Shooters Aren't Sexy: To Succeed, Gun Control Must Be Accompanied by an Assault on Gun Culture

By Squires, Peter | New Statesman (1996), September 27, 1996 | Go to article overview

Shooters Aren't Sexy: To Succeed, Gun Control Must Be Accompanied by an Assault on Gun Culture


Squires, Peter, New Statesman (1996)


In just over two weeks' time, conveniently after the Conservative Party conference, Lord Cullen is to release his report into the Dunblane massacre, arbitrating upon the fiercely contested question of the control and ownership of hand guns. The report is unlikely to satisfy the extreme and over-simple positions on either side of argument, but Cullen does offer a chance to embark upon a new course in dealing with guns, if we have the will to take it.

It can be assumed that Cullen's recommendations will fall some way short of an outright prohibition of handguns. Rather, he will advocate tighter firearms licensing and the storage of privately owned weapons -- minus ammunition clips or firing mechanisms -- in gun club premises, where new, more exacting security requirements will be applied. The clips or firing mechanisms would be kept separately, in secure conditions, at their owners' homes. Such proposals would remove weapons from where they are most insecure: private homes.

For shooters such proposals are better than they dared hope three months ago. The report will, on the other hand, disappoint the emerging gun-control groups and their newly formed Gun Control Network. What should the politicians do?

John Major has little option but to accept Cullen. Although initially he hinted at support for a ban, he drew back and invited Lord Cullen to deliberate precisely in order to avoid an emotionally driven, ineffective response of the kind that followed the Hungerford massacre in 1986. Labour has indicated that it might champion the populist instinct that demands a total ban on handguns (70 per cent of the public supports this, according to opinion polls). But this is not an easy course: it will mean resisting the balanced arguments of an official inquiry and ignoring the advice of senior police officers. What Labour should do is to prepare itself for a sustained assault on the more complex phenomenon of Britain's growing gun culture, for that is where the real problem lies.

The existence of a burgeoning gun culture can hardly be denied. In the decade to 1994 the police report a 142 per cent increase in the use of handguns in crimes. Yet it is too simple to call for a ban when the evidence is that making guns illegal merely increases recourse to illegal guns.

Japan (strict firearms controls, low homicide rate) and the US (liberal attitudes to firearms, very high homicide rates) are often called in evidence to suggest a general relationship between the size of the legal gun stock and the level of the criminal use of firearms. And it is true that both Michael Ryan in Hungerford and Thomas Hamilton in Dunblane held firearms certificates for the handguns used in their murderous rampages. But the vast majority of crimes involving firearms are not committed with legal or licensed weapons and there are thought to be three to four times as many illegal weapons as legal ones in Britain. Nine hundred or so firearms (shotguns, handguns and rifles) are stolen each year. Unpublished work recently undertaken for the Metropolitan Police area found that, of a sample 55 firearms recovered from crime scenes, only 2 had ever been licensed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Shooters Aren't Sexy: To Succeed, Gun Control Must Be Accompanied by an Assault on Gun Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.