Letter: Don't blame guns for violence

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article ("Our shield against a gun culture", 14 August) filled me with dismay. I might not disagree with your conclusion but I deplore your abandonment of decent journalistic standards and libertarian values.

The call by the Dunblane families and their supporters for a ban on handguns has been presented as an emotional crusade. The Dangerous Dogs Act constitutes recent evidence that emotion alone is no basis for legislation. Accordingly, to describe the 48-page report of the Home Affairs Select Committee as "perfunctory" and to accuse the Government of "hiding" behind the Cullen inquiry is disgraceful.

There is also a deeper point. Although firearms in the wrong hands may be regarded as uniquely dangerous, concentrating on a ban on handguns carries with it the moral hazard of believing that we will have done what is necessary to prevent a second Dunblane when, in reality, we will have done nothing about the underlying problem.

Your leader would have been better entitled, "Our shield against a violent culture", and the ban you should have called for is on the level of violence currently portrayed unremittingly on screen and stage.

STEPHEN MULLINER

Haslemere, Surrey

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