Memorandum by Mr Peter Luff MP
LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE
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
There is a general feeling in Mid Worcestershire
that the real target of the Committee's inquiry should be illegally
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