Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary note by the Gun Control Network

  In the course of giving our evidence to the HAC yesterday, questions were asked about GCN's membership, funding and credibility as an organisation. I should like to put on record several points that I was not quick-witted enough to make at the time, and to reiterate several relevant points that I did make.

  1.  I was approached in the Committee corridor, whilst waiting for the hearing to begin, by a somewhat aggressive journalist from the Shooting Times who asked in a pressing manner how many members we had. I refused to discuss the matter as the doors were opening to admit the public to the Committee room. I was astonished to be asked exactly the same question in the course of giving evidence. I can only assume some collusion between the member concerned and the journalist. No other organisation present was asked the same question, nor was anyone else asked about the source of their funding although that would have been an interesting question to put to the shooting organisations.

  2.  GCN was established in July 1996 after the Dunblane tragedy as a small voluntary organisation with an Executive Committee of seven people, including members of families of victims from Hungerford and Dunblane. We deliberately did not seek a wider membership because we had been advised by a sister organisation in Canada that we would lay ourselves open to infiltration by shooters if we did so. However, we registered over four hundred supporters within the first few months of operation and we retain these people on our database.

  3.  When asked how many people had contacted us over the last 12-18 months I hazarded a guess that about 100 had done so. What I neglected to mention was that we had received 48 hoax bombs that had required the intervention of the bomb squad and the repeated closure of the relevant post office. In addition, we have been plagued by sackfuls of nuisance mail, some of it of a threatening nature.

  4.  Our funding to date has come from an anonymous charitable trust, from the residue of the money raised by the Snowdrop Petition and from a number of private donations the largest of which was £3,000. We have also received a great deal of pro bono support from various advertising agencies and related companies.

  5.  In terms of credibility, the Gun Control Network has established itself as an internationally significant player in the global gun control movement. We hosted the first ever international meeting of gun control groups from around the world and continue to work with similar organisations from Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. We have participated in several UN Crime Commission workshops on the regulation of firearms, addressed a full meeting of the Commission and contributed to numerous other international conferences. We are frequently interviewed by the domestic and foreign press and media and we are founder members of the newly formed group IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms).

Gill Marshall-Andrews

Chair, Gun Control Network

15 December 1999

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