A Horror Story from England
by "Musket Mike" of Montana
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Here in the States we have our own horror stories about issues surrounding police abuses of power but every once in a while we hear a horror story from England that is enough to send shivers down the spine.
At 2.15 pm on 5/20/09 the author of the Expedient Homemade Firearms books, Philip A.Luty was arrested at gunpoint by the British "North East Counter Terrorism Unit" (NECTU). Philip is the well known author of Expedient Homemade Firearms—The 9mm machine gun. [Buy at Amazon.com]
Numerous other books and information on building improvised firearms were available on Philip's website www.thehomegunsmith.com. The website has, I am told, been temporarily closed until security measures can be put in place to prevent British police from tracing and visiting those who downloaded publications from the site. More on this chilling development later. Following Philip Luty's arrest he was held in a London prison for over nine weeks before obtaining bail. This is the second time Philip has been arrested and questioned by British police over the books he writes and sells via his website. No, Philip Luty is not a terrorist, nor does he have any links to terrorists, but it seems that in the UK today the British police are not just happy with obtaining a ban on most types of legal firearms but also want a ban on any publication that shows how to build a firearm and/or ammunition. Hence the quite unbelievable persecution of those who sell firearms related publications. As I said earlier this is the second time Philip has been arrested and questioned. In 2005 he was arrested and questioned over his books and website. At that time the British "Crown Prosecution Service" (CPS) took no further action and the case against Philip collapsed. Undeterred by this failure, the police waited another three years and then charged him under the UK Terrorism Act 2000. The wording of the charges is that Philip "MADE A RECORD OF INFORMATION THAT COULD ASSIST TERRORISTS". No folks, I am not joking. In the UK British police are now trying to create a link between those who commit terrorist acts and those who write gunsmithing publications. Oh yes, I mentioned above a "chilling development". That is putting it mildly. It turns out that at the same time that Philip was arrested the British police (Gestapo?) paid a visit to over fifty other people across the UK who had downloaded books from Philip's website.
A Very Worrying Situation
The fact that Philip Luty was arrested and charged under a terrorism act and then held in prison for many weeks is appalling enough, especially when I am told Philip is also suffering from cancer of the esophagus. But, even more worrying is the fact that the British police could trace those who had downloaded books from his website, and then pay them a visit. This is a new and frightening development to anyone who cares about freedom and privacy of the individual.
The question every American, and even more importantly every Englishman, must ask themselves is whether Britain is a hitherto unknown satellite state of the former USSR.
This horror story gives a new meaning to the term "on-line security".
When the police of any country start to arrest and prosecute authors, and do likewise with the readers of their publications after tracing them through online transactions, we need to ask serious questions about the extent of police power. I would suggest most strongly that the country with the highest number of surveillance cameras monitoring the population, and the largest DNA database in the world, has fallen to a new low on the barometer of freedom. Books on gunsmithing and the home workshop manufacture of firearms have been on bookshelves, and more recently on the internet, for at least the past forty years.
But of course the individual gun book author is an easy target for the British police.
"Buying Securely On-Line" has new Meaning
Just imagine downloading a book, a perfectly legal gunsmithing book, purchased as the disclaimer in the book says, "for academic study only", and then finding yourself being questioned or even raided by the British Gestapo! Secure on-line shopping has a new meaning. I, perhaps like you, like reading books on the homeworkshop-built firearm. If I decide to act on the information in the book and use the information to build something illegal or commit an illegal act then that is my private decision. How the hoot in hell can an author be held responsible for what a reader of his book does or how he behaves? Does the hardware store proprietor become responsible if he sells a hammer to a person who then decides to commit a hammer murder? What about the car dealer who sells a car to someone who decides to mow down kids in a play area with his one ton killing machine. Is the dealer responsible? However in the case of Philip Luty we are only talking about the sale of legal publications, not a hammer, gun, knife or car. Obviously British police fear information in the hands of the people just as much as a gun or knife. And what about the publisher of a book? Assuming the book is not published by the author will we see book publishers arrested for publishing material that does not meet the approval of the State? When authors and publishers have to censor or moderate their own material under fear of coming to the attention of state sanctioned "thought police", the freedom of the press and the free dissemination of ideas is in peril.
Britons needs to wake up and smell the coffee. They need to realise that they are one foot too far along the slippery slope to a totalitarian society. Americans also need to take note of what has happened on the other side of the Atlantic to one solitary gun rights campaigner and stop being so apathetic to the rights given to them by men of inspired intelligence in the form of the US constitution.
If you live in England I would strongly suggest downloading any of Philip Luty's books onto CD at your local anonymous internet café and then taking them home to enjoy. This may keep the grasping hand of Britain's thought police from molesting your door handle.
I would like to thank Mr.Luty for updating me on his situation.
"I may disagree with what you write but I will defend to the death your right to write it".
Editor's note: Phil's books can be downloaded from these links: