Sunday, November 20, 2005

Even a picture of a gun is wrong in Ireland: "Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea has rejected criticism of his decision to pose for photographers while holding an automatic pistol. Mr O'Dea is pictured on the front of two national newspapers this morning looking down the sight of the gun with a smile on his face. The photographs were taken at a training exercise in the Curragh yesterday. Opposition politicians have accused the minister of engaging in a tasteless and insensitive publicity stunt at a time when gun crime is creating real fear on the streets. Mr O'Dea later said he was sorry if anyone was offended, but he accused the opposition of trying to make a big issue of something meaningless.

Britain's gun-control "success": "The number of offences involving firearms in England and Wales has been increasing each year since 1997, according to the Home Office. Firearms incidents recorded by the police have nearly trebled in eight years. Provisional figures released last month showed that firearms offences had increased by 5 per cent on last year, to a total of 11,160. There were 4,903 such offences in 1997. The possession of handguns was banned in Britain that year after the Dunblane massacre. Yet the illegal ownership of handguns is believed to be higher than it has ever been, with nearly 300,000 illegal guns estimated to be in circulation. The increase in gun crime is linked to gang activity and the illegal drugs trade".

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