Gun Control

Thank God we have gun control in this country. Watching the news this morning another two shootings in London, one fatal and the other critical.
Shootings are becoming far too common. This is not to mention stabbings, that are now so commonplace that unless they are fatal might get a column inch inside on page 4 or 5.
I am glad we live in a country with gun control, so we can all go about our lives safely. I wonder if these firearms are licenced?

You have to wonder what on earth goes through the minds of these people, many perpetrators are the same age or just a bit older than the youngsters we have as cadets, as are the victims. The latest 17 and 16.

I cannot imagine what their parents are going through. You can understand why many parents do not let their kids go anywhere, unless they are driven and collected. There are parts of the area I grew up in, that I once I walked through at all times of the day and night, that now I wouldn’t, as I just don’t feel safe. This is nothing to do with policing, as you never saw them out and about 20-40 years ago.


I am in the middle of a long-winded FoI exchange with the Home Office (about last year’s Firearms Consultation for .50 / some “rapid firing rifles”) - their response (20 day target) took nearly 3 months & was high quality, evasive waffle. Internal Review in progress…

During the research, it was very, very obvious that there are glaring gaps in the data / statistics available from the Home Office. However, from their own sources:

“Since 2008/09, handguns have remained the most commonly used non-air firearm type, accounting for 42% of non-air firearm offences in 2016/17.”

“Handguns” refer to those that are illegal under firearms licensing (or otherwise require a Section 5 licence for accredited bodyguards, sports competitors, etc). You won’t be seeing a gang shooting with a black powder revolver that is held under a firearms licence!!

Depending on gang size / finances / required status, they may not “own” any firearms, they will often go to an illegal “armourer” who will rent out a gun / ammo. If the gun gets used, then there is a further charge (gun may be ballistically listed) & ammo is scarce. Hand-loading (which was taken up by some gangs!) has been problematical for a while as you have to show your FAC when purchasing primers.

It was rhetorical about the guns used for crime being licenced, everyone knows they won’t be licenced, especially to the people carrying out the act.

It is ironic that even though we have quite stringent requirements about holding firearms in this country we still have shootings on the streets. Not as bad as the US, but then one is one too many. Makes you wonder if it’s worth the effort having the legislation. The irony is that gun crime has proliferated in the last 20 years or so, more so in the last 10, which is since the big push for licencing firearms and strict controls about holding them in the 90s.

I know through friends nefarious and not that if you wanted a firearm, a word in the right ear, pass over the cash and it’s yours no questions. Like so many things.

There needs to be much, much harsher sentencing and punishments for anyone convicted of the act and supplying such.

I think there also needs to more stop and search. I know several black people who are incensed by the black community leaders who are against it. Their view is if you’ve nothing to hide what does it matter and if it makes the community a safer place, so much the better. Back in the 80s one of my mates had an Astra GTE (2L?) and he was forever getting stopped by the plod. But it was a work motor and probably got looked after better than the police cars. He always had all his docs on him, which seemed to annoy them. But he said at least by doing that they were checking to see if it was nicked, so not a bad thing.

Has it? I’m struggling to find up-to-date stats for the whole of the UK, but the London figures seem pretty flat - it would seem that knife crime is the big problem.

mass shootings in the united kingdom - Search results - Wikipedia - “The page “Mass shootings in the united kingdom” does not exist.”

No further evidence your honour.

Mass shootings are a bit of a red-herring though. Mass shootings are quite a small percentage of the total number of deaths and injuries from firearms in the US.

This one then…

My point being that our gun control is a lot better than a lot of other countries.

No it’s not perfect but good sight better than any policy thought up by the NRA…

National Statistics


Police recorded crime statistics must be interpreted with caution. The police can only record crimes that are brought to their attention and for many types of offence these data cannot provide a reliable measure of levels or trends. However, for some offences, police figures can be useful in informing our understanding of the general picture of crime. This is especially the case for those crimes that generally have high levels of reporting to the police and where audits of recording practices have not highlighted significant concerns about the reliability of the data.

Police recorded crime showed continuing rises in a number of higher-harm violent offences that are not well-measured by the CSEW as they occur in relatively low volumes. This was most evident in offences of knife crime and gun crime; categories that are thought to be relatively well-recorded by the police. The occurrence of these offences tends to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas.

Offences involving firearms

Offences involving firearms7 increased by 20% (to 6,694) in the year ending September 2017 compared with the previous year (5,587 offences). This was driven largely by a 20% increase in offences involving handguns (up to 2,844 from 2,375) and partly by a 14% increase in offences involving imitation weapons such as BB guns (up to 1,661 from 1,456), a 36% increase in offences involving shotguns (up to 658 from 484) and a 26% increase in offences involving unidentified firearms (up to 914 from 727). The latest rise continues an upward trend seen in firearms offences in the last few years, however, offences are still 31% below a decade ago (in the year ending March 2007; Figure 7).


According to the info I’ve looked at based on court cases (just for London as I can’t find for the whole country)
Gun murders (teenagers)
1990 - 2006 : 2
2007 - 2018 : 26 and counting

Knife murders (teenagers)
1990 - 2006 : 4
2007 - 2018 : 120 and counting

So there is evidence for a rise of both in the last 28 years, with steep increases in the last 11, but given how much harder it is get hold of a gun than a knife, the gun figures given the controls we have (only adhered to by the law abiding) has to be a worry, which I am pretty certain can be linked to the rise in gangs and all the BS that goes with them. As the scourge of gangs moves into the “shires” as city boroughs look to divest themselves of the ne’er do wells this is something that cannot carry on unaddressed. But it needs as I said the main ethnic groups where this behaviour seems to be highest, to face up to it and promote measures like stop and search. Unless they want more of their young people dying (whether that be by gun or knife) unnecessarily.

It is however churlish that you are picking holes, when it regards someone taking someone’s life for what would be a really petty reason and the rise in murders in the same timeframes is easy to see. As I say one is one too many. I am glad our own children are now out of the idiot age group, although it doesn’t stop them or any of us being a victim. But teenagers are the prime age group. Cadets have said they have been ‘approached’ with the threat of being stabbed. However this didn’t exist when I was a lad and we went around feeling safe to do so.

Last time I looked, it was about 36,000 deaths from firearms, of which about a third were homicide, the remaining mainly suicides. By comparison, UK suicides are predominantly from poison (over-dose) & hanging.

If you put 36,000 deaths into an industrial “at fault” scenario, you could bet your last dollar that legislative action would happen, pronto. In my specialisation, you could say it was a fully loaded airliner crashing each week - the FAA would be onto a “no fly” or grounding the type in a flash.

Our control control is reasonably solid - although the post-Dunblane lobbying was very effective in driving the handgun+++ ban, despite the fact that the consensus was that the “bad guys” would always work around any such ban.

+++ from Guide to Firearms Licensing:

Small firearms

2.41 The 1997 Act prohibited, for the purposes of section 5 of the 1968 Act, any firearm which
either has a barrel less than 30cm in length or is less than 60cm in length overall, other
than an air weapon, a muzzle-loading gun or a firearm designed as signalling apparatus.
The intention was to prohibit certain particularly dangerous firearms which were easy to
conceal. In general terms, this has meant the prohibition of handguns but it is important to
remember that the legislation does not refer explicitly to handguns; instead it refers to small

The issue at the moment isn’t really guns, yes they are out there, but most predate the firearms legislation that we currently have, the big win of the legislation is that ammo is very difficult to come by and is often of low quality. (If you are an underworld armoured and you get 10 good rounds you cut the charge as you would with drugs to make enough for 20 rounds which you then sell. The weapon goes bang but the rounds do less damage than you would expect).

The real issue for us right now is knife crime which is through the roof and aiming for the stars. The reasons behind this are:

20,000 less police officers since 2007

20,000 less police staff since 2007 (meaning that these jobs are now being done by frontline officers).

Best Use of Stop Search (BUSS) this is a policy brought in by a Theresa May as Home Secretary, it has artificially altered the grounds that the police need to conduct a search from “suspect” (2-3 out of 10 liklelyhood of finding something) to “believe” (8 or 9 out of 10). This has led to the few Police Officers left being able to carry out far less searches. (The obsession with positive searches by government (where something is found) fails to take into account the deterrent effect of carrying weapons on lots of searches taking place.)

Government restricting the use of Section 60 which enables a senior police officer to authorise officers to search anyone in a designated area for 24 hours for weapons where they have intelligence to suggest violence might take place. (Used to be commonly used following a gang related attack to prevent revenge attacks).

Failures of courts to actually lock people up for carrying weapons, too often people get a slap on the wrist when they should be made an example of. If they gave a 5 year sentence for a first offence irrespective of age it might make a difference.


Numbers-wise, maybe not so easy to justify that.

…the year to March 2017 features the highest rate of police stops leading to an arrest since the data was first collected (17%). In 2010, 9% of police stops resulted in an arrest.

Friend of mine was a senior JP on the local bench. He was instructed to never jail anyone, not sure if he had the power to do so anyway. In the end he got so fed up of the same people appearing before him week in week out knowing he could not jail them that he quit. All he could do was fine them, fines they never paid anyway.


It’s about interpretation of the figures and what they mean.

It can be argued (as the government does) that the percentage of positive stops is up, with less stops but more of that reduced number being of people carrying illegal items and that’s all that matters and isn’t the reason we are losing the streets.

However it can also be argued that a positive stop isn’t just about finding things (although that’s nice). It’s also about finding things out (gathering intelligence) and about deterring people from carrying weapons or other illegal items.

Now since stop searches are down 75% if you are thinking about carrying a weapon you know you are 75% less likely to be caught than you were 8 years ago. The government like the “percentage of positive searches are up” line but ignore that the number of arrests is down by 50%.

Here’s a little story for you, just choose your crime as you go.

“Once upon a time there was a man called Billy, Billy was a well known burglar/gang member/drug dealer every Police Officer on the borough recognised him and knew where he lived. If he was seen out and about in a different area/the place he was known to deal drugs/commit robberies/an area with a high crime rate he would be stopped & searched, sometimes he would have something illegal on him & would be arrested or police might find things out from the process like his address has changed or he has a new mobile phone or is hanging around with new people or a new gang is working in the area. If he didn’t have anything on him he would think “thank god I didn’t have anything on me, I’d better not carry at the moment as I’m still getting targeted by the Police because they know I’m a criminal/they are just searching everyone” he would also tell all his criminal mates. However once Mrs May came along & BUSS was brought in Billy realised the Police couldn’t search him anymore, so he started carrying his illegal stuff all the time and told all his mates “the coppers stopped me for a chat, I fed them some BS and they didn’t even search me.” Mrs May then began to wonder why crime was through the roof and said “sod it let’s just lie about what the figures mean, it’s only poor people & ethnic minorities dying/living in places they don’t feel safe” The End”

That may be a little tongue in cheek, but the fact remains that in 2010 17 teenagers were murdered in London out if a total of 124, in the first 3 months & 4 days this year we have had 10 teenagers killed out of a total of 50 murders in london. If that’s replicated for the rest of the year (I think it’s going to get worse) you are looking at 200 murders & 40 dead kids and the deterrent effecct & Intel gathering elements of Stop Search are a big part of the solution. (As are getting our Police numbers and support staff numbers back up.)

The other thing to take into account when the government trot out the “we are searching less innocent people line” is that just because the person who was searched wasn’t carrying when he was stopped doesn’t convert a prolific criminal/habitual knife carrier into an innocent member of the public, they are still a criminal they just weren’t committing a crime at that moment.


The figures are a concern and it’s when these move out of cities that I am certain that politicians of all colours will ask questions. Imagine if it happened to a cadet from your squadron.

IMO if you get stopped and you are doing nothing or have nothing illegal it might be an inconvenience but, if as suggested, the police are more likely to target those known to them, surely as suggested it follows they are less likely to carry anything. If this keeps towns and cities safer, what is wrong with that? As it is kids (in the age range of cadets) especially are more likely to carry something, not as a primary user, but just in case. A bloke I worked with found a handgun in a bedside drawer, when he and his wife stayed with his wife’s sister in a small town about 30 miles from New Orleans. Why, just in case.

As for stop and search …
A mate of mine soaked his denim jacket in patchouli oil. Apparently this can be used to mask the smell of cannabis. Three of us on the way to a gig in the early 80s got stopped and were searched for cannabis, just because of his bloody jacket. Bloody annoying as we lost pre-gig drinking time, we were asked why we had so much money between £50 and £80 as I recall, but even in the early 80s going to a gig wasn’t cheap and you had to have folding, no cards or apps back then. However if the police stopped more that night and found people with drugs, that would be good, IMO.

The theory is fine, but the practicality isn’t so easy. Blades aren’t always carried around, they are sometimes hidden in strategic locations known to gang members. Drug deals are set up on Snapchat, etc, or other secure messaging apps for a specific meet, rather than a “carry all your wares” just in case of a impromptu demand. Kids under 10 yrs old are used as runners.

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That’s why the Police do Weapons Sweeps regularly in public areas in London, but finding things on Sweeps seems to be far less common these days, finding things on the rare occasion that a Section 60 is authorised however is very common.

Why is that you may ask, it’s because carrying knives has become habitual since gang members know they just aren’t likely to be searched anymore.

All the stuff about using kids under 10 to carry just isn’t that common these days, what is common is getting girls to carry or conceal weapons at their home address. It’s also common for teenagers to be carrying drugs as couriers and although I don’t buy into the “they are all victims” line some of them certainly are, whereas others are hardened gang members in their teen making their way through the ranks.

I am sure my daughter will be even happier having transferred from the Met (Wood Green & Edmonton) to Police Scotland. She complicated about the curtailment of stop and search which was stated to have elements of racial discrimination, in areas where the population was significantly ethnic.

I think we can all make a good guess at the root cause of the problem and it does not help under resourcing law enforcement, when population levels are increasing.

However it is comforting that the RAFAC rules are sound; we had an ex Regiment Warrant Officer, who had seen service in NI, Falklands, etc, was fully trained on everything up to Rapier Air Defence systems, but the RAFAC said he was not qualified to supervise Cadets firing Air Rifles, and because he demonstrated our new indoor range (approved by HQAC) to an outgoing Station Commander, OC Wing decided to make an example of him.

I pride myself in knowing right from wrong, but the basic fundamentals of society are being undermined simply because the law is no longer enforced or enforceable. In our own little world this not helped by such as the RAFAC not abiding by its’ own rules and regulations. No-one has yet been able to tell me who is accountable for enforcing Defence Council Regulations.


Out this afternoon and on the news it Sadiq Khan has said he wants the Police to do Stop and Search, bit of a climb down from a Lefty.
There were also letters in the DT today hinting at the irony that the communities hit most hard by gun and knife crime are the ones that complained the most.

As for the WO. In the mid 80s we had a bloke join as a CI who had a deputy manager of a LA outdoor centre (dealing mainly with school children) and was qualified more than the ATC then required for climbing and canoeing. When he said we wanted to do some with the cadets, he was told no, unless he did the Joint Services Course. He suggested where they could stick the course (as very new CI myself it was an eye opener to the WSOs face) and declined the suggestion, as he would learn nothing new from it. So the small minded attitude of the ATC has been alive and kicking for many years.

Latest statistics - gun crime seems to be down slightly, but knife crime, sadly, shows record numbers killed.

Direct link to ONS information.

Makes it somewhat frustrating that having visited peers (last week) in the House of Lords for the second time, the Government is still pushing (within the Offensive Weapons Bill) for prohibition for some types of rifles - yet numbers of firearms analysed by NaBIS seems to be pushing for the highest number ever:

Martin Parker, of the national ballistics intelligence service, said the amount of guns and ammunition sent to its labs for analysis is set for a ten-year high . He said: ‘The highest year for us was 2010-11 – just under 1,300. This year, we can expect it to be just as busy, if not more so.’