‘Cumbria killings highlighted gun law loopholes’, says inquiry
Last updated at 23:37, Monday, 20 December 2010
The massacre carried out by Cumbrian killer Derrick Bird highlighted gaps in the national gun licensing set-up, a parliamentary committee said today.
An inquiry commissioned after the June 2 shootings found that there are notable loopholes “around the ease with which convicted criminals can gain access to firearms”.
It comes after an earlier report showed police would have had no option but to revoke Bird’s certificate if a suspended jail sentence from 1990 had led to an actual spell behind bars.
The author of that report recommended “prohibited person status” should be attached to suspended sentences.
Bird, 52, left 12 dead and 11 injured during a killing spree in west Cumbria, which ended when he turned a gun on himself.
A Home Affairs Committee today revealed its findings in the latest inquiry linked to the shootings.
There are currently 34 pieces of legislation governing the control of firearms, and the committee said applying this legislation placed an “onerous burden” on the police and public as it was “so complex and confused”.
It has urged the Government to simplify the law.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: “Current gun law is a mess.
“It needs to be simplified, clear and consistent to be properly understood by both those using firearms for legitimate purposes and those in charge of enforcing the law.”
He added: “The terrible murders perpetrated by Derrick Bird highlighted gaps in the current licensing regime.
“Notably around the ease with which convicted criminals can gain access to firearms.”
The committee carried out a “broader” inquiry into the measures used to control the supply of firearms, prompted by the Bird killings.
It included investigating the extent to which legally-held guns were used in crime and the relationship between gun control and gun crime.
It also asked whether the current firearms laws are fit for purpose.
The committee, whose inquiry was held earlier this year, heard evidence from a number of people touched by the west Cumbria shootings.
They included the daughter and brother-in-law of two victims and a man shot by Bird.
Cumbria’s chief constable Craig Mackey and Copeland MP Jamie Reed also gave evidence.
The committee has called for a number of measures.
- A review of minimum age limits;
- Tighter restrictions and clearer guidance to police on the granting of firearms and shotgun licences to “individuals who have engaged in criminal activity”;
- Considering ordering police to consult domestic partners of licence applicants;
- Raising applicants’ fees to make sure police spending cuts “do not jeopardise the rigour of the licensing process”.
First published at 16:58, Monday, 20 December 2010
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
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Its the week before christmas and to see his face splattered over the whitehaven news is absolutley shocking on the whitehaven news behalf. Dont you think christmas will be hard enough for the familys without seeing his face. Absolutley terrible whitehaven news you should be ashamed.
Note: The picture has now been changed.
o dear the gun ban is coming so spare thought for all those familys of the dead and injured this xmas and consider giving this pathetic so called sport a miss in 2011 take up something more worthwhile if the goverment can get rid of our harrier fleet and search and rescue services and thousands of jobs then its only time before guns will be banned not soon enough