Alongside the Republic of Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway we're one of the few major nations who send our police officers out on the beat unarmed.
It's been that way here since The Glasgow Police Act of 1800, but it's right that a debate for change has been reignited by the cowardly executions of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.
On strictly cost terms, with public spending slashed there's not a hope of arming Scotland's 17,000 cops, far less Britain's 150,000 mainland officers.
And, by the way, would an independent Scotland want bobbies armed?
In an ideal world they would all have firearms training, if only to see who blinks, but even that cost would be prohibitive.
But this isn't about money. It's about the British principle of policing by consent.
It's about having a police service, not a police force.
It's about having citizens in uniform, with their first duty to the public rather than to the state.
If our police are armed routinely, that perception will change forever.
Anyway, not every cop could be trusted to carry a gun. And how many would want to?
PCs Hughes and Bone were ambushed attending a supposedly routine burglary. It's doubtful whether being armed would have saved them.
Police favour the use of stun guns, and despite the horror of civil liberty groups it's surely better to be shocked than have even more shootings of unarmed civilians.
Even with highly-trained specialists armed 24/7, we have innocent victims, such as Jean Charles de Menezes among others.
There is genuine fear that gun crime would escalate as more villains tool up in response, but if it was left to the great British public, the cops would probably be armed tomorrow.
Attitudes seem to have hardened since an ICM poll in 2004 found 47% supported arming all police, compared with 48% against.
Of course, that same public would immediately bring back capital punishment.
As old Tory rottweiler Norman Tebbit put it last week: "It is time we thought again about the deterrent effect of the shadow of the gallows."
But this is not a decision for politicians or public, it's a choice for the men and women on the front line.
After their reputation was shredded by the Hillsborough report and other high-profile cover-ups, we've had a grim reminder that they put their lives on the line every day.
It's they who should decide whether they want, or need, to be armed.
In the last Police Federation poll, in 2006, 82% said 'no' and despite last week's horrific murders opinions seem unchanged.
We should be proud Britain's police have been going about their business unarmed for more than 200 years.
Whatever recent tragic events may say, it sends out a powerful signal that, compared with an ever more violent world, ours is a peaceful society.
TORY chief whip Andrew Mitchell should feel thoroughly ashamed after his four-letter rant at Met coppers who stopped him cycling out the main gates at Downing Street.
I mean, who still looks down on a fellow-citizen as a pleb?
I'll tell you who, David Cameron's millionaire cabinet – them and all their city financiers who couldn't give a toss about us plebs.
A government newsletter last year summed up their attitude perfectly. It was headed: People Lacking Everyday Basic Skills.
I've just one thing to say to Mr Mitchell and his ilk...
On yer bike, Jimmy!