12 May 1995

Gun controls rejected

JUNIOR Home Office minister David Maclean has rejected MPs calls for tougher firearms controls.

In particular he ruled out a demand that people in urban areas should not be allowed to store guns. It would signal to criminals that farmhouses were a better target because they would always be bound to find a gun there he said.

He said he did not want to impose more restrictions on legitimate gun users. "We all know that, even if we made it physically impossible for any farmer anywhere in the country to have a firearm or a shotgun for shooting rabbits, the bad guys would still get their guns," he said.

The current controls struck the right balance between the primary need to ensure the publics safety and the need to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the police and on legitimate users of firearms.

"I should be happy to place more burdens on legitimate users if I thought for one moment that they would be successful in stopping the bad guys getting access to guns," he added. "It is because I am convinced that there are no further sensible controls that we could place on legitimate users that I do not see a reason for further action. The bad guys will still get their guns." &#42

Peter Bullen