The leader of Britain’s Eurosceptic right-wing political party, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), says the UK government should lift a ban on handguns that has been in place for almost two decades, calling the current ban on handguns “ludicrous.”
“I think proper gun licensing is something we've done in this country responsibly and well for a long time, and I think the kneejerk legislation that Blair brought in that meant that the British Olympic pistol team have to go to France to even practice was just crackers,” Nigel Farage said during a radio interview on Friday.
He added, "If you criminalize handguns then only the criminals carry the guns. It's really interesting that since Blair brought that piece of law in, gun crime doubled in the next five years in this country."
"I think that we need a proper gun licensing system, which to a large extent I think we already have, and I think the ban on handguns is ludicrous," Farage commented.
Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gateshead, criticized the remarks and said they are an example of “how extremely dangerous UKIP are.”
“Families facing a cost-of-living crisis will find it bizarre that one of Nigel Farage's priorities would be to relax Britain's tough gun controls,” he said.
Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP, said that there was no “clamor” in Britain for a relaxation of gun laws.
Farage’s comments indicated UKIP were “even more rightwing” than the Conservatives, said a Labour aide speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They are already the party that wants higher taxes for low-income families, deeper cuts for public services and now they want to relax gun laws,” he said.
Restrictions on handguns were brought in by former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major in 1996 after a man shot dead 16 young children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland. He also injured 13 children and three teachers before shooting himself.
The laws were extended to a total ban by Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997.