Gun amnesty nets over 17,200 firearms

As the deadline on the national gun amnesty runs out today, the Home Office has reported that over 17,000 firearms have been handed over to police.

Its first three weeks of the campaign, 17,216 guns and 483,033 rounds of ammunition have been handed in – comparing with a final total of almost 23,000 firearms surrendered in the last amnesty, held in the wake of the Dunblane shootings in 1996.

Mr Blunkett said: "Reducing gun crime is a clear priority. While by international standards we still have a relatively low number of incidents, the recent rise is unacceptable and has prompted urgent action to tackle it head on.

"We know that we cannot simply outlaw gun culture and that legislation alone will not solve the problem. That's why we are working closely with representatives from our communities to find out how the Government can support the good work being done to identify people at risk of becoming excluded from mainstream society.

The government will introduce further legislative measures, including a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a prohibited firearm. Mr Blunkett believes this will send out "a clear deterrent message" that carrying a gun will not be tolerated.

It also is proposed that new laws making it an offence to carry imitation guns and air weapons in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse will be introduced.

However, the Conservative shadow home secretary Olive Letwin criticised the government's record on crime, saying: “Flashy announcements and summits are not the answer. Gun-related crimes - like most other serious crimes - are on the increase because the government has no coherent strategy for tackling the problem.”

The first national amnesty occurred in 1988 – when the Conservatives were in power – following Hungerford. On that occasion, 48,000 firearms and 1.7 million rounds of ammunition were handed in.


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