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经济学人:枪支管制

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Gun control

枪支管制
Armed robbery
持枪抢劫
Quietly, and rather politely, Britain is getting a gun lobby
不知不觉中,英国成为倡议枪支管制的一大阵营
ORYX and buffalo heads stare glumly from the walls of James Purdey & Sons, a swanky London gunmaker. In cases beneath them stand some of the priciest weapons in Britain. The firm's elaborately engraved shotguns take up to two years to produce and cost at least 80,000. Many customers buy a pair.
大羚羊及野牛满是忧郁地凝视着普德莱家族的围墙,这是伦敦一个有着显著地位的枪支生产者。坐拥英国一些最昂贵的武器。该公司精巧设计的猎枪两年时间里产出并消耗了最少十三万五千英镑。大客户都是一次性购买一副。
Shooting is an expensive hobby, even without so extravagant a weapon. But licensing a gun is cheap. Owners pay only 50 to register for five years, a fee that has not risen since 2001. Police chiefs say the cash they collect covers barely a quarter of what it costs them to run the licensing scheme, and that they are spending more than 17m a year to cover the shortfall.
即使枪支不怎么昂贵,射击仍是一项奢侈的爱好。但是获得持枪证书就相对便宜多了。持有者只需支付50英镑就可获得5年有效期的持枪证,这个费用自2001年以来再也没涨过。警察局长们说,他们收取的这些费用只够办理枪支许可证程序花费的四分之一,因此不得不支付一千七百万来弥补短缺的。

That is not a big number, but it rankles at a time of austerity, the police have suffered from more than other public services. The problem is not just that inflation has eroded the value of the fee, says Andy Marsh of Hampshire Constabulary. Better monitoring of gun owners has made the system more expensive, and the workload is growing as gun ownership creeps up. Since fees were set in 2001 the number of guns held by civilians in England and Wales has risen by 14% to 1.8m, the highest number since detailed record-taking started two decades ago.

虽然数目不大,但是在紧缩时期更是雪上添霜,因为警察们比其它公共服务行业工作人员付出的还要多。问题的关键在于,并不是通货膨胀侵蚀了许可费的价值,汉普郡警察安迪沼泽如是说。更好的枪支持有者的监视使得这个系统费用更加的昂贵,费用工作量也随着持枪者的不断增加而变大。自从2001年制定许可费以来,在英格兰和威尔士公民持枪的数量以百分之十四增长至一百八十万,为自开始记录持枪人数二十年以来的最高值。
These healthy figures surprise those who thought strict gun laws brought in after a mass shooting in Scotland in 1996 would fatally wound Britain's shooting culture. That horror, and the ban on handguns that followed, encouraged gun ownership to decline for five consecutive years. But a gradual increase in the popularity of rifles, both for shooting targets and for killing deer and other animals, has since reversed the trend. Novices find it fairly easy to get a licence: despite rigorous checks police refuse less than 2% of the applications they receive.、
这些持续增长的数据使得人们感到无比的惊讶,他们认为在1996年苏格兰群体枪击事件之后引入严格的枪支法律将对英国的枪支文化以致命打击。那次惨案和之后的手枪禁令连续5年鼓励减少枪支持有者数量。但是步枪流行的持续增加,射击的靶和猎杀鹿及其他动物自那之后出现逆向增长。新手们发现获得持枪许可证非常容易:尽管经过严格的审查,警察们回绝了他们收到的至少百分之二的应用申请。
As their ranks have swelled, political support for shooters has rebounded. Among the many populist pledges put forward by Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, is a promise to loosen gun laws if elected. Conservative bigwigs probably think that a small public subsidy for gun owners is a meagre price to placate voters in their rural heartlands—especially given that the Tories have not yet held a promised vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting for fear that MPs would vote to uphold it. In September a cabinet subcommittee blocked a plan, backed by the Home Office, to push up the gun licence fee.
随着持枪人数量的不断膨胀,对持枪者的政治支持也获得了反弹。奈杰尔·法拉吉推进的多数平民誓言中,英国独立党领袖许诺如果当选的话,将放宽枪支管制。保守派的大亨们很可能会认为对持枪者的一小点政府补助是对在他们农村中心地带的选民们一种低代价的慰藉,尤其是考虑到托利党出于担心议员们投票的支持而还没有接受废除猎狐禁令的选票。九月一次由内政部做东的内阁小组会议上阻止了关于提高枪支许可费用的计划。
Britain's discreet but well-connected shooting lobby accepts that sooner or later a fee increase is inevitable. It demands that police cut bureaucracy from the licensing process before asking gun owners to stump up more. This stubbornness seems to have prodded officers into patching the system up, but it would be wise to wave through a deal. Shooting down a small rise this year would probably mean having to stomach a loftier one in future, especially if the Tories lose the next general election. That would be a worthless trophy.
英国的谨慎而又有着良好关系网的射击说客已然认识到许可费提高是不可避免的。这就需要警察们在要求枪支持有者多掏费用之前,放下他们在许可证办理过程中的官僚主义。这一棘手之事似乎鞭策着官员们来修补整个行政系统,但是通过交易来平息这一波折显得更加明智。今年压制了小规模的枪支持有者增长,意味着因小失多,将来可能不得不接受更多损失,尤其是当托利党下次竞选中失利。这将是件毫无价值的战利品。
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