|Posted: 11/June/2010 at 15:51 | IP Logged |
Where I live, any adult without a criminal record or mental health problem can buy any firearm they want.
Makes me wonder, what the heck is the good of such restrictions?
Toughest laws in the world could not stop Cumbria tragedy
Gun laws in the UK are among the toughest in the world after a number of mass killings over the past three decades.
Anyone who acquires or is in possession of a shotgun — the weapon believed to have been used in the Cumbria killings — must have a certificate issued by a chief police officer in the area in which they live.
The certificate allows the holder to possess any number of shotguns, including pump-action and self-loading weapons with a magazine that cannot hold more than two cartridges.
The officer must be satisfied that an applicant has “good reason” for wanting a shotgun, is fit to have it and that public safety will not be endangered.
Police must interview every applicant and visit their home to check that the gun is held in a secure locker.
There were 574,946 shotgun certificates in operation at the end of March last year, 5 per cent higher than the previous year.
The number of certificates peaked in 1988 at 882,000 and has since fallen by more than a third, according to Home Office figures published in March.
The reduction coincided with revised rules for renewing shotgun certificates, including a requirement on the police to carry out additional checks on applicants, including a visit to their home.
The certificates covered 1.3 million shotguns.
In Cumbria 9,868 certificates were in operation in March covering 22,476 shotguns, an average of 2.3 guns per certificate.
Police in the area received 370 new applications for shotgun certificates of which only two were refused.
Shotgun certificates must be renewed every five years, with the police conducting the same checks on the applicant, including a face-to-face interview.
Gun laws were tightened after the Hungerford massacre in 1987, in which Michael Ryan killed 16 people and himself with two semi-automatic rifles and aa handgun.
Semi-automatic and pump-action rfiles, weapons with explosive ammunition, self-loading rifles and short shotguns with magazines were banned.
The Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 also made registration for shotguns mandatory. Shotguns were required to be kept in secure storage.
Even stricter laws were introduced after the 1996 killings in Dunblane, Scotland, when Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 primary schoolchildren and their teacher with four legally held pistols.
The then Conservative government prepared laws banning handguns above .22 calibre but after Labour came to power the law was changed to outlaw .22s as well.
More recently action was taken to deal with imitation firearms. The Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2006 made it an offence to manufacture, import or sell realistic imitation guns, doubled the maximum sentence for carrying an imitation gun to 12 months, and made it a crime to fire an air weapon beyond the boundary of any premises.
It also increased the age limit for buying or possessing an air weapon from 17 to 18.
The killings in Cumbria will reopen the argument about gun control with people against restrictions arguing that whatever curbs are in place incidents such as today’s will still happen.
The argument should be reopened.
Old age and treachery will always defeat youth and skill. Old English Proverb