubs. So the laws can’t be that strict

  • joeCanuck

    They weren’t that strict, fin, up to a point. You see, in support (sort of) of Harry’s thesis, the authorities in N.I. were afraid of some of their citizens, so they allowed others of the citizens fairly easy access to weaponry. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

  • joeCanuck

    That was before Direct Rule, of course. I imagine it would be more difficult to get a permit now.

  • fin

    Joe, you yanks are so direct, I was trying to avoided that comment, but, hence SF’s interest in the subject, it was about 10 years ago and I can’t remember the figure, think it was cicra 150,000, but yes mostly available to one community

  • Dylan

    Typical uber-unionist reaction-a mixture of fear and right wing reactionism. Glad to see things have changed. Allister and his ilk weren’t so worried about catholics protecting themselves over the last 40 years or post ceasefires when sectarian murders by loyalists were still happening. scary and depressing is the difference in reactions to murders in this country- republicans shoot someone and they are calling for hanging to be brought back or the S.A.S sent in or some such nonsense. Loyalists kill and there is not a peep, save for some mealy mouthed, half hearted statement.

  • No Such Thing As An Ulster Scot

    I wonder will Willie Frazer apply for a gun license again?

    His association with Loyalist terrorist organizations sreally scuppered it for him the last time.

  • Harry Flashman

    “the authorities in N.I. were afraid of some of their citizens, so they allowed others of the citizens fairly easy access to weaponry. Nudge nudge, wink wink”

    Thank you, my point exactly.

    You see it is taken as a point of faith among the Left that only stump toothed, sister shagging, red necked idiots could possibly support the idea of ordinary citizens having the right to bear arms.

    This leads to the conclusion that;

    A) They think all governments are benign institutions and therefore there is no need for a citizen to protect himself and his family,

    or rather more sinisterly

    B) They know damn well that the only way to impose a Leftist agenda is by disarming the citizens and destroying any chance that they might resist because when only the state has guns and the people will simply have to lie down and do what the state tells them.

    Now in an Irish context option “B” is always laughed at because as every reader of the Irish Times knows the government, the state, is always benign and always there to look after you so there is no need for you to protect yourself, your family or your property because there will always be a state official who will always come to clear up the mess of you and your dead children after it’s all over and only a dreadful right-wing “nutter” would think otherwise.

    It’s obvious isn’t it?

    Fair enough, but what about if the government isn’t always benign? What about if the government only represents 60% of the population but nonetheless abuses its majority against the minority, what should the minority citizens do then?

    Should they meekly put up with half a century of discrimination, be beaten by policemen whose wages they pay and then be shot by Paratroops who are free to roam their streets shooting unarmed civilians because they know they are the only ones with guns?

    Suddenly the “anti-gun” argument isn’t so clear cut is it?

    What if the people of Derry had a constitution written by very far seeing men two hundred years ago who understood the dangerous relationship between government and the governed and who deliberately wrote in a little clause that evened up the score a bit?

    If the people of Derry had had access to legal guns and ammo from 1921 onwards would we ever have heard of gerrymandering, discrimination, Burntollet, the Battle of the Bogside or Bloody Sunday?

    I don’t think so, only people who like being told what to do by government officials oppose the idea of an armed and free citizenry.

  • Paul

    So harry your basic assumption is that if everyone has guns no one gets hurt? Sounds vaguely delusional

  • Reader

    fin: but yes mostly available to one community

  • joeCanuck

    Farmers did find it easy to get a .22 or shotgun permit, for obvious reasons.
    But I knew quite a few of my co-workers, city folk to a man, who had handgun permits.

  • Harry Flashman

    “So harry your basic assumption is that if everyone has guns no one gets hurt? Sounds vaguely delusional”

    As opposed to your ludicrous suggestion that banning law abiding citizens from owning firearms protects them from being shot by criminals, now that really is delusional.

    As regards your question, an armed society is a polite society.

    There would have been no Burntollet, no Bloody Sunday, no Darkley, no Bombay Street, no Sean Graham’s, no Kingsmills, no Shankill Butchers, no Greysteel, no Troubles if the law abiding Catholic and Protestant citizens of Northern Ireland had been allowed to own weapons to protect themselves and their families from the horrors inflicted on them by gangsters and state agents.

    Level the playing field and the bullying soon stops.

  • Paul


    Americans are a well tooled society and they seem to l;ack a lot of manners

  • Harry Flashman

    Paul, you seem to be obsessed about America but at the same time to be incapable of addressing the serious political point of allowing law abiding citizens the basic freedom to defend themselves and their families from those people, be they criminals or state agents or both, who would do them harm.

    Just for the record however Americans in general are much better mannered and more polite and respectful than people in our own dear wee province.

    I’m guessing you receive your stereotypes about American society from the popular media rather from actual real life experience.

  • Harry,

    I have a lot of sympathy for an armed citizenry against tyranny. Historically it has been a left-wing discourse up until the last century or so, and that is due to America. However, while some of the incidents you mention may not have occurred, the consequence of a better armed citizenry may well have been actual full scale civil war as there would have been the weapons to do it. Think throw-stonging across the barricades except with lots of guns. Not a good thing.

  • Comrade Stalin


    This country is full of fucking maniacs. A case in point, the Shankill Butchers did not have access to guns, so they used knives and their bare hands. The hoods and spides rioting in Divis don’t use guns either. And you want to put weapons in their hands ?

    I always visit a couple of gun stores when I’m in the USA on holiday (just for a nosey, you understand). You always seem to see a certain kind of person there.

    In theory, if these arguments were correct, there should be no crime in the USA because everyone is armed. So why is there crime there ?

  • Paul

    Actually harry neither of lives in the wee 6 now do we but my knowledge of america comes from intimate and ongoing contact with them

    Americans fake freindly in public but quickly resort to weapons and violence if challenged at all

    The Irish do indiference, they can’t be sure what side you’re on so they keep you at arms length. Unless you have a Canadian accent and they immediately apologize for calling you american and tell you about their cousin in Trawna

  • picador

    Surely if anyone needs personal protection weapons now it’s the Provos. Especially since MMcG utteres the T word.

  • joeCanuck

    Americans fake freindly in public but quickly resort to weapons and violence if challenged at all

    Yep, all 300 million of them.
    Get a grip, Paul. And stop watching those TV programs. Even the vast majority of their police folk never draw their weapons, let alone use them, in their careers. Geez.

  • Paul

    Yeah but they have so many guns that the ones who do do damage

    The basic difference between Canada and the us is that Canadians own rifles americans own handguns. I think per capita we actually own more guns but our gun crime infact crime in general is a fraction of americas. Guns don’t make you polite handguns only give you the opportunity to cause murder and mayhem

    I am not anti gun I have owned and shot many of them and gasp horror even killed a few birds and gophers but the notion that more guns solve the problem is absolutely stupid

    Just as an anecdote In my parents retirement community in Arizona two neighbours had a dispute about parking so there solution? Meet in the middle of the street at high noon for a good old fashioned shoot out! Luckily some one(probably a wife) reported them before they could meet up and have their little shoot em up. They were arrested and never let back on the property but what if no one had told on them?

  • Harry Flashman

    “In theory, if these arguments were correct, there should be no crime in the USA because everyone is armed. So why is there crime there?”

    Actually the facts would indicate those British crime figures are approaching that of the US, and perhaps most importantly crime in the US is very much restricted to certain areas, I make no allusion to the demographics in those areas but let’s just say they are not representative of US society in general but have extremely high rates of drug abuse, single parenthood, welfarism, gangsterism and other aspects of general criminality. Outside of those areas life in the United States is remarkably crime free.

    What you do not have, because a) the Americans wouldn’t put up with it and b) there is no need for it, is the ubiquitous CCTV monitoring that is required in our supposedly crime free society. Furthermore there is not the same levels of drunken disorder and lawlessness that takes total control of British and Irish city centres after 10pm nor is there the same level of petty vandalism and theft that now occurs as a generality throughout British towns and cities. Walk through ‘normal’ areas of American towns and cities and you will not see the same sights of litter, graffiti and most ominously heavily shuttered business premises even in the suburbs.

    All of that indicates that the United States, outside of very specific areas, is in fact a very well ordered, and yes polite, society compared to our own. One other thing, a type of crime that is very rapidly rising in the UK is “hot” burglary, ie break-ins while the owners are on the premises (this is due to the improvements in home security, ironically nowadays your home is most vulnerable when you are in it), in the US such burglaries are almost unheard of, now why do you think that might be?

    As to the assertion that if the people of Northern Ireland (and by the way I make it clear it would have to be law abiding people and adults, perhaps even restricted to home owners) had had access to firearms then the situation would have been worse (incidentally I know what the Shankill Butchers did, my point is that they couldn’t have done it if their victims had shot them first). My contention that the situation would never have developed in the first place, if the Nationalist people had been well armed in 1921 the Northern government would not have been able to do what they did, nothing puts manners on government bullies like an armed citizen.

    If it was good enough for the B Specials to keep Lee Enfields at home it should have been good enough for the people of the Bogside and Bombay Street, in such a situation the people of Northern Ireland would have simply had to get along much better than they subsequently did.

    Armed society, polite society.