From the GCN website: "All our activities and objectives are predicated on the belief that the interests of public safety demand a reduction in the availability and attractiveness of firearms of all kinds. No reasonable person doubts the fundamental connection between the number of guns there are in a society and the prevalence of gun homicide, suicide and accident.
Almost all guns start out legal and there is no clear demarcation between legal and illegal weapons. Therefore what is needed is legislation to control the availability of legal weapons and law enforcement to control the illegal ones."
GCN representatives very kindly responded to my email, where I asked them to consider posting on the blog. We both decided it was incredibly important for all the readers of this blog to hear a U.K perspective on this issue, and what we can do to prevent gun violence. The GCN is at the forefront of the battle to reduce injuries, accidents, and deaths by firearms. Some of their objectives involve tightening gun licensing, increasing the license fee to cover the cost of making a more rigorous gun control system, establishing a National Gun Hotline, so people can contact authorities immediately if they feel they are concerned about someone the know with a gun, as well as myriads of other creative solutions to end this problem.
In the wake of the tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, many politicians have been saying that we cannot politicize this horrific event, and that now is not the time for dialogue. I too said this in the days following the shooting. However, now, I realize that it is of utmost importance that we act to tighten gun laws, so that this doesn't happen again. Below is a post written by GCN representative Chrissie. Much thanks is to do Mr. Peter Squires and Georgina of the GCN, for kindly responding to my queries and agreeing to post. Below are Chrissie's comments completely unedited:
"We have been following this blog on the subject of firearms with interest, and would like to offer our comments and UK perspective to this debate. The UK has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world, making it one of the safest places in the world to live, and members of the UK organisation www.gun-control-
network.org send their sympathy and support to those affected by the tragic shooting in Newton.
GCN was formed in 1996 following a school gun massacre in Dunblane, Scotland when a gunman entered a school and shot dead sixteen 5 and 6 year old's and their teacher. As a result of our campaign, and with overwhelming support from the public, the media, and Members of UK Parliament, handguns were banned from private ownership in the UK in 1997.
The population of the United States is approximately five times that of the UK. Therefore, it would be expected that the firearms deaths in the United States would be five times greater than in the UK. There were 42 recorded firearms related deaths in the UK in the first half of 2012, and less than half of those were homicides. There are approximately 11,000 gun homicides in the United States every year.
National comparisons show a clear correlation between the number of guns in society and the number of related incidents seehttp://www.infertrust.org/
The United States is suffering from an appalling number of gun massacres, but given the number of firearms in private ownership these frequent gun tragedies are not surprising, they are to be expected. This national sickness will not be remedied by endless speculation about the motives of perpetrators, or by arming more teachers, nurses, or shopping mall workers, because every armed individual is a potential perpetrator. Those familiar ill thought out flawed arguments regarding road traffic accidents and swimming pool drownings divert attention from the real issue - guns are designed to kill, cars and swimming pools are not.
The evidence is clear, there is hope of an improvement in the condition of the patient, but only if the patient is willing to try."