Police raid home of gun-lobby campaigner activist Police seize guns from shooters' rights

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The Independent Online
Police have seized more than 200 weapons and 30,000 bullets from the home and business of one of Britain's leading pro-gun campaigners.

Richard Law, the outspoken secretary of the Shooters' Rights Association, which has been fighting to reverse a government Bill to ban most handguns, was arrested by investigating officers and later released on bail.

It emerged afterwards that Mr Law had his gun licence revoked by the Metropolitan Police in 1983 after he was caught carrying two revolvers at a market in London.

Mr Law yesterday accused the police of a "classic harassment" campaign aimed at disrupting his organisation's attempts to defeat the Firearms Bill currently going through Parliament.

Six police officers confiscated all Mr Law's weapons on Tuesday from his gun shop and home at Llanerchymeudwy Llwyndrain in Dyfed Powys, west Wales. Weapons, including pistols, rifles, shotguns and swords, worth up to pounds 100,000 were taken during the operation on his Home Office-approved firing range and dealership.

Among the guns were a collection for export to France. Under the Firearms Bill handguns must be sold to foreign dealers or destroyed by the police for compensation. There is concern that vast numbers of firearms held in Britain will be transferred to Europe and the US.

Police also revoked his gun and gun-dealing licence, and the shotgun and firearms certificates for his wife Elizabeth and shotgun certificate for his daughter Helen. The police argue that the family are not fit and proper people to hold firearms licences. Mr Law will appeal against that decision in court.

A computer, files and licences relating to Mr Law's work as a gun dealer and firearms expert witness were also taken, he said.

Mr Law, 44, whose wife planned at one point to stand as a gun-lobby candidate at Dunblane in the general election, said he had been served notice revoking licences for weapons in his armoury.

His premises were searched by 24 officers and he was arrested three hours later in connection with another incident before being bailed to return on 10 February to his local police station. The police had removed a number of firearms from his business about a month ago.

Mr Law said yesterday: "This looks to me like old fashioned harassment. There is a connection that this happened the day before the report stage of the Firearms Bill." He said he had licences for all of the weapons seized.

"They were looking for a way of closing us down. Which they have succeeded in doing. Without the tools of my trade I will be signing on the dole today."

He confirmed that he had his licence revoked while living in London and had been prosecuted in court, but argued it was a misunderstanding and an "occupational hazard".

The Shooters' Rights Association has led opposition to the Dunblane parents' calls for a complete handgun ban.

Ann Pearston of the Snowdrop Campaign, which wants to ban all firearms, welcomed the raid, and said: "It seems quite justified that he has had his licences revoked. I just hope he doesn't get them back on appeal."

A spokesman for Dyfed Powys police denied there was any campaign against Mr Law. A statement said: "As a result, a number of firearms and dealer- related certificates connected with the premises have been revoked and all weapons and ammunition at the premises have been removed by the police."