Late last month. four masked men broke into the home of British clay pigeon champion shooter George Digweed, stealing cash, trophies, at least two firearms, and his vehicle. Digweed, who was at home during the incident with his wife, was badly beaten with a hammer. It was a scenario that the champion sport shooter never envisioned, and one that he says will leave an impact on him for the rest of his life. What some of his fans are now asking however, is whether the UK’s strict gun laws had any impact on Digweed’s ability to defend himself. Digweed did own shotguns, which he kept at his home, but they were subject to strict regulations concerning gun storage and safety. In the UK, certified gun owners must keep their firearms locked securely in a gun cabinet or alternatively, in a safe with the firearm dissembled—at least the firing mechanism must be removed. Ammunition must be stored in a different container and locked firearms should not be loaded. This of course, makes it very difficult for gun owners to use their firearms for home defense, even barring the fact that handguns and other weapons commonly used for self defense are not widely owned in the UK.
Digweed gave a sparse description of the event in a recent Facebook post.
“Unfortunately Kate and I were the victims of a horrific attack on Sunday night,” he wrote. “Masked men broke into the house, I was badly beaten, we were subjected to an horrible period of time, during which they stole money, guns, trophies, medals and my vehicle. The guns taken were a Benelli Auto and a new Perazzi High Tech. We are both mentally scarred forever, I’m also pretty sore. I’m going to try and carry on with my normal schedule as soon as I can, and both of us are hoping that the ensuing months and years are a great healer.”
You can see an interview with Digweed below:
Some have speculated that since the attack was so abrupt, Digweed would not have had time to retrieve his firearms even if they were not so securely stored. In fact, short of carrying a handgun—which is effectively banned in the UK—commenters speculated that Digweed would not have been able to arm himself at all. However, American observers say that thieves may be less likely to invade the home of a champion shooter, especially one known for his unerring aim, if they knew he had ready accessibility to his firearms.
In any case, Digweed suspects that the thieves were after his trophy collection. It is not known how many of his trophies were stolen, or what their value was, but Digweed says that the men targeted his trophy room specifically. Police have been contacted about the robbery and are investigating.