Guns and Civil Liberties


Grim: It is your job to vet the applications. You’re supposed to ask questions to find out who’s a suitable person to own a gun.

Fowler: That’s right. And surely the first question must be, “Does that person wish to own a gun?”

Grim: Of course.

Fowler: And if the answer to that is “yes”, then clearly that person is not suitable to have one.

Grim: This is the nanny state gone mad!

Fowler: What, because I don’t happen to think that a man who lives in a suburban semi needs an automatic weapon?

Grim: He’s a sportsman.

Fowler: Then tell him to buy a pair of plimsolls. Sport? Sport? When did you last see a wild boar in Gasforth? Or an elk? If you did, dispatching it with a spear or an arrow would be sport. But deploying an elk-seeking missile is just cheating.

Grim: This is a civil liberties issue! […]

Fowler: And what about the rights of those who do not wish to live next to an armed man? […]

Grim: I am talking about the rights of the individual here, which I consider secondary to those of the community as a whole.

Fowler: This town is a human nest. If you were an ant, would you consider it a matter of hymenopterous civil liberties that a socially dysfunctional worker ant be allowed to keep a pet anteater?

Grim: If it were securely muzzled and tethered, yes, I would.

Fowler: Then clearly you are quite mad.

– The Thin Blue Line (1996) Season 2, Episode 3. [No. 10]

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