Letter: Guns: if the mental safety catch fails

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The Independent Online
Sir: Gun clubs are where one learns to shoot, whatever use that skill may be put to; and there are powerful unconscious forces at work when a man chooses handgun shooting as his sport and these forces remain when mental illness supervenes, without the safety catch provided by reason, prudence and conscience. The Government would be wise to ban such guns, even if it means depriving innocent citizens who find an outlet for their instincts in shooting for sport.

One remembers the story of Hermann Goering arriving late and dressed for the field at a dinner given by our ambassador, Sir Eric Phipps. When Goering apologised with the explanation that he had been out shooting, the ambassador is said to have replied: "Animals, I hope, Herr Reichsmarschall."

I note that the targets on shooting ranges are usually human representations.

Professor JOHN A DAVIS

Cambridge

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