Press Releases

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One gun, one licence

For the price of four cups of coffee a year (£16) shooters can legally own an arsenal of shotguns. Indeed, a year ago…

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Thérèse Coffey and BASC

Gun Control Network (GCN) is deeply disappointed, but not at all surprised, by Thérèse Coffey’s boasts to a meeting of gun enthusiasts at the Conservative Party Conference that she had personally successfully blocked changes to tighten gun controls, recommended after the multiple deaths by a licensed gunman in Keyham, Plymouth. The Prevention of Future Deaths Report, […]

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Government fails to implement Plymouth coroner recommendations

The Government justifies its wholly inadequate response to the Plymouth coroner’s recommendations on firearms licensing by repeatedly saying that most licensed gun owners do not cause any problems.  What they do not say, is that the worst shooting incidents in Great Britain, including Hungerford in 1987, Dunblane in 1996, Cumbria in 2010 and most recently Keyham, […]

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Government failure to tackle broken gun licensing system

Three important reports in the last six months have recommended radical reform to the broken gun licensing system in the UK.  The Government has failed to respond to any of them. The Scottish Affairs Committee reported in December 2022 following shootings by a licensed gun owner in Skye and Lochalsh the previous August. The Independent […]

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Licence to kill – GCN proposes new law to license those who wish to kill birds and animals

Every year in the UK some 60 million game birds are released for shooting —around 47 million pheasants, 12 million red-legged partridges and 700,000 grouse. A great deal of money, time and effort goes into making it possible for men (and it is mainly men) to pay up to £1000 a day to shoot and kill […]

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Airsoft guns and other realistic imitations are weapons of choice in crime

Realistic imitation guns (RiFs), which include blank firers, air pistols and airsoft weapons, are now the criminal weapons of choice according to the police and ONS. They are cheap, easy to acquire, legal and, above all, they look dangerous. Many of them are actually dangerous too, either because they can be converted to firing real bullets or […]

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Where is the Home Office Response to the Plymouth Coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths Report? Bereaved Families are still waiting.

The inquest into the deaths of five people shot by a licensed gun owner in Keyham, Plymouth, exposed multiple ‘catastrophic failings’ in Firearms Licensing. The Prevention of Future Deaths Report, written in March by the local Senior Coroner, was a damning indictment of the UK firearms licensing process. His conclusions were clear: firearms licensing is […]

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Plymouth Coroner Demands Urgent Reforms to Gun Licensing System

We welcome the Coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths Report and recommendations following the horrific shootings in Keyham in August 2021. A devastating indictment of enduring government complacency and underfunding, they set out clear reforms required to keep the public safe. Gun owners are only 1% of the population yet they have exercised a disproportionate degree […]

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New Gun Laws and more funding required to keep the public safe

There is growing recognition by concerned agencies that our gun laws are no longer working properly. For 25 years we have prided ourselves that our control of guns was the best in the world but it’s now clear that we need new legislation and more funding if we are to keep the public safe. New […]

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Scottish Affairs Committee makes recommendations on Firearms Licensing

The Gun Control Network congratulates the Scottish Affairs Committee on their balanced and sensible recommendations on Firearms Licensing in the aftermath of the tragic multiple shootings on the Isle of Sky in August. It was clear to them that current licensing arrangements are not fit for purpose for several reasons.  *They involve a substantial cost […]

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Gun licences may last for 10 years, not 5

The horrific shootings in Keyham, Plymouth last summer demonstrated the inadequacies of the gun licensing system. The police clearly do not have the resources to do a ‘proper job’ of assessing the suitability of gun owners, and nearly everyone recognises that something needs to be done. In a bizarre response to the Plymouth tragedy, the Government […]

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Robust gun licensing costs money

“The Plymouth tragedy is evidence of a gun licensing system that is broken because it is grotesquely underfunded. Everyone agrees that ‘something must be done’, but that’s where the agreement stops. The shooters and their supporters in government and parliament stress the danger of a ‘knee jerk reaction’ to ‘one-off events’. This is what they […]

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Re-released – Why is the taxpayer subsidising gun owners?

Press release by Gun Control Network  10 September 2013   Re-released 20th August 2021 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 […]

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Guns in Plymouth create heartbreak and havoc

We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by this horrific shooting in Keyham. This incident is yet another reminder of the destructive power of guns and their capacity to create heartbreak and havoc in peaceful communities. The police now know that the killer had a licence for […]

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GUN CONTROL IN GREAT BRITAIN SINCE 1996 Saturday 13th March marks the 25th anniversary of Britain’s worst shooting outrage when 16 young children and their teacher were killed at Dunblane Primary School.  Many more children and three other teachers were injured during a shooting spree that lasted for just a few minutes.  The Anniversary will be an […]

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Firearms Consultation − another useless public consultation?

In 2017, following the tragic deaths of several children shot by airguns and a coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths Notice, the Government set up the Airgun Regulation Consultation to elicit the public’s view on the licensing of airguns. Responses in support of licensing were received from families bereaved by airgun shootings. In addition, over 200,000 […]

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A Mother’s plea for Stanley’s Law – The licensing of airguns

Over 50,000 people, and many organisations, responded to the Government’s public consultation about the licensing of airguns, launched in September 2017 after the death of 13-year-old Ben Wragge. Ben was killed by another child as they played around with an airgun belonging to the father of a friend.. The Government has never released the results […]

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Are UK gun controls really the gold standard we think they are?

Semi-automatic shotguns and rifles known as ‘Mass Casualty Weapons’ are surprisingly still legal in UK.  In the past 13 months both New Zealand and now Canada have had horrific ‘wake up calls’ which have spurred their governments into action to ban semi-automatic guns.  Here in the UK most people probably think we have the gold standard […]

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Tasers will escalate violence against police. Body cams may mitigate the harm

If the Government wants to reduce violence against police officers and calm potential confrontations, the way to do that is certainly not by weaponising the police. Tasers can be lethal – and often are (see below note to editors).  They are also intimidating, and wider deployment will further erode the trust between police and the communities they serve.  Being […]

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Following New Zealand’s lead… let’s ban semi-automatic guns here

The Christchurch tragedy in which 50 people were senselessly killed by a right wing racist has caused governments across the world to review their gun laws. Imagine if the killer had come to the UK, instead of New Zealand, and killed 50 innocent people in Bristol or Birmingham.  Public outrage would be fuelling a demand […]

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New Zealand shootings — another licensed gun owner

Like almost all mass killers, the Christchurch shooter is a licensed gun owner.  It’s a familiar story. In the sixteen deadliest mass shootings in Europe between 1987 and 2015, 86% of the victims were shot by a licensed shooter, yet gun owners repeatedly claim that only unlicensed gun users are the problem.  The evidence confirms […]

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Playing Politics with Public Safety

The Government wanted a ban on .50 calibre rifles and wrote it into the Offensive Weapons Bill to be debated on Wednesday. The police asked for such a ban because there is no good reason for a member of the public to have a weapon that can immobilise a truck a mile away.  These are […]

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Downloadable and downright dangerous

It is a myth that more guns make a society safer.  All reliable international comparisons show a correlation between a country’s gun ownership and its level of gun violence — the more guns there are the more people are killed by guns.  Where public safety is concerned guns are a problem not a solution.  Yet […]

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Children still dying from airgun misuse

Every year, children are killed or injured by airguns — or pellet guns as the police call them — yet the government still drags its feet over the licensing of these deadly weapons. On Thursday 26 July 2018, another little boy died unnecessarily because someone thought that airguns were harmless. The circumstances of this tragedy […]

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Careless gun owners go unpunished

The gun controls we have in the UK are robust — some of the strictest in the world.  Here, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right, and the licensing of weapons, clubs and gun owners is, for the most part, conducted with care.  But, not always. In some areas, there is a cosy culture […]

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Minister to review airgun menace — at last!

Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, has at last announced plans for a long overdue review of airgun legislation. Airguns are not ‘boys’ toys’; they are lethal weapons that, every year, kill and injure children, along with countless birds and animals. Airguns are also the single most common weapon to be used […]

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Since April 2016 more than a fifth of reported gun deaths have involved the police or military

Of the 42 gun deaths in Great Britain recorded by the Gun Control Network since April 2016, 20 were ‘civilian’ homicides, 7 were at the hands of the police and 2 took place on military bases. The others are believed to have been accidents or suicides. Currently around 5% of police officers carry guns and […]

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Five years on from Horden killings Minister confirms no plans for gun hotline

At a recent meeting with Brandon Lewis, Minister for Policing, the Gun Control Network was told there is now no money for the gun hotline that could have saved the lives of Bobby Turnbull’s mother, sister and aunt on New Years Day 2012. These three women were killed by Michael Atherton, using one of his […]

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20th Anniversary of the Gun Control Network

At a party at the British Academy hosted by Sir Peter Lampl, friends of the Gun Control Network celebrated two decades of campaigning to change the law and culture surrounding guns in the UK.   Achievements 1997 – a complete ban on the civilian ownership of handguns. 2006 – a ban on the manufacture, transfer and sale […]

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More Deaths from Licensed Guns

GUN CONTROL NETWORK   PRESS RELEASE – 17 JULY 2016   MORE DEATHS FROM LICENSED GUNS   Stephen Muncaster was a firearms licence holder who earlier this week in Norfolk apparently murdered his wife and then committed suicide with his legally held gun.  His case is one of a long line of such tragedies – […]

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Guns and children: a dangerous mix

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 – […]

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The Gun Control Network launches its new interactive website

The Gun Control Network (GCN) was launched in 1996 after the terrible tragedy in Dunblane and has been campaigning for tighter controls on guns for 20 years. During that time the law, culture and ethos surrounding the ownership of guns has changed dramatically. In 1996: shooters claimed that “pistol shooting is the fastest growing sport” and “gun ownership […]

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Law Commission Report – Firearms Law: Reforms to Address Pressing Problems (15 Dec 2015)

This deeply disappointing report completely fails to address the pressing problems that public safety demands. It has been hijacked by the shooting lobby and become enmeshed in technicalities which are of no interest or relevance to the general public. Around 55% of all gun crime is committed with weapons that are perfectly legally held, either because they […]

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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report on firearms licensing

HMIC have today released the report of their inspection into how guns are licensed in this country, and it contains no surprises. We have known for years that: Legally held guns are responsible for almost all the multiple shooting murders committed in this country over the last 30 years – Hungerford, Dunblane, Cumbria, and Horden being the […]

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Enforcer or public servant: What sort of police force do we want?

A society is defined by its police force. In America the police are armed, guns are ‘normal’, and levels of gun violence are high. In the UK the police are not armed, guns are not ‘normal’ and levels of gun violence are low (and have fallen by almost 50% over the past decade). We must […]

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Routinely arming the police with tasers is counterproductive

The Police Federation have recently called for the arming of all police officers with a Taser. This is said to be necessary in order to protect them from potential murder attempts by terrorists. They say they will be safer if they all carry a Taser. However, it is not clear that this would be so; […]

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