Friday, 20 November 2009

Gun today, gun tomorrow

Lobbydog was chatting to a dad who has been campaigning for a change in the law governing the use of airguns.

A couple of years back his son was playing with two other lads who had an airgun, and was accidentally shot in the eye – he died two days later.

The dad had, among other things, wanted a law saying that air guns should be kept in a locked cabinet when not in use.

He was understandably happy when the Queen’s Speech included a line saying there would be a law requiring the weapons to be kept out of kids’ reach.

But after LD read through the detail of the legislation, which was published this morning and gave him a call, he was not so pleased.

The wording of the law, rather than requiring guns to be kept locked up, simply said “reasonable precautions” had to be taken to stop youngsters getting them.

Anyone that has watched any sort of court case knows that is far too vague a wording to make it easy to prosecute anyone who commits the offence.

The question has to be asked why they didn’t simply spell out that it should be locked up when not in use, as the dad put it – what harm would it do?

One MP mentioned it may be because the Government had wanted to keep the rural lobby happy, judging by comments on some airgun websites they are pleased with the “flexibility” of the wording.

Unfortunately I fear that in trying to keep everyone happy the Government may end up with a dud law.


Anonymous said...

Election coming; try to keep everyone happy; spend the time between now and May promising everything to everyone, kissing babies and taking the cabinet on the road to curry favour with the electorate.

Oh, the joy of politics.

Gareth said...

There are limits to what legislation can do and it is this Government's failure to acknowledge that that is at the heart of our lives burdened by far too many dud laws. The more laws they create and the more complicated they make them the more loopholes there are.

As sad as deaths from airguns are, legislation will not stop them from happening any more than banning handguns has prevented their use by criminals.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Off topic LD, but a Scots blogger has just been forced to close down by-wait for it-the News of the World.


Anonymous said...

How would a change in the law have prevented the accident in which the boy was killed?

I'm assuming that your thinking is that the airgun would have been in the locked cupboard and not available to the boys.

That's the job of the parents not of the state. There can't be many people in this country hungry for yet more legislation to regulate still more our increasingly circumscribed lives.

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