Firearms Control - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Mr Nick L

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 1997;

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 implementation is.

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

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