Letter : Boring, harmless shooters

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The Independent Online
Sir:You are quite right (leading article, 14 August) to deplore the more self-interested and downright silly arguments put forward by the Home Affairs Committee against further restrictions on gun ownership. Likewise the fatuous action brought by the Shooters' Rights Association.

However, no one has argued convincingly that legally owned guns pose, in this country, a serious threat to life. Thomas Hamilton most certainly could have done as much damage either with illegal weapons, or with shotguns, or in some entirely different way.

I find it impossible to avoid the impression that what motivates the present outcry is not a desire to save life but distaste for a minority group regarded as gun nuts or otherwise psychologically suspect. I used to know a fair number of such people. They were among the most boringly ordinary, criminally disinclined individuals I have ever met. Banging away once or twice a week with things that made a satisfyingly loud noise, while competing in the necessary hand-eye coordination, seemed to sum up the attraction of the sport.

Restriction to single-shot weapons would be neither rational nor effective. They don't take long to reload, and you can carry more than one of them. And as for requiring all weapons to be kept in a single "safe" place, what a juicy target for the thief compared with the guns being scattered in a large number of mostly unknown locations.

For the sake of a tiny and uncertain increment in safety you and, more understandably, the Dunblane parents, are lashing out at a harmless minority who cannot be compared in any way with the grotesque American guns lobby. You are letting your heart run away with your head.

T MARTIN

London SW3

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