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The Independent Online
Tens of thousands of firearms are expected to be handed to the police in the next month as a nation-wide guns amnesty begins today. Feelings of concern and revulsion stirred up in the wake of the Dunblane massacre have already encouraged thousands of gun owners to give up their weapons. Hundreds of people holding certificates for guns have also handed over the licences vowing not to bear arms again. There has been a particularly strong response in Scotland as holder of firearms have reacted to the distressing details being released during Lord Cullen's inquiry into the Dunblane tragedy, which continues today.

Central Scotland Police, whose area covers Dunblane, has seen a fivefold increase in the number of weapons handed in. As part of the backlash to the killings at the Scottish school the Government announced an amnesty to allow guns to be handed in to the police without fear of reprisal, although if any weapons are found to have been used in a crime they will be investigated. In a similar scheme following the 1987 Hungerford massacre, in which Michael Ryan shot and killed 16 people, 48,000 weapons and 1.5 million rounds of ammunition were handed over Critics of the present initiative argue that although it will take thousands of guns out of circulation it will have no effect upon criminals and gun fanatics. Members of gun clubs will also be untouched.

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