Gun control: the need for rational debate: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am relieved that the Home Affairs Select Committee has voted against a total ban on handguns; appalling though the Dunblane massacre was, and wholly understandable though the views of parents such as Pamela Ross are ("Listen to me", 1 August), as a nation we simply must try to step back from the situation and attempt to assess it rationally before passing ill-conceived and unnecessary laws.

It is a sad fact that a ban on legally held handguns would in no way prevent another such incident occurring; viewed objectively, even a shotgun in the hands of Thomas Hamilton would have had a very similar result, and yet even those calling for severe restrictions on the possession of firearms are reluctant to control these weapons as well.

I am not a gun user myself, have no involvement in the field beyond academic study, and support no political group or party, but I can see that no legislation passed in haste and with a people still in shock has ever had its intended effect, no matter how well-intentioned - rather, it is by rational debate and analysis that the appropriate laws are framed and in this case, effective and fair gun control is achieved, without over- reaction by either side.


Edgware, Middlesex