Gun-Free Britain? Nearly 10,000 Gun Crimes Committed in One Yearby Kurt Zindulka
The number of gun crimes committed in the United Kingdom has increased by 27 per cent in five years and the number of firearms seized has quadrupled, despite the country having some of the strictest gun control laws in the world.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 9,787 crimes were committed with firearms in the year leading to March of 2019. The number of offences has risen by four per cent over the previous year and twenty-seven per cent in five years, the latest statistics available show.
Young people represented the majority of the victims, with 56 per cent aged between 15 and 34 years old. Most offences were committed in densely populated urban areas, with just five city police force areas representing 58 per cent of all recorded instances; the Metropolitan Police, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
Thirty-three people were killed in firearm-related instances, three more than the year before, according to the ONS.
Gun seizures have dramatically risen in the UK, with The National Crime Agency (NCA) reporting that in the past ten months alone 425 guns have been confiscated, compared to 104 guns in 2017/18, per Sky News. The fourfold increase is attributed to smugglers from Europe bringing the weapons to the UK.
The NCA said that while some guns are shipped in from the United States, the majority are smuggled from Eastern Europe, leading the agency to lobby for stricter gun laws in Europe.
“It is legal to sell many of these firearms in Europe, and criminals can buy those firearms perfectly legally and they will bring them into the UK”, said Nikki Holland the Director of Investigations at the NCA.
A middle-eastern gun runner told the news outlet that it is “easy” to bring guns to Britain and that he can sell the weapons for over £2,000, four times as much as he purchases them for in Europe.
The smuggler said that he travels to France and picks up the guns from migrant camps in Calais before shipping them back to the UK.
“Someone will hide the gun in the lorry and put a tracker on it that gives you the postcode and everything,” the smuggler said.
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