Handguns in the UK

In March 1996 the Dunblane massacre took place at Dunblane Primary School. Thomas Hamilton shot 16 children and one teacher before turning the gun on himself resulting in the deadliest massacre in Britain to this day.

As as a result of this, the newly elected leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair passed the firearms (ammendment) (no 2) act 1997. Effectively banning all handgun ownership in the UK bar some limited exemptions. Britain now has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Up until this point handgun ownership in the UK was perfectly legal.

I am a keen shooter and as such find guns in general very interesting. The innovation from the likes of John Moses Browning and the way firearms have evolved over the last 100 years is fascinating and I only wish we (the responsible gun owners) had more access to them.

In recent times we have seen an increase in attacks involving Vehicles. In 2017 we saw the attack at Westminster where Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians injuring more than 50 people and killing five. Terrorists and criminals don’t need guns to cause carnage. I haven’t heard however, of any calls for cars to be banned. There will always be knife attacks, vehicle attacks, and gun crime. But where do we stop if we start banning inanimate objects? They did not cause the crime, the people did. Banning objects is not a solution, addressing the root cause of why people carry out these acts is. Banning one thing will only cause people to find some other way to carry out their acts - look at the increase in acid attacks in recent times.

Equally, I would argue that most gun crime is carried out by criminals who obtain their guns illegally anyway so the ban has had no impact on them, just us, the law abiding shooting enthusiasts. Why is a handgun considered any more dangerous than an FAC Shotgun capable of carrying up to 10 rounds of Slugs or Buckshot?

I understand that this argument would come up against huge resistance from the majority of people in the UK, we are not a gun friendly nation overall. But perhaps this is due to lack of awareness and education. Firearms, for the right purpose, are great fun. Its an enjoyable sport!

I am in no way saying we should allow concealed carry permits like that of the Americans. But if managed in the correct way, I see no difference in someone having a handgun safely stored in their gun cabinet over their .50 cal or 10 shot pump action practical shotgun.

I would welcome a change to the law surrounding handgun ownership. It should remain heavily regulated but the freedom and rights of the masses should not being restricted by the heinous acts of a small minority. What are your thoughts? Gun control is only getting tighter and changes are rarely in favour of the shooter. Do you think if properly regulated and monitored we should be able to posses handguns for the purpose of sports/ target shooting?