Speaking on LBC radio, UKIP leader Nigel Farage last week said it was his party’s policy to overturn the ban on handguns in the UK brought in after the massacre of 16 children and their teacher by Thomas Hamilton at a primary school in Dunblane in 1996.
I remember very clearly the news reports of this horrific crime back in the mid-nineties and I will always recall the mothers crying outside the school gates as they waited for news if their child had been murdered by Hamilton.
As much as I respect Mr Farage and what he is doing to overhaul the complacent political system in this country, he is wrong to promote the repeal of the 1998 ban on handguns. One of his arguments for re-legislation is “if you criminalise handguns then only the criminals carry the guns”. Frankly, this comment is barmy. That’s exactly why handguns are banned. If you have one, you are very simply a criminal, no ifs or buts – straight to court and conviction.
Legalising handguns would wash Britain once more with deadly concealed weapons, which will in turn lead to an increase in people being killed by firearms. It is currently very difficult for criminal gangs to obtain a handgun (because of the ban) in the UK with many firearms shared between offenders.
You only need to look across the pond to America to realise what a disaster their Constitution’s Second Amendment – “the right to keep and bear arms” – is. From Columbine to Sandy Hook, innocent children have been killed in their classrooms because of the ease of which it is possible to buy a gun. Nigel Farage is not suggesting we adopt the American model – he says it is “absolutely crazy” – but turning the clock back to 1998 and allowing people (albeit a very small number of people) access to a handgun would be mad.