Police patrols will confront gun crime, not Labour's red tape
New figures show gun crime has almost doubled in 10 years
Have you ever tried getting hold of a shotgun licence? It’s an herculean effort, let me tell you. First off, you need to visit the police station just to ask for the form (of course you can’t print it off the internet). They’ll want to know about your speeding convictions, and how to contact your local GP. The doctor will be interrogated to see if you’re of sound mind, and then the process begins properly. You need a gun cabinet securely bolted to a wall of your house (and preferably hidden in a purpose-built cupboard), and then you can inform your local firearms officer that he can visit to inspect it. In the next few weeks, he’ll pop round, then your form is processed by the authorities. Woe betide you if the passport photos were forgotten or, needless to say, if you’re really after a rifle.
Look, I don’t really have a problem with stringent gun laws. For most people who abide by them, they seem tedious and unnecessary. But as long as they reduce serious crime and stop people being hurt or killed, then we should put up with them.
And that’s the problem: they’re aren’t doing anything of the sort. According to figures obtained by the Conservatives, gun crime in the UK has almost doubled in the last decade. Tom Whitehead reports:
Offences involving firearms have increased in all but four police areas in England and Wales since 1998, figures obtained by the Tories reveal.
One part of the country has seen the problem increase almost seven fold as the availability of guns, and criminals’ williness to use them rises.
The number of people injured or killed by a gun has also doubled under Labour.
Naturally, you wouldn’t know all of this if you went to the Home Office website. There, you’ll only hear about a 2 per cent drop in firearm offences last year, and how the government has introduced a minimum five-year sentence for possessing an illegal firearm. Worse still, the Home Office gloats that the age limit for possession of an air rifle is now 17, as if it’s a team of 15 year-olds converting them to fire live ammunition.
This government is in a desperate situation over gun crime. Last week, police officers armed with submachine guns were deployed on routine patrol for the first time. It was a step in the right direction: as the Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, points out, it’s guns in areas dominated by gang culture, turf wars, and drug dealing which cause the most violence and death. So why has it taken Labour twelve years to realise that it’s police patrols, not red tape, which will confront a growing threat to public safety?
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