Beware knee jerk reaction to Dunblane, warns expert

A Lawyer who practises fire arms law has expressed his concern about hastily made controls on the licensing of handguns.

Peter Burton, a consultant at London firm Gilchrists who specialises in gun law, is worried that the “media hype” over gun law in the wake of the Dunblane tragedy will spark ill thought out, knee jerk reactions.

He said: “This is a very sensitive subject and as a result of recent tragedies there is obviously room for some fine tuning to the licensing procedures such as more stringent medical checks.

“We do, however, have some of the tightest gun laws in the world in this country. I think the problem is not in the legislation but in the policing of it and of problems in society.”

Burton points out that most armed crime is carried out by unlicensed gun holders who would be unaffected by tighter controls.

Lord Cullen's inquiry into the Dunblane massacre is to report within three months and its findings will form the basis of measures to be included in an autumn criminal justice Bill.