Posts Tagged ‘gun laws’

Rep. Kelly Introduces Resolution to Protect Second Amendment Rights from UN Arms Trade Treaty

Monday, November 26th, 2012

In addition to the Second Amendment Protection Act (HR 3594) introduced by Rep. Joe Walsh, HR 814 sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly and 76 other co-sponsors would prohibit federal funding to implement the UN ATT and other similar agreements if signed by President Obama. Other representatives such as Rep. Joe Barton recently voiced strong support for the bill. Both of the bills are bipartisan with co-sponsors from the Democrat and Republican party.

Original Story Via:  Kelly.House.Gov

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) introduced a resolution today urging the president not to sign the United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is in the final stages of negotiation, and warns the president that if he does indeed sign the ATT, it will not be binding and no federal funds will be appropriated to implement it unless it has consent in the Senate and has been the subject of implementing legislation by the Congress.

Just hours after President Obama’s reelection, the administration voted in the UN to move forward with finalizing the ATT, which was previously delayed and is now scheduled to take place during a March 2013 conference.

The bipartisan resolution addresses concerns over language included in the July 2012 ATT draft, which failed to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms and the individual right of personal self-defense, among other things. In doing so, the current draft threatens the Second Amendment rights of United States citizens, as well as United States sovereignty.

In addition, the ATT poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the United States, placing free democracies and totalitarian regimes on a basis of equality and recognizing their equal right to transfer arms, while imposing onerous reporting requirements that could damage the domestic defense manufacturing base and related firms.

Seventy-six original cosponsors, including Chairmen Jim Jordan (OH-04), Mike Rogers (MI-08), Fred Upton (MI-06), Lamar Smith (TX-21), Sam Graves (MO-06), and Jeff Miller (FL-01), have joined Rep. Kelly in his effort to uphold the Second Amendment rights of Americans and maintain the sovereignty of the United States of America through this critical and timely resolution, which is supported by the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

Rep. Kelly issued the following statement:

“There is considerable cause for alarm regarding the UN’s renewed efforts to forge an Arms Trade Treaty that could trample the constitutional rights of Americans, and could seriously compromise our national security and the security of our allies, whom we will be less able to arm and less quick to defend due to the restrictions placed on us by the ATT. My colleagues and I stand committed to fighting this threat to our sovereignty and to standing up for the U.S. Constitution, which we are all sworn to support and defend.”


On June 29, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlining his concerns that the ATT would compromise national security and infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The letter, which was signed by 130 Members of the House, stated, in part, that:

•    The ATT should not cover small arms, light weapons, or related material such as firearms ammunition;
•    The ATT should expressly recognize the individual right of personal self-defense, as well as the legitimacy of hunting, sports shooting, and other lawful activities pertaining to the private ownership of firearms and related materials; and
•    The ATT must not hinder the U.S. from fulfilling strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to allies such as Taiwan and Israel.

To read the full letter, click here.

To read the Washington Times editorial titled, “The U.N. is coming for your guns,” which mentions Rep. Kelly’s letter, click here.

To read the article highlighting Rep. Kelly’s letter, click here.

CLICK TO PLAY (July 25 Interview on ATT)


UK Parliament – A Polite Mad Hatters Tea Party

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Original Story Via:

Firearms Controls

Grahame Morris (Easington, Labour)

I am grateful for the opportunity to raise this issue; I know that a number of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House are interested in this subject.

In the early hours of the new year, I was greeted in my constituency by the shocking news that four people had lost their lives in a shooting in the close-knit former mining community of Horden. They were Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, as well as the gunman, Michael Atherton, 42, who turned the gun on himself.

Following the shooting, I called for a calm and measured response, but the high emotions at the time were not conducive to constructive debate. In the months that followed, I had the opportunity to meet family members on a number of occasions. They have acted in a considered and dignified manner throughout, and looked for practical improvements that will hopefully avoid such tragic circumstances, and such a tragedy, befalling another family.

A public debate on firearms licensing is still needed, and the time is right for the public and Parliament to consider whether the current level of protection is adequate. It is said that Britain has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, but we should not be complacent. Current firearms laws consist of 34 separate pieces of legislation, which is complex and difficult to navigate for the police and the public. The Home Office’s official police guidance is more than 200 pages long. The rules are difficult to interpret, and their application can vary greatly across the 43 police forces responsible for issuing firearms licence certificates.

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Photo of Keith VazKeith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)rose —

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I will give way to my right hon. Friend, the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee.

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Photo of Keith VazKeith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. He will know that it is two years since the Home Affairs Committee published its report on firearms control and suggested that the 34 pieces of legislation be codified. Does he agree that it is now time to bring those pieces of legislation together, and make it clearer for people who have applied for and received licences, and for those who seek to get one?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I am grateful for that intervention; it was delivered with some authority and I completely agree. The Home Affairs Committee investigation and report into firearms control urged the Government to codify and simplify the law, introduce one licensing system to cover all firearms, and strengthen the current safeguards.

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Photo of David TredinnickDavid Tredinnick (Bosworth, Conservative)I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for kindly giving me leave to intervene in his Adjournment debate. I wish to raise the issue of the Olympics, and the inability of our pistol team to train in the UK. Does he agree that although we must

consolidate the legislation and perhaps ensure that it works more effectively, we should go back to Lord Cullen’s original suggestion, which would allow gun clubs to keep disabled pistols, so that we can train Olympic athletes of the future in this country?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point and I will come to some suggestions about how we might address that issue.

The Association of Chief Police Officers firearms and explosives licensing working group has called for a single form of certificate that

“remains desirable for safety and economic reasons”.

In terms of public safety, and in contrast to a section 1 firearm, shotgun applicants are not required to demonstrate a good reason for wanting a shotgun. I believe it important that people demonstrate that they have a need or use for a firearm, before they are granted a licence.

In evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, Mrs Gill Marshall-Andrews of the Gun Control Network said:

“The starting point should be that guns are lethal weapons and the onus should be on the applicant, somebody who wants to own a gun, to prove that they are”

a fit person to have one.

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Photo of Ian MearnsIan Mearns (Gateshead, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. The House should be concerned about firearms licences and licensees. Just after the summer, it was reported that no fewer than 3,000 legitimately owned and licensed firearms were reported lost, missing or stolen in the previous 12 months.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)That alarming statistic is one of a number that should exercise the minds of hon. Members, and it adds weight to the need for a full public debate.

It should no longer be acceptable to have a shotgun without a good reason. A good reason would have to be demonstrated by the same criteria that current firearms certificate holders must meet. Good reasons for holding shotgun licences include dealing with vermin or game, target shooting at an approved venue or club, or for professional use in employment, but evidence is needed to justify those reasons. It is difficult for many, including me, to comprehend why someone would need access to firearms in a domestic setting when there is little need for immediate access to a weapon.

One of the greatest weaknesses identified by the shooting fraternity is the variation in standards across police forces. For that reason, a national licensing authority has been proposed to provide central oversight, and to ensure the consistent application of licensing procedures. Such an authority would also have the advantage of removing the police from the administrative aspect of firearms licensing, and will allow them instead to focus on the enforcement of gun controls. The financial burden of the licensing regime could also be removed from the police while ensuring that public safety remains paramount. In evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, Bedfordshire police presented a cost analysis that showed that the firearms application fees in place since 2000 never represented the true cost to the forces processing applications. Rather than the current firearms certificate fee of £50, a fee of £150 has been proposed. I am not advocating that—an appropriate fee could be determined by any new central licensing authority.

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Photo of Jim SheridanJim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Labour)I perhaps should know, so my hon. Friend might have to excuse my ignorance, but does the proposed legislation cover air guns, which can be just as dangerous?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)There are concerns across the piece. Whether air guns are covered depends on the definition of air gun, but I hope to come to that in a few moments if my hon. Friend bears with me.

Public safety must be the primary aim of gun control legislation, but it is clear that the police, in view of significant budget cuts, can no longer afford to subsidise the licensing system. We heard in the debate a few moments ago of hon. Members’ concerns about 20% cuts in police budgets in their areas.

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Photo of Ian LaveryIan Lavery (Wansbeck, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate, which is on an emotive point for him. Does he agree that all aspects of firearms control should be a major concern and top of the agenda for prospective police and crime commissioners?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)My hon. Friend makes a good point. We are only a few weeks away from the elections for police and crime commissioners. I have discussed the issue with Ron Hogg, who is a PCC candidate in County Durham, and who has some expertise in the matter. It is important that this is a local priority, but I also suggest that we should have a national framework laying down guidelines—something stricter than guidelines, in fact—to be applied evenly. Part of the problem is that we have a patchwork of arrangements.

We cannot do firearms licensing on the cheap at the risk of compromising public safety. There is also a strong case for strengthening the link between the licensing authority and medical professionals when considering an application or a renewal of a firearms certificate. We need early and proactive intervention when a firearms holder’s mental and physical health deteriorates.

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Photo of Chris WilliamsonChris Williamson (Derby North, Labour)I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. Does he agree that public safety would be improved if a prohibition was placed on the private storage of firearms in people’s homes, if people with a firearms certificate were subject to an annual medical test to assess continually whether they were a fit and proper person to hold one, and if a public register was available so that the general public knew who had access to a firearm? The atrocities that we see are often committed by people who have been deemed a fit and proper person when originally given a firearms certificate.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)That is a good point well made.

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Photo of Karl McCartneyKarl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I will respond to the last intervention, and then I will take another one. I do not intend to declare war on the armed wing of the Tory party. I am not opposed to shooting per se. I am saying that people should be able to demonstrate a clear legitimate need before a firearms certificate or shotgun licence is issued.

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Photo of Karl McCartneyKarl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative)I commend the hon. Gentleman for some of the points he has raised, but I find the naivety of the previous intervention worrying, because producing a public register of those who own any sort of firearm might be a thief’s charter. I would like to know what experience of shooting or holding a firearm or shotgun licence he has.

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I have no experience. I have never held or shot a gun, but I have experience of a terrible tragedy in my constituency on new year’s day. I am attempting to share my experience with Members and to advocate having a review in the interests of public safety.

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Photo of Jim ShannonJim Shannon (Strangford, DUP)I thank the hon. Gentleman for the balanced way he is approaching this subject. I am concerned that the focus seems to be on legitimate firearms holders, the majority of whom are law-abiding. Will he reassure sporting Members and others throughout our local communities who enjoy the sport that this debate is not going down the road to remove firearms from those who have a legitimate right to hold them?

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Photo of Grahame MorrisGrahame Morris (Easington, Labour)I hope I have made that point. I am not proposing that people with a legitimate need to hold firearms, such as farmers and so on—there is a whole list of such people—are not allowed to hold them. That need should be declared as a reason for holding a certificate, and the police or the licensing authority would take it into account.

In a case in my constituency in 2008, Michael Atherton had his weapons revoked following threats to self-harm, and issues relating to mental health and gun ownership were also a factor in the case of Christopher Foster, who shot his wife, his daughter and himself after confessing suicidal thoughts to his GP.

I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers and the British Medical Association have an agreement whereby the police alert GPs to any new applications and renewals of firearms licences. However, concerns remain where an applicant fails to disclose full and accurate medical information at the time of application or renewal. Applicants are required to provide a number of medical details, including whether they suffer from any

“medical condition or disability including alcohol and drug…conditions”.

They also have to declare whether they have ever suffered from epilepsy or been treated for

“depression or any other kind of mental or nervous disorder”.

However, that information is not routinely checked. Licensing officers approach medical professionals only when there are doubts about an applicant’s medical history, although Dr John Canning—again, giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on behalf of the BMA—stated that GPs are “not very often” asked to provide medical evidence, although it happens “from time to time”.

Following the case of Christopher Foster, the Independent Police Complaints Commission proposed in 2008 that the licensing force should be required to approach the applicant’s doctor in each case, in order to obtain confirmation that the medical information provided

in the application was correct. The omission of information from a firearms application was also an issue in the case of Mark Saunders in 2006, which ended in him being killed by the Metropolitan police. Mr Saunders failed to declare during the application process that he had been treated by a consultant for depression and for his tendency occasionally to drink more than was sensible—indeed, he had been referred by his GP. Unfortunately, on his application for a firearms licence he stated that he had no such health problems.

In my view, the solution is to ensure that each applicant knows that licensing officers will approach their GP as a matter of course to verify statements made on their application about their health, to ensure they are correct and accurate. My proposal would address failures by an applicant to disclose any medical problem that raises questions about their suitability to own and have free access to a firearm. Finally, I call for greater consultation between the licensing authority and those who are or have been a domestic partner of a potential applicant. A similar system is already in place in Canada, where all citizens applying for a firearms licence are required to have their present and past partners in the previous two years sign their application. Refusal to sign for any reason does not automatically mean that the police and licensing authorities will veto an application, but it will trigger further investigation by law enforcement officers. The Canadian requirements merit further exploration, and I would appreciate it if the Minister informed the House of any progress made on this matter.

There has been no knee-jerk reaction. These proposals are considered, practical measures that, if implemented, could allow the consistent application of firearms legislation, strengthen existing safeguards and ensure public safety while maintaining the rights of the shooting fraternity to have access to firearms where there is a good and legitimate purpose for their use.

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7:38 pm
Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)I congratulate Grahame M. Morris both on securing the debate and on the tone in which he has addressed this issue, following the tragic events in his constituency. The shootings he talked about shocked the whole country. Obviously our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the victims. I agree with him: it is right that Government and Parliament should reflect on what lessons might be learned from these fortunately rare, but nevertheless tragic events, and how best we can protect public safety. I and the whole House—indeed, it is good to see so many people at an Adjournment debate—share his view that we need to approach the issues in a calm and measured way.

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, Durham constabulary has asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the events leading to the shootings. There has not yet been a coroner’s inquest into the deaths. Because of the investigation and a future inquest, the House will appreciate the need for me to avoid saying anything that might be prejudicial in relation to the circumstances of this case.

I understand that there have been complexities with the IPCC investigation, although it is working through those matters as fast as possible and the investigation is

now close to completion. The final report is now being finalised and it will be shared with the families shortly. Publication of the report will, however, depend on the time scales for the inquest and the wishes of the coroner. The Government will consider carefully the results of the inquest and of the IPCC investigation, paying careful attention to any specific recommendations that they might make and any implications for wider firearms policy, to which I will now turn as I try to address the specific points that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

The Government have always made it clear that controls on firearms should be targeted fairly and proportionately, and that they should strike the right balance by securing public safety without bearing down unnecessarily on legitimate users. With this in mind, I have arranged meetings with a range of stakeholders since assuming responsibility for this work. I met Deputy Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on firearms, this week, and we discussed a number of the issues that the hon. Gentleman has raised today.

Following the tragic shootings in Cumbria in 2010, the Government undertook to take a fresh look at firearms law and subsequently considered the recommendations of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which looked comprehensively at the whole range of issues. The Government published our response to the Committee’s report in September 2011. Our response sets out a number of commitments in response to the Committee’s recommendations. The Government will update the Committee, and the House, shortly on progress on those recommendations.

As the hon. Gentleman has said, it is generally recognised that the UK has comparatively low levels of gun crime, and some of the strictest gun laws in the world. It is true that these laws are complex, and I would therefore like to give a brief overview of the main controls that are in place. There are two main categories of firearms licensed by the police. First, there are those that are controlled under section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968. They are typically target shooting rifles and rifles used for hunting or vermin control. The second category is shotguns, typically used by farmers and for clay pigeon shooting. Both are possessed by means of separate certificates that are valid for five years. There is a third category of firearm, generally referred to as prohibited weapons, and these can be possessed only with the written authority of the Secretary of State.

My hon. Friend David Tredinnick raised the issue of training for Olympic pistol shooters. In advance of the London games, the Home Secretary provided an exemption for this third category of firearms to allow the Team GB shooting team to train here. She is currently in the process of issuing new authorities to British pistol squad members to train for the 2014 Commonwealth games. This is of course subject to the usual checks on applicants and to ensuring that training is confined to suitably secure ranges. The Government will look at arrangements for the 2016 Olympic games in due course.

The hon. Member for Easington raised concerns about how the licensing process operates. I would like to say something about the processes involved—again, without making reference to the specific circumstances of this case. The procedures are similar for the issue of a shotgun certificate but there are some material differences.

First and foremost, the police must be satisfied that the applicant can be trusted to possess shotguns without danger to public safety. Unlike with section 1 firearms, the applicant does not have to show good reason to have a shotgun, but the police may refuse to grant a certificate if they are satisfied that he has no good reason to have one. This is a different control, but it still allows the police to refuse applicants who have dubious reasons for wanting shotguns.

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Photo of Ian MearnsIan Mearns (Gateshead, Labour)I raised a point with my hon. Friend Grahame M. Morris about the number of firearms that have been lost or stolen in the past year. I understand that the figure was about 3,000. In the light of that, would the people who have lost their firearms or had them stolen have their licences reviewed?

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Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)That would be a matter for the individual force concerned. It is clearly a matter that the police forces that do the licensing, who are responsible and sensitive about these things, would take serious note of.

The hon. Member for Easington mentioned national control of firearms and the proposal for a national licensing authority. There is a danger that a central authority might lose touch with the sort of local information that the police need. In his report on the Dunblane tragedy, Lord Cullen recommended that licensing functions should remain with the police. Previous suggestions to replace the current police licensing system with a central civilianised licensing authority have been rejected as more costly and less efficient than the present system.

Although the Government are not in favour of a national firearms control board, the Home Office guidance to the police on firearms legislation—the hon. Gentleman mentioned it, and it is indeed long and complex—is being revised and updated to help ensure that licensing procedures are applied consistently across forces. This is an important piece of work, responding directly to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s wish for more consistency. In particular, we will highlight the need to take full account of any incidences of domestic violence when considering applications for the

grant or renewal of certificates. The comments that I have heard this evening will be particularly pertinent to that.

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Photo of Tessa MuntTessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)Does the Minister agree that cost is not an issue here? Where people use firearms for recreation, there is no excuse whatever for the process to be subsidised. It is not a matter of cost; it is purely a matter of process—and the costs should be covered by those who require a licence.

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Photo of Damian GreenDamian Green (Ashford, Conservative)The ultimate driver, frankly, is safety; that is what underlies the system. On the issue of cost, the Home Office has received a detailed report from ACPO proposing new firearms fees to allow forces to recover the cost of firearms licensing. In considering the proposal, the Government will look both at the quality of service licence holders receive, which is relevant, and will discuss with ACPO the scope for making some of the current processes more efficient and effective. That will take into account the need to manage risk and ensure public protection.

As we indicated in our response to the Select Committee, we do not consider that separate licensing for shotguns and firearms is causing difficulties. Applying a good reason test in the same way for both categories could be problematic. For example, unlike target shooters, shotgun owners do not always belong to clubs that could vouch that they had shot regularly. However, I assure the House that we will keep this issue under review. As I indicated earlier, the local police must satisfy themselves that an applicant for a certificate is fit to be entrusted with a firearm, and will not present a danger to public safety. This is a particularly heavy responsibility and sits right at the heart of the licensing process. Such is the basis of my discussions with ACPO.

One of the most important points raised by the hon. Gentleman was about the need for medical checks on those who have access to firearms. I completely agree that it is important that the police are made aware of medical conditions that affect a person’s suitability to possess firearms. Both the hon. Gentleman and I will therefore—

House adjourned without Question put (Standing Order No. 9(7)).

SPSC/IAPCAR Shooting Event A Success

Friday, October 19th, 2012

–Photos and Notes from Christian Werbik, SPSC Director–

SPSC – Sport & Practical Shooting Club, located in Upper Austria and consisting of 35 some members, recently hosted an exceptional shooting event:

Only civilian-legal semi-automatic rifles were allowed – no bolt action ones. This is somewhat unique, as only very few semi-auto rifles are approved by Austrian authorities, e.g. Steyr AUG-Z, Oberland Arms OA-15 Austria, H&K SL6. In order to purchase such a rifle in Austria, law-abiding citizens need either a firearm possession license or a concealed carry permit. With 21 participants and the proceeds to be donated to IAPCAR, Austrian shooting enthusiasts can speak of a successful day! Firearms legislation in Austria, measured against Central European standards, is still considered ‘reasonable’ by many. However, preserving the human right to keep and bear arms on an international level is crucial to any sport shooter, hunter, arms collector and re-loader.

Honduras to reevaluate gun control laws

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Original Story Via:

The Honduran government is reportedly set to conduct a review of its gun laws in an apparent effort to combat rising violence levels, though equal emphasis will need to be made on addressing endemic corruption and weak institutions to solidify any gains.

Matias Funes, a representative from the independent Commission on Public Security Reform (CRSP), said on Oct. 16 that Honduras’ gun laws are in need of urgent revision if efforts are to be made to combat the country’s endemically high level of violence, reported La Tribuna.

Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said the government agreed a review of the law should be undertaken and that President Porfirio Lobo had asked that he begin conducting one.

Under the existing law, citizens are allowed to own as many as five personal firearms. According to statistics released last month by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Honduras’ homicide rate for 2011 was 92 per 100,000, up from 82 the previous year.

Farm tenant arrested after burglars shot, was ‘plagued by break-ins’ (UK)

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Original Story Via:  The Telegraph


A farm tenant and his wife who were arrested after two suspected burglars were shot at their isolated home had been the victims of a number of robberies.

The man is believed to have grabbed a legally owned gun after they were disturbed by the break-in early yesterday.

He is understood to have fired at the intruders who then fled the isolated house at Melton Mowbray, Leics, before calling the police.

Minutes later, an ambulance was called to treat a man with gunshot injuries nearby. It is understood that call was made by one of the suspected burglars.

The arrested man’s mother said: “This is not the first time they have been broken into.

“They have been robbed three or four times. One of them was quite nasty.

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“They have not been injured but property has been stolen.”

Local farmers said the area has been increasingly targeted by car thieves.

One said: “We had three Land Rovers stolen. We had fitted one with a tracker and it was recovered in Birmingham.”

A second man was later treated for gunshot injuries after arriving at Leicester Royal Infirmary, 10 miles from the scene of the shooting. Neither of the men is said to be seriously injured.

Yesterday the businessman and his wife were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. Four men, understood to be the suspected burglars, were also arrested.

The case will reignite the debate over a householder’s right to defend his property, which began in the late 1990s after the farmer Tony Martin shot two burglars at his remote Norfolk home. In 1999, Martin fired at Brendan Fearon, 29, and Fred Barras, 16, after they broke into the house in Emneth Hungate.

Three shots were fired, Barras was hit in the back and despite escaping through a window died moments later. Martin was convicted of murder and jailed for life, which was reduced on appeal to manslaughter and five years’ jail.

In 2009, the millionaire businessman Munir Hussain fought back with a metal pole and a cricket bat against a knife-wielding burglar who tied up his family at their home in Buckinghamshire. Hussain was jailed for two and a half years, despite his attacker being spared prison.

Appeal judges reduced the sentence to a year’s jail, suspended.

The case prompted David Cameron to announce that home owners and shopkeepers would have the right to protect themselves against burglars and robbers.

Last year, Peter Flanagan, 59, who fatally stabbed a burglar armed with a machete at his home in Salford, Great Manchester, escaped prosecution after the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that he was acting in self defence.

Yesterday the Melton Mowbray cottage was sealed off by police. Welby Grange Farm is owned by John Hobill, 84, and his wife Evelyn, 76, and is the registered address for JT and RT Hobill, which lists itself as a farming business.

A woman who answered the phone said they were “not allowed” to talk about the incident. She said the cottage was privately rented and the incident was nothing to do with the family that owned the farm. She said the person living there was not a farmer.

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: “A 35-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were arrested in Melton on suspicion of GBH and four men, aged 27, 23, 31 and 33, were arrested at Leicester Royal Infirmary on suspicion of aggravated burglary.” All remain in custody.

Continuous drip-drip of distorted gun-related news reporting

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Derek Bernard

6th September 2012

During the afternoon of Wednesday, 5th September, a British family were attacked in their car while on holiday in France, near Chevaline. The 3 adults were shot to death, together with a cyclist, while 2 little girls in the car survived the attack.

Many of the news reports attempt to link the event to the strictness, or lack of it, of gun control in France.

For instance, Henry Samuel, Daily Telegraph, 5th September 2012, included the following:

“France has one of the highest levels of civilian gun ownership in Europe, with far more relaxed gun laws than the UK.

Handguns, semi-automatic weapons and pump-action shotguns are legal if held by active gun club members who must have a licence for them and undergo a medical check.”

As with virtually everything uttered by governments, police and the media on the subject of gun control, gun ownership and criminal violence, the purported linkage has no connection to reality. But this constant, almost subliminal, flow of distortion maintains and strengthens the fearful fantasy that guns, in and of themselves, are dangerous, nasty things that will turn ordinary, non-violent people into criminals and ordinary criminals into murderers.

This fantasy is what drives the European love of complex, expensive, slow and inconvenient gun control procedures, such as gun registration.

In 2007 the Harvard Journal on Law & Public Policy published an article by 2 of the world’s leading researchers, Professor Gary Mauser and lawyer Don Kates. It contained this interesting paragraph:

“One statistic stands out: There are 9 European nations which have less than 5,000 guns per 100,000 population and 7 that have more than 15,000 guns. The average murder rate of the 9 low-gun ownership nations is 3 times higher than the murder rate of the 7 high gun ownership nations. That is apparently because nations w/ high murder rates adopt stringent gun laws, but these don’t work, so high murder rates come to coincide w/ low gun ownership.”

I don’t expect it to be published, but I have sent the following letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph:

Dear Sir,

It was very disappointing to read your correspondent, Henry Samuel (5th/6th September), attempting to link the laxity or otherwise of French gun control laws with the murder of a family of British tourists.

French gun laws are not “relaxed”. Like the UK’s they are complex, expensive and highly anti-social in their effects. In addition to their negative effects on sport, pest control, hunting, manufacture and distribution, as well as police efficiency, they, just as in the UK, disarm honest victims.

Does Mr Samuel think that these killers, who clearly wanted to kill every witness to whatever they were up to, went to the “relaxed” French police and asked if they could have a gun or two as they had some murders to commit?

Yours faithfully,

Derek Bernard


VIDEO: Alan Gottlieb of IAPCAR Speaks out Against New Italian Gun Law

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Alan Gottlieb, Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation and co-founder of IAPCAR issues a message:  IACAR and FISAT stand strongly in opposition against law 79/2012 in Italy.

VIDEO: Misfiring on Gun Safety (CANADA)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

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Jerry Agar looks at why criminals will continue breaking laws, so increased gun regulations are not the answer.

Tasmania: Calls for tighter gun laws as thefts rise

Monday, May 14th, 2012

May 12, 2012

Original Story VIA:

There are calls for tougher gun storage laws in Tasmania, with police reporting hundreds of thefts over the past five years.

Police say 760 guns have been stolen since 2008 and there is evidence some are being stolen to order for criminal use.

The Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams said police conducted 800 random checks of licenced gun owners last year to make sure their firearms were properly secured.

“Ensuring that they’re securely retained will hopefully minimise the opportunities for them to be illegally obtained,” Ms Adams said.

The Coalition for Gun Control’s Roland Browne has called for even tougher storage requirements and spot checks.

“There’s something like 60,000 gun owners in Tasmania and 1500 police,” he said.

“It’s a huge job.”

There have been seven drive-by shootings in Tasmania in the past six months but police do not believe they are related to interstate gang turf wars.

Shots were fired at a house in the Launceston suburb of Ravenswood this week and last month a 17-year-old boy suffered serious injuries in a drive-by shooting at his Glenorchy home.

Assistant Police Commissioner Adams said the attacks were not gang-related.

“They’ve actually been the result of feuding parties so they’ve actually been directly targeted at a particular individual,” she said.

About 120,000 firearms are registered in the state.