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Gun Crime; A Pox On The Nation

Dec 25, 2007
There is no doubt that gun crime in the UK has reached worrying proportions. With 58 gun related homicides during 2006-07 it marks an increase of 18 percent on the 49 homicides the previous year. Overall however, figures suggest that gun crime, in terms of general offences is decreasing with a thirteen percent fall in gun crime from 2005-06.

Worryingly however the age of those involved in firearm offences seems also to be dropping, children in their early and late teens now seem to be involved. The question is why has this shocking trend continued unabated?

A number of reasons have been highlighted as causes for gun crime being on the increase. Most notable is the conjoined cause of drug use and dealing. Young teenagers in cities are seeing criminals in their own neighbourhoods making money from drugs and see this as a valid way to make a living. Sadly guns seem to be intrinsically linked to this business for both protection and attacks.

The predominance of drug dealing being related to gun crime has been touted by experts for years. Taking full advantage, they have attacked 'hip hop' and 'gangsta' rap as reasons for the increase in gun related homicides.

Arguing that the music genre glamorises gun crime and firearm possession, subsequently leading a generation into thinking that carrying a 'piece' is an acceptable part of modern day life. This however is a misnomer as a deeper look at the music will see a primacy of songs protesting against gun crime rather than promoting it.

Gun crime in the UK however is in no way as troubling as that in the United States. Our 58 murders last year is incomparable to the 14,000 murders committed using firearms in the US. The US however can be seen as a special case as guns are readily available and ammunition is cheap and can be bought over the counter with the weekly shop.

An astute comedian in the US has stated that by making ammunition extortionately expensive the numbers of dead due to guns would fall dramatically, although part of a comedy sketch there is a vast amount of truth in this.

In Britain however guns are not readily available, so why are levels of gun crime so high? Where are the guns coming from? A vast majority of the guns in the UK are converted from blank firing replicas smuggled in from the continent. Workshops carry out the conversion procedure wholesale and sell the converted firearms on the black market.

Penalties for these crimes are high; four men last year were given up to eighteen years each for their part in a gun smuggling operation that included importing guns from Lithuania to a Manchester conversion workshop.

Legislation however is not the complete answer; with some of the toughest gun legislation in the world in Britain, and campaigners pushing for tougher legislation still, commentators have surmised that legislation is not the solution. Solving social economic and social problems in areas where gun crime is rife should be the main concern of the officials tackling the firearm issue.

The task is not an easy one, with communities living in fear from neighbourhood gangsters and drug dealers; cooperation with the police is woefully inadequate. 'Operation Trident,' the Metropolitan Police Forces' initiative to investigate gun crime within the black community recorded that of the victims interviewed, 40 percent refused to help the police.

Gun crime is a blight upon the country, it is a problem that has deep socio-economic causes and trying to blame a music genre is a mistake. Guns will continue to be imported despite attempts to limit this, as criminals will always find a way to sidestep authorities.

Sorrowfully it looks as if gun crime is here to stay in Britain; with the US showing us how bad it can be, we can only hope that solutions are found to limit the senseless violence on our city streets.
About the Author
Expert Shaun Parker looks into the variety of socio economic issues that are behind gun crime in Britain. To find out more please visit http://www.knifecrimes.org/
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