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GUN NEWS AND GUN CONTROL IRELAND/ ENGLAND / UK

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In 1997 the Secretary of State introduced the Firearms Act. The purpose of this Act was designed to make all large calibre handguns and expanding ammunition illegal to own (prohibited) under section 5 of the Firearms Act of 1968. The fact that all handguns were taken away from law abiding citizens did not stop gun crime. Today England has the highest gun crime rate in Europe.

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THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES ARE INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IN MOST CASES THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR AND THE SOURCE HAVE BEEN INCLUDED WITH AVAILABLE LINKS., FEEL FREE TO USE THESE LINKS IF YOU HAVE ANY FEEDBACK.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR FIREARM USERS
In an effort to keep you informed on current news and information relating to firearms, scroll down to the news highlights and link area.

 
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MINISTER OUTLINES HANDGUNS BAN. (IRELAND)

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D. today outlined his proposals to ban licensed handguns. The issue was raised some weeks back by Waterford Fine Gael Deputy, John Deasy who highlighted the huge increase in handguns legally held in Ireland over the past number of years. He pointed to the inconsistency in the numbers of handguns across various Garda divisions throughout the country.

The Minister said the handgun ban would be included in legislation currently being prepared which will be published shortly.

Minister Ahern said: "Since being appointed, I have made clear my growing concern at the number and type of handguns being licensed.

"From the early 1970s, in the light of the Troubles, until 2004, all handguns were banned in this jurisdiction. But following a series of judicial decisions that is no longer the case and about 1800 handguns have been licensed. There was no public policy decision to bring about this situation.

"I am mindful of comments made by Mr. Justice Charleton in his judgement in a recent firearms case that a reasonable person is entitled to feel alarmed at the proliferation of handguns. My concern is that unless strong and decisive action is taken the number of handguns could grow exponentially and our firearms regime would equate to that of countries such as the United States. Today we have 1800 legal handguns – in three years time that number could exceed 4,000 and rising.

"This is completely unacceptable. While I know the vast majority of licensed gun owners behave responsibly, my paramount concern must be the protection of the public, particularly against the background of the level of gun crime which is taking place."

Some time ago the Minister directed his Department and An Garda Síochána to carry out an urgent and intensive review of the firearms law. Proposals arising from that review will be reflected in a Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous) Provisions Bill which is being prepared as a matter of urgency and which the Minister will bring forward shortly.

His proposals for radical reform in this area include - no new licences will be issued for handguns.

- existing licenses will not be renewed unless applications fully meet the requirements of a radically tightened licensing procedure where the safety of the community will be paramount

- the Minister will keep under annual review, in consultation with the Garda Commissioner, the outcome of the licensing procedure and, if the outcome of that procedure leaves a situation which still poses an unacceptable risk to the community, will use new powers, which the Bill will contain, to ban outright any type of firearm.

The Bill will provide for the revocation of any handgun licenses which may be issued between now and the enactment of the legislation and it is intended that anyone applying for a handgun license in that period will be informed of that fact.

The Minister is prepared to make very limited exceptions in relation to Olympic sports only.

The Minister considers that his proposals will not cause inconvenience to the vast majority of gun owners, who have had no interest in acquiring hand guns.

The Minister said "While I regret the need for these proposals, the reality is that if we were subject to a Dunblane type incident or stolen legal handguns were used to kill innocent civilians the present situation, which has not arisen as the result of any policy decision, would be impossible to justify."

 
LONDON - England - Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today announced a new law to ban dangerous handguns and machine guns in the UK.

The gun ban today will come into effect at midday and the Labour government believes this drastic measure should curb the pandemic use of firearms on Britain's streets.

It will be illegal to murder, shoot or maim anyone under the new rules.

There will also be a two-tiered system for ensuring the law is upheld by introducing deterrents to youths who are intent on committing murder sprees.

If you are caught with class A firearms like the AK-47, Uzi 9mm , RPG or M16 you will be awarded an ABC (Acceptable Behaviour Contract).

The second time caught you will get an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order) and the third time you will be awarded an hours worth of community service of your choice.

Class B weaponry like handguns and grenades will only get an ABC and a written warning through the post.

For firearms offences like actual murder or severe wounding, the punishment will be an ASBO, ABC and community service all on the same day, as well as a re-education trip paid by the taxpayer to Alton Towers or Chessington World of Adventures for the day.

The Home Secretary is toying with the idea of giving each gun criminal an 8GB i-pod and then asking them to hand over their heavy machine guns. This ploy may not work however, because many youths with guns can get anything they want anyway.

The number of guns that are circulating on Britain's streets is so large that the police are scared to go onto the streets.

Police work is mainly conducted by CCTV and desk work back at the police station.

The typical British 'Bobby' does not carry firearms, and if there is a shooting incident they are required to flee the crime scene and head back to the police station to fill in approximately 27 forms.

The form filling can take up to 4 hours to complete. An Armed Response Unit can then be authorised to visit the gun crime scene after the threat level is assessed.

There are measures being put in place to cut police response times by three and a half hours. However, this may cause problems in Met ranks because it would involve actual confrontation with criminals.

In the police's defence, last year out of 34,578 shootings of which 24,600 were fatalities, 6 people were arrested and given warnings for their dangerous behaviour.

The new law banning guns on Britain's streets is sure to make citizens' lives safer and is testament to the wonderful work done by the Labour Government.

 

 

People in UK want more armed police

Sep 11, 2007 7:12 AM

More than two thirds of people polled in a survey published want tougher measures to combat violent crime, including more armed police on the street.
   
Seventy-two percent of people questioned in a YouGov poll said they want more armed police patrols while 88% said they want an increase in the five-year minimum sentence for possessing an illegal firearm.
   
The nationwide survey of 2,100 people was carried out for think-tank Policy Exchange.
   
It also found that 12% of adults know how to acquire an illegal firearm and that 12% of respondents said they know someone who has, or has had, an illegal firearm.
   
Nearly half of those adults questioned, 45%, said they feel their area is less safe than it was five years ago because of gun and knife crime, while 29% , said they, or their family, feel personally threatened.
   
In its report, "Gun and Knife Crime in Great Britain," the think-tank said gun culture now affects all sections of society, in all parts of the country.
   
Gavin Lockhart, research director of Policy Exchange, said: "It is clear that it is no longer just hardened criminals who have access to guns or deprived inner city communities which are affected by them.
   
"Britain's gun culture has become so endemic it affects huge swathes of the population, with millions of people saying they know how to get hold of illegal firearms and millions more feeling personally threatened by them."
   
It claimed the number of fatalities and injuries caused by gun-related incidents has increased from 864 incidents in 1998/9 to 3,821 in 2005/6.
   
London is the gun crime capital of the country, but a large minority in all regions knows how to get a gun, the report said.
  
More than 80% of respondents said they believed the government has not done enough to make Britain's streets safe, despite steps to curb crime, the report said.
   
"Historically, the overwhelming majority of Britain's police is not armed, a stance supported by the government," Lockhart said.

"However, fear of gun crime has risen so much that 72% want an increase in armed police patrols."

 

Police to review gun controls

Press Association

Friday August 24, 2007 6:03 PM

A review of how police work to keep deadly guns off the streets has been announced.

Chief Constable Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said officers will look at ways to improve gun control.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith called for the review at a meeting with senior officers after the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool.

Police officers will be speaking to members of communities blighted by gun crime as part of the review.

Mr Jones said Acpo staff will work "tirelessly" to complete the review within a deadline of one month. He said: "In this endeavour chief officers across the country will be speaking to affected communities who suffer from this blight.

"The police need their help because they are part of the solution. We also look to our partners to aid and assist us to make the most of this opportunity."

He added: "All too often young lives are blighted and their potential unrealised through the presence of gangs and guns.

"Worse, too many young lives are brutally cut short. The tragic death of Rhys Jones must not become another statistic."

Mr Jones said the vast majority of young people are law-abiding and most people live in safe and secure neighbourhoods.

He added: "But a minority of our children do not live in safety and security, which is their right. We must, all of us, now grip this problem and change things for the better."

The middle classes are tooling up

 

A widow who lives alone in a Wiltshire farmhouse has taken to sleeping with a Smith & Wesson Saturday Night Special under her pillow. It belonged to her husband and is more than capable of stopping an intruder, of which she has had three in the last two years.

When she goes shopping in Swindon, she slips a can of Mace into her handbag in case of assault. "Bought it at the ironmongers in Bergerac," she says. "Much more effective than an Asbo."

A senior civil servant, now retired and living in a remote house near Losthwithiel in Cornwall, believes in the efficacy of a small-calibre .22 pistol. It was easy to buy without a licence or proof of identity in rural France, where they are used to kill vermin. The .22 is also an assassin's weapon - once the round has entered the cranium, it will ricochet about as it looks for an exit, devastating brain tissue in its wake.

As rural police stations close, self-protection is the only answer, writes john gibb

Many country people consider a sawn-off 12-bore to be the most effective and easily available short-range weapon. A farmer at the Suffolk Show told me that, for added impact, he pierces the crimped end of the cartridge and pours in warm wax which sets and creates a mass of lead shot.

Owning a weapon is becoming a habit for rural homeowners who feel unprotected now that so many police stations have closed.

I have never seen a police car in my village and violent crime in the county, of course, is up. Baseball bats, swords, machetes, Mace and firearms are kept beneath the bed or close to hand by many people.

In spite of Tony Blair's legislation against handguns, lethal weapons are easy to acquire in the countryside. They aren't perceived as a problem because they are kept secretly for

emergencies, rather than to show off to rival drug-dealers. Often they are acquired during military service and handed down through the family. But increasingly they are brought back from Europe by car.

HM Revenue and Customs figures confirm this, showing an increase in weaponry seized at ports. For instance, 842 stun guns were intercepted by searches in 2005, an eight-fold increase year on year.

Most weapons seized are from respectable people worried about their security. Mace, pepper spray and metal-spring batons, illegal here, are easily and lawfully acquired in Europe, while high-calibre pistols can be bought in the Czech Republic.

Scotland Yard recently investigated a French company selling arms through the internet and found that the majority of British customers considered themselves to be law-abiding people, often young couples

worried about personal safety. Police searches of their homes revealed a wide selection of weaponry.

This precision hunting crossbow has the power to skewer a hoodie at 50 metres

Could we be seeing the first signs of a militant middle class which has had enough and is beginning to arm itself? Perhaps.

For those who cling to the notion that an Englishman's home is his castle, a new weapon will soon be available to help deter intruders. Designed by BowTech in Oregon, USA, the Stryker (left) will be on sale in Europe by mid-January.

It is a precision hunting crossbow complete with a multiple reticule, red dot 1x30 scope nightsight, 175lb draw weight, binary cam technology and the power to skewer a hoodie at 50 metres. It fires bodkin-tipped 425 grain bolts at 405ft per second and will cost a little under £1,000.

Strangely enough, it's legal and fits neatly beneath the bed.

 

Ad campaign to target gun crime in the UK
Police in London have unveiled a new campaign to cut gun crime among the city's black communities.
Posters and press advertisements for Operation Trident will
encourage people to phone in anonymously with information on gun
crimes.
The family of one murder victim have also taken part in a radio
advert.
Officers hope the campaign will help maintain a downward trend in
shootings and murders investigated by Operation Trident.
At the official launch of the campaign at Scotland Yard on Tuesday,
Commander Cressida Dick said over the past two years Operation
Trident had achieved a 23% reduction in shooting murders within
London's black communities.                  

Lee Jasper, Trident Independent Advisory Group
So far this year 10 people had been shot dead, compared with 16 in
2002 and 13 in 2003.
Commander Dick said some of the success was due to good intelligence and investigative work.
But she gave a large amount of the credit to the increased clear up
rate to greater co-operation from members of the public.
"We strive to increase the community's confidence in Trident.
Trident would be nothing without the support and involvement of the
community," she said.
 
The chair of Operation Trident's Independent Advisory Group Lee
Jasper told BBC News Online that increased willingness to speak out has been used as the basis of the new campaign.             
"The ads are suggesting to communities that a simple phone call can really make a difference and save somebody's life. So it plays upon that theme.
"Talking to the brothers, sisters, mothers and girlfriends of the
men of violence has generally been our target audience," Mr Jasper
said.

Alongside posters and press adverts, the campaign also includes
flyers to be handed out at nightclubs and the launch of a new
Operation Trident website.

As well as the backing of celebrities the campaign has been
supported by the family of Pauline Peart, a banker from Essex shot
to death in 1999, whose family appear in a radio advert.
Earlier this month Pauline Peart's killers were sentenced to life in
prison.
 
Operation Trident figures show, in spite of high profile cases like
the death of Pauline Peart and the shooting of an 18-month old baby
in Hackney last week, gun crime within London's black population is
falling.

Critics say in view of the statistics Trident's continued
concentration on gun crime in the black community is excessive.
But the continuing concentration on the black community was defended by Detective Chief superintendent John Coles, Trident's operational head.

Mr Coles is also responsible for Operation Trafalgar which focuses
on gun crime in other communities.
He said the figures spoke for themselves.
"For every 80 Trident shootings there are only 30 Trafalgar
shootings. That is in all other communities in London," he said.
Lee Jasper also gave his backing to Trident's continuing focus on
black people.
He said though the popular media image of violent "Jamaican Yardies"
was largely fictional there was a continuing issue of gun violence
among black youths .
"This is a problem that has "made in Britain" stamped through it,"
Mr Jasper said.

         

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