Friday, April 27, 2007

Gun control and laws - Scotland

11 years ago Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 young children aged five and six and their teacher in a primary school in Dunblane just 15 miles from where I live. This was labelled the Dunblane Massacre. At the time Hamilton had a gun licence and was perfectly within the law in keeping a hand gun. Dunblane is a white middle-class community on the edge of rural Scotland, a bastion of middle class respectability. The parents of the children shot dead were educated, vocal people who very quickly set about organising a campaign to have guns banned.

If this crime had happened in a poor working class estate in Birmingham or London it might not have had such an impact - a reflection on the attitudes of our society today, I'm ashamed to say.

An enquiry was mounted after the incident and handguns were made illegal in the UK even for people in gun clubs. It is legal to have a shotgun but you need a licence and there are very strict controls about this - regular police vetting and you must have a referee who can vouch for you. The licences are usually restricted to farmers or people involved in hunting and shooting (pheasants, grouse, deer).

The ban hasn't stopped the illegal possession of hand guns which will always exsist. In Britain our problem is with knife culture where the size of the knife you carry is a sign of your status in many urban areas. There are frequent deaths through stabbings usually in the cities of Glasgow, London or Birmingham. I don't know what the answer to this one is. I would just really hate to live in a gun owning culture.

2 Comments:

Blogger Shoner said...

An odd coincidence: I just found this blog, randomly, while googling for something completely different (single person project templates..) at work... but I live in Stirling.

I remember when this happened, I was in Primary 3... and how we got security locks on all the doors at school in the months that followed.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Life Quotes said...

I was doing some research on Scotland and came across this. Am truly sadden by news like this.

5:58 AM  

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