Thérèse Coffey and BASC

by Gun Control Network on 09-10-2023

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, written by Coroner Ian Arrow following inquests into the deaths of five victims of the Plymouth gunman, identified multiple systemic failings in firearms licensing in the UK and provided radical recommendations to mend the broken process. The Coroner expressed his determination to ensure that this time, unlike in the past, the recommendations would not be allowed to be ignored. The recommendations were welcomed by GCN, bereaved families and communities affected by the Plymouth shootings and others carried out by licensed gunmen. 

GCN and others remain sceptical, however, about the appetite for change within a government that has demonstrated, repeatedly and shamefully, to be in the thrall of the pro-gun shooting lobby while paying only lip service to public safety.

With many of the Coroner's recommendations delayed or completely rejected, the discredited firearms licensing process remains broken. GCN regularly logs incidents of murder, murder-suicide and suicide involving licensed gun owners granted a 'licence to kill' by inadequately staffed, inadequately funded, inadequately trained staff in firearms licensing units throughout the country.

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

Thérèse Coffey’s boasts to BASC at the Conservative Party Conference that she has prevented the introduction of tighter controls on shotguns are shameful. Coroners only make recommendations which they believe will prevent future deaths, and a government that wilfully ignores them demonstrates a complete disregard for the public good. The Minister’s boasts show just how deeply the Government is in thrall to the gun lobby and how little they really care about public safety. The opportunity to reform our underfunded, ineffective gun licensing system will now be lost − those responsible will be held to account by bereaved families across the country.”