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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gun crime

Gun crime still makes up a small percentage of all crimes committed in the UK. Over the past few years, there have been a lot of stories in the news where teenagers have been killed by someone carrying a gun. To stop these crimes, the law around guns is now a lot stricter.

What counts as gun crime?

Gun crime includes any crime that involves the use of a gun or firearm. This includes:

  • a murder where the victim was shot
  • any situation where a gun was fired, whether anyone was injured or not
  • a robbery or burglary where the thieves carried a gun as a weapon
  • intimidating people with a firearm
  • carrying a gun that is banned, like a handgun
  • carrying or using an imitation gun

Is there really a gun problem in the UK?

Incidents involving guns make up less than one per cent of the total number of crimes committed in the UK every year.

What is worrying is the relatively large number of young people who say they carry real or fake handguns to protect themselves. In fact you’re more likely to be a victim of gun crime if you carry a gun yourself.

Gun laws

To tackle gun crime, sentences for people convicted of crimes involving a gun have been made a lot tougher.

Anyone who is found guilty of possessing an illegal firearm faces a minimum sentence of five years. Also, you now have to be at least 17 years old before you can possess an air rifle.

It’s also now illegal to sell realistic imitation guns, even if they can’t be turned into weapons that fire real ammunition.

What can you do?

If you have information about gun crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.

There are also a number of local anti-gun crime projects run by police authorities and councils that you may want to get involved in. They organise activities within communities to highlight the problem and talk with people living in the area about how it can be tackled.

If you're interested, find out about groups in your area by calling in to your nearest police station. You can also search online for internet campaigns that are aiming to stop gun crime.

Additional links

Victims of crime - find help

If you're a victim of crime, you can now search for services in your area that can give you help and support

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