The UK has some of the world’s tightest firearms laws in the world, with potential owners having to provide a valid reason for wanting a weapon.
But Jack Crozier – who lost his sister Emma in the 1996 atrocity – says one of those permitted reasons, owning a gun for sporting or leisure purposes, should now be scrapped.
“We understand that some people, like farmers, do need guns as tools but there should be no place in the UK for the recreational use or ownership of firearms,” the 27-year-old said. “It is not worth the risk. Your sport is not worth the potential lives lost.”
Gun control laws have come under scrutiny after Jake Davison, who had a firearms licence, killed five people, including his mother and a three-year-old girl, in the Devon city. It is thought the 22-year-old crane operator was approved for ownership after saying he required a gun for sporting purposes.
The police watchdog are now investigating after it emerged the killer’s gun was returned to him just a month before the attack. His licence was revoked last year, after an allegation of assault.
Now Mr Crozier’s intervention will heap pressure on the government to review what many campaigners have long said is a gaping loophole in the legislation.
“We don’t yet know the background to the case,” said Mr Crozier. “But we need to ask why he had legal access to weapons in the first place. The crux of the matter is this should not have been allowed to happen. Something has gone wrong.
“Now we need to take steps to ensure that we actively address what went wrong, put that right and get accountability for what has happened.”
He spoke out as further questions were also being raised about why Davison was able to own guns despite clear mental health problems and having posted a series of videos online espousing extreme misogyny.
His words will be seen as especially important given that his own family played a key role in campaigning for gun laws to be tightened following the killing of 16 school children and a teacher in Dunblane.
Although Mr Crozier was himself a child at the time, he has since become an eloquent voice in the US debate over controls.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson promised on Saturday that Davison’s gun licence would be “properly investigated”.
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