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Gun Control Network

The Gun Control Network was established to campaign for tighter controls on guns of all kinds in Britain and a greater awareness of the dangers associated with gun ownership and use


CONTACT US                                            INFER TRUST

CONTACT US                                            Support for Victims

CONTACT US                                            of Gun Crime

Gun Incidents

Gun Control Network monitors media reports of incidents involving firearms throughout Great Britain

and compiles monthly lists and reviews


                     Sentences and Convictions

                     Review - November/December 2013

                     See Also:     Gun Deaths          Domestic Violence          Airguns

                     Lists of Airgun Incidents: 2008; 2009; 2010; 2011

Latest News


Gun licence fees should pay for hotline - When will the government get a grip on gun licensing? - 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? - 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 - Common Decency Campaign to amend the ‘Game Act’ - Sports Shooting: From Criminology to Cruelty - Three women killed by licensed gun owner: 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 - Lowest Scottish Gun Crime Figures for 32 Years - New Law on Airgun Security - Power to Regulate Airguns to be Devolved to Scotland - BMA in Talks with ACPO about Tagging Medical Records of Patients holding Firearms or Shotgun Licences

View News Stories



GCN Press Release - 15 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".



GCN Press Release - 26 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”.



US study demonstrates that the number of guns per capita is strong

predictor of firearm-related deaths in a country

3 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


GCN Press Release - 10 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.'


Taxpayers Subsidise Gun Owners to the Tune of £100 Million

GCN Press Release - 27 February 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’.



Gun Deaths 2012-13


Published 11 March 2013

  • 87 deaths were reported, including 45 deaths that were apparently self inflicted

  • In at least 51% of all gun deaths the weapon used was a shotgun; at least 64% of self-inflicted deaths involved a shotgun

  • 77% of female gun victims were killed in domestic incidents by a partner or family member

  • 31% of all gun homicide victims were murdered in domestic incidents



Data compiled from British media reports for incidents in England, Scotland and Wales from 1 January 2012 to 11 March 2013



Firearms Crime in England and Wales Fall Eighth Consecutive Year


Annual Total of Firearms Offences in England and Wales

If you experience any gun crime contact your local police force

or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


If you have any concerns about gun ownership and use please write to us at:

It helps us to know why you are interested in gun control and, if appropriate,

 the institution or group you represent

If you, your family or friends have been affected by gun violence, or have particular issues with guns or gun culture please contact Infer Trust.  Infer Trust is a National Registered Charity which raises awareness of public health and safety issues, with particular reference to use of firearms and imitation guns etc. The Trust offers support, advice and networking opportunities to those affected.


If you are young you can also visit the website of The Kids Taskforce Charitable Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing information to young people on how to stay safe



GCN Press Releases and Comment

Gun Deaths in 2010

Home Affairs Committee Report on Firearms Control Published

GCN's Evidence to Home Affairs Committee;

Supplementary Evidence

Licensed Gun Owner Kills 12 People - June 2010

Cats Continue to be Targeted in Airgun Attacks - May 2010

Young Britons' Foundation and Liberal Gun Laws - March 2010

Gun Crime Figures - February 2010

> View Other Recent Press Releases

Latest Statistics


Gun Ownership in England and Wales

Home Office data given on The Guardian Website provide details of the number of legally-held guns in each police area in England and Wales


  Update for England & Wales (excludes Airgun Crime)


Annual Figures for England & Wales (include Airgun Crime)

> see Comment


Gun Offences Decrease in Scotland


Data Released in Parliamentary Answers: Court Proceedings - Imitation and Air Weapons, Hospital Admissions, Firearms Crime per 100,000 Population, UK Gun Deaths, Misappropriated Firearms


Gun Homicide Rates by Country

(graph shows how much lower gun homicide is in Britain in comparison with most other countries)

 International Comparisons Updated

What Can You Do?

Issues Raised by Correspondents to GCN

Cats Killed but Police Seem Unable to Act ● Neighbours using Airguns ●

Teenage Son is left a Tetraplegic as a Result of Airgun Shooting ●

The Long Term Effects of Gun Crime on a Victim


What Happens to Guns when an Owner Dies ● Gun Sales in a Toy Shop ● Inadequate Responses to Gun Incidents ● Access to Guns by Unfit Persons


 Pet Owners Factsheet

GCN receives e-mails from pet owners whose animals have been shot with guns, usually air weapons.  The factsheet provides some practical advice.


> See GCN Comment on Cat Shootings


Guns in Advertising


GCN was very saddened to learn of the death of Janice Collins.  Following the murder of her son Brendon Lawrence who was shot dead in St Ann's, Nottingham, in 2002 Janice became a tireless campaigner against gun crime.  She was a key member of Mothers Against Guns and ensured that the voice of the families of gun crime victims did not go unheard.  There are tributes to Janice in an article in the Nottingham Post.  We offer our sympathy to all her family and friends.


Other Campaigns and Activities

> Hampshire Police FAKE Campaign


> Winnenden Families' Campaign

Families of students and teachers killed in a school shooting at a school in Winnenden in March 2009 are campaigning for stricter gun laws in Germany



Violent Crime Reduction Bill

Parents of Airgun Victims Write to MPs


Last updated Saturday, 04 October 2014


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This Website outlines our aims - which are simple - and the ways in which you can help.

The role of GCN is not to convince people that guns are dangerous. Sensible people know that already.


Our job is to ensure that public safety remains the priority in all matters of gun licensing and legislation. Owning a gun is a privilege to be earned, not a right to be claimed. There are still too many unsuitable people owning guns.

On the website you'll find details of our campaigns, the activities of other groups, firearms statistics, lists of gun incidents and GCN comment.

Our job is to persuade the law-makers that they must listen to the majority, and not be swayed by the narrow sectional interests of the shooters.


In putting forward our views we have had to contend with hostility from the shooting fraternity for whom it is anathema to advocate controls over the possession of lethal guns (click here for examples).