17 Dec 2016 – The head of the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorist division has sought to blame the licensed firearms community for the murder of Jo Cox MP by a political extremist.
Responding to a fiercely worded letter sent to him by NRA chief executive Andrew Mercer, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested that the licensed firearms community was to blame because they are targeted for burglaries by criminals.
Rejecting Mercer’s description of a previous interview with the Daily Telegraph as “unhelpful”, where Rowley had claimed 800 licensed firearms were lost or stolen in 2015 without breaking down the figure, the assistant commissioner wrote: “We do see licensed firearms recovered in criminal circumstances and we do, on occasions, see licensed firearms holders acting outside their licence conditions.”
“A recent and high profile example is the firearm discharged in the murder of Jo Cox. This was originally a licensed firearm that was stolen from a vehicle. It then ended up in the hands of Thomas Mair.”
During Mair’s trial, after which he was found guilty, the prosecution did not reveal how the illegally shortened Weihrauch .22″ rifle used by the murderer had ended up in his possession. UK Shooting News’ author could speculate that a reporting restriction order was imposed to prevent this from becoming public knowledge but does not know either way. There is little or no public information as to how a full length .22″ sporting rifle found its way into the hands of a neo-Nazi murderer and police have not disclosed why they were clearly unable to stop this from happening or catch the original thief.
Rowley did respond to some of the NRA’s questions about the 800 figure but refused to answer the question about how many were lost versus how many had been stolen. 635 were complete firearms; that is, not shotguns and not licensable component parts. The figure does not include police or military firearms.
Of the 800, only 15 were recovered by police investigators: a clear-up rate of 1.87%.
The full letters can be seen on the NRA Facebook page.
Credit is due to NRA chief executive Andrew Mercer and his team for publicly challenging the Met’s continuing demonisation of the licensed firearms community. Rumours have reached UKSN’s ears recently that the Met firearms licensing team have gone very off-piste, in terms of obeying licensing law, after severely bungling their response to what they thought was a media sting.