Former Police Scotland chief claims gun owners cause more murders than gangs

Stephen House, the ex-chief constable of Police Scotland, has claimed to an American newspaper that the licensed firearms community is responsible for more murders in Scotland than criminal gangs.

In an error-strewn feature about how the Dunblane murders led to the 1997 UK pistol ban, House is quoted as saying that of the “one or two” reported homicides involving firearms last year:

‘“More typically than not, it would be husband shooting wife and then possibly shooting himself,” he added. “And he would probably be a licensed firearms owner.”’

The newspaper, the New York Times, is known in American circles for its anti-firearms stance.

According to statistics from the Scottish National Party government, in financial year 2014-15 about 4% of homicide (murder and culpable homicide) victims were killed by shooting. Of the 59 homicide victims in Scotland over that period, this equates to 2 people.

UK Shooting News cannot find any mention of murders or murder-suicides in Scotland over the last year involving what appeared to be a licensed firearm owner. House’s claim simply does not bear scrutiny.

There are no statistics available on whether any crimes do or do not involve lawfully-owned firearms. British government policy, echoed by devolved administrations in the regions, is not to collect such statistics. UKSN believes this is because if the vanishingly low level of crime committed with lawfully held firearms became public knowledge through audited, official statistics, further restrictions on lawful firearms use would become politically impossible.

House was the chief constable who oversaw the centralisation of Scotland’s old county-based forces into the single Police Scotland force which answers only to the party of government in Scotland, currently the Scottish Nationalists. The force has faced repeated and sustained criticism over its application of firearms law and licensing practice.

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