NEWS ITEMS

 

2014

  • Gun licence fees should pay for hot line

  • When will the government get a grip on gun licensing?

 

Gun licence fees should pay for hot line - May 2014

The debacle over the Prime Minister’s personal intervention to block a rise in gun licence fees continues to rumble on – and taxpayers continue to subsidise wealthy gun owners. Currently the fee is £10 a year – the cost of a few cups of coffee. In an industry where people will regularly pay £1000s for a day’s shooting and champagne that is unacceptable.

The Gun Control Network has been told by Norman Baker, the Minister for Crime Prevention, that the move to full cost recovery has been agreed. But it was agreed by Damien Green, his predecessor, so whether this Minister will succeed in doing what the previous one failed to do remains to be seen.

The issue now is what the licence fee is supposed to cover and what the real cost is. 

Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of GCN, says:

"It’s obvious that the licence fee should cover the whole cost of administering a rigorous licensing regime that will keep guns out of the hands of unsuitable people and keep the public safe. That means it should cover all administration, checks for mental illness, domestic violence, criminal behaviour, alcohol and drug abuse, police court costs where appeals are made, and a hot line for families and neighbours who are concerned about the behaviour of a gun owner. The hot line is particularly important because we know there are many people who feel threatened by a gun owning partner or ex partner, or even a neighbour. Going to the police often doesn’t work for these people so a dedicated hot line is what’s urgently needed.

Guns are lethal weapons and they do great damage in the wrong hands. The real cost of licensing guns is likely to be in the region of £50 a year not £10. It will be money well spent, but it should not be the taxpayers’ money".

 

When will the government get a grip on gun licensing? - February 2014

On Monday 24 February 2014 yet another avoidable gun tragedy took place in Surrey. An 82-year-old man, John Lowe, well known to the police, shot and killed a woman and her daughter at his home. He was a shooter whose licensed guns had been removed and then, unaccountably, returned to him.

This has become a syndrome. Unstable man exhibits dangerous or threatening behaviour – police are called – police remove guns from the home – guns are returned to the home after cautions and promises – the next episode of violence or drunkenness results in multiple murder.

Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network, says:

“This was avoidable. If the guns had not been returned these women would still be alive. If more attention was paid to rigorous licensing of guns this man would not have been allowed to keep them. If the licensing fee was set at a proper level rather than being the price of 4 cups of coffee a year, this man might not have had guns at all.

Gun violence in the home is a problem the police do not seem to understand – or if they do understand, they choose to do nothing about it. Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary needs to conduct a wholesale review of gun licensing practice around the country. It’s a post code lottery that shames our society. Almost all women killed with guns are killed in the home with legally-held weapons and most of these are preventable deaths”.

 

2013

  • US study demonstrates that the number of guns per capita is strong predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country

  • Why is the Taxpayer Subsidising Gun Owners?

  • Cosy Relationship Between Police and Shooters to Remain

  • Taxpayers Subsidise Gun Owners to the Tune of £100 Million

  • Further Fall in Gun Crime in Scotland and England & Wales

  • Book published on Reducing Gun Violence in America following Sandy Hook school massacre

 

US study demonstrates that the number of guns per capita is strong predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country - December 2013

 

A clinical research study published in the American Journal of Medicine in October demonstrated that the number of guns per capita is a strong predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country.

 

The research found little association between rates of mental illness and gun deaths, undermining arguments that the mental health of perpetrators is a more significant factor in shooting deaths than the ease of access to guns.

 

Researchers analysed data from 27 countries and found no reduction in crime rate with increased gun-ownership. They concluded that, “Regardless of exact cause and effect... the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.”

 

> Read the study

 

 

Why is the Taxpayer Subsidising Gun Owners? - September 2013

 

Forces are at work within government to undermine much needed reform of firearms licensing.

At present, shooters pay £50 for a gun licence which lasts for 5 years. This has been the same since 2001. For the price of 4 cups of coffee a year a man can own as many shotguns as he likes.

The police say the cost to them of processing an application for a gun licence is £200.

With 720,000 gun licences in existence, the Home Office estimates that the total cost to the taxpayer is approximately £20m per year.

Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network says:

‘This is against the public interest and against Treasury rules. In a Treasury publication Managing Public Money (2007) all departments are required to adhere to the principle of full cost recovery in matters such as this.

What seems to have happened is this:
The Home Office Minister for Policing Damien Green committed himself to full cost recovery of the licence fee. In meetings with Andy Marsh, ACPO lead on firearms, and Bobby Turnbull, campaigner, whose family was murdered in Horden on New Years Day 2011, he confirmed his commitment to achieving full cost recovery, starting with an increase in October 2013.

The proposal was then cleared by the Treasury and by the government’s Regulatory Policy Committee. However at the last hurdle – a new Cabinet sub-committee called the Reducing Regulation Committee – it was blocked.

As the only people who stand to gain from this block are the shooters themselves, it is logical to suppose that their lobbying has been successful. The result is that the licence fee will still cost £50 and the taxpayer will continue to pick up the bill.'

 

 

Cosy Relationship Between Police and Shooters to Remain - July 2013


Legally held guns are responsible for many gun deaths and injuries. The tragedies in Hungerford, Dunblane, Cumbria and Horden are well known examples but there are many more.

In the last 5 years there have been 43 female gun deaths in Great Britain and in at least 23 of them a legally owned weapon was used. In the last 3 months 9 people died from licensed guns, mainly shotguns, including a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old. See below for further details.

It has long been clear that the licensing system is too lax and the police are far too cosy with the shooters. As a result the checks on applicants are superficial and allow unstable and violent people to acquire and retain lethal weapons.

The Home Office says it is issuing new Guidance to the Police on Firearms Licensing but the new draft does not change the ethos. There is no statement anywhere that gun ownership is a privilege and not a right. The same pandering to the interests of shooters remains.

GILL MARSHALL-ANDREWS CHAIR OF THE GUN CONTROL NETWORK SAYS:

“The Home Office has a long and deep tradition of ‘being nice’ to shooters. Maybe that was OK in the age of deference to landowners and the aristocracy but it certainly isn’t OK in 2013.

Taxpayers should not have to subsidise gun owners (they do so by at least £100m over 5 years) and the police should be required to make far more robust enquiries about the suitability of applicants.

Spouses and partners should be asked for their views, medical records should be tagged so no-one with a history of depression, alcohol or drug abuse or domestic violence is granted a licence, and a hotline established so people can register their concerns about the behaviour of a gun owner.

Above all there needs to be oversight of the licensing process by people who are not shooters themselves. This would go a long way towards reminding everyone that owning a gun is a privilege to be earned and paid for – not, as in America, a right that is enshrined in law”.

RECENT GUN DEATHS WITH LEGALLY HELD WEAPONS

May 2013
Husband and wife found dead in shotgun suspected murder/suicide
– Northamptonshire - An elderly couple were found dead in what police believe to be a murder suicide. The 77-year-old woman was found inside the farmhouse with four shotgun injuries to her body. Her 78-year-old husband, a retired haulage company chairman, was discovered outside their farmhouse with a shotgun injury to the head. The family dog had also been killed. The man is said to have been a keen pheasant shooter.

Young farmer (22) killed by his own gun while hunting wildlife at night - A 22-year-old father and member of a well-known farming family from Ettrick and Lauderdale, Scotland, died from a gun shot injury sustained in a vehicle while he and a friend were out hunting wildlife at night. The victim is believed to have been a licensed gun owner.

Man (24) died after being shot with an airgun - A 24-year-old man died in hospital after being shot in the head with an air rifle at an address in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He survived the shooting but died six days later from his injuries. A man has been arrested.

April 2013
Rabbit hunter (30) killed while out shooting at night
- A 30-year-old man from Staffordshire died after his gun discharged while he and a friend were out shooting, hunting rabbits at night in fields near Brockton, Shropshire.

March 2013
Woman and partner found dead in shotgun suspected murder/suicide
– Wiltshire - A 58-year-old woman and her partner have been found dead in a house in Devizes with shotgun injuries in what Police believe to be a murder suicide. The man, a retired police inspector and licensed gun owner, was a keen pheasant shooter. After the shootings the man’s family spoke about his emotional and mental well-being having been in sharp decline before the shootings.

16-year-old school boy took his own life with his birthday present gun - A school boy from Cobham, Kent was found dead at the family farmhouse after being visited by police regarding ‘sexting’. The boy was an NCO in his school’s Combined Cadet Force where children receive training in military activities including shooting. The weapon he used to take his own life was a fifteenth birthday gift from his family.

17-year-old school boy took his own life with shotgun from family farm - An inquest heard that a 17-year-old school boy used a shotgun at the family farm to take his own life while ‘home alone’ three nights after being arrested for drink driving. His parents remained unaware of his arrest until they discovered the charge sheet next to their son’s body.

 

 

Taxpayers Subsidise Gun Owners to the Tune of £100 Million - March 2013


The terrible events of 1 January 2012 in which legal gun owner Michael Atherton murdered his partner, her sister and his niece, are about to be scrutinised again at the Inquest in Co. Durham on 3 March.


The Gun Control Network has been working with the family and in particular with Bobby Turnbull, whose mum, sister and aunt were killed by Atherton with one of his legally owned shotguns.


Bobby joined members of GCN at a meeting on 25 February with Damien Green MP, Minister for Policing, to call for ‘real reforms’ of the gun licensing laws.


Gill Marshall-Andrews, Chair of the Gun Control Network, says:


‘It is not generally known that at least half of all gun deaths involve a shotgun - probably legally owned. It’s clear we need to tighten up the licensing of these weapons and ensure that people like Michael Atherton, with a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse, can’t own a gun.


Currently, the police do not have the resources to do a proper job of making sure someone is a suitable person to own a gun. Gun owners pay only £50 for a licence which lasts for 5 years. So for £10 per year, around the price of 4 cups of coffee, a man can own as many shotguns as he likes.


Gun ownership is a privilege that people should pay for – and there should be no element of subsidy from the taxpayer. Police estimate that the cost of issuing a licence is £200 which would mean that the current level of taxpayer subsidy is over £100m. With a more rigorous licensing regime this subsidy will rise even higher. GCN wants to see a fee of at least £250 for a firearms or shotgun licence. With this level of resourcing the police would be able to consult family members, neighbours, doctors and ex-partners about an applicant’s suitability. And they would be able to set up a ‘hotline’ for professionals, family, colleagues and neighbours to register their concerns about a gun owner’s behaviour.


Currently women have no right to be consulted about their partner having a gun and GCN has evidence that guns are frequently used as instruments of threat in the home. We need to address this issue and hope we can prevent the horrific murders that disfigure our society’.

 

Further Fall in Gun Crime in Scotland and England & Wales - February 2013

 

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has reported that firearm offences in Scotland fell by 21% from the total in 2010-11. There was a total of 514 offences in 2011-12, the lowest reported total for the 10 year period covered by the Statistical Bulletin. Air weapons accounted for 38% of all offences. There were 26 vandalism offences, 97 minor assaults involving a firearm and 6 serious assaults. A firearm was discharged and subsequently caused personal injury in 95 offences, including five recorded homicides.

 

> See Data

 

> See Statistical Bulletin

 

THE LATEST STATISTICS ON GUN CRIME published by the Home Office also show a further fall in the total number of offences in England and Wales. This represent the eighth consecutive fall in annual total firearms crimes, a fall of 60% to from the number of recorded offences in 2003/4.

> See Data from Annual Report

 

Book published on Reducing Gun Violence in America following Sandy Hook school massacre - February 2013

 

On 14-15 January 2013, a month after the fatal shooting of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, convened a Summit that brought together pre-eminent researchers and experts on gun violence from across the USA and around the world, including the UK. 

 

Following the meeting a series of research-based Policy Recommendations were made with the aim of reducing gun violence. To inform the debate on gun control in America the participants to the Summit have also contributed to a book whose publication was fast-tracked by John Hopkins University Press. Both a print version and e-book will shortly be available. Click here for more information on “Reducing Gun Violence in America – Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis” (edited by Daniel W Webster and Jon S Vernick).

 

2012

  • Common Decency Campaign to amend the ‘Game Act’

  • Sports Shooting - From Criminology to Cruelty

  • Bereaved family launch e-petition campaign for tighter licensing

  • Arming for self-protection increases your risk of a gun related death

  • Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Seventh Consecutive Fall

  • Boy Shot in Eye in Airgun Attack

  • Man Kills Three Women, Self in County Durham

 

Common Decency Campaign to amend the ‘Game Act’ - December 2012

 

Gun Control Network supports the Common Decency campaign calling for an amendment to the ‘Game Act’ in order to create exclusion zones around domestic dwellings to protect the rights of homeowners and avoid the problems and distress caused by ‘shoots’ on land adjacent to family homes.

 

For more information visit www.commondecency.co.uk.

 

Sports Shooting - From Criminology to Cruelty - December 2012

 

Article by Peter Squires, Professor of Criminology and Public Policy at the University of Brighton, exploring aspects of sports shooting, including the connection between criminal characteristics and those of the shooting sports fraternity.

> see the Article

 

Three women killed by licensed gun owner: bereaved family launch e-petition campaign for tighter licensing - November 2012

 

Michael Atherton's murder of his partner Susan McGoldrick, her sister Alison Turnbull and Alison's 24-year-old daughter Tanya in Horden, County Durham in January 2012 caused shock not just in the community but nationally. Atherton was a licensed firearms owner with a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. His guns had been temporarily removed following an earlier incident, but were returned with devastating consequences.

 

The family are now campaigning for tougher firearms licensing and have created an e-petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41060.

 

Arming for self-protection increases your risk of a gun related death - October 2012

Women living with a gun in their home are 3 times more likely to be killed by a firearm than those living in households where there are no guns:

> D.J. Wiebe. 2003. Homicide and suicide risks associated with firearms in the home: A national case control study. Annals of Emergency Medicine, Vol 41, pp. 771-782.

Women physically abused by current or former intimate partners (in the USA) are five times more likely to be killed by their (present or former) partner if he owned a firearm:

> J. Campbell et al., 2003 Risk factors for femicide within physically abusive relationships. American Journal of Public Health, Vol 93, pp. 1089-97.

 

Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Seventh Consecutive Fall - September 2012

 

THE LATEST STATISTICS ON GUN CRIME published by the Home Office show a further fall in the total number of offences.  Figures released in January 2012 show a significant drop in overall gun crime.

> see Data from Annual Report

> see Data from Quarterly Report

 

Boy Shot in Eye in Airgun Attack - January 2012

 

Derbyshire police have issued a report revealing that 70 percent of all gun crime in their county is attributable to airguns or BB guns.

 

Over the last six months at least two children have suffered serious, life-changing eye injuries after being shot with airguns. A 12-year-old boy in Newport, Wales is in danger of losing an eye after being shot in January 2012, and a 15-year-old girl in Bury lost an eye as a result of being shot with an airgun in July 2011.

 

Click here for more on airgun attacks.

 

Man Kills Three Women, Self - January 2012

 

Michael Atherton shot and killed three women before turning the gun on himself in Horden, County Durham. He used a legally owned shotgun in the domestic violence attacks, in which he murdered his partner, his sister and his niece. Atherton had his legally owned guns returned to him after police removed them in 2008 following an incident.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2011

  • Further Fall in Gun Crime in Scotland

  • UK Home Office Pursuing Improved Gun Laws

  • Gun Massacre and Bombing in Norway kills 77

  • New Law on Airgun Security

  • Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Sixth Consecutive Fall

 

 

Further Fall in Gun Crime in Scotland - October 2011

 

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has announced that firearm offences in Scotland fell by 24% in the year to March 2011. There was a total of 643 offences, the lowest reported total for the 10 year period covered by the Statistical Bulletin. Air weapons accounted for 36% of offences. There were 39 vandalism offences, 110 minor assaults involving a firearm and 12 serious assaults. A firearm was discharged and subsequently caused personal injury in 111 offences, including two recorded homicides.
 

> See Scottish Government Press Release

 

> See Statistical Bulletin

 

> See Data

 

Home Office Updating Gun Law - September 2011

 

THE UK HOME OFFICE is reviewing gun laws in the wake of the Derrick Bird shootings. Bird shot and killed 12 people in Cumbria before taking his own life as well. The Home Affairs Select Committee, with urging from GCN, admitted in December 2010 that current gun law needed review and appears to be acting to that end.

 

Norway Gun Massacre - July 2011

 

SEVENTY-SEVEN people have died in twin terror attacks on Norway - the worst peacetime massacre in the country's modern history. A massive bomb blast shattered buildings in the capital Oslo, killing at least eight people. Then a gunman rampaged through an island youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party, killing at least 69 people. Suspect Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has admitted carrying out both attacks.

 > View timeline of events on BBC News

 > See information about victims

 > Dutch Security Minister to tighten laws

 

New Law on Airgun Security - January 2011

 

AIRGUN OWNERS who do not take the appropriate steps to secure air weapons properly are liable to a fine of up to £1,000 under under Section 46 of the Crime and Security Act 2010, which came into force on 10 February 2011.  Owners are required to store airguns separately from pellets, out of sight, using a robust lockable cupboard and keeping the keys separate and secure inside a house, rather than in an outbuilding such as a garden shed. The legislation is supported by Gun Control Network, some of whose members have suffered personal tragedy as a result of inadequate storage of airguns by irresponsible owners and have been lobbying for these common sense measures for some time.

 > See article in The Telegraph

 

Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Sixth Consecutive Fall - January 2011 

 

THE LATEST STATISTICS ON GUN CRIME published by the Home Office show a further fall in the total number of offences.  Two sets of figures released in January 2011, the annual data for the year ending March 2010 and a quarterly report on the year ending September 2010, both show a significant drop in overall gun crime.  GCN will comment in more detail in the January Review.

> see Data from Annual Report

> see Data from Quarterly Report

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2010

  • Home Affairs Committee Report on Firearms Control Published
  • Report on Cumbria Shootings Published
  • Home Affairs Committee Announces New Inquiry into Firearms Control
  • Further Fall in Gun Crime in England & Wales
  • Licensed Gun Holder Kills 12 People in Cumbria
  • Airgun and BB Gun Campaigns in Wales and Scotland
  • Olympic Starting Pistol Banned
  • Gun Crime in London
  • Hampshire Police Announce Firearms Amnesty
  • Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Fifth Consecutive Fall
  • Guns Becoming Difficult to Obtain (NABIS)

 

 

Home Affairs Committee Report on Firearms Control Published - December 2010 

 

THE HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE have published a report on Firearms Control.  Their inquiry was prompted by the shooting of 12 men and women by Derrick Bird in Cumbria in June 2010 and the shootings perpetrated by Raoul Moat the following month.  The Committee heard evidence from a number of individuals and organisations, including Gun Control Network.  They have acknowledged the contribution that legally-held guns make to gun crime in Great Britain and have made a number of recommendations to gun legislation to reduce the risks posed by gun ownership.  GCN supports many of these recommendations but believes that in some areas the Committee has not gone far enough - see Press Release.  Nevertheless we would urge the Government to act on the Committee's recommendations as soon as possible.

 > See Report

 > See GCN's Press Release

 

ACPO Report on Cumbria Shootings Published - November 2010

 

FOLLOWING THE MASS SHOOTING IN CUMBRIA on 2 June 2010 (see below), Adrian Whiting, Assistant Chief Constable of Dorset Police and ACPO lead chief officer for Firearms & Explosives licensing, has prepared a report which concerns the grant of a firearm certificate and shotgun certificate to the perpetrator Derrick Bird and contains observations regarding potential changes to the system of granting such certificates and related provisions of law.  He concludes that Cumbria Constabulary made decisions regarding the granting of the certificates in accordance with the law, Home Office guidance and ACPO advice.  He makes a number of recommendations.  These include ones relating to handguns for humane despatch, miniature rifle ranges, prohibited persons and those with suspended sentences, information exchange with medical professionals, and introducing a single certificate type for both Section 1 firearms and shotguns.

 

> See the Report - Part 1, Part 2

 

 

Home Affairs Committee Announces New Inquiry into Firearms Control - July 2010

 

THE HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE announced a new inquiry into firearms control.  The Committee will examine whether or not there is a need for changes to the way in which firearms and/or shotgun certificates are issued, monitored or reviews as a means of preventing gun violence.

 

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said: "In the light of the recent tragic shootings in Cumbria and in Northumberland, the Committee wishes to examine the legislation governing firearms.  It will seek to determine whether there are lessons to be learnt from recent events, including the role of doctors and criminal justice agencies in liaising with police to assess the risk posed by individuals.  We also want to be certain that our gun laws are clear, transparent and enforceable."

> See Terms of Reference

 

Further Fall in Gun Crime in England & Wales - July 2010

 

PROVISIONAL FIGURES for gun crime in England and Wales for the year ending March 2010 have shown a further fall in the number of firearm offences (not including those involving airguns) of 3 percent to a total of 7995.

> See Latest Statistics

 

Licensed Gun Holder Kills 12 People in Cumbria - June 2010

> See GCN Press Release

 

Airgun and BB Gun Campaigns in Wales and Scotland - May 2010

 

CAMPAIGNS WHICH HIGHLIGHT the dangers of air weapons and BB guns have been launched in Wales and Scotland.  They remind owners that these weapons can injure and kill.

 

SOUTH WALES POLICE started a poster and leaflet campaign in April which warning buyers of the laws and the dangers.  It follows the death of 10-year-old Swansea boy Rhys Johnson in September 2009.  The number of BB gun offences in South Wales rose from eight for the year ending April 2009 to 28 in the following year.  Police officers will be visiting firearms and air weapon sellers and asking retailers to give advice leaflets to every customer.

> See BBC Article from Wales

IN SCOTLAND, STRATHCLYDE POLICE have launched a 'Game Over' campaign which also highlights the dangers posed by air weapons.  Airguns accounted for 57% of weapons recovered from firearm incidents in the force area.  Computer game imagery is being used on posters and an advert trailer to promote the message that, in the wrong hands and used irresponsibly, airguns can be lethal.  The posters will be displayed in town centres and schools.  The campaign was welcomed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill who said "Airguns are not toys but weapons that can kill and main.  We've seen too may tragedies over the years that have caused pain and injury to children and animals."

 

Game Over poster from Strathclyde Police's campaign highlighting dangers of airguns

> See BBC Article from Scotland

 

Olympic Starting Pistol Banned - April 2010

 

THE OLYMPIC .38BB STARTING PISTOL, a gun which has been available for under £100 from sports outlets and firearms dealers but can be readily converted to fire live ammunition, has become a new weapon of choice in gang warfare.  The police have seized 179 converted Olympics and recorded a growing number of crimes, including three attempted murders, in which the guns have been used.  It has been behind a number of 'reputational shootings' in London and accounted for nearly one fifth of the firearms seized by the Metropolitan Police last year.  A further 22 of the converted starting pistols have also been recorded outside the capital.  The police have indicated that they are being used because of difficulties in obtaining more sophisticate firearms.

 

It has been announced that from 4 June the guns are to become prohibited weapons under the 1968 Firearms Act.  The Italian manufacturers have agreed to stop exporting them to Britain and they are being recalled from shops.  Owners are being asked to hand them in during a targeted amnesty.

> See Article in The Times

 

> See BBC Article

 

Gun Crime in London - April 2010

 

THE LATEST FIGURES FOR GUN CRIME IN LONDON, announced by the Metropolitan Police, show a worrying increase which goes against apparent trends being reported in other areas of the country.  The figures indicate that the number of offences for the year ending March 2010 (see below) increased by 14.2% from 3026 in 2008/09 to 3455.

 

Although the number of firearms-related homicides in London has been going down over the last three years (GCN estimates that there were 16 in 2009/10), the deaths this month of two more gun victims, one a 16-year-old girl, have highlighted how serious the problem of gun crime remains in the capital.

 

Recent figures for gun crime in London can, however, present a confusing picture.  The Metropolitan Police Website describes the offences included in the latest set as follows:

All offences involving a firearm. This will include offences where a firearm has been seen, or discharged/used. Both real, and fake firearms, and air weapons are counted within this category. Theft and handling offences are no longer included in the gun crime definition.

However, it is difficult to match these figures with those published in a recent Home Office Report which suggested that in 2008/09 there were 3090 offences, excluding air weapons, and those quoted by the Greater London Authority for 2008/09 which suggested 2168 offences, including air weapons (see below).

 

 

Hampshire Police Announce Firearms Amnesty - April 2010

 

HAMPSHIRE POLICE have announced an amnesty to give residents a chance to hand in any unwanted or illegal firearms at nine police stations.  The amnesty follows the news that the gun used by Andrew Copland to kill himself, his ex-partner and their 4-year-old daughter in Aldershot in December 2009 had been found by him in a skip while he was working as a builder in 1998.  He kept the weapon.  Chief Superintendent Mark Chatterton said that "many people within the community have told us they are unaware of the laws surrounding gun ownership."  The amnesty will last two weeks.  Fifty-seven firearms, mostly BB guns or imitation firearms, but including three handguns, were handed in during the first two weeks (Basingstoke Gazette, 16 April 2010).

> see BBC Article

 

Annual Firearms Crime Figures in England and Wales Show Fifth Consecutive Fall  - January 2010

 

THE LATEST ANNUAL GUN CRIME FIGURES have confirmed a significant fall in the number of offences in the year ending March 2009.  The total number fell by 18 percent to 14,250.  This figure includes offences involving air weapons which account for 42 percent of the total.  There was an overall decrease of 40 percent in the number of gun injuries recorded, with the number of fatal injuries falling to 39, the lowest number in at least 20 years.

 

GCN has provided more detailed comment on these figures.

> see Data

 

> see Home Office Report

ANOTHER HOME OFFICE REPORT provided a more recent figure for total firearm offences (but excluding air weapons) and showed that for the year to September 2009 there was a further 5 percent decrease in the number of offences compared with the previous year.

> see More Information

 

> see Home Office Report

 

Guns Becoming Difficult to Obtain (Nabis) - January 2010

 

THE NATIONAL BALLISTICS INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (NABIS) says that guns are becoming difficult to obtain.  NABIS works by combining advanced forensic technology and police intelligence information and has linked more than 350 guns with crimes in its first year of operation in England and Wales.  The programme manager said that capturing key suppliers meant there were fewer guns on the streets and that it was wrong to suggest guns could be bought cheaply and easily.  Even rival criminal gangs are using the same weapons, hired from a common source, and NABIS have seen the same guns being used over and over again.

> see BBC Report

 

> see Home Office Press Release