UK : Are we doing enough to tackle gun crime?

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UK : Are we doing enough to tackle gun crime?

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-06-06 07:12

Are we doing enough to tackle gun crime?
Posted at: 00:01

The shooting dead of a young pregnant woman in south-west London happened on the day when new measures came into force to tackle violent crime.

It is now an offence to get someone to hide or carry a weapon, with a maximum sentence of four years for knives and ten years for firearms, and the range of offences for which an offender can be given a mandatory minimum five-year sentence has been extended.

The Home Secretary John Reid said of the measures: “The Government’s priority is to give police and communities the tools they need to tackle violent crime.

“These new powers are the latest step, an example of how the Government is working to make us all safer, putting the interests of ordinary people first.”

Is he right? Do the police have the necessary powers to control gun crime?

Do you think that the scale and nature of gun crime are changing, and if so, what should we do about it?

To send a letter to the editor of The Daily Telegraph, email

Comments (104)

Lots of people are saying that we have a right to protect ourselfs etc.

What is everybody scared of?

Sure crime happens but how many situations can you people say you have been in where having a gun would have helped?

This is just my opinion but gun crime in this country seems rare and mostly confined to certain areas.

Sure you might feel safer with a gun, but what is their to be frightened of in the first place.

I probally like alot of of you (whether you admit it or not)might like the thought of having a gun, probally because alot the cool charcters on movies have them, but when i actally think about it, they are not cool, they cause death or serious injury and we don't need them, and i don't want one.

Posted by Paul on May 12, 2007 11:51 PM
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US citizen here.

I have a fond regard for the UK, but I must tell you that when it comes to civil liberties, you're a pretty messed up bunch. Fear not, I'll not visit your shores to pollute your ignorant, coddled masses with my libertarian views. I've written you off. You're as lost as California, New York, and Illinois. We miss you, but you're not getting back into the fold. When you're all screaming at the movie screens, denouncing your enemies, wishing that Winston might have had a chance with Julia, keep in mind that you did it to yourselves. The British Empire was once a thing of beauty, admired by all, a wonder of the ages. Now you're just a bunch of socialist victims. Oh. We do miss you... but you're gone as gone can be.
Posted by Mike Wise on April 24, 2007 5:38 AM
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The origion of gun-control in Britain can very easily be traced back to the years following upon the Great War, 1914/18 when the return to Britain of so many disillusioned chaps, thoroughly trained in the art of mayhem, were obviously seen as a threat by an establishment which feared for its continued ability to control the situation. The country has followed a downward path ever since, with control for controls' sake piled on in the face of public apathy. Too bad to see such a proud nation reduced to the state of so many vassels.
Your paper, always so ready to criticize the United States and its firearms policy, chooses to ignore the contribution made by the much reviled American Rifle Association, which, without prompting, rallied to your cause in the early stages of the 1939/45 conflict by collecting, and delivering thousands of weapons freely given by its membership to help the British people defend themselves. Keep in mind it was the same establishment which brought your nation to such an unfortunate pass that had so enthusiastically formulated and pushed though parliament the repressive measures which, subsequently left the nation with pikes with which to defend itself.
Just take a look at what you've been left with, a country awash with guns in the hands of thugs, and a total forfeiture of any right whatsoever to defend yourselves. How long will it be before the worm turns.
Posted by DESMOND on April 20, 2007 5:46 AM
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Guns have not been banned in the US because the US is much more of a democracy than the UK.

I have often wondered about the underlying reason behind New Labour's undemocratic decision to ban handguns and automatic weapons here in the UK.

Perhaps - realising in 1997 that their serial incompetence would soon make them 'as popular as a rattlesnake in a luck dip' and therefore worried about the masses revolting - they banned the above firearms to ensure that the masses remained downtrodden.
Posted by David W. on April 19, 2007 12:13 AM
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Did Blair ban handguns and automatic weapons here in the UK because he wanted to render UK citizens as impotent as possible?

If I had inflicted as much damage on the UK as he and his cronies have since 1997, even decent, ordinary citizens possessing such weapons would make me very nervous.

New Labour prevents us from protecting ourselves effectively against serious threats, and New Labour meddling ensures that the police do not have enough productive time to protect us properly either.
Posted by David W. on April 18, 2007 10:57 PM
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"Thus the need to ban privately-owned weapons. Did anyone seriously imaagine that the new gun-control legislation would prevent criminals obtaining weapons ? Target-shooting pistols were never their weapon of choice anyway."

Does anyone else just marvel at the reasoning here? Target pistols were confiscated, from people who would never wrongfully shoot anyone, and who are now virtually unable to defend themselves from the nutters, for whom target pistols were never a weapon of choice to begin with. Good lord....

Posted by Nick Byram on April 18, 2007 8:21 PM
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A gun ban means that only criminals and the police will have guns. That means that the citizenry must submit to being victims when criminals are present and the police are not (which is a key goal of criminals). The only solution is to expand the police so that they are everywhere the criminals are. That is done either by creating a police state, or at least a surveillance state, or by allowing the people to arm themselves and essentially deputizing them to defend themselves when the police are not present. Perhaps a surveillance state could work in a small country (geographically) like the UK, if the populace is willing to submit to the loss of privacy (although even then, surveillance of crime doesnt always equate to prevention of crime). In a large country like the US, a surveillance state isnt feasible save in some urban areas--too many rural and even remote areas to police, and not enough police. The right to gun ownership in the US is therefore pragmatic, but it is also a defense against tyranny as otherwise, the people will demand security of their persons and their homes, and the only alternative to "deputizing" the people to defend themselves is to institute a police state, which would be vastly more destructive of liberty.
Posted by Milton on April 18, 2007 4:03 AM
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Since Labour intentionally opened our national front gates to the world's riff-raff with financial inducements (- Why?)they have arrived in droves bringing their drugs-and-gun culture with them. The 'PC' police are terrified of doing anything for fear of being called racists. Scrap the Human Rights Act, bring back "stop and search" and put these criminals behind bars for a very long time (without TVs, mobile phones and designer clothes). I am sorry if this is a boring and old hat solution suggested by many others before, but will any politician ever listen?
Posted by Richard (exasperated) on April 13, 2007 1:13 PM
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The only way to tackle gun crime is to stop it at it's source, which most of the time, is poverty. The question really should be are we doing enough to tackle poverty and depression? And the answer would again be no. The next generation is going to be the most violent, the stupidest, the fattest, the most insecure and as a result of this, the poorest.
The government has failed our children and someone has to do something about it, or our society will decline and fall, leaving only the elite to benefit from the rest of Britain's sufffering.
Guns are only a tiny percentage of the problem here, but they are used by many people as a way to find the sollution.

Posted by Grace Blakeley on April 12, 2007 1:08 PM
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Bring on the day when the ordinary citizen can carry and use firearms for self defence. It is obvious that relying on the authorities for protection isn't working, and things are getting worse. We know from America that the prospect of confrontation with a positive armed resistance is a major deterrent to the would-be criminal. In GB the way things are a robber has a cast-iron guarantee that the ordinary citizen will definitely not be armed in any way. A robber's heaven. It's a whole different situation if your target can shoot back.

We could start by issuing firearms licences to retired militiary servicement and other individuals who have received comparable firearms training in the past. They would provide a foundation of expertise to build on. The knowledge and training could then extend and grow through the population. While we are about it, the police would undoubtedly oppose the loss of their monopoly on firearms - that is human nature - so the gun licencing would need to be supervised by a different responsible and independent body. (Independent of the Tony Blairs of this world as well.) On the subject of the police, we need to encourage a change of culture to make them focus on the problem areas, and work with the law-abiding citizenry rather than exploiting them as easy kills to improve crime 'clear-up' statistics. A good start would be to measure their performance by scoring reported crimes rather than 'solved' ones, with a suitably rugged system to discourage the fiddling of statistics that we are presently seeing in, for example, the NHS. That would make them focus on reducing reported crimes by locking up the real criminal element, rather than prosecuting a householder (and thus incrementing 'reported' crime statistics by one) for insulting a burglar rummaging his house.

Finally, it would be a salutary kick up the backside for the law enforcement agencies if they were run by a local sheriff who in turn is elected by the house owners in the county. (Yes, just the house owners, or at the very least, those who actually pay the council tax).
Posted by Scott, East Anglia on April 11, 2007 8:46 PM
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Well said, Pat; ironically, saying you feel safer on the streets of LA, and elsewhere, is true. I, for the moment, reside in Toronto, a not so safe city, in some folk’s view. However, when my family returns to the UK for a visit, I am on pins and needles because of the proliferation and use of knives and guns in the UK.
The government is utterly flummoxed; the only ones benefiting are the criminals, not the everyday person on the street.
Gun controls do not take the guns out of the criminals’ hands. The dilemma is too deep-rooted and beyond the grasp, let alone, control of the police and politicians.
It is the people, the communities and others, who for some godforsaken reason condone, ignore or live and breathe for this “gun/knife” sub-culture. Until, governments, their agencies and police take the aforementioned seriously nothing shall change; in fact, it is guaranteed gun and knife will worsen.

Posted by Ric: ex-pat on April 11, 2007 5:42 PM
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Want to reduce criminal use of guns? Issue every Brit adult who has no criminal record a handgun, provide extensive training in marksmanship and use of deadly force, then require him or her to carry the weapon 24/7. Oh, and repeal the 30 feet of laws that make it illegal for citizens of your beknighted country to defend themselves. What a farcical entity my beloved UK has become. Surely not every tyrant hating gene has left the island. Take back your country. Your enemies have you engaging in nonsensical arguments about trivia. You are slaves to your politicians and to the EU.

Don S. Missoula
Posted by Don Sessoms on April 10, 2007 7:06 PM
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Note to Home Secretary John Reid: The best "tool" to fight gun crime is a gun in the hand of the would-be victim. As a tool, mere law breaks on impact with a gun-wielding thug: Try deterring a hoodlum by telling him that he's breaking the law. Better a law to let civilized people keep and bear arms.
Posted by George of Maryland on April 10, 2007 4:24 PM
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Gun crime rising? not possible, we have removed Guns from society for your safety, welcome to Blair's "Ban it" Britain.
When will people learn ciminals don't follow the Law and only a corrupt Government should fear an armed citizenry, by disarming our selves we are now more than ever at the mercy of criminals and politicians.
Posted by TS on April 10, 2007 4:22 PM
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It is an excellent idea to introduce more gun laws so long as the law-abiding criminals obey them!
Posted by WILLIAM EVES on April 10, 2007 2:46 PM
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The question asks whether we are doing enough
to tackle gun crime, but to comment on this fully
the reasons behind the escalation in gun crime
must be fully explored. Prevention is always
better than a cure!

Many factors lie behind gun crime escalation but
one key issue is the arrival of foreign cultures
through immigration and asylum. Having lived
abroad for over ten years throughout 'troubled'
areas of the world I clearly saw the impact of the
frequent use of guns in everyday culture - life
was cheap and children were often exposed to
this at an early age. When such cultures arrive
without any form of formal culturalisation then it
is no suprise that these cultures resort to what
they have known all their lives. It is a cultural
issue that needs to be tackled, and not only do
we need to teach this in ouir schools but also
prevent this culture becoming common place in
areas heavily populated by new arrivals from

Not enough is being done, and even this
morning an asian man has been shot dead.
Meaningless 'knee jerk reaction' laws are no help
and only restrict an overly busy police service.
Tackle the causes and stop worrying about being
so PC in the process.
Posted by Eric Warren on April 10, 2007 12:00 PM
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One may recall that, when the US Government outlawed alcohol and spirits of any kind in the late 1920's "Prohibitionism", organized crime boomed and made millions by smiggling Canadian Whiskey across the border, and sparked Gang Wars - see the Valentine's Day Massacre.
I now await to see when London, Birmingham or Liverpool will have their own gang wars for the control of the city and, of course, for the control of black market firearms.
On the other hand, when, in Victorian days, it was expected for a gentleman to wield a weapon for self defense, the crook knew his life was forever at risk, whenever he was "working".
And Scotland Yard led a much easier life, too. One needs only to read a little Dickens, Kipling or Conan Doyle to understand.
Posted by Maurizio Pescatori on April 10, 2007 9:15 AM
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When a criminal kills someone in the furtherance of crime, killing a second or subsequent victim does not substantially increase the downside risk. To put it another way, "the second one comes free." But clearly the police do not want the public defending themselves. They want to retain the sole right to commit violence. They are definitely not part of the solution.
Posted by Andrew Milner on April 10, 2007 2:02 AM
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When will the politicians realize that by giving the power of self defense back into the hands of the PEOPLE....there will be fewer cases of innocent people being killed by murderers (Like this unfortunate woman). People deserve the right of self defense, don't make more useless laws. The criminals don't respect the law! Wake up!
Posted by jim on April 10, 2007 12:03 AM
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To bring an end to crime- be it gun crime or any other serious offence, the Government has to consider the follwoing points:
1. The offender has to have a high level of sentence- ten years and above, and should be punished with HARD LABOUR.

2. When the offender has completed his service, he must be given a compulsory one year in the Army and work there in various capacities starting from the bottom.

3. After that the person must be placed as a possible risk factor in a register similar to the present day- sex offender- register, so that the public is aware of such persons. Further this person ought to report to the Police every three month for a review. And this person ought to be banned from any public benefits.

Watch the crime rate falling down.
Posted by C. Nunes on April 9, 2007 11:08 PM
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Once upon a time, we had families which tended to consist of a mother, a father and some thildren. The father went to work, sometimes the mother did too and the children went to school, where they were required to sit in their classrooms and the teacher for each class went to them. This meant that there were rarely hordes of unsupervised children wandering through narrow corridors annoying/terrorising each other, because it is much easier to control 40 odd teachers than 2000 odd children. In class they were expected to treat the staff with respect - even if they thought they were complete idiots and couldn't stand them or their subject. At break and lunch times, they were kicked out of the classrooms to get some fresh air and work off their surplus energy. They also had PE and games lessons, when they could use their pent up aggression to win games etc. If they fell foul of the staff, they knew that they would be punished in some way and it would not be a good idea to mention it at home, because they would likely get a further punishment for getting into trouble. At the end of the day, they went home to their father and mother, who maybe they could not stand and who they thought were complete idiots, but who provided them with shelter, food and some stability and whom they were required to treat with some respect. If they fell foul of the law in some small way, they knew that they would get a clip round the ear from the local bobbie and if necessary he would escort them home, where they would once again be in the soup for showing disrespect. In the evenings and weekends they went off with their mates and indulged in pastimes which were laced with more or less danger according to their age and location. Then along freedom and rights - to have as many children as one likes whether the partner stays or not - to push and shove along the corridors - to tell the teachers and parent(s) that they are pillocks - to ignore authority until it goes away - aided by lawyers who encourage ridiculous claims for imagined injuries - by so called experts who state that teenagers are different from other people and should never be expected to be quiet, polite, unselfish (I'm sorry, did all previous generations jump from the age of 12 to the age of 20 in one year?) - by other so called experts who say that you cannot run, jump, climb, fall and take risks because you might hurt yourself - by other so called experts who say that authority is a bad thing and no-one should respect it and the result of that is children in gangs, bored out of their minds, full of pent up resentment and anger with nothing to take it out on besides other equally bored and angry gangs and the endless procession of wicked video games in arcades, where 'life' is cheap ( a few coins in the slot) and from whence it is only a few steps to take that make-believe violence onto the streets for real. After all, what's the difference between knifing/bludgeoning/shooting someone on film and doing it for real? It's not as though you are touching the victim with your hands, one on one - if you did that, you might get hurt as well and that it not part of the game. So the killing goes on and we won't stop it unless we are prepared to get rid of the 'wets' who are stifling the children, the perverts (not just child molesters, but marketing and media) who are stealing their childhood and the lawyers who are growing fat on the 'rights' of the individual, which actually interest them not one iota.
Posted by Helen on April 9, 2007 6:38 PM
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Its the most evident symptom of societal meltdown there is. The escalation in gun crime and violent crime in the UK is directly attributable to the failing government and the lack of respect, effectiveness that government is seen to have by the public at large. Criminals are the first to take advantage of that.

Just for one moment imagine you are criminally minded. The UK is a rare haven. The authorities (Police etc) rarely carry firearms, the public by and large are unfamiliar with their use and operation. You as a criminal therefore have an advantage. Las weeks sad incident is the convergence of conflicting worlds. Normal peaceful, law abiding citizens with no concept of guns or their use or being met with the realities of 21st Century global movement. The first place these issues surface are large cities like London where people from all over the world mix together.

Should you in the rare event be caught with one or using one by PC Plod. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment, which is rarely the case. And the liberal wishy washy public opinion, anguish and frenzy your court appointed, and public paid for lawyer can raise will serve to ensure that you will be seen as the victim, heck there might even be civil money to be made... if they shoot you?

As you can see criminals must laugh hysterically when faced with committing crime in the UK. Sadly, the majority are most likely recent immigrants or illegal immigrants ( of all creeds and colours before the lefty's get out of breath), who have no concept of community or society in a modern country. Thus they resort to what they know well. The gun.

As some commentators have said. I feel safer in the USa where at least gun law is defined, and guns are freely available to law abiding citizens as well.

Me - I'm contemplating Texas where last week they just made it legal to shoot intruders!!
Posted by slidingbye on April 9, 2007 5:32 PM
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There is no better DETERRENT or more EFFECTIVE way of defending yourself than gun-ownership.

What is required is proper assessment and training of the individual before they can own a gun. Limitations could be set on how,when and where you can use a gun depending on your proficiency.

A smart gun that can only be fired by its owner would be a great developement.
Posted by A Harrison on April 9, 2007 5:07 PM
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The police do not need new laws to tackle gun-knife-violent crime; there is more than enough - in fact, too much - legislation already. What they need to do is to regain control of the streets. This won't happen. Why?
The police chiefs (who usually have never performed a positive days police work in their lives) look fearfully to their political masters for guidance, who in turn give an imperceptable shake of their heads. Stop people in the streets? Search them? No fear - that costs votes. Politicians are so far removed from the lives of everyday people, it is only when one of them is attacked in the street that something positive may result.
Posted by Dick Kirby on April 9, 2007 12:57 PM
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It's a radical no point pussyfootying round with tough talk and no action.
Guns are weapons, designed to kill/ outright ban is the only solution...of handguns of all kinds. Anyone found to be in breach (ie anyone possessing a weapon capable of death) should be given a severe penalty.
The communities cannot solve these problems, nor can the church, nor politicians....hence my call for radical action. Too many lives have been lost already....come on Labour government. Show some leadership.

Ban handguns!!...and fast!.
Posted by brian ferg on April 9, 2007 12:31 PM
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Capital punishment has to be reintroduced for completely proven murder and for using a gun or knife for any assault even if there is no loss of life. Carrying a loaded gun or a knife anywhere should also carry the death penalty as a maximum penalty with a full life sentence where there may be mitigating circumstances. I will writing to all prospective MP's in my constituency to ask whether they are willing to propose the reintro- duction and vote for it in Parliament if they are re-elected or elected at the next election. If they do not reply or their reply is negative I will publish their reply in the local constituency newspapers and TV channels. Of course, he/she will not get my vote. One of any positive repliers will get it!. I suggest that all of the 'posters' on this site who feel as similarly outraged as I do, take similar action. Pressure such as this will work wonders on prospective MP's. I've had enough of the inaction of our rulers over the last 30 years which has got us into this dreadful state we are currently in and with little chance of any improvement.
Posted by F.W.Saunders. on April 9, 2007 9:17 AM
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A number of people on this strand have made a connection between the murder of Krystal Hart and the current problem of "black on black" gun crime. It might interest them to know that the person arrested in connection with her murder is white.
Posted by David Llewellyn on April 9, 2007 8:56 AM
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Instead of banning legal firearm ownership,
which was a knee-jerk reaction after Dunblane,
the government should have made UK ports and
borders more secure. Now that the gun-running
routes from Europe have been well established, it
will be difficult to plug the leaks. The value to
weight ratio is good although the risk reward is
somewhat high. Even some teenage thugs have
firearms and are using them in the furtherance of
crime. The shameful thing is that the 100-year
D-notice slapped on some aspects of Dunblane
means that the full story will not be disclosed
until we are all passed caring. If you get away
with it at the time, you get away with it forever.
Right Jack?
Posted by Andrew Milner on April 9, 2007 5:29 AM
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Gun legislation in the UK seems directed to penalising normal citizens who are attempting to use air or firearms legally.
With officers confined to the station filling out reams of report forms, is it any wonder that the criminal element have taken the opportunity to tool up without benefit of the increasingly stringent FAC.
The new Gun minding legislation seems sensible, if they ever get to enforce it.
Posted by Nick G on April 9, 2007 12:53 AM
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The government should never interfere with
people's right to defend themselves. This is
bedrock in the US (in most places), but not in the
UK. Quite the opposite, isn't it? No wonder your
citizenry is demoralized. Your infatuation with
government as parent has made you into
helpless children, in effect.

I own several firearms, belong to a gun club, and
shoot regularly. The others in the club are
uniformly law abiding, respectable people -
whom you would not want to try to commit a
crime against. No whacko's, no muggers. They
are doctors, lawyers, construction workers,
chefs, and storekeepers. They have families and
go to church on Sunday. In other words, they are
utterly ordinary citizens, whose only connection
to crime is that they have the possiblity of
defending themselves should they find
themselves it's victim.

Take back your freedom from your government.
England never will be slaves.
Posted by Bernard on April 8, 2007 10:27 PM
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If society really wanted to reduce gun crimes, it would have serious penalties, not against gun possession, but against gun use. If the UK passed legislation that mandated say, 20 years in jail for brandishing a gun while committing a crime of any kind, and 30 years for firing a gun while committing any crime, regardless of age, with judges unable to reduce the penalty in any way, criminals would be abandoning their guns in a heartbeat, and juveniles wouldn't be carrying guns around for adult criminals. Sound tough? You betcha, but it would work. But don't feel so bad, we here in the USA don't have the gumption to do this either.
Posted by LarryOldtimer on April 8, 2007 9:47 PM
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It seems that we need to do a number of things
to help.

First, ban rap music. The lyrics encourage (in
many cases) violence and crime. The culture that
goes with this "music" (and I use the term very
loosely - chimps banging on dustbins with sticks
are equally talented) further glorifies anti-social

Second, introduce a thoroughly unpleasant penal
colony on some wild, windswept island like South
Georgia. Use of firearms in commiting a crime
gets a minimum 5 year sentence. A repeat
offence gets life (until you die). No parole, no
phone calls home, no letters, no email - just
endless, backbreaking hard labour 14 hours a
day until you die.

Third, create a written constitution (NOT an EU
one!) that gives citizens the right to bear arms
and to defend their homes.

Posted by Grassy Knoll on April 8, 2007 8:56 PM
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Unbanning firearms may not reduce the overall number of deaths, but it might ensure that a few of those who do die are criminals.
Posted by The Remittance Man on April 8, 2007 6:38 PM
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The ones who support and pass the gun control laws have ARMED protection provided to them, we the common person have no such luxury. You now have the protected, the criminal, and the unarmed victims in between...
Posted by Stephen on April 8, 2007 5:42 PM
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I don't think this makes one jot of difference in
reducing gun crime. Once the act is done then
this becomes a story. We need to look at the
reason to carry weapons of any kind in crime.
England and the rest of nations have developed a
long history of gang and reactionary people.
Note the increase is security cameras yet
reduction in deaths and maming. The police are
now just stop gaps for politians whim, where
they used to keep the law now the enforce a
useless power. The good people of england have
lost faith over the years of how weak and
disrespected the law has become recently. We
need a big change of ethos to take hold.
Posted by john oakes on April 8, 2007 4:07 PM
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While I don't quite agree with "Robert's" comment above ("Guns even out life...arm everyone" etc.), as other posters have mentioned time and time again, merely passing more and more laws to restrict access to firearms simply does not work, and the UK is a perfect example, as we continually try to tell our politicians here in Canada.

The previous (Canadian) Liberal gov't squandered $1 bn. on ill thought-out "knee jerk" legislation, and we are really no further ahead, unless one is a criminal, who can cheerfully ignore such things. I remember being appalled at the report of a drive-by shooting (then a very rare event) in a gas (petrol) station here in Vancouver on New Year's Day, 2000, and things have only gotten worse since, despite the "billon dollar boondoggle" as the firearms legislation has been dubbed. Even a damning report on the legislation by the Auditor General a few years later couldn't convince the government that it had made a mistake.

Rule Nº1 of Political Life: Never, EVER, admit you have made a mistake or that a policy is ineffective. You will look like a fool.(No matter that the general public has figured this out already.) This rule is applicable to all political parties, it seems.

As others here have said, the problems go far deeper than any Band-Aid™ veneer of gun control legislation. Nor is "arming the public citizen" a solution, although I do believe in the right to defend oneself (without the criminal automatically getting the benefit of the doubt, as often seems to be the case.)

Until the social ills underlying the problems are dealt with, the police are relieved of their enormous burden of paperwork and put back on the streets, and money spent invading other countries is put into dealing with high-level crime at home, I fear that things will not change, except for the ordinary private citizen, who will be increasingly bound up in ineffective red tape, while the criminals will go largely unchecked.

As a panellist on The News Quiz said, "We should put politicians on performance-related pay; we could save a fortune." Amen.

Yours sincerely,
Posted by Stuart T on April 8, 2007 2:53 PM
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It's funny, but Britain didn't have this gun crime problem in the 1950's. Return Britain to the ethnic mix of the 1950's, and you will solve gun crime (and a lot more besides).
Posted by Anthony Booth on April 8, 2007 2:16 PM
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Gun and knife crime here in the U.K., is a sorry symptom of a society in meltdown. There appears to be little willingness to understand why and how many angry and frustrated people turn to violence, especially using weapons.
I left my snub nosed 38 back in Canada, when I moved back to the U.K. five years ago. MOre criminals carry guns now, than ordinary people.
Gun Control and Laws cannot change criminal behaviors.
People, time & much listening and understanding do.
U.K. Police and Politicians are not trusted anymore by the man & woman on the street.
Sadly, I feel safer on the streets of Los Angeles and Vancouver than I do here where I was born.
Posted by Pat van der Veer on April 8, 2007 12:26 PM
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"The gun ban has had no effect whatsoever on criminal gun use.
Gun crime appears to have increased".

The gun ban was a response to horrors like Hungerdord and Dunblane, in which people owning weapons legitimately suddenly flipped, committed mass murder, and then turned their weapons on themselves.
We really need to keep the two issues separate, ie criminals v psychiatric cases (although the two can obviously overlap).

Nutters who wield knives and machetes can sometimes be fended off or even disarmed by brave citizens, as happened with the playground attack at Wolverhampton.

But someone with a firearm can complete their massacre long before anyone(and that includes a gun-owning vigilante )can take them out - assuming they are good enough shots.

Thus the need to ban privately-owned weapons. Did anyone seriously imaagine that the new gun-control legislation would prevent criminals obtaining weapons ? Target-shooting pistols were never their weapon of choice anyway.
Posted by Colin Berry on April 8, 2007 11:35 AM
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Our police couldn't make gun control work in tiny in Northern Ireland, despite martial law and the army doing house to house weapons searches. So why would anyone ever think they could expand it to the rest of the coutry and make it work any better? The police have been given an impossible task.

To say the gun ban hasn't had an effect on crime simply isn't true. In the 1st five years of the gun ban the number of gun crimes doubled and has continued to rise.

The police have been given an impossible task. Yet despite all the evidence, all our government can offer is ever more draconian versions of the same fundamentally flawed policy.

Gun control by it's very nature is a self defeating policy. By unilaterally disarming, our law abiding citizens, the government has given criminals an incentive to use guns. Why? Because British criminals know that a law abiding Britsh citizen won't have a gun of his or her own to defend themselves with.

The gun control culture fanatically believes that noone ever has a legitimate reason to use a gun, not even someone who has a legitimate self defensive need. This is simply not true.

Allowing people the means and the right to defend themselves (at least in their own home) will have a far greater impact on violent crime than any police/government intiative ever will.

What we need is to regain the right to bear arms and defend ourselves, not ever greater mandatory minimum sentences.

Posted by Julian Smith on April 8, 2007 4:15 AM
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It's a good thing for a criminal to have to wonder if me might get his brains blown out while committing a crime.

When guns get banned, crime curiously goes up.... Washington DC, Australia, Canada.... how odd.
Posted by Roy E on April 8, 2007 2:39 AM
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Are WE (?) doing enough?
Is that a trick question?
The whole problem was brought about by the 10 years of Labour misrule.
If any of US(?) even try to voice an opinion about gun crime, WE(?) would be attending the Sunday Open Prison for race abuse.

Posted by nondog32 on April 8, 2007 2:03 AM
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Andrew Milner, count me among the "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands crowd." I'm stunned that most of your police are unarmed and largely the criminals alone have guns. If you can't keep drugs away from people, how are you going to ensure that there are no guns available to them. Once again societies do a "knee jerk"
(Hungerford, Dunblane) without any thought behind it because "how can you think of keeping a gun after what happened" ninnies dominate and people cave. In the long run the criminals laugh and good people are left to cower in their houses and on the streets, knowing no good person can stop them or offer resistance. As a 50 year old woman, I live in a nice middle class neighborhood in San Diego. I have a handgun, and woe betide the bastard who tries to break into my house in the middle of the night. If I kill an intruder I don't have to worry about the police prosecuting me, because as I non-felon I can exercise my 2nd amendment right.
The UK citizen (or would you rather be called "Subjects"?) has no such right.

Posted by Ann - Ca, USA on April 8, 2007 1:08 AM
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Canada introduced a highly expensive gun was supposed to cost only a few million C$s, ended up costing billions...and it did not work, curiously criminals don't register their guns...what the criminals did do was to hack into the gun registry computers, find out who had their guns so conveniently registered by the government, and consequently, burglared the given addresses and stole the guns which they they went on to use.

It's a pity that those who are not supposed to have guns use them, and those who have them, as per "the 15", don't.

Perhaps Britain should sentence these civilian gunmen to work on patrols in the Gulf.
Posted by Dr A lielmanis on April 8, 2007 12:06 AM
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As a visitor to Britain I find it extraordinary that
in a three week visit, I only saw two police cars,
(and one of those was a Special Branch car)
during the whole visit. Not once did I see a
policeman on the streets, even though some less
than savory characters were around. Relatives tell
me that if there is trouble in a village, it is
impossible to get the police to come out until the
next day. The only time I ever see them is on TV
after a bomb has gone off, and they are them out
in yellow swarms. I think the British public
should be asking where are they the rest of the
time? Staring at a computer screen, I have no
Posted by J.M. Bowen on April 7, 2007 11:16 PM
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Literally chuck out this useless Human Rights nonsense and give the Police the teeth they need.That it is so easily construed that undue force or any such twaddle is so easily used against the police to the detriment of normal and law abiding people. Terrorists/underworld villans gunweilding crime driven creatures should be made to understand it is NOT better to be inside the prison than out of it and that your privilages and benefits of a law abiding citizen are not yours.
Posted by J.B. on April 7, 2007 10:10 PM
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In a rotten society you get rotten people. It is pointless to make more and more laws to 'control' this or that lawless behaviour. As someone has already pointed out, only the law abiding obey laws. This cretinous government only REACTS to every totally predictable outrage and horror that has steadily overwhelmed our country since they grabbed power. Isn't everything simply cause and effect? These fools simply mouth platitudes about the EFFECT and pass laws which do absolutely nothing. The only way to cleanse the cancer in our country is to deal with the CAUSE, and when you look in every area of life where things have gone wrong, this is a massive task and could only be begun by a leader with intelligence, street wisdom, guts and enormous strength of character. Enough said!
Posted by Judith Chisholm on April 7, 2007 8:57 PM
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Phil Gale 7/4 12.58pm re your comment.

I've said this before.
We did have a special group of police who moved around in sufficient numbers that they could pounce on gangs of youths and search them for weapons. They were very successful in reducing street crime.
Sadly it wasn't long before black activists and left wing MPs (afraid of losing the black vote) began a concerted campaign and eventually had the Special Patrol Group disbanded. It was a great shame because street crime could have been nipped in the bud. Now people of all races are suffering the consequences.
Posted by Michael on April 7, 2007 8:51 PM
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The crime we see on our streets is a direct result of New Labour policy - open immigration, target-driven policing wrapped up in red tape, political correctness (if the most likely people to commit a crime are ethnic, we can't possibly target them, can we?), a succession of incompetent Home Office ministers and an obsession with spin rather than actually doing something effective. To fix it, get the police out on the beat, let them pursue miscreants without fear or favour, build prisons to hold those caught, give deterrent sentences to be served in conditions that fall short of five star hotel standards (I've heard ex-prisoners saying how comfortable it was inside!) and educate (okay indoctrinate) children with morals and a sense of right and wrong.
Posted by Anon on April 7, 2007 8:48 PM
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Now we have a nanny government and a police state, the proposed solution to every problem will be to reduce individual freedom and be to give extra powers to the police.

It time to reverse that process. Legalise all weapons. For example, I would pass a law that put a loaded S&W 357 in the glove compartment of every car sold in the UK. OK, so old ladies can use 38's to reduce the recoil.

Things will be messy for the first few months, after the first year or so, lives will be saved. Less deaths on the road and more responsible and polite citizens. Yes, my contention is there will be a net gain from lives saved, just by people behaving better, and treating each other with more consideration.

Criminals will fear the citizen.

The police and the government will revert to their proper role which is to be servents of the people, not the bosses.

Oh yeah, I would also have places where people could legally shoot as well. Nothing more tiresome then to be young and hanging about on a street corner with nothing to do. The police and government plumb for that every time.

A former gun owner, and a law abiding citizen.
Posted by Tony Powell. on April 7, 2007 8:30 PM
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The Home Secretary (Mark 1) proposes to increase jail terms for carrying knives and guns. The Home Secretary (Mark 2) lets out violent prisioners because there is no room in the jails. The Home Secretary (Mark 3) ensures that 90% of policemen are indoors doing paperwork so that they don't actually catch criminals.
As Reid said, the Home Office (and by definition the Home Secretary) are not fit for purpose.
Posted by Brian E on April 7, 2007 7:35 PM
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Guns even out life. If everyone had one, and
knew how to use one, there would be no gangs,
no thuggery, no bullies, no adultery, and
probably no rubbish politicians.
Posted by Robert on April 7, 2007 4:49 PM
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Recent gun laws have only weaked the honest
and future victims. Criminals don't give a dam
about gun laws- duh! on what planet do these
politicans live?"

I used to be against gun ownership, but now,
since the only people that have them are
crimials, I'd sooner every house in the land had
Posted by Jeremiah Jonhson on April 7, 2007 4:42 PM
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Simon Coulert - "Possession of an illegal hand-
gun should - in the great majority of
circumstances - be punishable by life
imprisonment, since it it indicative of intent, up
to & including causing the death of others, to
commit crime." - bollocks. You might lead a
casual nornal life devoid of threat, many others
do not. The fact that Britain chooses to protect
the criminal rather than the citizen is directly
detrimental to the natuaral inclination to protect
oneself and one's family, no matter the flawed
laws of the land. Thank whoever I live in
Montana, and not in England, where I would be
be guilty 'victinm'.
Posted by Robert on April 7, 2007 4:29 PM
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Simon Caulter wrote:

"Every gun has a 'signature'. Why was this not captured before they went into circulation - and their ownership made traceable - so that the each official holder remains liable for recording to whom they are passed? "

Unfortunately this is fiction. Bullets and cartridge cases are almost impossible to match to individual firearms because the physical characteristics vary slightly every time the gun is fired or can be intentionally altered by the user. Also different brands of ammunition may give differing results.

Posted by JonathanL on April 7, 2007 4:03 PM
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I really don't think gun crime ever had a jot to do with organised use of licenced weapons for sport: outlawing the majority of the latter has not had any effect on the former.

This was an utterly flawed example of an incorrect cause and effect relationship being factored into law.

Possession of an illegal hand-gun should - in the great majority of circumstances - be punishable by life imprisonment, since it it indicative of intent, up to & including causing the death of others, to commit crime.

The sources of guns must be known to the authorities. Are we so awash nothing can be done about the trade? Clearly the penalties for those who supply them should also be raised sharply.

Every gun has a 'signature'. Why was this not captured before they went into circulation - and their ownership made traceable - so that the each official holder remains liable for recording to whom they are passed?

Laws are written as if we are all law-abiding. This is nonsense. It is the sentences which matter - as a deterrent - to those who break them.

"Tough on crime, tough on the cause of crime" - New Labour's nonsense mantra - will haunt this government, that has not the will to tackle problems via meaningful sentences, yet creates new crimes all the time, cognisant of full prisons.
Posted by simon coulter on April 7, 2007 3:36 PM
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If it hadn't had been a gun, it would have been a knife. This crime is about getting your own way it has nothing to do with the weaponry. It is about 'winning' and the final indisputable triumph is to kill. We need to start teaching morality again and the fact that no argument is worth taking a life for. It comes to something when a parking space is something to kill over. People are so concerned about their own over-inflated egos that if you won't get out of their way they are prepared to take things all the way. These are the ultimate bullies but tackling weapons is the wrong way to go. We need to get drugs right out of society and we need to re-educate and until we do those things this type of crime will continue or even become more common.
Posted by judy on April 7, 2007 3:28 PM
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Unfortunately the fact that the majority of British police officers still are unarmed has an impact on the seemingly ever increasing gun crime in the UK.

As an expat living in the US where a gun can be purchased in some cases on the same day, it makes for an interesting question. If guns can be so easily obtained illegaly in the UK and so easily obtained illegaly in the US, when is the British bobby going to be allowed to carry a firearm?

Even in an era of political correctness and even with the history of the majority of British police armed only with a truncheon, there are plenty of armed response vehicles on the streets already and it is time to step things up. Fire with fire may sound archaeic but looks like it might be a necessary move to make.
Posted by Simon T on April 7, 2007 3:01 PM
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I would like to know, as an unarmed 'citizen' of this country, exactly who is allowed to have body guards or other kinds of protection that involve carrying guns. Whilst I accept that the Queen and Prince Philip (head of state and spouse) should be protected for the sake of our nation, I do not accept that anyone else is more deserving of special treatment than my next-door-neighbour. If a bodyguard with a gun is deemed necessary for Cherie Blair then surely it's political oppression if I cannot use one to protect my mother or children. Can anyone explain to me what the law is, and how armed bodyguards are allowed to circumvent it?
Posted by Brenda on April 7, 2007 2:58 PM
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As so many have stated in this column the firearms act should be repealed. Any citizen (who has no criminal record) should have the right to own a pistol (of any calibre) and also the right to shoot any illegal intruder in their home or any person outside their home who offers them violence. Also, all members of a criminal gang setting out on a crime should be equally guilty for a shooting by one of that gang - not just the one who pulls the trigger. The death penalty should be brought back for murder, and the definition of murder returned to what it was in 1950. In other words if you knock a man down and use his head for a football you must expect that he will die. The fact that you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is no excuse. It was your decision to get drunk or stoned so you must accept full responsibility for all your actions whilst in that state. Any lesser crimes of violence should result in corporal punishment as well as prison.
Posted by Peter W on April 7, 2007 2:23 PM
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Gun crime appears to have increased despite the ban, meaning that only the criminals now have guns. Change the gun laws and allow us to have guns and to use them. My home is my castle.

Yeah, a few thieves, robbers and rapists will be shot dead, but the rest will soon get the message and find other ways of making a living.

Posted by jorgen on April 7, 2007 2:12 PM
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No - neither in respect of knives nor of firearms.

There is absolutely no point in just increasing penalties. It is the certainty of detection that needs to be increased. In London the hapless Commissioner assures us that crime is falling. What he really means is that it is now so difficult to contact the police that people are unable/don't bother to report it, and it is therefore RECORDED crime that is falling.

But if what he says is true, then the "record" numbers of police in post coupled with falling crime rates should mean that he can step up efforts to hound out gangs, seize their weapons, and bang them up. But like B'liar T, B'liar I is all spin and no substance. Both should deliver or go.
Posted by Morris Hickey of Chigwell, Essex on April 7, 2007 2:04 PM
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When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns.
There would be much less gun crime if the criminals knew that the intended victim could shoot back.
Bearing arms has since the dawn of time distinguished a free man from a slave. Where does that put us in that context?
The inalienable human righ to self defence must be regained!
Firearms licences should be issued as a matter of course and the onus should be on the police to deny it only criminals and psychopaths.
Posted by Ben Stanley on April 7, 2007 1:14 PM
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George Hinton wrote "Should we therefore, consider the sad and inevitable conclusion that this culture has entered through US influences;..."

This is not true. The current trend of casual murder over things that most same people would consider trivial is a product of certain black cultures, most notably (in fact almost exclusively) Jamaican culture.

It's just that it infected the US before it did us.
Posted by JonathanL on April 7, 2007 1:13 PM
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The best solution to the epidemic of guns and knives would be a very visible police presence on our streets, with good "stop and search" powers, targetted upon likely miscreants, backed up with worthwhile punishments.

Would it be disciminatory? Maybe. Would it reduce this kind of crime, and save lives? Yes, certainly.
Posted by Phil Gale on April 7, 2007 12:58 PM
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Instead of a maximum sentence of 5 years, how about a minimum sentence of 25? Instead of building mosques and financing faith schools, how about building prisons? Instead of parole and prisoners' rights, how about hard labour and the death penalty? Anyone with me?
Posted by Al Jones on April 7, 2007 12:55 PM
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Andrew Milner you are so correct. The gun ban
has had no effect whatsover on criminal gun use.
Gun crime appears to have increased. There is
no justification for a ban on private firearm
ownership. We should repeal the Firearms Act
and revert to the pre-1920 position.

If there was equal application of firearms policy,
the Metropolitan Police, perhaps the world's
most inept and dangerous user of firearms,
would have been disarmed a long time ago.

Yes the firearms ban was nothing to do with
public safety and everything to do with your
typical power-obsessed control freak Brit
politicians and the forthcoming police state.

Wonder how safe Blair would feel if his
bodyguard couldn't carry a concealed weapon???

It's incredible how many of my fellow Brits have
become meek and deferential children.

Bottom line - the government has no right to
decide who does and does not own guns.

Posted by Rich M on April 7, 2007 12:35 PM
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One scumbag at a time, one locked up at a time - result - let's do nothing more than we do.
Posted by Gordon Meek on April 7, 2007 12:19 PM
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There appears to be a large body of opinion that
we should all have guns and turn our streets into
shooting galleries. Anyone who has ever been of
a fairground may have observed how few people
can hit anything, and that is with an airrifle.
Handguns are even less accurate and outside
Wild West films slow to respond when faced with
a sudden attack.
I'm afraid the only realistic answer is a proper
Police Force equipped and trained to deal with
crime and a judiciary able and willing to enforce
the law effectively. If this means more prisons, so
be it. We managed to keep thousands of
prisoners of war safely guarded when we had
need to. What is so special now?
Posted by George Herbert on April 7, 2007 12:15 PM
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What practical effect has been achieved by the "tough" on this and that and "crackdowns", so favoured by Tone and friends?
Seems to be talk and talk and hope that the public will be impressed or so hardened to the situation that nothing is achieved.

Posted by Conkeyron on April 7, 2007 11:10 AM
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Thanks to our politicians, we have evolved a society where the casual murder of another individual is becoming an everyday occurence.
Clearly our society has become infected with outside influences, that glorify the carrying of weapons and casual murder. Should we therefore, consider the sad and inevitable conclusion that this culture has entered through US influences; rap music, gangsta culture, videos and computer games. If we are to accept that premise, then we need to ban this stain on our society and ensure that people are inculcated with proper values of respect.
We need to also look at the Criminal Justice System that has failed to hold back the flood gates of criminality. Gun carrying and casual murder need to be prosecuted to the max, with long sentences and no parole and life meaning life imprisonment. Indeed, I contend that we must look at the prospect of bringing back capital punishment for murder and gun crime. A proper deterrent must be one that is effective and used, we know that at present the CJS is not effective and serves as no deterrent. It's a failure because of the bleeding heart liberals and do-gooders who have set out to subvert any system that punishes offenders.
Posted by George Hinton on April 7, 2007 11:00 AM
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I give up. The country is in pieces. Thanks Labour....bunch of cretins
Last person to leave...switch the lights off, I am off to Poland where most of them are in our country...surely Poland is now empty?!! ahhh....looking forward to living in a country with a limited population.
This is the way its going to be soon...BRITISH citizins leaving their own country....Blair and Brown have a helluva lot to answer for. Destroyed our Great Britain between them. Thanks guys.....for absolutely nothing (expletives removed) !!!
Posted by David Pook on April 7, 2007 10:49 AM
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God Guns & Guts Made America Free.
Happy Easter
Posted by Peter the Rock on April 7, 2007 10:46 AM
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I could solve all the crime problems in the UK overnight unfortunately would not be PC
Posted by P W Smith on April 7, 2007 10:08 AM
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In this Country, however, it is, to all intents and purposes, illegal to defend your self as the tools whith which to do it are banned from possession by anyone, regardless of how much their lives are threatened. You are required in Law to put your self in grave danger rather than be able to fight back.

Posted by JonathanL on April 7, 2007 10:04 AM
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Past experience of shootings suggests there are three distict groups. There are those who carry guns, sometimes for self-defence against rival gangs, or as fashion accessories. These are people who are often, but not always, associated with the so-called "black-on-black" shootings. Then there are the criminals who carry guns for hold-ups - they can be any colour. And then, finally, there's that almost extinct species (thanks to post-Hungerford/Dunblane gun control legislation) who have a lifelong fascination with guns, who attend target practice every week, and who once in a while flip, and proceed to summarily "execute" their fellow human beings.

Posted by Colin Berry on April 7, 2007 9:43 AM
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Try thinking outside the box. Ever heard of fighting fire with fire? How about legalising guns (by licence of course) for the purposes of self defence? Far better than having communities ruined, cowered and helpless in the face of the drugged, armed and violent crime wave sweeping Britain.

Either that or leave it to Police. Police who won't walk the streets,certainly not in high risk areas nor at night...
Posted by Cllr Chris Cooke on April 7, 2007 9:05 AM
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No of course not. The result of the post Dunblane knee jerk gun ban means criminals can own guns but normal people can't without going through hoops. Rising gun crime is the result of liberal bigot anti gun laws. ALL Subjects of the Crown should be allowed to be armed to defend their homes and property. If this woman had been armed she would at least have had a chance to defend herself. How much safer would a girl feel with a Lady Smith in her purse and a 9mm Glock under her pillow? A LOT safer. Anyone wanting to see what good gun law does to reduce crime should compare the results in Kennesaw Georgia where the local authorities recommended all citizens be armed (crime reduced dramatically) and Washington DC (where guns are considered bad) where crime is rife.
Posted by P Watson on April 7, 2007 9:00 AM
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Labour has flooded our country with the World's rubbish and now we see, at first hand, on the streets of Britain, just how ferrel they are; just how they "run" their ghettos.
Posted by Michael Hughes on April 7, 2007 8:55 AM
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Gun crime of life's little inconveniences in London. The shooting dead of a pregnant woman in the Nappy Valley area of Battersea says 'No' - we are doing nothing about the problem. I know the area well and regularly shop in Northcote Road. It is basically a lovely area.

Posted by Mike on April 7, 2007 8:46 AM
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As an ex pistol shooter I find grim amusement in
the proliferation of gun crime and gun carrying.
When our minority sport was banned we said taking
legally held weapons would divert police from
tackling the real problem of illegal posession. One
and a half billion pounds were wasted
compensating a harmless group of people shooting
holes in cardboard targets
Posted by J.P.Naylor on April 7, 2007 8:42 AM
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Are we doing enough to tackle Any crime?
The police are undermanned, have too much
paper work and are badly deployed, and if by
chance they catch a criminal once in a while the
justice system is incapable of dealing with it
In the words of the Home Secretary "not fit fot
Posted by George Herbert on April 7, 2007 8:40 AM
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Clearly the current methods are nt working.
It is madness not to have routinely armed Police on our streets with relevant laws and guidelines to protect them.
Most western countries employ this, so the usual anti gun lobby comparisons to the USA dont apply.
Posted by Pierre on April 7, 2007 8:24 AM
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No, enough is not being done and has never been done to stop these crimes. The sentences should be harsher with a zero tolerance for knives and especially guns. The police should have much greater powers in this instance and those thugs who are so blatently thumbing their noses at the law should realise that everyone in law enforcement means business. England is living in a violent society which has increased dramatically over the last few years and something has to be done to change it.
Posted by Jean Kaye (ex pat) on April 7, 2007 8:12 AM
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Its the same situation in Australia. The gun laws tangle sporting shooters in red tape, meanwhile gun crime is soaring. Almost all gun crime is carried out with illegal (unlicenced) firearms, and most gun crimes are carried out by people 'not of Caucasian' our politically correct police won't touch them. Oh, for the good old days, when the law applied to everyone equally.
Posted by Malcolm of St Ives, Australia on April 7, 2007 8:09 AM
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The simple answer is clearly not. Allegedly we have more policemen and women and community support officers than ever before, but, as has been reported only 1 in 48 officers are actually on the beat at any one time and that the vast majority spend their time in headquarters filling in paperwork then policemen and women must be taught to type more quickly, the bureaucratic process of shuffling paperwork must be reduced and Chief Constables need to get a grip and ensure that more of their officers are out and about patrolling the streets of towns and cities and not inside offices. Otherwise, what is the point in having police forces if they are not carrying out their primary function of preventing crime.
Posted by Robert Peel on April 7, 2007 8:00 AM
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Will no one ever realise that penalties are not a deterrant, it is the likelihood of being caught which tends to deter.
These days, with the police taking a very low key approach to policing they are usually an after-the-event body
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