Labour pledge change in rules on gun ownership
Labour is proposing a change in the rules on gun ownership to make shotgun and firearms certificate holders ‘prove their suitability’ to own a weapon.
The planned change, announced by the shadow crime and security minister Diana Johnson, was immediately condemned by the pro-shooting Countryside Alliance.
Director of campaigns Tim Bonner said: “Firearms licence holders understand that gun ownership in the UK is a responsibility, not a right and generally accept the justification for some of the strictest gun control laws in the UK.
“A review of police guidance to strengthen the test of fitness to possess firearms is being undertaken by the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers with the full support of the shooting associations.
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“These new proposals from the Labour Party are, therefore, completely unjustified and together will be seen as an attack on the legitimate shooting community.”
Labour, which pledged its support for shooting sports at a reception put on by the British Association of Shooting and Conservation at the Labour conference in Brighton last month, has not said how it would gauge individuals fitness to own a shotgun.
Any change in the rules could potentially affect the 600,000 plus shotgun owners across Britain. The Westcountry, with its large rural population, has proportionally more gun owners than any other part of Britain, used for target shooting, game shooting and vermin control.
Although there are generally a handful of high profile firearms incidents in Britain every year, gun crime is falling in the UK and accidental fatalities involving firearms are among the lowest in the world standing at 0.02 per thousand, including police and military fatalities.