Gun lobby to run in Dunblane poll

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The Independent Online
A gun lobby group yesterday announced plans to run a candidate against Michael Forsyth, the Secretary of State for Scotland, in his constituency of Stirling, which contains Dunblane.

The group will protest at the government's ban on private ownership of handguns.

But the Snowdrop campaign, which called for a ban on all handguns in the wake of the Dunblane massacre, has dropped its plan to field a candidate in Mr Forsyth's highly marginal seat because Labour was backing its demands.

The latest threat to Mr Forsyth's majority of just 703 comes from the Shooters' Rights Association, a lobbying group for licensing and other legislative issues, which claims 6,000 members.

Secretary Richard Law said the candidate could be his Glasgow-born wife Elizabeth, but this had yet to be decided.

He said: "The Government has gone too far. They are scapegoating decent people for police ineptitude."

The problem lay not in guns but in the licensing of them - Dunblane happened because of failures in this respect by Central Scotland police, he said. "I would have thought there was scope for a charge of manslaughter against Central Scotland Police, in the way that people in the ferry company were charged after the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster."