Election '97: Anti-gun lobby turns its fire on the Tories

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The anti-gun lobby will today throw its weight firmly against the Conservatives as the banning of handguns becomes a party political issue. Ann Pearston, of the Snowdrop Campaign, along with members of the Gun Control Network and representatives of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, will share a platform to attack Tory views on firearms.

The campaigners against handguns had initially sought to be apolitical as they attempted to bring about a ban in the wake of the Dunblane massacre. The change in stance follows a survey by the Gun Control Network of parliamentary candidates views on a total handgun ban. Gill Marshall-Andrews, who chairs the group, said: "If it's important to you that we make this country safer and ban all handguns, then don't vote Tory."

Meanwhile, Mrs Pearston said that the Snowdrop Campaign, which played a major part in bringing about tighter firearms legislation after Dunblane, would officially disband on the day of the election.