There needs to be gun control – I do not disagree with this statement. I also don’t agree with the NRA of America’s attitude – they really don’t help themselves or their cause in my opinion. Hopefully those two statements have allowed me to hold your attention and also assured you that I am not a maniac!
In this country the legislation relating to firearms is as strong as any in the world, and in my opinion is adequate. It is the management of the law that is at issue.
The National Rifle Association have this weekend released a press release that explains why they consider no further legislation is required – it is worth a read in full so I have set it out below. No doubt the likes of the Daily Mail will ‘edit’ the article to make shooters appear to be ‘Satan’s spawn’ – we aren’t. I leave you to make your own opinion……
No Need for Review of Firearms Licensing
Recent calls for a review of firearms licensing have been made by the coroner after ruling that three women were unlawfully killed in County Durham.
The killer, Michael Atherton, had legally owned weapons despite a history of domestic abuse.
The case highlights failings not in firearms licensing legislation but failings with implementation. This was recognised by Michael Banks, Durham’s Deputy Chief Constable, who stated “If we were presented with the same facts today… (Michael Atherton’s) licence would not be granted”…if there’s any intelligence around domestic violence in the family setting or intemperate behaviour then there is a presumption that a firearms licence or shotgun certificate will not be granted”.
Local police firearms officers work hard and generally deliver a highly professional service with rigorous scrutiny for firearm applications and renewals.
UK firearms legislation is recognised as some of the most restricted in the world; and the UK system is widely held across Europe to be an exemplar for responsible and safe firearms ownership.
The granting of a firearm certificate is wholly at the discretion of the police who need to be confident that the applicant is responsible and poses no risk to the public.
Applicants are obliged to justify good reason to own a rifle; provide independent character referees; be checked for criminal records; give consent for police to question their GP for evidence of alcoholism, drug abuse or personality disorders; and provide evidence of specialist secure storage for their rifle.
Shooting is a legal and major participation sport in the UK, and today over 700,000 certificates are granted covering 1.8m rifles and shotguns.
The incidence of legally held firearms being used in criminal activity is very rare, hence the keen media interest in such stories. The comparative statistics for knife crime are astonishing – in the year to June 2012 there were 29,613 recorded offences involving knives and other sharp objects. This supports the National Rifle Association’s long held view that it is the person not the weapon that causes harm and that the current firearm legislation, properly implemented, continues to deliver safety and protection to the public.
Secretary General, National Rifle Association