Focus should be on the illegal weapons
Published at 14:21, Friday, 24 September 2010
PAUL Wilson makes possibly the two most salient points in what has become a soul-searching debate over the effectiveness of Britain’s gun laws.
“I don’t think (tougher) gun control would have stopped Derrick Bird doing what he did,” he says in his first point.
“If I wanted a gun, within four hours I’d have one. A couple of phone calls, a drive to Manchester, I’d have a gun.” That’s his second.
Paul was a friend of Bird’s. He was also one of his victims. He understands with absolute clarity that no law could have prevented Derrick Bird acting so violently contrary to his known character on that black day in June.
He knows also that the problem of illegally acquired firearms is a far greater one than any concerning legally bought guns, registered and fully licensed to responsible keepers.
The Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee is investigating the need to overhaul firearms laws in response to Bird’s murder of 12 people and the Raoul Moat shootings.
Families of Bird’s victims have been invited to offer their views to the hearing.
It will be hard for many people to disagree with Betty Scoones, whose son Darren Rewcastle was killed by Bird, when she calls for the tightest possible controls on gun ownership.
Hers is an entirely understandable emotional reaction to tragedy. But it is based on the premise that important law is far reaching, fully enforceable, observed and obeyed.
Unfortunately even the best law is rarely all of those things. It’s often none of them.
The Government knows better than any that enforcing law, which promises to so tightly regulate all guns there’ll be no possibility of repeat Bird or Moat incidents, is a fantasy.
Weighing risk and probability alongside public safety, more good would come of addressing known availability of illegal weaponry, distributed with alarming efficiency via an underground network, by and to the criminally intentioned.
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk