Asking if the UK gun laws should be changed because of the shootings in Cumbria is not really examining the problem but simply the usual knee jerk reaction as seen whenever such an incident occurs. Each time there is such an incident, and they do not happen frequently in the UK, such a question is asked. The last time this happened was in Hungerford, when a semi-automatic weapon was used.
By pandering to the knee jerk brigade, those that support more restrictive rules on the UK’s already oppressive firearms legislation are simply penalising those that legally own firearms. It has no effect upon those that obtain firearms illegally. In fact, greater legislation simply drives more firearms underground, which means such weapons become untraceable and they then cannot be monitored.
Historically, right up to the end of the Second World War, Government and Local Authorities have always encouraged membership of local gun clubs by the populace. So from the long bow to the bolt action rifle, should there have been a need, the British Army has always had a wealth of experienced shooters to call upon in times of war. This encouragement ceased when the British Army moved from bolt action rifles to semi-automatic weapons.
Since that time, firearms legislation has always looked to restricting gun ownership in the UK. Generally, this sort of action indicates a less free populace that has a Government that fears armed insurrection. There are many within the UK that envy the right to bear arms that is built within the US Constitution.
So, should we support greater restriction? The answer is no. Should we revise the gun laws? The answer is yes. Such revisions need to take into account the freedoms of the populace. Such revisions need to be constructed in such a way that although firearm ownership is indeed monitored and regulated, it should be done in such a way that those that want to shoot, for sport, for hunting, for pest control and even, dare I say it, for fun, should be allowed to do so.
No matter how unfortunate and sad the Cumbria shootings were, they should not be used as a political vehicle. Too often in the UK political opinion is played upon to gain the Government a success in whatever agenda they are moving towards. Such manipulation has already been seen in previous gun law revisions and also in other areas such as vehicle taxation. The British Public needs to wake up a bit and see that reacting to swells of public opinion often works in the favour of the Government.