The United Kingdom has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world. They’re not the toughest, but close to it.
Yet despite all those regulations, things happen. Bad people get guns and then do bad things.
Now, a surviving family member of someone killed with a gun is lashing out, saying the laws there need to be tightened up.
The twin sister of a woman shot dead along with her two daughters by the girls’ father says stricter gun checks could have prevented their deaths.
Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and Ava and Lexi Needham, aged four and two, were killed by Robert Needham, 42, at their home in Woodmancote on 29 March 2020.
Ms Fitzgibbons’ sister Emma Ambler told the BBC she was “shocked” at how easy it was to get a gun licence.
In a delayed inquest in July, the coroner ruled Kelly, Ava and Lexi had been unlawfully killed, and that Needham had died by suicide.
Though he legally owned the gun, evidence emerged at the inquest that he had lied when applying for the licence.
The family now say applicants who lie should be banned from re-applying.
“If Rob hadn’t had access to such a deadly weapon, there’s a chance that Kelly, Ava and Lexi could still be here,” Ms Ambler told the BBC.
“This could have been prevented if gun licensing guidance was tougher.”
The family also want licences to be reviewed more frequently, for closer working to be forged between GPs and police, and for people with recurring depression to be barred from getting a licence.
In other words, gun laws will never be tight enough.
As noted, the UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. It’s a very different world than here, but even there, bad people still get guns. Yes, even by lying.
“But he shouldn’t be allowed to re-apply,” she says. Well, maybe, but he still has the gun and if they knew he lied, why wasn’t he prosecuted for doing so? Bans on him re-applying only matter if he got caught, which didn’t seem to happen.
See, part of the problem here is that families of those slain aren’t rational. They’re emotional and they’re looking for someone to blame. They want their loved one’s death to mean something, so they look for some kind of systemic failure that they can point to and try to change. That means pushing for gun laws.
It makes them feel less powerless.
However, nothing about it is rational. She can’t see that the laws there are strict and encompassing. I know she doesn’t believe owning a gun is a right, but it is. The gun laws there ignore that right, which she can’t see. She can’t see it because she’s grieving still.
I get that. Believe me, I get it.
But here in this country, we hold these irrational people up as some kind of guru, as if their experience somehow trumps rationality and reality. It doesn’t.
They can’t see it and they don’t want to see it, either in the UK or here.