A new study warns that gun massacres are likely in the UK in the absence of adequate gun control laws as over 1.8 million firearms are currently in the hands of British citizens.
The study by police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which was released on Tuesday, pointed to the risk that exists because of failures and inconsistencies in the way prospective and existing gun owners are vetted and monitored.
It also said the assessment of an individual’s medical suitability for a firearm was less rigorous than the checks conducted on prospective bus drivers.
“Firearms are designed to kill, and to have a less consistent way of licensing someone than to drive a bus is simply wrong,” said Stephen Otter, of the HMIC.
Under the current system, police should obtain the details of gun license applicants’ medical history by contacting their general practitioners, but doctors are under no legal obligation to answer police requests for information.
‘Another tragedy likely’
In 2010, a dozen people were killed by taxi driver Derrick Bird in Cumbria in northwestern England. Bird legally held four firearms.
Otter also said unless the processes of granting gun licenses change, there will be the risk of more disasters.
“If these processes are not tightened up satisfactorily – particularly around mental health issues such as dementia – there will be another tragedy,” he said.
Many people in the UK are holding guns illegally because of application backlogs or the non-renewal of licenses, according to the report.
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