Review of firearms laws after election?
FIREARMS laws are becoming outdated and should be reviewed after the forthcoming election, the Assistant Home Affairs Minister has said.
Speaking in the States, St Lawrence Constable Deirdre Mezbourian said that the existing law, which came into force in 2000, had served its purpose well but now needed to be revisited to reduce the risk of any gun-related incident taking place.
The assistant minister made the comments while responding to a question from Deputy Russell Labey about whether current legislation was fit for purpose and if it was as safe as it possibly could be.
In her answer, Mrs Mezbourian said that she regularly met the firearms liaison group, made up of Islanders with an interest in guns, such as a firearms dealer and members of shooting clubs, to discuss the issue.
‘As the Deputy knows, we are coming to the end of this Assembly and one of my recommendations to the next Home Affairs Minister is that a review be undertaken of our firearms law because it is coming up to 20 years [old] and there is always the need to be aware of changes and developments in other jurisdictions,’ she said.
‘While we do our utmost to mitigate any potential mishap over here, I believe the law, while it stands, has done a good job. But we cannot be complacent.’
Mrs Mezbourian also said that she, along with other members of the Constables’ Committee, were also looking at updating the application form used to apply for a firearms licence to make it more stringent.
The Island’s legislation differs from that of the UK, where the private ownership of handguns was banned following the 1996 Dunblane massacre.
However, apart from the possibility of changing the application form no other specific areas where the Island’s gun control laws could be updated were mentioned.
A response to a freedom-of-information request last year revealed that there were 9,288 firearms registered in the Island, of which 2,392 were handguns.