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Laura Saunsbury interviewed live on BBC Radio Two by Jeremy Vine

bbc radio 2Yesterday morning our firearms law specialist Laura Saunsbury made a live guest appearance on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio Two. Following the publication yesterday of a report by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) of their investigation into Surrey Police Firearms Licensing Department, Laura was asked by the BBC to provide legal insight and analysis on whether there are adequate checks and controls on individuals who hold or apply for firearms and shotgun certificates.  

The IPCC report was commissioned after John Lowe, who had been issued a shotgun certificate by Surrey Police, fatally shot his partner Christine Lee and one of her daughters in February 2014.  Previously in 2013 Surrey Police had temporarily seized Mr Lowe’s shotguns and certificate from him when Ms Lee’s other daughter Stacy Banner reported to police that Mr Lowe had threatened to kill her whilst holding a shotgun in his hand. Four months later Surrey Police returned Mr Lowe’s guns to him after Ms Banner withdrew her allegation.

In its report the IPCC  has identified a series of failings by firearms licensing officers in Surrey Police to properly assess available evidence and Police intelligence held on Mr Lowe before making the decision to return his guns to him. The publication of the IPCC review should therefore not be used as a justification to call for tighter legal controls on the possession of firearms. Instead, as Laura observed in the BBC Radio interview, this case is a deeply tragic, but fortunately rare, example of how an adequate system of control can be in place but nevertheless things can go terribly wrong if Police firearms licensing departments are understaffed and there is a lack proper training and supervision.

To listen to the radio interview in full click on this link to the programme. The interview with Laura begins 7 minutes into the programme.  



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