Government fails to implement Plymouth coroner recommendations

by Gun Control Network on 30-06-2023

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, Plymouth in 2021, were all perpetrated by licensed gunmen.  This is true in all other industrialised countries.  Guns used in multiple shootings are almost invariably legally held.

The Government had an opportunity to deliver something positive out of the tragic event in Keyham in 2021 and thus reduce the risk of further deaths. It has failed to do so.

They could have brought shotguns into the same rigorous licensing regime that applies to rifles under Section 1 of the 1968 Firearms Act.  They have rejected that.

They could have reversed the ‘presumption’ in favour of granting a licence.  They have rejected that too.

They could have immediately raised the licence fee in line with full cost recovery, but instead they have promised another ‘consultation’ in the summer.  Consultations like this have been conducted in the past and have never resulted in significant change, largely because the wrong questions are addressed to and answered by the wrong people.

They could have introduced an independent element into the licensing process by involving household members and past partners, and by ensuring that decisions to remove guns, or hand them back, or revoke licences are made by independent professionals. They have rejected that.

What they have done is to provide some funds for more training for the police – a welcome offer but not likely to yield any real change.

They have also offered another HMIC inspection of firearms licensing in 2024/25.  A previous one held in 2015 made some significant recommendations, yet those recommendations have still not been implemented.

Gill Marshall-Andrews Chair of the Gun Control Network says:

“So, the gun lobby has triumphed again and the interests of the 99% of population who do not own a gun have been deemed of less importance than the interests of the shooters. This would be shocking if it were not predictable.   We must hope that no more unsuitable or unstable people slip through the licensing net with the devastating consequences we have seen over the years.”


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