Written evidence submitted by Mr Nick
My reason for writing is that I, like many, enjoy
country sports and am concerned that my freedom to do so is being
relentlessly eroded. I am a married father of two; shooting is
not my life but a way of relaxing and enjoying the countryside.
As a commercial pilot I am fully aware of the potential
for using objects, for purposes they were not designed for, with
terrible consequences. You will however never be able to legislate
for evil or madness; the UK already has some of the most stringent
firearms legislation and further restrictions would serve only
to disenfranchise law abiding citizens.
A "knee jerk" reaction is seldom appropriate;
it would be refreshing to see a reasoned approach, concentrating
on the facts, and above all a "light touch".
My understanding is the Committee wish to focus on
the following areas:
The extent to which legally-held guns are used in
criminal activity and the relationship between gun control and
gun crime, including the impact of the Firearms (Amendment) Acts
Hopefully you will have access to much better data
than me but my understanding is that there no correlation between
gun crime and legal gun ownership. This point is obviously key
and should be at the forefront of the Committee's minds when considering
any restriction on legal gun ownership.
Whether or not the current laws governing firearms
licensing are fit for purpose, including progress on implementing
the Committee's recommendations set out in its Second Report of
the 1999-2000 session;
I am no expert but believe that the current stringent
laws are broadly appropriate but that implementation leaves a
lot to be desired. The Home Office's Firearms Law Guidance to
the Police 2002 is simply not consistently applied by the various
constabularies. A good example of variance across the constabularies
is the application of the ACPO recommended Any Other Lawful Quarry
condition; the Committee may wish to investigate this particular
example to gain an appreciation of just how poor and inconsistent
Proposals to improve information-sharing between
medics and the police in respect of gun licensing;
This seems logical, although one would need to consider
whether it may have the unfortunate unintended consequence of
deterring someone who needs it, from seeking medical assistance.
Information-sharing between police and prisons in
assessing the risk of offenders who may have access to firearms;
and the danger presented by, and legislation regulating, airguns.
I don't feel qualified to comment on this although
focusing on this particular point appears to be rather "knee
jerk" in the light of recent events.
30 July 2010