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MPs announce firearms investigation
22 Jul 2010

Laws on gun control are to be investigated by the Home Affairs Select Committee following recent high-profile fatal shootings.

Incidents in Northumbria and Cumbria, involving Raoul Moat and Derrick Bird respectively, have prompted the study into firearms laws by the committee, in addition to a review currently being carried out by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which is looking at police use of firearms.

The committee will examine the extent to which legally-held guns are used in crime and whether licensing rules are adequate.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the UK already has among the toughest gun control measures in the world and in light of the shootings in Cumbria warned against a “knee-jerk reaction”.

The committee has asked for submissions about what, if any, changes are needed.
The investigation will also look at proposals to improve information-sharing between doctors and the police in respect of gun licensing; and information-sharing between police and prisons in assessing the risk of offenders who may have access to firearms.

“In the light of the recent tragic shootings in Cumbria and Northumberland, the committee wishes to examine the legislation governing firearms,” Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the cross-party committee, said.

The committee will investigate existing procedures for issuing, monitoring and reviewing firearms certificates to see if they are “fit for purpose”.

“We want to be certain that our gun laws are clear, transparent and enforceable.

The review, he added, would also “seek to determine whether there are lessons to be learnt from recent events, including the role of doctors and criminal justice agencies in liaising with police to assess the risk posed by individuals”.


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