Guns and children: a dangerous mix
by Gun Control Network on 30-03-2016
David Cameron’s government is giving mixed messages to children in the UK. On the one hand he claims to be concerned about a 20% increase in gun crime involving young people and on the other he is encouraging school children to develop an interest in guns.
There is an active - and apparently successful - policy to recruit state school pupils into the Combined Cadet Force where they become adept at handling weapons. The drive to establish CCF units in 500 state schools in the poorest areas should ring alarm bells but there appears to be no recognition that this may have the unwanted consequence of creating a larger cohort of children developing an interest in weapons. Whoever is holding them, guns are used to kill, injure, and threaten and it’s as inappropriate for an 8-year-old to have his own shotgun as it is for a 9-year-old to be waving an imitation gun around or a 10-year-old to be looking after a gun for a big brother. None of this should be happening.
Incontrovertible evidence from the US and around the world demonstrates that the more guns there are in a society, the more they will be misused. A government’s responsibility is to ensure that children do not have access to guns and do not develop an interest in them.
Gill Marshall-Andrews Chair of Gun Control Network says:
“It’s the same old story. We are told that some children are sensible and can have guns but others - who are presumably not sensible - may not. It doesn’t take much to realise that this is nonsense. No child should have access to guns and even when they become an adult at the age of 18 there should be strict controls on who can and who cannot own weapons.
GCN has repeatedly exposed the myth that gun crime is all about illegal guns. We know this is not true as over half of all gun crime is committed with guns that are perfectly legally held. The government needs to give a consistent message and say that no child should be encouraged or coerced into handling guns. They should be kept away from guns at all times, particularly when they’re at school.
A change of policy is required. Either the CCF should not involve guns and shooting or it should be disbanded. Certainly the government should not be encouraging an early interest in weapons.”