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Gun Control

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies he has commissioned of gun control policies in other nations, with particular reference to (a) the United States and (b) other EU member states; and what conclusions he has drawn. [130051]

I have not received recent studies. In developing our approach to gun control we pay broad regard to aspects of controls in other countries and to our European Union and international obligations. But ultimately United Kingdom legislation has to be framed in the context of domestic requirements. We have one of the toughest frameworks of control in the world, and we consider it right that we should. However, although controlling legal firearms is important in helping to prevent guns falling into the wrong hands, it does not obviate the need for other measures to deal with armed crime. This needs to be addressed in the context of all violent crime and other activities such as drug dealing, as well as the emergence of a gang culture in some areas, and in the light of what we can learn from police best practice, both here and abroad. The experience of the police in Boston, for example, is already being taken into account by police forces in the United Kingdom.