Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Mr Peter Luff MP


  I am taking the unusual step of writing to submit evidence to a parliamentary committee, since there is widespread concern in my constituency about your committee's current investigation into firearms controls.

  I have received representations from individual owners of shotguns living in predominantly urban areas and from the past president of the local shooting club on the subject.

  My constituents have raised with me a variety of concerns. First, there is a feeling that the inquiry has prejudged its outcome by looking at "The inadequacies of existing controls" and "additional restrictions". My constituents fear that the terms of reference preclude the conclusion that the existing controls may be adequate or even excessive.

  Second, my constituents are concerned that the inquiry is not looking at measures to deal with illegally held arms, whether by terrorists or criminals. By looking only at legally held arms, my constituents feel the inquiry has been again pre-judged, and on this occasion, is also inadequate.

  I think it is important the Committee understands that in my constituency there will be widespread anger at any further significant controls on the ownership of shotguns. Many of my less wealthy constituents who enjoy shooting rely on invitations from different shoots to participate in their sport. The ownership of a gun cannot, therefore, be tied to the ability to shoot on a particular piece of land. Typically, but not always, it is my wealthier constituents who shoot regularly in the same location and therefore could more easily meet the kind of new controls that are being proposed by some individuals, and, I believe, by the police.

  There is a general feeling in Mid Worcestershire that the real target of the Committee's inquiry should be illegally held guns.

  In a county like Worcestershire, where there are several significant centres of population, surrounded by large areas of open countryside, many owners of shotguns live in towns or the City of Worcester itself. I am not aware that the ownership of these guns has caused any concern locally, and proposals to control them would be exceptionally unpopular.

10 January 2000

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