|THIS IS A READ-ONLY ARCHIVE FROM THE SORABJI.COM MESSAGE BOARDS (1995-2016).|
Crimes involving guns jumped 35 percent in the yearlong survey, while the use of handguns -- already illegal -- rose 46 percent.
Gun-control laws in the United Kingdom are some of the strictest in the world, but gun-related crimes have increased annually since a ban on handguns was imposed after the Dunblane Primary School massacre in 1996. Sixteen students and a teacher were left dead in the shooting.
Overall, crime rose slightly more than 9 percent in England and Wales, but violence stemming from guns soared the most. There were nearly 10,000 incidents involving firearms, including 97 gun-related murders and 558 serious causalities.
A ban on handguns was imposed after the Dunblane Primary School massacre in 1996. Sixteen students and a teacher were left dead in the shooting.
British lawmakers immediately moved to tighten gun control laws last week, imposing a mandatory five-year prison sentence on anyone found carrying a handgun.
Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the new punishment last Monday, and then following a Friday summit released other initiatives, including an amnesty program that will allow citizens to hand in guns to police.
"While we already have some of the toughest gun laws in the world, there has been an unacceptable increase in the flagrant use of guns in crime across the country," Blunkett said in a statement, noting that the new mandatory sentence will send criminals a clear message.
Liberal Democrats said the statistics demonstrate the need for stricter gun-control measures.
Gun Owners of America spokesman Erich Pratt said some states and cities in the United States have taken an approach similar to the United Kingdom, only to find that crime almost always increases.
"We've seen the same thing in this country," he said. "In Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles -- wherever firearms have been strictly curtailed, inevitably there's an increase in crime because people can no longer defend themselves."
Go figure....I'm not the only one!!!