Dearne MP’s horror at firearms ‘loophole’

Michael Dugher
Michael Dugher

An MP has voiced his alarm at a loophole that allows violent partners to apply for guns, as it is revealed that two women a week are killed by a husband, partner or ex.

Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, has slammed a recent government vote that means people with a history of domestic violence can keep applying for firearms licences.

He plans to back tough new action against this in September, when Parliament returns.

A Labour amendment to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill that would have allowed police to refuse gun licences for people with a history of domestic violence, was rejected by the Government.

The amendment included people with a history of violent conduct, drug and alcohol abuse as among those unable to receive gun licences. The issue will return to Parliament.

Mr Dugher intends to vote for this proposal to help stop violence against women, in light of figures that show the following:

In England and Wales one in three women killed by their partner is shot with a legally-owned weapon, and 64 per cent of these murders involve shotguns.

Within the last 12 months 75 per cent of female gun deaths occurred in domestic incidents. In 2009 the figure was 100 per cent.

Mr Dugher said: “When two women a week are killed by a husband, partner or ex and in some areas, one in five 999 calls to the police each week are for domestic violence, it is simply shocking that the Government has so far refused to support the idea that in general people with a history of domestic violence should be refused a firearms licence.

“Gun licences should only be awarded to people that the police have the very highest confidence in, and a history of domestic violence should be a clear marker that someone is unsuitable for gun ownership. The Home Secretary urgently needs to address this with her colleagues.”

He continued: “Campaigners and families of victims that have been killed by guns have been clear that a change in the law is needed and Labour tried to work with the government to tighten the law to stop senseless attacks and violence in the future. It is extremely disappointing that the government voted against these measures, but we will be doing more to push for a much needed change.”