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British Panel Rejects Handgun Ban

Wed., Aug. 14, 1996

Teachers and parents of children killed in a school massacre in Scotland say they’ll keep fighting for a nationwide ban on handguns, despite a parliamentary committee’s rejection of the ban Tuesday.

On a 6-5 vote, the Home Affairs Select Committee turned down the proposal, saying it would be impractical and fail to deter armed criminals.

Police organizations, politicians and victims’ groups criticized the parliamentary committee’s decision, underlining the growing support for the outlawing of handguns.

Britain currently requires gun owners to have police licenses, which are issued for five years after checks on character and criminal records.

Prime Minister John Major’s Conservative government may still seek a ban, depending on the findings of an inquiry into the March 13 slayings of 16 kindergarten children and their teacher at Dunblane, Scotland.

Thomas Hamilton carried four licensed handguns into the school gymnasium, shot his victims, and then shot and killed himself.

In Dunblane on Tuesday, parents and teachers of the slain children said they wouldn’t let the setback stop their fight.

“It’s really an insult. We are just flabbergasted,” said Eileen Harrild, one of two teachers who survived the shootings.

Among the committee’s recommendations for tighter controls was a requirement that applicants for gun licenses submit their medical histories, signed by doctors, to police.


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