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

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The Independent Online
Sir: The firearm in British life cannot simply be dismissed as an unwelcome icon imported from America.Between 1689 and the 1930s, the people of this country had a more unfettered legal right to possess arms for their personal defence (including machine guns) than did the people of the USA.

However, it was the Volunteer movement of Victorian times, and the ideal of providing an effective base for the defence of the realm, which geared the civilian ownership of arms to target shooting for the next century.

Traditionally, the UK had no gun lobby. Civilian target shooting was well integrated with society and was as respectable as archery and fencing. Ironically, traditional civilian firearms training successfully "de-iconised" firearms in the minds of the vast majority of participants.


Winchester, Hampshire