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Criminal Law Are Gun Related Offences on the Increase


Introduction

The issue of guns being used for criminal purposes is not new to society and have been used since there invention by both criminals and law abiding citizens alike. There has been, however, an alarming increase within the United Kingdom were guns have been used during criminal offences. As stated before, guns have always been available to the criminal fraternity, so why has there been a sudden increase in their use within the United Kingdom. This article will assess the whether there has been an explosion of gun crime in the United Kingdom over the past two decades. The facts and figures that support the assertion that gun crime is on the increase will need to be examined first. There are many sources which have released conflicting statistics regarding the escalation of guns used in criminal activities. If the general overall perception is that gun crime is on the increase, the factors for this belief will be assessed next. There are the obvious sociological implications regarding why gun crime has exploded, however, is this rise due to the fact that guns are easier to get hold of in today's society. Evidence supporting this assertion will be considered. Finally, if gun crime is on the increase, the possible solutions of curtailing this trend will be considered. This article will conclude that in relation to public perceptions, statistics do not matter. The state of affairs regarding the rise in gun crime is played out in the media by those with hidden agendas, those who have a vested interest in giving police more powers to carry guns, and of course, those who wish to sell more papers.

Figures Don't Lie but Liars Can Figure

There are many sources that state that gun crime in the United Kingdom is spiralling out of control. Some terrifying statements have been made regarding the use of guns in today's society. Indeed, David Bamber has claimed that gun crime has trebled as weapons and drugs flood British cities (Home Affairs Correspondent Filed: 24/02/2002). An independent report by Illegal Firearms in the UK, (Centre for Defence Studies at King's College in London) states that handguns were used in 3,685 offences last year compared with 2,648 in1997, an increase of 40 per cent. These statistics are pretty intimidating. If anybody was taking these two sources of information literally, anybody would think that we are living in a lawless society. Are these statistics a true reflection of the state of affairs regarding gun crime within the United Kingdom? Gun crime, according to the Home office has risen 3% in the last year, and this has followed a 2% rise from the previous year. Nevertheless, there has been a 15% reduction in the death rate for gun related crime. Indeed, Hazel Blears Home office and MP for Salford has stated that crime has fallen for the last 20 years with people less likely to be a victim of crime than 20 years ago. It is possible to deduce from these figures that there is a slight rise in gun crime. Gun ownership is tightly controlled in the UK, but anyone reading the newspapers or watching TV would think that the streets were full of gun-toting criminals. The overall level of gun crime remains low, but it is certainly true that in some areas guns are a feature of everyday life, and that over the last four years crime involving the use of some kind of gun has been on the increase.What are the possible explanations for this?

Sociological Explanations for the Rise in Gun Crime

Crime has always had a symbiotic relationship with crime. It seems that one cannot exist without the other. This does not explain, however, the rise in gun crime. As stated earlier, guns have been available in one form or another for centuries, so why is it only now that society is experiencing a rise in gun crime. According to Newsarchive 4 gun crime is mainly concentrated in three areas; these areas are Metropolitan area, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. In Merseyside there were 57 shootings during the 12 months to last December 2003 compared with 15 in the same period the year before. Greater Manchester also recorded a 23 per cent increase in gun crime and there have been rises in Nottinghamshire, Avon and Somerset, West Yorkshire and the Northumbria Police area which covers Newcastle. There are many who have opinions as to why gun crime has escalated. Singer and campaigner Mica Paris asserts that it is the feeling of exclusion that compels people in society to indulge in criminality and carry guns. The question remains as to whether guns are now easier to come by? Detectives in London have asserted that the illegal importation of guns started after the end of the Bosnia conflict and that they are changing hands for as little as ВЈ200. This would certainly explain why guns are becoming increasingly easier to get hold of. What can society do to stop this rise in gun crime?

Possible Solutions to Curtail the Rise in Gun Crime