Thank you for contacting me about firearms legislation and handgun ownership.
I hope you can appreciate that it is the Government's responsibility to ensure the safety of people across the country. As such, there are currently no plans to change the laws in place for the purchase and possession of handguns in England and Wales.
Following the Dunblane school massacre of 1997, in which sixteen children and one teacher tragically lost their lives, the then-Government passed the Firearms (Amendment) Acts of 1997. This legislation, which restricted firearm ownership in order to prevent any further such gun massacres from occurring, has largely been successful in its aim.
Restrictions on firearms have also been important in the Government's suicide prevention strategy, with action to reduce access to the means of suicide proven to reduce such deaths. A study by the World Health Organisation shows that less than 2 per cent of suicides in the UK are by firearm, compared with 56 percent in the USA where firearms are more easily accessible.
Successive Governments since 1997 have sought to strike a balance between protecting public safety and defending the rights of the public to enjoy gun-related sports at the numerous shooting ranges spread throughout the UK. I believe our current Government has struck this right balance, as demonstrated by its proud record in reducing the total number of UK firearm offences by 21 per cent since 2010.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.