New Government, New Gun Controls

by Gun Control Network on 07-07-2024


During the last fourteen years of Conservative Government, the shooting lobby has held sway over firearms policy in the Home Office.  In that time we have had six horrific multiple shootings of which five were committed with licensed guns.  The gun licensing system was clearly unfit for purpose yet ministers repeatedly ignored the recommendations of Coroners, Select Committees and the Police Inspectorate that would have reformed the system and tightened the control over who can own a gun.

The gun lobby repeats the mantra that it’s only illegal guns that are used in crime but that is not true. Since May 2010, there have been over 430 gun homicides including 77 female victims.  Over 30 of those women were killed with a licensed weapon. 

Since 1996, GCN has campaigned continuously for a more robust, fully-funded gun licensing system that treats all lethal guns the same, and laws that do not embed the notion that shotguns are ‘less lethal’.

GCN is urging the new Labour Government to take immediate action to ensure that:

  • taxpayers are not subsidising shooters, and all the costs associated with gun licensing are covered by the licence fee.
  • the police have proper funding to operate a much more robust gun licensing system.
  • all lethal guns are licensed in the same way, with each gun requiring an identified purpose.

We know that the more guns there are in circulation, the more gun violence there is.  So we need fewer guns and more rigorous and regular checks on who owns them.

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

“In 1997, when the Labour Party surged to power after eighteen years of Conservative rule, the first piece of legislation they brought forward was a complete ban on handguns. This stopped us going down the American road where guns are commonplace and gun deaths a daily horror. 

Now 27 years later, we have new challenges. New weapons are emerging and our licensing system is all but broken due to lack of funds. We need to address these matters quickly to ensure that gun violence doesn’t escalate. Knife crime is, of course, a huge problem but government action should not be about either knives or guns.  We need to do both.”