Here’s a firearms barrister you wouldn’t want to instruct

18 Dec 17 – UKSN’s author has come across an illuminating blog post from a firearms barrister; the sort of lawyer who you absolutely wouldn’t want to have fighting your corner in a dispute with the State.

Barrister Stephen Twist published a post a couple of years ago on the Firearms (Amendment)(No.2) Act 1997, which came to UKSN’s attention while looking up a couple of the act’s provisions. It appears our learned friend thinks the pistol ban didn’t go far enough:

“Readers will be aware of this blogger’s preoccupation with guns as instruments of death. Its right to say that, as a former certificate holder, I was never fully comfortable with owning a firearm. As an English barrister dealing with a barrage of firearms cases for several police authorities, I became even more sensitive to the issues of ownership, use and abuse…”

“Restricting the lawful possession of handguns here in the UK after 17 deaths at Dunblane, has been of massive value in saving lives and changing public opinion. The Great British public have little issue with the fact that handguns are no longer permitted outside gun shooting clubs…”

“Perhaps, with regard to the ‘home gun market’, now is the time to insist (in addition to a gun amnesty) that every registered certificate holder has compulsory insurance against all of the implications of their weapon entering the wrong hands?”

Be sure to demand a change of barrister if you ever find your solicitor about to instruct this fellow. Doubtless his views are sincere, if not a little ill-informed. Equally, while all lawyers are more than happy to bore for England about how their personal views don’t flow into their work, would you trust this man to argue against a certificate revocation on your behalf, knowing what he really thinks about the shooting sports? UKSN’s author certainly wouldn’t.

10 thoughts on “Here’s a firearms barrister you wouldn’t want to instruct

  1. Nick B

    whatever happened to looking at the evidence and drawing a conclusion from it – rather than the confirmation bias of only looking at evidence that supports his hypothesis: “we banned handguns and no one was ever killed by a handgun again on these shores”……except we all know that not to be true.

    Section 5 authorisation proves that there is a mechanism whereby properly vetted individuals can be entrusted with an inanimate object.

    Ergo it never is and never has been the firearm.

    The joys of hand wringers and committees and everything being in the too hard to do box, it’s easier to legislate than to deal with the root cause of the problem.


  2. Stephen Twist

    Well, I am that barrister. Thank you for your comment. It is the diversity of opinion that makes us the flawed humans that we are. One, or neither of us will be right. But it is important that the different views are aired and considered. I still stand by my blog, but I respect the fact that others on this site may differ. And on that topic, whilst the UK Shooting News writer sought to ‘demonise’ me for my view, it bothers me not, for I have no wish for instructions from him/her. But one thing to remember: it is often those that come from a different angle that are the most effective professional advocates. Not that I am seeking business….I am semi-retired and enjoying a life of dancing Argentine tango in Buenos Aires!


    1. Nick B

      We absolutely should hear all the views and consider them – and therin lies the problem, the persons considering the views and forming the legislation have their own bias and lack of knowledge on the subject matter at hand. An example of this I would posit being the ban on pump action centre fire rifles – what an earth for, and if these why not lever action rifles? In what way was this good legislation?

      The trouble with views and considering them – is that the right views need to be considered by the right people with the right skills, this in the world of policitcs as it pertains to firearms appears to never occur. Consider “The Gun Control Network” time and time again their views must be considered by whichever public body wants to have yet another look at firearms, and time and again the GCN’s views are ill formed with no basis in fact. How is it right and proper that an organisation with only 3 members carries so much weight in matters firearms legislation? I can only assume because it fits the agenda and can be cited as a counter view to the hundreds of thousands of FAC holders in this country.

      As the barrister in question is it not unreasonable for the shooting fraternity to think that your opion carries far more weight than most having tried these cases and tread the halls of power?

      Additionally in voicing your opinion as it was framed you have done your former comminuty a disservice? Is it unreasonable that aside from your duty to fight a case on our behalf that we’d actually hope you were sincere in doing so and genuinely beleived in the case rather than arguing it to a succesful conclusion?

      I would expect that you would have far more knowledge than I on the inner works of the Dunblane case, but having read the Cullen report myself there were a significant number of basic failures on the part of the Police that could and would have prevented the tragedy if only the Police had enforced the law as it stood at the time (Firearms for which THamilton had no range to shoot them on, numerous reports of inappropriate behaviour / violence) – and yet thousands of law abiding citizens were punished into handing in their lawfully held firearms because of this failure.

      To that end I disagree whole heartedly with your assertion in the “massive value” of the 97 act and would ask – what about the act stops any FAC holder in this country going on the rampage with anything? knife, car, truck, arson and indeed the firearms we’re left with?

      What about any of the 68, 88, 97 (1 + 2), VCRA 2006, Police and Crime Bills plethora does anything with regard the criminal use of firearms? Illegal guns are still getting into the country (VZ Scorpions 2 years gao brought in on a pleasure craft – fortunately found) and still being used in crime.

      The powers that be can’t seem to do much of anything about crime, but it’s oh so easy to restrict the activites of the law abiding.

      Firearms are inanimate objects – the issue is and always was and will be the squishy meat sack behind the trigger.

      I would suggest that broadly speaking the application process is “almost” fit for purpose in as much as:

      * weeding out those who cannot be trusted (domestic violence)
      * it’s still a slow bureaucratic affair (took me 9 months from application)
      * with controls that don’t enhance safety (expanding ammunition sec 1 for rifles but not pistols?)
      * costs born by the wrong party (it’s a public safety concern enforced on the applicant)
      * it’s inconsistently applied by the 40 Police Forces (number to possess, ammo quanitity, permitted calibres etc)
      * the Biritsh Medical Council can’t organise the GP’s into doing what they should (FACTUAL reports on applicants medical history not OPINION)
      * and it still restricts certain types of firearm unecessarily (Arbitary length limits, magazine capacities for S2-> S1 Shotguns, pump action centre fire, semi auto centre fire etc)

      …..but it is right that people should be properly vetted lest the sport is ruined for the rest of us again due to a tragedy and some lazy politicking.

      And still – Section 5 authority is sitting there staring everyone in the face demonstrating that people can be properly authorised and entrusted with an inanimate object.

      Liked by 1 person


    Once again we have a self appointed authority giving his prejudiced opinions on a subject which he obviously does not undertand. In occupied Europe between 1940-45 firearms where banned and the punishment was death for the freedom fighter and concentration camps for their families. The resistance movements of many very heroic men and women fought desperately with unbelievable courage for their freedom.

    To take this argument one stage further, in Northern Ireland gangs of terrorists like the IRA and the UVF had no problem in obtaining every weapon imaginable despite the most severe gun control laws in the world..

    No one disputes that, gun laws should be simple, severe, easy to understand and easy to enforce. British gun laws are none of these things. And they obviously do not work since armed crime keeps on increasing. The medicine does not work so lets have a stronger dose of it.

    When guns are outlawed only outlaws have guns.
    If laws prevented crime then we would have no crime since crime is illegal.
    I personally spent many years working in high security prisons aand I acctually met inmates who tried to sell ME guns.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Stephen Twist

        Nick, to get the point of the blog, you should read it, preferably with an open(ish) mind. It is not about ‘bad people’. That is your simplistic term. It is about the availability of certain kinds of weapons, and the justification for their use by civilians in a civilised country. But, of course, you knew that anyway before you posted your facetious comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nick

        sorry I’m confused as to what you expect me to derive from the boston globe link – I’ve reread it several times and I must clearly be missing your point.

        Is it the semi auto rifle and the justification for civillian usage?

        I take it that’s something you think can’t be justified?

        So let’s ban them then shall we? what about semi auto shotguns? semi auto 22LR’s? over and under shotguns, and so on and so on – how is any of that dealing with the root cause of the problem?

        Section 5 authority in the UK proves that there is a mechanism for vetting people who can be trusted with the most highly regulated firearms – does this not prove that it is not and never has been the firearm that is the issue – and that as law abiding shooters have made this point over and over and over again to the powers that be that just seems to be too hard to understand?

        Why should law abiding citizens have their lawfully posessed property or rights (qualified or otherwise) removed because of the illegal actions of another?

        I would rather those seeking to curtail lawful shooting activities just came out and said they don’t like it and want to ban it – I wouldn’t agree but at least I could understand it – this pretext of safety is utter rubbish.

        For a legal mind your ability to argue a point comes across as lacking on this blog – I’m beginning to wonder if in fact you are who you purport to be?

        Not that it matters; as in any event I’m happy to debate the subject with you.

        Don’t use words such as facetious – it doesn’t bother me one iota but does your argument a disservice to resort to such.

        Liked by 1 person

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