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Daily Telegraph - HBSA Chairman's letter published (well mostly)

posted 31 Jan 2014, 17:13 by The Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association   [ updated 31 Jan 2014, 18:05 ]
Following up on the media comments and public polls that arose from Nigel Farrage's suggestion that target shooting with pistols should be restored to law-abiding UK citizens, our Chairman - Derek Stimpson - wrote to the Daily Telegraph in an attempt to set the record straight about the background to the Dunblane tragedy.  His letter appeared on 31st January, somewhat edited, but still essentially intact. Below we display the DT page, followed by the full text of Derek's letter.

Links:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10595087/Hand-guns-should-be-legalised-and-licensed-Nigel-Farage-has-said.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10608247/Guns-are-left-only-in-the-hands-of-criminals.html

Daily Telegraph 31 January 2014
Guns are left only in the hands of criminals
Handguns were banned for political, not safety reasons
HBSA Chairman's letter to DT

SIR – The tragedy at Dunblane in 1996 followed glaring errors in police procedures, according to Lord Cullen, chairman of the inquiry.

I am told that had the correct procedures been followed in applying firearms laws, which are quite adequate, then Thomas Hamilton would not have been granted a firearms certificate. 

If this is the case, then handguns were banned for political reasons, rather than for public safety. Moreover, since then, criminal use of handguns has increased, creating a worse public-safety issue.
 
I do not believe that this question has been debated satisfactorily, and the official Dunblane papers cannot yet be viewed. Why not?
 
Derek Stimpson
Chairman, Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association
London WC1


Members should be aware that my letter was somewhat edited, and for their information my original letter is as follows. The picture is not mine and was introduced by Daily Telegraph.  DS


Dear Sir,

I have read with interest the latest commentaries regarding the change in firearms law banning handguns, which took place following the tragedy at Dunblane in 1996.

The real cause of the tragedy does not seem to have been aired publicly, but it seems that the Dunblane tragedy happened following a breakdown (glaring errors according to Lord Cullen) in Police procedures and perhaps linked to other issues.  This now seems to be generally accepted as the case.

I am told that had the correct procedures been followed in applying our firearms laws, which are quite adequate, then Hamilton would not have been granted a Firearms Certificate.

The issue is, that if this is really the case, then handguns were only banned for political reasons (a change of Government at the time), including minority group pressure, and not public safety. Legal handgun owners fell prey to this knee-jerk reaction and were denied their legal rights. Moreover, it seems that, since then, criminal use of handguns has increased, creating a worse public safety issue. It is not clear whether there is more effective police work now which is having some success, because of lack of real statistics. That situation may now be evolving due to improved Police intelligence work. 

I do not believe that this question has ever been addressed publicly or debated satisfactorily, and the official Dunblane papers cannot yet be viewed. Why not?

Additionally our young people are allowed to "enjoy" some extremely violent and unpleasant video games involving firearms, with  some negative effect on their minds, no doubt.

No one in Government seems to have been able to address any of these questions. 

yours faithfully

Derek Stimpson 

Chairman
Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association
BCM HBSA
London WC1N 3XX