Thursday 3 June 2010


In common with all shooters, I am stunned by the awful killings by Derrick Bird in Cumbria yesterday. As people who use guns for sport and competition, we feel particularly horrified by these terrible events. It's an appalling tragedy, and my thoughts are with the victims, families and many others affected.

In due time, answers will emerge to the questions of why and how. For now, I feel proud to be a member of BASC, seeing them do an excellent job of handling a flood of media enquiries with professionalism and sensitivity, helping to ensure balanced reporting and resist any clamour for a kneejerk response.

UPDATE: BASC have issued the following statement:

BASC welcomes Government response to Cumbria murders

3 June 2010 - The Home Secretary’s announcement that the full facts behind the Cumbria murders must be established before any move is made to review firearms law has been welcomed by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. (BASC).
 BASC spokesman Simon Clarke said “Every legitimate firearms owner, along with the rest of the country, is still in shock after the appalling events in Cumbria, and our thoughts are with the community and the affected families.
“Inevitably questions are being raised about the UK’s firearms licensing laws. Those controls are amongst the toughest in the world. It is essential that the police and other agencies are given all the time they need to complete their investigations and enquiries. That will doubtless include an examination of the licensing circumstances in this case.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to take a cautious approach to any review of firearms laws, and BASC will contribute its expertise to any such review. BASC staff work day-in, day-out dealing with lawful shotgun and firearms owners and police forces over licensing issues. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in this country and the UK needs a working firearms licensing system which balances use with public safety. “
“Shotguns and rifles are essential tools of the countryside, used in agricultural pest control, game shooting and target shooting."

4/6/10: There is a very sensible opinion piece in the Guardian, of all places, explaining why knee-jerk 'tighter regulations' are not a good idea:

"We cannot stop people having rows at home or work, taking leave of their senses, finding a gun and going berserk. Such things rarely happen. But even the most authoritarian state must allow some personal liberty, and everyone accepts the resulting risk. No free community can be wholly safe without losing its freedom."

4/6/10: The blogger Bill O'Rites makes a similar point in typically forthright terms:

"How about we ban motor vehicles, as they kill & maim more than 30 people every day."

As an observation, the blogosphere does seem to be taking a strongly anti-banning line over this. Examples include Old Holborn, Devil's Kitchen and The Magistrate's Blog,  while others, including Mud in the Blood and Angry Teen are arguing the case for deregulation of guns altogether - a step too far for me, but it's hard to argue with the logic.

Meanwhile the League Against Cruel Sports, finger on the pulse as always, has launched a major political lobbying initiative... it has sent each MP a rather tasteless blood-spattered coffee mug with an anti-hunting slogan. If you want one, rather than paying their exorbitant £10, I suggest you rummage through the bins in Westminster.

1 comment:

vicky said...

Yes, excellent balanced comment form Mike Yardley on R2 just no. Sadly no amount of weapon laws can prevent this sort of tragedy- he could have gone crazy with an axe, knife or car. How does someone get so roubled they feel he need to kill like this?