By Tim Montgomerie
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The Conservative MP and former GP Sarah Wollaston has taken to the pages of The Guardian to make the case for gun control in the United States.
She makes three key points:
- The scale of the problem: "There were 8,583 firearms murders in the USA in 2011, the equivalent of almost three Ground Zeros."
- UK gun control has worked: "The fact is that you are vanishingly unlikely to be a victim of gun crime in the UK for the simple reason that so few people own a gun. No one outside the military would be able to handle the kind of weapon used in the Newtown massacre."
- Gun control could be phased in: "US friends warn me that only the good guys would hand in their weapons and ask what would happen after that? But gun control could be phased. Surely it would be possible to start by banning gun ownership for anyone with a criminal record before phasing in more general restrictions? In the UK an opinion on fitness to possess a firearm is a prerequisite for a gun licence alongside rigorous controls on safe storage. It is a heavy responsibility to certify that a person could never be a risk to themselves or others."
Meanwhile, writing in today's Express, Frederick Forsyth makes the case against further gun control in the UK:
"The underworld is teeming with illegal guns and they keep pouring in from abroad. I believe we should keep the tight rules we have, which make the USA look like a free-for-all shooting gallery, but stop there for there is one thing we cannot see coming or stop in his tracks – the madman. Stanley Baldwin once said: “The bomber will always get through.” So it seems will the mass murderer. Because if the targets are small enough, or unsuspecting enough, or helpless enough, even a machete or knife or axe will do."