For members information.
Those who saw the Daily Telegraph article of 20th August related to the Panorama program that day, and posted on this website on the same day, can see my response attached.
There was some editing but the main thrust of my letter remains clear.
I am responding to Daniel Foggo’s article in the Telegraph today regarding antique firearms.
Mr. Foggo quotes, out of context, part of my statement in tonight’s Panorama programme.
I pointed out that if antique firearms were required to be registered then the law abiding collectors would comply but the criminals clearly would not – and they have the ammunition – made illegally.
The ammunition for these firearms is not readily available in the UK and has to be made by an expert. Law abiding collectors who work in co-operation with museums to preserve, research and study our heritage do not have ammunition. If they need ammunition for research they license both the firearm and the ammunition. Criminals do not.
The amount of crime committed with antique firearms is in fact a small proportion of overall firearms crime. We understand from NABIS’ statistics that the vast majority of firearms crime is committed with modern firearms and ammunition acquired illegally.
Modern handguns are not in the public domain since the Dunblane tragedy. That ban did not work since crime with handguns continued and indeed rose after the ban. There are many sources of illegal firearms for criminals, not just these relatively few antiques. Illegal firearms come into the UK in trucks, the mail, vessels and other routes and we understand are easily acquired on the Dark Web.
This is all about criminality. You can import an antique legally with the appropriate paperwork to prove what it is, and equally you can buy one here. The point is that it is a criminal act to have ammunition unless it is licensed with the firearm.
NABIS has done a good job discovering Paul Edmunds and other criminals who are now serving long sentences. We suggest that they, police and border forces place additional focus on the issue of modern weapons used in crime.
We would like to see proportionality applied.