On November 7, 2021, it was my honor to conduct an online interview with Dr. Michael North, author of the book, Dunblane: Never Forget. During the live interview that was conducted via Zoom, Americans Against Gun Violence supporters who logged in to the event had an opportunity to ask questions of Dr. North (who prefers to be addressed by his nickname, “Mick”) and to offer comments. The opportunity to speak directly with Mick is now passed, but the one hour video recording of the interview with him is now posted on YouTube and available for online viewing. You can access the video by clicking on this link.
The interview begins with Dr. North reading the title – and the subtitle – of Chapter 4 of Dunblane: Never Forget:
The Thirteenth of March
“Bye Soph, see you this evening.”
The subtitle to Chapter 4 memorializes the last words that Mick said to his five year old daughter, Sophie, as he dropped her off at the elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, on the morning of March 13, 1996 – the last words he would ever say to Sophie during her lifetime. Later that morning, Sophie, 15 other students in her class, and their teacher were murdered, and three other teachers and 12 other students were wounded, by a man who legally owned the handguns he used to commit the mass shooting.
In the November 7 interview, Mick recounts the events of March 13, 1996, and he also explains why it was he, and not his wife, Barbara, who dropped their daughter and only child off for school that day. Mick’s wife, Barbara, had died of breast cancer less than three years before Sophie was murdered.
Mick also describes in the November 7 interview how he and the other grieving Dunblane parents came to the conclusion that nothing short of a complete ban on civilian ownership of handguns(1) would suffice to prevent future tragedies on the scale of the Dunblane Primary School massacre; the obstacles they faced in getting such a ban adopted – including the British gun lobby, callous politicians, and even insensitive comments by the Queen of England – and how they eventually succeeded in getting the ban passed within less than two years of the Dunblane mass shooting.
In the November 7 interview, Mick also talks about two other matters that the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the four other justices who joined him in the Court’s 2008 Heller decision felt to be critically important with regard to gun control laws, but that Mick didn’t even mention in Dunblane: Never Forget – namely, the 1689 English Declaration of Rights and English common law. In the 5-4 Heller decision, the Court overturned over two centuries of legal precedent, including four prior Supreme Court opinions, in ruling for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own guns unrelated to service in “a well regulated militia.” The Heller majority based its opinion in large part upon the claim that the Second Amendment codifies a broad individual right to own guns that the Founders of the United States inherited from their British ancestors based upon the 1689 English Declaration of Rights and English Common Law. Mick explains in the interview that he didn’t mention either the 1689 Declaration of Rights or English Common law in Dunblane: Never Forget because neither came up during the debate concerning the handgun ban. No one in Britain seriously believed that the 1689 English Declaration of Rights or English common law conferred an individual right to own guns.
In the interview, Mick also discusses events following the publication of Dunblane: Never Forget in the year 2000, including his interactions with “preeminent researchers on gun violence from across