Letter: Need should not be the sole criterion for gun ownership

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Sir: The argument about the use of guns always starts with the assumption that there is a right by some people to own and use guns; members of gun clubs, landowners, and people who enjoy shooting animals and birds. It would surely be more logical if the argument started by discussing who actually needs to use a gun.

It is now possible for people who shoot for sport to use non-firing weapons. Computer programmes can be devised to link a "gun" to a target to record where the shot would have hit, and to ensure realism for outdoor use.

There is no need for landowners, many of whom have never been trained to use guns safely, to slaughter birds or animals in the name of vermin control or sport. Professional teams could be employed to cull animals when necessary. It would be easy to control and safeguard these weapons.

Collectors could be required to have the barrels of weapons filled in and sealed. There could be an annual inspection by the police, before issuing an annual license.

All guns that can kill could then be outlawed with very severe automatic penalties for transgressors. I feel quite sure that the vast majority of people would, if given the option, prefer to have a totally gun-free society.

M ABRAHAMS

Hove, East Sussex

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