Memorandum by the Gun Trade Association
CONTROLS OVER FIREARMS
We are responding to the invitation in your
letter HAC 1998-99349 dated 16 August 1999 to set out our
views on your Inquiry into the above.
We realise that you will receive many submissions
on this subject so, in an effort to be helpful, our immediate
response will be as brief as possible.
Much consideration has been given by our Council
and our members to the principal questions the Committee wishes
to address. In all honesty, we believe that the present Firearms
Law covered by the 1968 and subsequent Amendment Acts, up to and
including the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997, and the Firearms
Rules 1998, are adequate andwhen properly appliedgive
the public the protection they need and deserve.
Lawful possession of firearms, shot guns and
air guns, are not the problem. It is the criminal and illegal
possession and use of them which endangers the public. Tightening
the Law still further will not prevent nor curtail the use of
firearms by criminals.
This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact
that criminals continue to possess and frequently use handguns,
despite handguns having been prohibited for sporting shooting
by the 1997 Amendment Acts, and taken out of the possession of
We have seen no evidence whatsoever to suggest
that the lawful possession and use in shooting sports poses
any threat to public safety.
In the UK we have some of the toughest firearms
laws not only in Europe, but throughout the World.
We work diligently with, and co-operate fully
with the Home Office, ACPO, ACPO(S), Customs and Excise, DTI Export
and Import Control and other authorities to ensure that the Law
is properly and responsibly applied, and work together with them
to ensure that any loopholes are closed.
We are a constituent member of the British Shooting
Sports Council (the "umbrella" organisation for shooting
sports associations) and have been involved in the preparation
of their more detailed submission, and fully support it.
One further point we wish to make strongly is
that shooting sports are followed by many who live in towns and
inner cities. Such sportsmen go out into the countryside to participate
in their chosen sportas do fishermen, scramblers and many
other sportsmen and women.
We are prepared to expand further on any point
we have made in this submission, should you so require, and to
appear before the Committee to give oral evidence should you so
To summarise, we believe that the existing Firearms
legislation, properly applied, is adequate.
24 September 1999