Saturday, 25 January 2014

Farage calls for handgun ban to be lifted

Nigel Farage has said that the ban on handguns should be lifted and ownership managed by a licensing regime the same as for other types of gun.

As you would expect, this has drawn both criticism and praise but what are the facts?

Possession of a handgun was banned in 1997 following the Dunblane Massacre when a man accused of inappropriate behaviour toward young boys walked into a primary school, killed 16 children and a teacher and then committed suicide. Following the ban on handguns, the number of handgun crimes increased for a few years before going back to the same level as before the ban. The number of handgun crimes remains the same 17 years on from when they were banned.

So, the ban on handguns hasn't reduced the number of handgun crimes, nor has it made the public any safer. What it did achieve was forcing around 20,000 people to give up their legally-owned handguns and forced the GB Olympic pistol shooting team to train abroad because the legislation was so badly worded. In 2011/12 there were 42 handgun-related deaths. By comparison, there are over 1,000 knife crimes in London alone every week.

The ban on handguns was a poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy that made politicians look good but has failed to achieve what it was meant to. The statistics speak for themselves: the ban on possessing a handgun was unnecessary and hasn't improved public safety. It's time to put aside the emotive but factually devoid arguments of the small but influential gun control lobby and make the sensible decision to lift the ban.