Maxine Davison, Sophie Martyn, Lee Martyn, Stephen Washington and Kate Shepherd were all killed in the mass shooting which took place in Keyham, Plymouth this week. This tragedy has shocked the Nation. The gunman had his shotgun certificate removed from him in December 2020 following an allegation of assault. However, it was returned to him in July the month before he went on a shooting spree.
I am a survivor of domestic abuse and violence and suffered horrific injuries after I was shot by my estranged husband at the hair salon where I worked. The gun which was used in my attack was stolen from a house burglary and passed on. This then asks the question should firearms be kept at home? His brutal act destroyed so many lives and I vowed after that day that I would do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen to another person. Along with Nazir Afzal, the former Chief Prosecutor, we are calling on the UK Government to review the licencing conditions to hold any firearm.
- We are asking that no person should be granted a licence if they have previous domestic abuse/violence convictions or a history of domestic abuse.
- And that anyone who has any mental health related illnesses, to include anxiety and depression or drug/alcohol use also be refused a licence.
- For those who are granted a licence we ask that the holder has to apply biennial to renew their licence, with exception of professional shooters, sports people (Olympics, Commonwealth Games etc) the exception will also include farmers. These checks must be carried out with due diligence including social media.
- That those licence holders are not permitted to keep a firearm in the home but they have to be kept at their local gun club, with the legitimate exceptions such as farmers.
- GP records be tagged so police will be alerted to any licence holder who is or becomes unfit to hold a licence.
You may have wondered how these men were able to get hold of guns, many assume this kind of violence could not happen in the UK. But despite handguns being banned under the 1997 Firearm Amendment, research carried out following the implementation of the Act saw a 40% increase in the number of gun crime incidents in the UK (Politics.co.uk)
Guns are a problem in the UK and we need to do something about it.
*In 1987, Michael Ryan killed 16 people and wounded a further 15 with a semi-automatic rifle in a massacre in the Berkshire town of Hungerford.
*In 1996 a disturbed former boy-scout leader named Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 young children and their teacher at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland.
*In 2010 Derrick Bird killed 12 people in Cumbria.
Please join us in calling an end to these preventable deaths so we don't lose another victim to gun violence in the UK.
Rachel Williams and Nazir Afzal