by Countryside Alliance

The Countryside Alliance has responded in a statement, following comments made by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, on LBC Radio concerning the future of UK gun laws.

In the interview today (16/01/2023), Sir Keir reportedly argued that gun laws in England should be tightened, following a drive-by shooting during a funeral in his constituency over the weekend. 

The former Director of Public Prosecutions told LBC: "We’ve had these incidents from time to time with guns, there was one down in Plymouth last year, and every time there is , there’s evidence, which I am concerned about, that people have access to guns that they shouldn’t have access to.

"Now with illegal access that’s a pure matter of criminal law. But other people where better checks should be taken on circulation of guns. So I think that we need to look again as to whether those laws are strong enough."

Sir Keir said that he had been in “constant contact with police” and involved in intelligence briefings over the shooting in Euston.

He added: "There are many illegally-owned guns out there and there are legally-owned guns, which I don’t think should be in the hands of the people who are legally owning them."

Responding on behalf of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner said: "It is extremely worrying that Keir Starmer is using a terrible event in his constituency, which looks certain to involve the use of an illegally held gun in an incident reportedly linked to a Colombian cartel*, to justify restrictions on legitimate gun owners.

"This is both unjustified, as UK firearms legislation is some of the strictest in the world, and also risks diverting from the real issue which is a culture of urban violence and illegally held guns.

"The UK’s over 600,000 legal gun owners have worked with successive governments to ensure that only responsible individuals should be able to own guns. Targeting lawful gun owners in a knee jerk reaction to a shooting involving an illegal weapon would cause serious concern across the countryside".

* Various news outlets including The Times and Daily Mail have reported (16/01/2023) that the incident is ‘linked to Colombian cartel’. 

The Times has covered Mr. Bonner's statement via it's live blog, here.

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