Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

The Sportsman's Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  In this article, Mr Hamzic said that he had interviewed a 16 year-old boy, a self confessed gang leader from a housing estate in east London, who showed him his 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol. The boy also stated to Mr Hamzic that "Nobody messes with me, they know I'm too dangerous". He also stated that he was prepared to use his weapon if he, his gang or his "territory" were threatened.

  Mr Hamzic also interviewed a 14 year old boy who showed him that he was carrying two .357 Magnum revolvers in his school bag.

  We spoke to Mr Hamzic, he was not aware that he was speaking to The Sportsman's Association, and asked him whether or not he had passed the information he had gained to the police. Mr Hamzic stated that:

    (a)  he had not;

    (b)  the police had not requested any information from him;

    (c)  he had no intention of volunteering any information to the police;

    (d)  if the police were to request information on the boys' names and addresses, he would do whatever he could to protect his sources.

  Mr Hamzic also stated that, in his opinion, the children would not use the weapons that they had in their possession!

  If the assertions made by Mr Hamzic in his article are true and that youngsters are in illegal possession of illegal firearms for illegal purposes, what are the police going to do about it? These youngsters may not actually represent any threat at all to society but what they are doing is illegal and should be stopped forthwith. Even if they are only using deactivated pistols, if they are intending to frighten people with them then their actions are illegal under one of the recent Firearms (Amendment) Acts.

  Much reference has been made in the press and elsewhere to the supposed "gun culture" that was developing in our country. We, the sporting shooters, have always maintained that we no more have a gun culture than we have a golf culture, at least amongst the legitimate sporting users of firearms. If there is a gun culture, it must exist amongst the criminal classes and amongst these youngsters. Our newspapers now regularly feature stories of shootings and violent activity in our major towns and cities. Such shootings involve automatic weapons (banned in this country since 1936 but obviously available) and pistols (also banned by virtue of the latest laws). Clearly, the firearms laws are not being enforced adequately.

  This Association has, over the last few days, contacted various offices of your organisation only to be passed from one department to another. Nobody seemed inclined to take any action whatsoever and we were finally referred to your Lime House Police Station where a Police Constable of the DIU took details. This response must be contrasted with the zeal with which your service took action to enforce the confiscation of the legally held firearms from law-abiding citizens following the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997.

  We feel that, in the interests of public safety, the police should take action on this matter immediately. Not to do so would be a mistake of mammoth proportions. We have already seen what can happen when the police "turn a blind eye" to this sort of circumstance as was shown in the tragic shootings at Dunblane in March 1996.

  We, the dispossessed legal shooters, require to be reassured that the State is indeed "cracking down" on the illegal use of firearms. Anything else would be an unacceptable mockery of the law. Even though we disagreed with the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997 we complied with the provisions with, on the whole, remarkably good grace. Our behaviour has shown that we are indeed the decent, law-abiding citizens that we claimed to be.

  The legitimate shooters have always stated that they would be delighted to co-operate with the police to help to eliminate the illegal use of firearms—which is the area of concern that, in our opinion, represents the greatest threat of firearms misuse. We need to be convinced that the police will take appropriate action on the matter. Your response to this letter could help.

  Please note that, as the Sportsman's Association represents a large number of sporting shooters, and this subject is of considerable interest to them all, we shall be publishing this correspondence on our Website and on our e-mail and FAX networks.

R V Malbon

Director, The Sportsman's Association

1 October 1999

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 13 April 2000