LICENSED GUN OWNER KILLS 12 PEOPLE
3 June 2010
Twelve people have been killed and 25 injured in Cumbria
(northwest England) by a gunman who then committed suicide as police pursued
him. The man, a taxi driver who had been a licensed gun owner for 20
years, killed his twin brother, a colleague and the family solicitor
before driving through several small towns firing randomly at people.
Police later recovered a .22 rifle with a telescopic sight and a shotgun.
This is the third mass shooting in British history, and in
all three cases the weapons involved were legally owned. Most recent mass
shootings in other countries have also involved legally owned guns,
including the massacres in Finland, Germany, and at Virginia Tech in the
The UK gun
law permits licences for possession of firearms for use in hunting and
recreation. Almost anyone can get a license for shotguns, and there is no
limit on the number that can be owned. For rifles the licensing process is
stricter. But there are no mandatory checks for mental illness, alcohol or
drug dependency. And once a licence is issued, there are no annual checks
on the licence holder’s mental or general health.
Marshall-Andrews, from the UK Gun Control Network, said:
tragedy demonstrates once again the terrible danger of guns – both legal
and illegal ones. They are deadly weapons and we should know much more
about who is permitted to own them. Gun owners in the UK have always been
protected by a culture of secrecy. Police will not give out information
about gun ownership, saying it’s a private matter. But when legal gun
owners commit such dreadful crimes, it’s clearly not a private matter. We
should know who around us has guns so we can judge whether they are
suitable people to hold such deadly weapons.
licensing system failed yesterday to protect 12 innocent people from being
killed. It failed before at Hungerford in 1987 and Dunblane in 1996. On
its own it is clearly insufficient, because it doesn’t foresee that
previously law-abiding gun owners can become depressed, isolated,
delusional, angry, suffering from relationship difficulties or just
unhappy. If more people had known Derrick Bird had guns, someone might
have alerted the police and yesterday’s killings might never have
things need to happen now:
need to assert the public’s right to information about gun ownership.
Just as Jennifer’s List enables parents to find out where paedophiles
live, so doctors, social workers, care workers, paramedics and others with
a legitimate interest should be able to find out who the gun owners are.
Parents also should be able to find out if there are guns in a neighbour’s
house before allowing their children to play there. In many cases where
children are shot accidentally, their parents had no idea that there was a
gun in the playmate’s house.
if private citizens are going to be allowed to keep firearms at home,
annual checks should be conducted with their doctor, their spouse and the
police in relation to alcohol or drug abuse, depression, domestic violence
and criminal activity.
to join up the dots – odd behaviour, mental health problems, domestic
violence, gun ownership – and maybe, just maybe, we could prevent such
AIRGUN OWNERSHIP AND CHILDREN
26 August 2008
tragic shooting of the toddler Rashid Rullah highlights once again the
terrible consequences of the ‘boys’ toys’ culture surrounding airgun
ownership. This culture results in easy access, casual regard and
airguns are not treated as ‘real’ weapons they are not thought worthy of
registration or regulation. They are not taken seriously.
they are responsible for around half of all firearms offences and over a
quarter (1054 in 2006/7) of all serious firearms injuries.
Children pick up air weapons that are left lying around and use them to
kill, blind and injure other children, often siblings or friends. The
adults who own these guns are rarely held to account. There is no law
requiring them to store their weapons safely nor is there any record of
ownership. The terrible tragedies of Rashid, Mitchel, Alex, Danny S,
Danny M, David, George, Kazim, Lorna, Matthew, Micah, Nicola, Somma and
others are not merely ‘accidents’. They are preventable and culpable
years ago twelve-year-old Mitchel Picken was killed by another child while
friends played around with a father’s air weapon. Had this gun been
properly secured Mitchel would be alive today. His parents join the Gun
Control Network in calling upon Government to bring in legislation to
register airguns and their owners, and make them liable for the misuse of
Picken, Mitchel’s father, says ‘The irresponsibility of an air gun
owner has once again led to the shooting of a young child. The Government
cannot hide behind recent changes in legislation, which failed to take the
airgun problem seriously enough and make owners responsible for storing
their weapons safely. Airguns and their owners could be registered, and
they should be.’
TORIES ARE 'ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH' ABOUT GUN
4 October 2007
BEFORE AND DURING the Conservative Party
conference the two Davids - Cameron and Davis - have repeatedly referred
to gun crime as being 'out of control'.
This works as a headline-grabbing
statement but it is not true.
These are the facts (figures quoted are
for England and Wales):
Gun murders remain very low by
international standards, with fluctuations between 49 and 97 annually in
the last ten years. The most recent provisional figure (for 2006/07) is
58. This compares with 11,624 gun homicides in the USA (in 2004), a rate
which is nearly 40 times higher. In France the rate is more than twice
that in Britain, in Switzerland over three-fold higher, while in Italy
it is over 5 times greater (Source:
Global Gun Deaths (Toronto Small
Arms/Firearms Education and Research Network, 2005)).
It is clear that the Conservatives are
whipping up public fear about gun crime for their own narrow political
interests. The public interest is not served by these wild and
unfounded statements. They are fuelling the 'fear factor' and making
the general public more fearful of gun crime than they should be.
Gun crime is a problem, particularly in major cities, and it is true
that we need to control guns ever more tightly.
But gun crime is NOT out of control and it is irresponsible of David
Cameron and David Davis to suggest it is.