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

by Gun Control Network on 31-01-2023

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 laws are required to meet the challenge of modern technology. Guns are being manufactured specifically to exploit loopholes in the law, e.g. pistols with barrels just longer than the law prohibits, convertible blank firers and .22 rim-fire semi-automatic rifles. Then there are the completely new developments in the last 15 years that mostly relate to the internet, e.g. 3D guns, online sales and advertising, and fast parcel deliveries.

To make matters worse, funding cuts relentlessly imposed by successive Tory governments have left police firearms licensing units unable to do their job. Raising the cost of a firearms licence would enable the proper scrutiny of applicants but the Government has consistently sought to protect shooters from such an increase. The taxpayer has therefore been subsidising a chronically underfunded process that inhibits licensing units from ensuring public safety.

Agencies now seeking tighter control on guns include the following:

The inquest into the Plymouth shootings of August 2021 heard that police did not have the resources to consider carefully whether the shooter who killed five people was a suitable person to own a gun. If they had investigated him more rigorously, those lives would have been saved. Time and again we see legal gun owners commit atrocities because the police have ignored warning signs and failed to take guns away from shooters showing signs of mental instability or inappropriate behaviour. On occasions, they have taken the guns away and then returned them because the process of revoking the licence is too onerous and time consuming.

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has affirmed that more needs to be done to control legal shotguns.

The Scottish Affairs Committee has made a number of far-reaching recommendations following the multiple shootings in Skye and Lochalsh in August 2022. These include involving household members in the licensing process and raising the cost of a licence so police have the resources they need.

A senior police officer, Superintendent Steven Duncan, Head of National Firearms and Explosives Licensing for Police Scotland, has claimed that existing legislation is outdated and needs renewal.

Chrissie Hall, Coordinator for the Gun Control Network says:

“Now is the time for the Government to wake up to the need for tougher action and more resources to meet the challenge of gun misuse in the future.  Are we going to have to wait for another tragedy before we do something?”