UK Politics

MPs to investigate firearms laws after recent shootings

Image caption MPs will look at information-sharing between police and prisons among other factors

MPs are to investigate the laws on gun control in the aftermath of two recent high profile fatal shooting incidents.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee said the "tragic" killing of 12 people by Derrick Bird in Cumbria and the attacks by Raoul Moat in Northumberland had prompted it to look at firearms laws.

It will examine the extent to which legally-held guns are used in crime and whether licensing rules are adequate.

Ministers have warned against a "knee-jerk" change to the laws.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the UK already has among the toughest gun control regimes in the world.


MPs will hold hearings after the summer recess and have asked for submissions from interested parties about what, if any, changes are needed.

"In the light of the recent tragic shootings in Cumbria and Northumberland, the committee wishes to examine the legislation governing firearms," Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the cross-party committee, said.

He said the committee would investigate existing procedures for issuing, monitoring and reviewing firearms certificates to see if they were "fit for purpose".

"We want to be certain that our gun laws are clear, transparent and enforceable.

The review, he added, would also "seek to determine whether there are lessons to be learnt from recent events, including the role of doctors and criminal justice agencies in liaising with police to assess the risk posed by individuals."

Mr Moat killed one man and seriously injured a police officer days after being released from prison.

After Mr Bird's shooting spree in May, which left 12 people dead and 25 injured, Home Secretary Theresa May said the government would "consider all the options" over gun laws but urged caution until the full facts of the case were known.

Mr Bird, who turned the gun on himself after the attacks, had held a firearms licence for 20 years.

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