Gun crime on the rise in London
21 November 2021 12:00 AM

Gun Control

21 November 2021

Overview

Unlike in America, there is little debate between gun control and gun rights groups in the UK.

Instead, in the UK, there is a general public consensus against ownership of handguns, which is enforced under strict legislation. The ownership of guns for sport is more readily accepted, but these are controlled by a strict licensing regime.

In America in 2017, there were almost 11,000 gun deaths. In the UK, in the year to March 2019, a total of 33 people died as result of gun crime.

The astonishing difference between the UK and US is considered a combination of national attitudes, strong border controls, strict law enforcement, and the UK possessing some of the strictest gun control legislation anywhere in the word.

More power to police targeting knife and gun crime

The US population is 5 times bigger than that of the UK, but gun related homicides are 333 times higher.

Gun Control Laws In the UK

With a few specialised exceptions, all firearms in the United Kingdom must be licensed through either a 5-year firearm certificate or a shot gun certificate issued by the police for the area in which the owner normally resides.

To obtain a firearm certificate, the police must be satisfied that a person has “good reason” to own each firearm, and that they can be trusted with it, “without danger to the public safety or to the peace”.

Under Home Office guidelines, Firearm Certificates are only issued if a person has a legitimate sporting, collecting, or work-related reason for firearm ownership.

Unlike in America, in the United Kingdom, self defence is not considered a valid reason to own a fireman.

The current licensing procedure involves a number of steps including the positive verification of identity; two referees of verifiable good character who have known the applicant for at least two years (and who may themselves be interviewed and/or investigated as part of the certification); the approval of the application by the applicant’s own doctor; an inspection of the premises and cabinet where firearms will be kept; and finally a face-to-face interview by a Firearms Enquiry Officer. Each applicant is then subject to thorough universal background checks by Special Branch.

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