Supplementary note by the Gun Control
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).
Chair, Gun Control Network
15 December 1999