Letters : Gun users are obsessive - about safety

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Why on earth does Lucy Ellmann think pistol owners do not deserve compensation for the expected sacrifice of their weapons (20 October)? The odium that has been heaped on shooting by unqualified commentators is distressing to the many thousands of ordinary people who handle guns legally, safely and without any symptoms of personality disorder every weekend, on the range or in the field.

These unlicensed pundits should study the target before they open fire. Shooting people are just like other hobbyists, except that because the equipment involved can kill, it is invariably, in my experience, handled with extravagant caution; the only obsession that afflicts most gun users is with safety.

There are a few who want guns for the wrong reasons, and it makes sense to tighten the firearms laws to exclude them. But the wholesale surrender of legitimately held pistols will have about as much effect on crime figures as banning the potato peeler. I genuinely hope that the people of Dunblane derive some solace from this success; their small comfort is surely the only good the ban will do.

Chris Newton

Stroud, Gloucestershire

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